Light Up Your World
September 17, 2004
In-floor lighting systems offer floor covering installations safety, as well as aesthetics (Photo 1). You see them in nightclubs, casinos, hotels and movie theatres all over the world. In-floor lighting systems are considered more for commercial applications, but with home theatres becoming a growing market, the in-floor lighting systems have opened up income opportunities for floor covering installers who generally handle only residential installations. Here is an example of what is involved with in-floor lighting.
Photo 2 shows the dry fitting of an extruded vinyl stair nosing on a square nosed step, with an end cap and a raceway track.
. On this particular step the stair nosing was cut 2 1/2-inches less to allow for the end cap and raceway light track (Photo 3).
Make sure to remove the light harness before trimming the stair nose. David Gutierrez shows how the stair nose is cut to size with a compound miter saw. When installing lighting on both tread and riser, it will be necessary to miter the track at the crotch (where step and riser meet) area of the step (Photo 4).
The light harness track is in the stair nosing (Photo5). Making sure the light track is working, as once the stair nosing is placed it becomes permanent (Photo 6).
Apply a liberal amount of high-grade construction adhesive to the stair nose; there is also a VOC-compliant adhesive available; this will apply to both wood and concrete steps, as the stair nosing cannot be drilled.
Make sure that steps are clean of any dirt or contaminants prior to installing the nosing (Photo 7).
). Install the raceway light track with construction adhesive, making sure to align with the raceway cover and the end cap. Secure the base track to the substrate; for concrete, use flathead Tapcon screws; these are self-tapping screws that require no plugs.
Drill a pilot hole and then use a 3/16-inch-by-11/4-inch Tapcon and fasten. Wood screws can be used for installations over a wood substrate. For the end cap, align the cap to the stair nosing and raceway track; use the end cap as a template and drill a pilot hole through the screw hole in the end cap. Fasten with a flathead Tapcon screw or wood screw depending on substrate. Run the light harness through the raceway; make sure to leave enough wire for the electrician to work with. Place raceway covers on even though the power is not hooked up; this keeps all the covers in one place so they don't get mixed up or lost. Now, this is where a qualified electrician comes into place.
Where local codes dictate, the electrician will wire the connections and wiring to a low voltage lighting transformer (Photo 8). The low-voltage transformer takes 120 volts and reduces it to 12 volts for the floor lights. Once the electrical is finished, immediately snap in the raceway covers so that they go in the track that they were cut to.
Photo 9 shows the finished product. No, the patterns don't match on the steps but the lights are the main focus of this display. In-floor light systems are not that difficult once you understand the mechanics of fitting and working with different profiles, but at approximately $45 per lineal foot, it's not something you want to make any mistakes on. There are profiles that will accommodate most carpets, and they are offered in aluminum, PVC, or vinyl extrusions.
In a previous article that featured the Installation Showcase at Surfaces 2004, there was a laminate floor that had fiber optics inlaid into the floor. The article covered the routing procedures to insert the fiber optics into the laminate flooring. In this article, we will discuss the actual fiber optics. The fiber optics have been inlaid into the groove with silicone (Photo 10). Leave enough length to run to the light box. Cut away the outer sleeve of the fiber optic; this will expose several strands of fibers (Photo 11). The exposed strands are placed in a tube and then the tube is attached to a spot underneath a high intensity bulb (Photo 12). This light box has a small turntable, which has different colored glass enabling the fiber optics to display different colors. The light box can also display one color if so desired (Photo 13).
new world of ideas, and for those installers that can install these types of systems, both in-floor lighting systems and fiber optics, your services will be much sought after. Special thanks go out to California accent Lighting Inc.,to Jaime, David and the gang. For more information on in floor systems contact Jon Namba at World Floor Covering Association, 800-624-6880.