Did you know all of our tiles come with a variation rating? Variation can have a huge effect on how the end result will look so it's important to understand what variation means and why it matters when choosing tiles.
Q) What is tile variation?
A) Variation is the difference in colour, shade and tone between individual tiles.
A low variation tile means there is limited variation between each tile and when the tile is laid the finished result will look uniform to the sample you saw in the store. A good example of a uniform tile would be a white wall tile. Whereas, a high variation tile will deliver the complete opposite look. Each individual tile is different and when laid together will show a variety of colours and textures.
To make this clear all our tiles have a V rating from 1 to 4.
V1 – Uniform – minimal differences between pieces of the same production run.
V2 – Slight - clearly distinguishable differences in texture and/or pattern, with similar colours.
V3 – Moderate – the number of colours on each piece vary greatly significantly, but they do not differ greatly between pieces.
V4 – Substantial – random colour differences from tile to tile so that one tile may have totally different colours from another tile.
The Artisan Rose Mallow pictured above is a good example of a tile with a high variation rating of 4. When laying this type of tile, we recommend mixing up the different shades to ensure it looks completely random. The Artisan is also a good example of how high variation tiles usually give a space a more natural or handmade look while tiles with low variation will give a space more elegance and polish.
Manhattan Vintage is an example of a subway tile with low variation V1. All of the tiles are identical with minimal difference between pieces.
Why does tile variation matter?
While the difference in variation doesn’t determine the quality of the tile, it does have the most impact on how the end result will look. Italians are leading the way with new ideas, they have design teams who study the natural product for beautiful replica’s and are at the forefront of innovative designs (Read Why Choose Italian Tile for more on this).
Context White (above) is a 453x758 stone look tile with a moderate variation rating of 3. You can see that when laid the individual piece has a lot going on and varies significantly but overall the tiles look similar.
Stone look tiles with variation that is done well can produce a really natural effect as they mimic the impurities and variety of real stone, creating a more natural looking space. However, variation done well is difficult to do and requires the latest technology, although this can make them more expensive it’s worth paying a bit more for a natural and well thought out design. Especially as tiles are an investment purchase that last decade.
Ardesia | Elegance Striato Polished
It’s the variation between pieces that make the biggest impact. While some tiles have a lot of variation within the piece, the pattern and tone are similar, therefore, it doesn’t have such a strong effect on the space. Whereas a tile with high variation between pieces will look extremely effective and realistic.
B.I.S Grafite Grip | Unici Bianco
Colour variation between pieces makes the most impact on a design, with pattern variation between pieces also making an impact, but not as much. Take the two examples above, Marmi Unici Bianco pictured top right, has a big pattern variation, but not much colour variation so it doesn’t stand out as much as something with high colour variation like B.I.S Grafite pictured top left.
Industrial Steel Glass
The key benefit of a high variation tile is its ability to look realistic and as close a match to the natural material like timber, stone and marble. When choosing tiles we recommend discussing variation with one of our expert design consultants and ask them to show you a few sample pieces, you can also look at photos on our website to see how the tile looks when laid.
How To Prepare For Choosing Tiles
Why Choose Italian Tile
What Are Encaustic Tiles?
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