Tile School: Still Crazing After All These Years | Fireclay Tile
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Tile School: Still Crazing After All These Years

By Kali

Tile School: Still Crazing After All These Years

You've probably heard us say words like "crackle" and "crazing" or seen them mentioned on our website, but we want to make sure you know what it means for you and your tile. Crazing is a natural process that occurs in ceramics where a glaze develops subtle surface cracks, adding to the natural patina of a handmade tile. Although crazing is something that happens naturally over time, we love the effect so much we sped up the process by offering a range of glazes that crackle, or "craze" during kiln firing.

We'll use Naples Blue, as an example: 

Naples Blue.

Tile Shown: Naples Blue is a V4 rated color with a medium level of crackle.

We think crazing is a part of the inherent beauty of our tiles, but the crackly or high variation look isn't for everyone, which is why we rate each of our glazes from V1 (low variation) to V4 (high variation). 

Here's Naples Blue (V4) paired with White Wash, which is a V1, without noticeable variation: 

Interior designer Will Taylor, creator of Bright Bazaar, gives his beach house guest bath a getaway-worthy upgrade with white and blue bathroom tiles in an eclectically patterned blend.

Tile Shown: Ogee Drops in Naples Blue with Mini Star and Cross in White Wash // Design + Image: Bright Bazaar

However, it is important to note, that even glazes that are rated low variation with little to no crazing, might develop traces of crazing over a span of time. To get into the science of it a bit, crazing happens when there is a difference in expansion during the firing process) and the faster and sooner it will occur. Sometimes it takes years to develop and we call this delayed crazing.


Tile Shown: Magnolia has a V3 rating due to its color variation and medium crazing.

Here's Magnolia installed: 

Nantucket style sage Kaity Farrell of Fare Isle draws on nature’s sensibilities to transform her island cottage bathroom with our Handpainted Ginkgo floor tiles and a shower decked in Magnolia Tiles.

Tile Shown: 2x6 in Magnolia // Design + Image: Kaity Farrell

For example, a color like Magnolia (shown above) is rated as a V3, meaning there is both noticeable color variation and crazing. It is also more likely that additional crazing will develop over time. A color like White Wash (shown below), is rated a V1, and has very little variation and low crazing. While a V1 has no visible crackle initially, your tile may develop very small surface cracks that you might not even be able to see unless you look very closely. A bit of crackle in your tile is in no way a structural flaw in your tile, so do not worry.

Tile Shown: White Wash

Here's White Wash installed: 

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 // Design: OLA Austin // Image: Lars Frazer

Do you like any of the featured colors? Order samples online now. Need some help or have more questions about crazing? 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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