Natural stone has shade variation throughout each piece of tile. As the quarries cut into the stone more the shades will change completely based on what the earth produces.
But this is also true with variation in porcelain and ceramic tile. To give this tile a more natural look there is variation between every piece. This variation is determined through a “V” rating scale created by the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association.
Tile is made by firing clay at a very high temperature. This leads tile to have variation from batch to batch or dye-lot. It is similarly compared to a cake you bake one day and comparing it to the same baking process a different day. It will be very similar but never exactly the same.
This is also done purposefully to give the tile a more genuine look rather than a carbon copy being spread across a room. It has more character and interest when the tiles slightly differ.
The CTDA uses a system for porcelain and ceramic tile to determine how much variety one can expect.
V1 means very minimal variation.
V2 is a slightly noticeable variation but generally very similar.
V3 will have a similar color tone but the variety of movement and placement will vary.
V4 is complete variation. Each tile will have a different look, making the final project unique from any other.
It is important to know the “V” rating your tile has so you know what to expect when buying a larger quantity. Most boards are labeled with the rating or you can ask your sales associate for more information.