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Here’s a nice and very neatly executed bathroom floor tile lighting project by Quicksilver Contracts on Tyneside. The company’s commercial director Andy Ward was kind enough to come back to us with some details about the project, and these photos.

“All in all, if I remember correctly, there are about 400 metres of fibre,” says Andy, “and the light source is hidden behind the big mirror which lifts off for access. The fibres come on with the main bathroom lighting but there is an override switch so they can be turned on and left on in the dark for a big “wow” effect. Wtih this there is enough light to use the bathroom – just – but it’s a very nice place to be.

“In total there are about 120 – 150 points of light in the floor and there are two fibre optic light fittings in the recessed cubby holes either side of the sink. “

The optical fibres run from the light source down inside the hollow wall and then up through a hole in the floor. From there they fan out to different areas of the bathroom. The tiles are laid onto tile adhesive in the normal way, with the fibres coming up in the gaps between the tiles. Once the adhesive and grout have both set, the fibres are trimmed back flush with the surface of the grout. They are then more or less invisible until the light source is switched on.

The technique is essentially the same as that shown in Customer Project 27. The 0.75mm fibres are thin enough and flexible enough to simply bed down in the tile adhesive and come up through the gaps between the tiles. Another option, if you can be bothered, is to drill holes in the tiles as in Customer Project 31, where the fibres were installed in granite setts to very nice effect.

The finished bathroom looks very elegant and the fibre optic lighting adds another interesting feature. Another feature, not shown in these photos was a pair of tiled niches in the wall either side of the washbasins. Some of the spare fibres in the harness were used to illuminate the niches. This is often a possibility with fibre optic lighting schemes since the physical capacity of the light source is very rarely fully utilised.

Since there is no electricity in the fibres themselves there is no danger in having water splash onto the illuminated floor, and only one bulb to ever be changed. The glowing fibre optic end points will be reflected off any other reflective surface in the bathroom – such as the glass panels of a shower enclosure. By the same token, if there were a star ceiling above a shiny tiled floor there’d be reflections in the tiles.