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tile variation reference guide

clé offers a variety of tiles of different types and materials. with this, we often see degrees of variation.  from swirls of pigments filling the cement tile molds in slightly different ways, to ancient glaze production methods in our zellige tiles creating unique individual pieces, the handmade craftsmanship of many of our tiles result in color, shade and textural differences.  these differences are more pronounced in certain types of tiles than others.

additionally, there will almost certainly be higher degrees of variation with tiles from separate production lots, or “batches”.  please see the following link which addresses tile purchases from separate batches.

the following is a guide for different degrees of variation that we have assigned our tiles.  each of the tiles in our online catalog are rated for both color variation, signified by a V, and textural variation, signified by a T.  lower numbers indicate lower variation and texture, and higher numbers indicate greater. these ratings can be found on each product page.


color variation

V1:  lowest variation. many factory-produced tiles as well as few artisan-crafted tiles will show a limited degree of color variation. however, all ceramics will exhibit some percentage of variation within the same production lots, an example of this is our white gloss subway tile, which is machine-made and results in a consistent look from tile to tile.

V2:  slight variation.  there can be slight visible differences in the colors of the tiles, however generally, as a whole, the tiles grouped in any installation will present a uniform look.

V3:  medium variation.  these tiles are generally the result of artisan handmade production.  while these tiles are usually of a singular color, there can be multiple shades of that color noticeably represented within each lot.  

V4:  heavy variation.  typically, with these, there will be multiple shades or pigments present within each tile, and oftentimes no two tiles will look the same.  additionally, production of entire batches may naturally result in shade differences leaning slightly one way or another. despite their individual and noticeable differences however, when placed together in an installation, these tiles will still present a cohesive coloration.

V5:  extreme variation.  there can be multiple shades and colors visibly represented within batches.  an example of this is our dragon bay, where production lots can contain blue, green, tan, and flashes of silvery metal. some tiles will be noticeably lighter or darker within batches, and these differences are apparent even in installations, creating a beautiful patchwork look. it is recommended that multiple samples be purchased when considering tiles categorized as extreme variants, so that the range of the pallet can be viewed.


texture variation

T1:  smooth:  the surface of these tiles will be very uniform.  a great example of this is our subway tile, which due to its machine-made production process results in a fixed result.

T2:  light texture:  production will result in slight physical variation in the surfaces of the tiles.  overall there will be uniformity upon installation.

T3:  medium texture:  there will be noticeable textural differences amongst tiles from the same batch.  an example of this is our glazed brick, where the texture of the clay body is mirrored in the surface of the glaze.  

T4:  heavy texture:  it is safe to assume that there may be extreme textural differences between tiles.  a great example of this are our glazed terra cotta lines. due to the nature of the production process, these can have rough or marred surfaces as well as crazing and pitting.  these are not defects, but rather integral parts of the tiles themselves.