It’s quite obvious that lighting, artificial or natural, can have an effect on the way an object looks. Lighting certainly has an effect on the appearance of tile floors and walls, and often times, consumers do not understand these effects. Today, we’d like to offer an explanation of the effects of lighting on tile surfaces.
The Tile Council of North America’s Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation (48th Edition/2011) notes that for interior floors and walls, certain types of lighting are often used to create a dramatic lighting effect in a room. Lighting techniques such as wall-washer and cove-type lighting are the most common for this effect, being placed at the wall/ceiling interface or right on the wall. According to the handbook, “When proper backing surfaces, installation materials and methods, and location of light fixtures are not carefully coordinated, these lighting techniques may produce shadows and undesirable effects with ceramic tiles.” Additionally, similar shadows could be created from side lighting on interior walls and floors if the light shines in at an angle through windows and doors.
In exterior applications, the handbook says that artificial or natural light shining on exterior floors and walls at a nearly parallel angle to the tile surface can highlight both normal and acceptable inconsistencies in the tile work, and that shadows can “exaggerate these conditions.”
The image below features the possible effects of lighting on a large span of wall tile.
To put it all in laymen’s terms, there are acceptable tolerances allowed in the manufacturing of tile, as well as suitable installation methods. Certain types of lighting fixtures, as well as natural light, can highlight some of these tolerances by casting shadows along the surface of neighboring tiles. While there are occasions when this effect is not desired by the owner, usually they are not the result of inferior product or installation – it is simply the effect of light and shadow.
If you have further questions about this topic, feel free to contact Conestoga Tile at 888-415-5689.
Image from Mosa.nl