Tile Tips: How to Manage Batch Variation

Tile Tips: How to Manage Batch Variation

An inherent characteristic of porcelain and ceramic tiles is a variation between batches. Every time a tile is manufactured, then re-produced over and over, the colour, size and pattern will differ slightly. This is due to the way that tiles are fired in the kiln, giving a slightly different effect each time. This is similar in the way that batching works in paint, carpet and timber.

Seeing as these variations are bound to occur, we have put together a short list of ways to avoid this becoming a problem in your project or renovation. Below is a good example of very extreme shading variation between four different batches:

Our Tips:

  1. 1. Always check,¬†and check again, the final measurement of your area before ordering your tiles. When you’ve measured you should add a percentage – usually around 15% with large tiles, but this should be indicated by your tiler – on top to allow for wastage. You’ll find it is often a guessing game when it comes to estimating wastage, as so many factors come into play, such as room shape, the quality of tools used by the tiler and so on. By allowing for wastage you can avoid having to buy extra tiles half way through the job, of which these may be from a different batch than the first lot.
  2. 2. Make sure you keep any leftover tiles! This means down the track if any damages occur or you decide to move things around (like power points etc.), you won’t have to patch any broken tiles with a different batch, or possibly even a completely different tile.
  3. 3. Remember to double check all your tiles are from the same batch (there will be an indication on the side of the boxes), before laying.


While the above points are important to keep in mind, you can also be assured that our manufacturer, Portobello, does a fantastic job in producing tiles with minimal shade variation between batches that are close together in date. This is always helpful in the odd case where you do need to order extra tiles after allowing for wastage. Ask any of our lovely staff in-store if you need advice on ordering extra tiles or more information on shade variation for a paticular tile.


Happy tiling!