Understanding Shade Variations in Ceramic Tile Products - Conestoga Tile

Understanding Shade Variations in Ceramic Tile Products

In the production of tile products, there are a variety of conditions that can be attributed to shade variation. Those conditions include slight differences in raw materials, such as those used to color the tile surface or body; temperature and humidity conditions at the manufacturing facility at the time of production; and slight variations in the firing temperature within the kiln. Color shades vary not only from piece to piece, but also in every style and through each production run. Understanding shade variations is an important part of selecting tile for your project.

To help consumers and salespeople understand how much “intentional” shade and color variation exists in a certain product series, the tile industry developed a shade variation scale.


This rating indicates a uniform appearance, with little to no difference among pieces within the same product run.


V-2 indicates a slight variation, with noticeable differences in texture and/or patters of similar colors.


V-3 means moderate variation or that while the colors present in one piece of ceramic tile should indicate the colors to be expected on others, the amount of color on individual pieces could vary significantly.


V-4 represents the most random or dramatic variation, with color and pattern differing from tile to tile, yielding a very unique installation.

The bottom line to keep in mind is that if you take a sample tile home from one of Conestoga Tile’s showrooms, it is highly likely that the finished product you receive will be slightly off in both shade and surface texture, unless the sample comes from the exact same inventory lot that you may purchase. It is not a defect; it is simply the nature of the product.

If you have further questions about the shade variations of ceramic tile products, please contact Conestoga Tile. We will be happy to answer your questions.