Guide to Ceramic Tile Shade and Texture Variations

If you’ve done any shopping for ceramic tile or stone flooring you will likely have noticed some inconsistencies in both the shade and texture of the flooring. This is not a mistake. These nuances in the tile are what give this unique flooring style its character and natural beauty. 

There are different degrees of variation depending on what you buy. There are options for those who want a more uniform look as well as for those who desire a very natural feel. Believe it or not, the level of variation you choose will impact how you should install your flooring. The following guide will help you know what to look for.

Many tile manufacturers, like Shaw Floors, will place their tile and stone flooring in four many categories of variation: Low, Moderate, High and Random.

Low Variation 

This is the most uniform variation available. You will see very little if any difference in the shade and texture from one tile to the next. It is also the easiest to install because you don’t have to worry about randomizing the tiles for best appearance. 

Moderate Variation 

With this category you will notice some subtle changes in texture and shade from one tile to the next. This is a slightly more natural look than the low variation. Because the variation is so minor, you don’t need to worry too much about randomizing the tiles during installation.

High Variation

Within each carton of tile you will notice a lot of variation of shade and texture. This produces a very natural look. When installing tile with this level of variation it is important to randomize tiles from each carton. Never install all the tiles from the same carton next to each other. For best appearance blend all the cartons together during installation.


The shades and textures will appear very random. This level of variation is perfect for more casual settings. It delivers a very rustic feel. Just like with high variation tiles you should blend multiple cartons together during installation for best appearance. 

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