How to Use In Ground Uplighters

Why You Should Use and Specify In-Ground LED Uplighters

We often talk about the importance of entertaining the eye with visual stimulation. Interior design presents the viewer with colours, shapes and textures in our field of vision to feast upon. However, lighting determines how these objects, furnishings and coverings are perceived. As we have mentioned in the past, ironically, the room scene is governed by dark as well as light. The introduction of small pockets of light is effectively a highlight, picking up textures and forms e.g. the side of a curved bath, the colour and texture of a brick wall.

Accent lighting is essential to pick out points of focus – or give a three-dimensional shape to an object. For this reason, it is key to have a complete tool-kit of lights and this includes the floor up-lighter. I believe that (almost) every project can find a role for this useful fixture which offers a discrete yet effective way of introducing accent light into a space – from the subtle through to full power up-lighting.

Lets, not underestimate the contribution that accent lights make as a by-product to the overall lighting of an interior. For instance, a small row of three in-ground uplights near a wall will not obviously give that much light but is worth having as they create interest. However, come the evening when the artificial lighting is the only light in a room, the light hitting the ceiling although only small, contributes a significant amount. It’s not truly appreciated until you turn off that circuit do you realise what role those little lights were really performing.

When do you use an in-ground uplight?

When designing a lighting scheme, the initial stages are to make sure functionality is ticked so choosing light sources that do this is the first step. Then it’s a series of lighting choices that fill in and provide the highlights – the atmospheric level of lighting in particular. This is where we turn to the in-ground uplight. An ideal choice in the instance of emphasising repetition, where an architectural element of the space can be introduced to the viewer’s attention.

Installation Tips for In Ground Lighting

Naturally, it is important to choose the correct model of ground-light to suit the floor it’s being installed in.
Screed floors are commonly the type of poured floor that feature in new builds and extensions. 1st fix preparation to retain a space for the in-ground light is essential. Here we often deploy a mounting sleeve cast into the hole to make the power accessible through the hole and subsequently, the light fixture then pushes into the mounting sleeve for a watertight fit.

In the instance of a decorative floor laid on top of the screed, be it tile or timber, then a mounting sleeve can be fixed into the floor with a screed cavity underneath providing space for the excess cable to be coiled. The fixture then push-fits into the mounting sleeve.
Alternatively, a timber or planked floor would usually, simply be a hole cut and a spring clipped ground light fitted or mastic glued in place if it comes without a friction fix solution.

In-Ground Uplighter Specification Tips

How to Choose the Output of In-Ground Uplighters

How to choose the output? The question is what do you want the light to do? Do you want the light to play onto the ceiling, do you want lots of reflected light or just the accent lights we’ve spoken of above?

My approach is to simply sort them into roughly three categories of small, mid-sized and large at the commencement of design option discussions with clients. The depth of the fitting can be critical so this sometimes dictates the choice – but on the whole, we are selecting approx 100 lumens, 100-300 lumens and then choosing higher outputs for the larger sizes.

Although this is a rough measurement and it depends on the chosen beam width and how far the fitting is from the wall but it helps define the solution that is required.

Bezel Finish

Bronze is hugely popular as a dark finish but not black as it stands out too much and avoid stainless steel which is overused in a similar way. Specialised finishes for sea and spa use can be considered as well as solid brass which weathers very well when used outdoors.

IP Ratings

Best protect for the potential spill of liquids on a floor and water cleaning which requires IP65 minimum – allowing jet washers to be used. You will find the typical IP rating will be IP66.

Power Supplies

The smaller uplighters will certainly require a remote power supply – or driver as they are called for LED sources. These drivers will run repetitions of uplight in series. The location of the power supply is very important as it will not fit through the small cut out hole. Larger uplighters predominantly need a remote location too for their drivers.

So ensure that floor up-lighters are in your toolkit when you set about your next project. They may require a degree pre-planning but when they are used correctly they add a great deal of cleverness and sophistication to a design. They also act to reduce the clutter of fittings and pretty much facilitate a seamless lighting scheme. Naturally, we are on hand to specify the best options for your scheme – just give us a call!

Andrew Orange, the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.