What do “shade” and “caliber” mean, and why do they matter?

A tile’s shade (dye lot) refers to the coloration and reflectivity of a tile. A tile’s caliber refers to its facial dimension (size) and is measured with a tool called a caliper (often the terms are confused). Ragno carefully selects its tile and indicates on every box the particular shade (dye lot) and caliber to offer customers consistency throughout an installation. Since natural materials are used in both the body and glazes of the tile, slight variations in shade and caliber are normally inherent from one production run to the next. Typically, Ragno shades (dye lots) are indicated by either an alpha/numeric combination or a three or four-digit numeral (i.e. A16, 3408, 250, etc.) while caliber sizes are normally shown as 07, 08, 09, 00, 01, 02, etc.

It is important to purchase tile that has the same shade (dye lot) and caliber, if at all possible, to ensure a pleasing aesthetic appearance as well as consistent grout joints. Using different caliber sizes result in a variation in grout joint widths, exaggerated as the size of the tile increases.  Normally, with Ragno products, two adjacent calibers (i.e. 07 with 08 or 08 with 09 - not 07 with 09) can be used in an installation if the installer is aware of the variation before the installation is begun because the slight difference can be adjusted within the grout joint. It is generally not acceptable to begin an installation with one size and abruptly change to another at some point.