Design often overlooks the effect of lighting on walls. Lighting plays a crucial role in revealing imperfections in wall tile installations that may be unseen under normal conditions. The Tile Council of North America’s Handbook emphasizes lighting’s significant impact on tile surfaces, especially in interior and exterior applications.
In interior spaces, techniques like wall-washer and cove-type lighting create a dramatic effect. These fixtures, strategically placed at the wall/ceiling interface or directly on the wall, require careful coordination with backing surfaces and installation materials to avoid shadows and undesirable effects with ceramic tiles. Side lighting from windows and doors at an angle can also cast shadows on interior walls and floors.
In exterior applications, critical lighting occurs when light shines parallel to the tile surface. This lighting accentuates normal inconsistencies in tile work, with shadows exaggerating these conditions.
The handbook emphasizes the importance of considering critical lighting in tile surface design and installation. Tiles’ visual impact varies based on lighting conditions, highlighting the need for meticulous planning. Critical lighting reveals tolerances allowed in tile manufacturing and installation, but it’s essential to understand these effects aren’t indicative of subpar products or installations. Instead, they result from the interplay between light and shadow. For a detailed understanding of critical lighting and the effect of lighting on walls consult the Tile Council of North America’s Handbook.