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Old 01-30-2008, 03:37 PM   #1
Professional Hack
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All tile from same dye lot: how important?

Pros, do you insist on having all tile on a job from the same dye lot, or does it matter? I brought home a load of the Roman Stone Italian color-body porcelain floor tiles that Lowe's sells, there were three different dye lots, and when you laid out tiles from each lot there was a significant difference in the base color. One has a yellowish tint, one is a little darker and more brown, and one is actually slightly orange when put up against the other two. This stuff is made to look somewhat like travertine, but I don't know exactly how much variation is within one dye lot.

Also, does it matter on shiny ceramic wall tiles that are solid colored, such as Dal-Tile 6"?

Thanks
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:43 PM   #2
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Same dye lot only! Color and sizes will vary.
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:51 PM   #3
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Any differences you see now will only be enhanced when grouted.
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:52 PM   #4
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David, your actual experience there tells the whole story. Always go with the same dye lot. Some times there's a big difference, sometimes there's not, but expect the worst.

Not too long ago I was looking at some porcelain tile. Different lots of exactly the same series and color of tile came not only from different factories, but from two different countries. One lot from Malaysia, the other from Mexico.
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Old 01-30-2008, 04:06 PM   #5
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as K_Tile says...."Color and sizes will vary."

I wouldn't worry about the coloring if its a stone looking tile,
if it is a solid color I would worry.
what I would worry about is the different lots and them being different sizes...
then you will be royally screwed when installing them.

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Old 01-30-2008, 05:02 PM   #6
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Always get the same dye lot. As has been mentioned some times a different dye lot can look like a completely different tile.
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:32 PM   #7
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Ceramic Tile variation

Although ceramic tile has been around for thousands of years, we manufacturers still deal with day to day variation in the process. To handle the variation, we assign shades or what you are calling dye lots. There are hundreds of variables that can subtly change the appearance of the tile from one run to the next, from different operators to differences in the ceramic 'ink' used to create the designs to differences in firing temperature, they all add up to variation. We do our best to minimize this variation and compare everything to a master 'target' that was set up during the first run of the product but anyone who tells you their tile looks exactly 100% the same from one run to the next is lying to you.

For best results, always:

* Know how much you need including a safety factor and order it all at the same time. Insist on the same dye lot or shade. If you might add on later on down the road, order enough for that too.
* Inspect the tile before you take it home. Inspect it again before you install it. Lay some pieces out from different boxes and pallets and make sure it goes together well. Look for chips, spots, warpage, field to trim match and size variation as well as color.
* Mix the tile from multiple boxes (we recommend at least 5) from multiple pallets as you go.

By using these tips, you can maximize the likelihood of getting what you were expecting and give yourself time to recognize problems before they get installed on your floor. The best time to catch problems is before you take the tile home. The worse time is after all the cabinets are in, everything is grouted, and your wife gets her first good look.

Happy tiling!
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:07 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I was kind of wondering about this, since the guy at Lowe's took great pains to inform me repeatedly about all the tile he laid as a bigshot general contractor, and how you could mix tile from any dye lot anywhere and it wouldn't make a bit of difference, because there was so much variation within the same dye lot that it wouldn't matter in the end. I think it was because he considered it a waste of time to special order 1800 square feet of the same tile that the store already had in stock, just to get it all in the same dye lot. Sometimes I get sick and tired of suppliers trying to bullsh*t their way into making their own jobs easier.
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:19 PM   #9
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Hey David. I did a bathroom using that same tile you have there. I thought I grabbed all of the boxes from the same dye... one snuck in there that was different. The difference was quite noticable. I had to return it and find one to match.

I'll tell you another thing. The tile was purchased 2-3 weeks before the job and then when I returned the one box for another, even though the new box was a "match" they looked different.

Get the same dye lot at the same time with these tiles.
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Old 02-01-2008, 05:12 PM   #10
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batch and dye lots are important otherwise we would just pick boxes of tile and set them, the size and color can vary up to 1/4 on 12x12 tile.
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Old 02-01-2008, 07:08 PM   #11
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i too just did a bath shower with the same tiles. its the first time i've seen tiles vary a lot. just look for other dye lots to see if they match. i found some tiles at another lowes with different dye lot# and it matched pretty good.
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Old 02-01-2008, 07:36 PM   #12
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What i've done before when I had to go with two different lots was a checkerboard pattern. The difference was subtle with the lot #s one was a couple shades darker it wasn't drastic like black and white checkerboard, but it looked real nice. This only works if the lots are the same size though.
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