7 Key Considerations for Tile

Choosing a Floor

Selecting a ceramic or porcelain tile can be a daunting process, particularly given that there are thousands of available options. However, there are a few key considerations that will help narrow down the process considerably:

Key Considerations For Tile Floors:

  • Shade variation
  • Texture
  • Color
  • Tile size
  • Pattern
  • Grout line preference
  • Ceramic or porcelain

Shade Variation

Do you imagine your floor to be even and consistent, random and varied, or somewhere in between? Most tiles are marked for shade variation, on the following scale. You will want to review several pieces to get a full picture of what kind of variation and color variety you can expect.

V1 - Uniform Appearance 
V1- Uniform Appearance
Differences among pieces from the same production run are minimal.
V2 - Slight Variation

V2- Slight Variation
Clearly distinguishable differences in texture and/or pattern within similar colors.
V3 - Moderate Variation
V3- Moderate Variation
While the colors present on a single piece of tile will be indicative of the colors to be expected on the other tiles, the amount of colors on each piece may vary significantly. For example “that little bit of color” on one piece of tile may be the primary color on the next piece.
V4 - Substantial Variation
V4- Substantial Variation
Random color differences from tile to tile, so that one tile may have totally different colors from that of other tiles. Thus the final installation will be unique.


Texture is important in the look and feel of a tile. A heavily textured tile can look more realistic, but can be more challenging to clean. Slip resistance in a bathroom or other wet areas can be an important consideration as well. Tiles can range from very smooth to very rough, so determining your desired texture can really help us narrow down the selection process for you.


There is a vast range of colors available in ceramic tile, and many styles of tiles come in a range of colors too. Shade variation is important in color selection, as a moderate or high shade variation tile can have a variety of colors or tones within them. If you have a variety of color elements in your room, a higher shade variation can help blend them all together.

Tile Size
Larger format tiles (16” x 16” and larger) have been very popular. Rectangular tiles have been a hot trend as well. If you have a specific size of tile in mind, you will want to mention it early in the selection process, as this will help narrow down your options, as not all tiles come in all sizes.
Tile Pattern
This is important to mention as well, as certain patterns will only be available in select styles of tile, particularly when you are looking for a mix of patterns. Follow this link for a great resource in finding your desired pattern: http://www.daltile.com/information/tile-patterns.
Grout Line Preference
Many people prefer a tighter grout line (1/16” to 1/8”), for visual appeal, but also for ease of cleaning. Your preference here should be mentioned early in the process as well, because not all tiles can be installed with smaller grout lines, as this is dependent upon the accuracy of the sizing of the tile. Tiles that are very consistently sized, and can be installed with very tight grout lines, will be labeled “rectified”. If it isn’t marked as rectified, we usually leave the exact size of grout line to our installers discretion, as he or she will have to determine how accurately sized that exact lot is, and what can and cannot be done with it. As a general rule of thumb, we’ve found that the higher end tiles are more accurately sized (but not always). Our default grout lines are generally 1/8” to ¼”. Tighter grout lines may also not be possible in situations where there is an unevenness to the subfloor, as the variation or rolls in the floor can make for high edges on tiles.
Ceramic or Porcelain

Tile will be rated for durability (usually class I-V), and most tiles labeled as “floor” will be rated III or above, and should be suitable for most residential uses. In heavy use areas, porcelain tiles are usually more scratch and break resistant. Also, most of the rectified tiles mentioned above will be porcelain.

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