How to Predict the Unpredictable: Tile Glaze Variation

Tile variation can range from high to low, from nearly matching, to “holy crap is that the same color?” tiles. For some the natural properties and unpredictable nature of clay, stone, and glaze is something desirable, and a part of the beauty that makes them so unique. The temperature outside may be different, the mixes may be new, the clay’s a little different, all of these things can have an impact on why your tile may have a variation from a sample. For others, it’s just not ideal, and not what they want. We have options available for both, and can steer you in the right direction for what you’re looking for. Here’s some help on how to predict the unpredictable: Tile Glaze Variation.

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Variation can occur in ceramic, porcelain, and stone tiles. Here’s some examples of how different types of glazes may vary.

Crackle / Water Color Glaze Variation

Crackle glazes can have wide range of variation, from one tile to the next, or even one side of the tile to the other. Glaze pooling can cause some spots to be darker while others are lighter, and relief tiles emphasis that even more. We’ve found that the darker crackle glazes tend to have a bit more variation than the lighter, but this can vary from vendor to vendor. For a more realistic idea of how a tile's variation may come out, ordering a few sample pieces to show the range often gives an idea of how that glaze will vary.

Gloss Tile Variation

Gloss glazing is smooth and well, glossy. There are little to no crackles, some pooling depending on relief or plain field, and color chosen. Some tile companies will give a color rating, from V1 - V4, 1 being the lowest amount of variation, to 4 being the highest variation in which you can expect something like the small green square tile photo in this galley. Variation is different in glosses between vendors, the best way to get an idea of how much there may be in a color is to order samples. Glazes vary from batch to batch, the colors we have in our showroom may vary from the glaze mixed up in the factory this week!

Matte Tile Variation

Matte glazes have a variation that varies from company to company. These tiles have no shine or reflection of light, often leaning towards a craftsman style. There are different matte glazes, some ranging high and low in the variation spectrum, along with some that appear to have more than one color in one glaze. We will do our best to prepare you for what level of variation to expect. But once again, we suggest ordering samples before placing an order!

To sum it all up:

  • We can give you an idea of how much variation is in a color, and can direct you towards high or low variation tiles depending on what you’re looking for.

  • Every batch is different, order SAMPLES, current batches may be different from the sample batch we have in our showroom.