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Tile Basics

Tile is as versatile and beautiful as it is durable.
Learn about the basic properties and advantages of designing with tile.

Tile, to put it simply, is made from clay, fire, and water, and it's been a reliable building material for thousands of years. Today, we've advanced the basic properties of tile to create America's leading portfolio of advanced porcelain and stone surface covering products. 

View or download our tile Application Areas document

Crossville tile can be used for residential and commercial projects:

  • floors
  • walls
  • countertops
  • pools
  • showers
  • and more
All Crossville porcelain tile is certified by the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) as meeting genuine porcelain standards.

Because of porcelain's advanced durability and moisture resistance, many porcelain tile lines are strong enough for the most demanding commercial applications. Porcelain withstands heavy foot traffic, is impenetrable to water and stains, and holds up to extreme temperatures beautifully.

Additionally, tile is one of the most sustainable building materials on the planet. It also promotes better indoor air quality since it doesn't trap allergens like dust, pet hair, and pollen. When you choose to design with tile you're not only bringing style and durability to your space, you're choosing a material that can be recycled, used for a lifetime, and promotes cleaner environments.

To learn about the various benefits and features of all our tile collections, explore our products.

With Crossville tile, designers have freedom of choice in color, size, and patterns.

Color options

Today’s tiles come in an incredible array of colors and color palettes. From neutral and subdued, to bold and opulent, Crossville offers a shade for every mood, space and style.

With more options than ever before, it’s even more important to consider some key elements when selecting tile color:

  • Does the space have natural, overhead or ambient lighting? Cooler tones may look harsh in artificial lighting, while limited lighting may dull a vibrant color.
  • Is this a high traffic area? Heavy traffic areas may not be best suited for lighter, low-variation tiles, or very dark tiles that may show dust.
  • What other elements exist in the room’s décor? Is there wallpaper, lots of furniture or a dominant color scheme? Softer, neutral tones may provide the right contrast to busy patterns on walls or upholstery, creating a more open feel for the room. Deep colors may add warmth to a large space, or help to showcase light wood furniture or fabrics.

Size and shape

The size and shape of your tile is just as important as the color choice because it affects the overall look and function of your space. Choose our large, gauged porcelain tile panels, to create clean lines and bold statements on floors, walls, and countertops. Or choose small, glass mosaic pieces to create intricate designs. At Crossville, we offer a variety of shape and size options, as well as custom orders.


Tile patterns mix colors and sizes to achieve clever designs that instantly customize an environment. You can create endless tile designs and pattern layouts using contrasting colors, finishes, textures, and shapes.

Learn about tile patterns and try out our virtual design tools.

From tile to tile, color (shade) can vary to some degree due to the innate properties of ceramic and porcelain tile. Each tile collection we offer aligns with a level of variation—from very uniform to substantially varied. So, we've established four levels of shade variation to help our customers understand and select the right level for their tile project.

Uniform Appearance image
V1: Uniform Appearance

Differences between individual pieces from the same production run will be minimal.

Slight Variation image
V2: Slight Variation

Differences in texture and/or pattern will be clearly distinguishable within similar tile colors.

Moderate Variation image
V3: Moderate Variation

While the colors and/or textures present on a single piece of tile will be indicative of the colors and/or textures to be expected on the other tiles, the amount of color and texture on each piece may vary significantly. We recommend that products with moderate shade variation be viewed prior to selection.

Substantial Variation image
V4: Substantial Variation

Color and/or texture differences from tile to tile will be random to give individual tiles different color and/or texture variation from other tiles—resulting in a one-of-a-kind look. We recommend that several pieces from a V4 collection be viewed prior to your full order.

design. specify. install.

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