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Architectural Lighting Design | What Are Cut-Points and Why Do They Matter?

Architectural Lighting Design | What Are Cut-Points and Why Do They Matter?

One of the largest benefits of LED linear tape products is the ease of product length customization at any time due to the construction of the tape.The LED diodes are mounted on a substrate that houses the electronics and power. 

Cut-points on LED stripsA double face tape adheres to the back of the substrate for easy mounting to multiple types of surfaces, thus the common name of "tape" for the product. This tape can come in reels of anywhere from 16' to 1000' and can be field cut with simple scissors at various points marked along it called cut-points. These cut-points vary among different manufacturers anywhere from 1" to 6" or more.
 
Perfect Measurements Are Critical in LED Lighting Design

Blue crown ceiling with LED uplighting

Each cut-point adds complexity and cost in the manufacturing process; this is why some manufacturers will choose to spread them out to minimize production costs in order to offer lower-priced products. The cut-points are an essential factor in the linear led product's appearance and performance when installed. When an application does not have perfect measurements designed around the specific cut-point, this leads to large dark ends on certain runs as a result. For example, a run of 4' 3" with a 4" cut-point will have approximately 1.5" of darkness at each end. If that were a 6" cut-point, the dark space would be the same. By contrast, a 2" cut-point would leave a dark space of ½" of darkness per end.  A 1" cut-point would offer full and even illumination across the entire application.

Creates Lighting Uniformity

The shorter the cut-point, the more uniform the lighting will appear between cabinets of different sizes.

If the under cabinet lighting is installed directly above a highly reflective countertop, you will see the dark spaces on either end as you look at the countertop. The same is true when uplighting a bright ceiling above the cabinets. The smaller the dark space, the more uniform the lighting will appear between cabinets of different sizes. This is just one application, but it carries over to other popular linear applications like cove, recessed wall or ceiling, stair, mirror, closet, or perimeter slot lighting.

uplighting kitchen cabinetry

A popular use for linear LED products is kitchen cabinetry, including under cabinet, in cabinet, above cabinet, and toe kick lighting. There are a variety of standard cabinet sizes, as well as many custom cabinets built to fill a specific space. Additionally, the measurement of the inside of a cabinet is different from the under or upper cabinet. Though a dark space of 1.5" does not sound like much, it can be highly visible based on the application.
 
 
The shorter the cut-point, the more uniform the light will appear no matter what the overall length will be.   A 1" cut-point limits the dark end to ½" or less, and a 2" cut-point limits that dark space to less than 1".  Anything above 2'" can have dark spaces of 1.5" or more.

 

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