How do I test the translucency of a surface to determine if I should use Light Tape® or LEDs?

August 21, 2022

The more transparent a surface, the greater ability for light to pass through the surface.  The ability to see the light source is also much higher if the surface is very translucent. You will see the LED dots shining on the edge of your counter if very translucent.  Which means that you must have a very uniform backlight for translucent surfaces.  

Why do I need to test the surface to determine opacity?  All surfaces have different levels of transparency.  Sometimes one surface can be a mixture of completely opaque but with transparent veins running throughout. It is important for your to understand your surface to get an idea what it will look like when in your home.

More opaque surfaces block a lot of light requiring a very intense light source.  Very opaque surfaces act as a light diffuser themselves and are able to make loads of bulbs look as one.  If you have a lot of space to store a 100 little bulbs, then this could be possible.

However, on the other hand,  with the more translucent to transparent surfaces, the challenge is even illumination. Especially since the light source is generally located directly under your surface with no room for diffusion. You will be looking right at it!  Light Tape® is the only solution for illuminating translucent to transparent surfaces.

How do I test the translucency of a surface?

Try our Backlighting Surface Test™.  The easiest and quickest way, just take your phone flashlight and put it directly behind the material you want to illuminate.  By shining your light through the back of the surface, you can learn a great deal.

Start by placing the light directly on the back of the surface. If you see a dot with a slight halo of light around it, like the planet Saturn, then that is a good indication the surface is translucent. As you move your phone away from the back of the surface, the halo should get bigger with more of the surface illuminating. This indicates the surface will ‘carry’ the light and will produce a fantastic glow. Of course, if you can see the entire phone through the surface, then you don’t need to test, it is almost transparent.  Choose Light Tape®

On the other hand, if you just see an illuminated dot with very little halo, that is not a good sign that the surface is very translucent. As you move the light away from the surface, back six inches or so, does the light become fainter and you can barely see the defined dot, let alone a growing halo? Then that means to illuminate that surface, then you must create that level of light across your entire surface, basically 1000 little light dots, which is difficult.  Requiring a load of space and generating quite a bit of heat.  Choose LEDs.

Using Light Tape®’s electroluminescent EL technology has many benefits that set Light Tape® apart from LEDs. It can offer you the look that you’re after to enhance your bar, backsplash, counters, or elsewhere, without excess equipment or the worry of electrical hazards. With easy installation, seamless lines, no excess heat production, and the ability to cut and customize, you can have a reliable lighting accent with Light Tape® that achieves your vision in no time. 

See it for yourself and contact us to learn more about Light Tape®. If you are all ready to get your lighting set-up and ready to entertain this summer season, take a look at our lighting kits to get started enhancing your space with Light Tape®.