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Tile School: Five Degrees of Color Variation

By Kali |

Tile Shown: Sand Dune is ranked a V3 due to its higher variation and crackle finish. 

Everything we make is handmade and is made just for YOU. This custom, handmade quality is often reflected in the beautiful variation of color that exists within each tile. Variation is something that occurs naturally in ceramics; different glazes react differently with various materials, kiln temperatures and, locations within the kiln while in the firing process. 

Midcentury modern details make Mandy Moore's Jack & Jill bathroom sleek and streamlined, but it's Rosemary's high variation and crackled detailing that lend it a luxuriously organic allure.

Tile Shown: 3x6 in Rosemary, rated a V3, with noticeable variation // Design: Sarah Sherman SamuelEmily Farnham Architecture// Image: Tessa Neustadt

We rate the color variation, whether it be Brick, Glass or, Tile, from a level of one to four to VX. V1 is the least amount of variation and VX has the most extreme amount. You can find out which variation level a color falls under by exploring its individual color page on our website.  


We love our higher-variation colors, but understand that they are not for everyone. We have plenty of lower variation colors to choose from too. These levels are important to take note of when you are sampling colors and making an order--as we always want you to be thrilled with the outcome of your project. Below we will show you examples of color variation so that you can get a better sense of what material and variation level is right for you and your project! 

V1 and V2
These two variation levels have the least amount of color variation. This level is typical in our recycled clay body when the glaze is simply a gloss or matte. Many of our Foundation colors, and a few colors of our Brick fall into this category as well. 

OLA Austin's office kitchen features a unique point-to-base triangle tile backsplash, using White Wash to let the pattern speak for itself.

Tile Shown: 4" Triangles in White Wash. This color is rated as a V1 and has very little variation. 

Gypsum, one of our matte glazes, is listed as V2, where there is only a small amount of color variation: 

Photographer Jennifer Chong of See and Savour chose our 2" Hexagons in Gypsum for her picture perfect kitchen renovation.

Tile Shown: 2" Hexagons in Gypsum, rated a V2, with a slightly noticeable variation in color. Design + Image: Jennifer Chong


Abounding in effortless luxe, this kitchen designed by Sarah Sherman Samuel is anchored by a stunning herringbone Thin Brick floor in Cascade.

Brick Shown: Cascade is rated a V1 for its low levels of color variation // Design + Image: Sarah Sherman Samuel

Our Glass tiles are rated as V1, with little variation: 

Channeling Montana's icy glaciers, this cool blue Glass Tile tub surround transforms the guest bathroom into an invigorating and modern retreat.

Tile Shown: Glass 2x12 in Blue Heron Matteis rated a V1 for its minimal color variation // Design: Andrea Dabene // Image: Alex Strohl

However, if you'd like a little variation in your glass tile installation, you can play with sheen! All of our glass tile colors are available in matte and gloss finishes; you can see how the combination of the two sheens look in the bathroom below: 

Photographers Alex Strohl and Andrea Dabene's dreamy master bathroom strikes the perfect mood with its pairing of Matte and Glossy Glass tile in Barn Swallow.

Tile Shown: 3x12 in Barn Swallow Matte and Gloss // Design: Andrea Dabene // Image: Alex Strohl

V3 and V4
This is where you are going to see a greater variation. We encourage you to talk with your Design Consultant about getting multiple samples of a higher variation (V3 and V4) color so that you can see its full range. 

A parquet tile pattern plays up our Tiki Blue glaze's handmade variation, lending this playful kitchen a splash of island flair.

Tile Shown: 3x6 in Tiki Blue (rated a V3) // Design: Lily Spindle Design // Image: Michele Thomas

The kitchen below features one of our most popular brick colors, White Mountains, which is rated a V3: 

This is farmhouse The Fresh Exchange way. Opting for our glazed Brick in rustic White Mountains, Megan Gilger used it to create a modern yet timeless counter-to-ceiling backsplash.

Tile Shown: White Mountains // Design + image: The Fresh Exchange

The bathroom below features not one but two, high variation glazes! 

Megan Gilger of The Fresh Exchange brightens her basement bathroom with a blend of warm tones and textured finishes. Sand Dune's handmade variation is a perfect match with earthy Antique, shown in a charming Star & Cross pattern.

Tile Shown: 2x6 Sand Dune with Large Star and Cross in Antique (Both of these glazes are rated as a V4) // Design + Image: The Fresh Exchange

Here's Sand Dune again (paired with Tusk a V2 Glaze) to show that color variation is not something we can control and that it varies between orders. Some orders will show more or less variation than others. 

Color blocked in a pair of neutral hues, this stacked tile tub surround adds a modern touch to a charming farmhouse-inspired bathroom.

Tile Shown: 3x12 tiles in Sand Dune and Tusk // Design + Image: Danielle & Ely Franko

Many of our Brick and Tile colors fall into the V3 - V4 level. All of our colors that are engobe, have crackle, or are patined will naturally have more color variation. As you can see below in an installation of Mist, which is a V4 rated color due to its crackle finish: 

With subtle nods to the nautical, this kitchen's artisan subway tile backsplash beautifully showcases our signature handmade color variation.

Tile Shown: 4x8 tiles in Mist // Design: EJ Interior Design // Image: Brad Knipstein

Verve Coffee Roasters chose our high variation glaze, Allegheny, for a pop of color in one of their locations: 

Thoughtfully layered textures like light wood finishes and rustic glazed thin Brick lend this Palo Alto coffee shop an earthy yet ever-so-airy atmosphere.

Brick Shown: Allegheny // Design: Young America Creative // Image: Lauren Edith Andersen

Do you have more questions about color variation? Would you like a few samples of a higher variation color? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.

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