Both stone and ceramic tile can have patterns on their surface as well as color variances. Ceramic tile is often manufactured with patterns imprinted on the surface. The patterns may be identical on each tile or the pattern can repeat every so often. If too many tiles are placed with matching patterns, the field of tile will not balance. The same is true of color variance. In the case of stone tile, veining or grain and color variance can be present.
In any case, careful sorting of the tile is necessary to achieve the desired results. Refer to the photographs for examples of patterns. The choice is entirely up to the owner of the installation. It may be necessary for the installer and or customer to open several boxes of tile and decide what are the maximum dark and maximum light shades within the variance. Then decide how to arrange the tile so a balance results within the field.
Tile Doctor Tip: When faced with patterns, alternate it so that no pattern repeats in an adjoining tile. For color variance, open up all the boxes necessary to have all of the possible variances at your disposal prior to setting the tile. Make stacks of presorted tiles near the area where the tiles will be set. Take the guess work and running back and forth by presorting and stacking.