Texas Lightsmith FAQs
Can I change the size, proportion, material and finish of a given product?
Yes. Customization of size, proportion, material and finish are all possible.
We commonly work in brass, bronze, copper, nickel silver, pewter, steel and forged steel.
There are two categories of finishes: Standard, and kitchen and bath finishes.
Standard finishes apply to lighting while the kitchen and bath finishes apply to vent hoods and sinks. In some cases, it is possible to do a crossover. However, these are addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Where can I get information on pricing?
Please contact us for information and pricing on your specific project.
Quotes are given on an order-to-order basis and are valid for 30 days.
Generally quote requests are taken via email or over the phone, and finished quotes are sent via email. Please let us know if you would like to receive your quote through an alternative mode.
Do you offer wholesale prices?
No. However, we will work exclusively with trade professionals on individual projects and provide price exclusivity when requested. We have standard pricing on all items and offer discounted prices for lighting purchased in quantities of five or more.
How quickly can I get something?
As we are a custom company, each piece is made-to-order, therefore, we do not keep a standing inventory. Current Lead Time: 5 to 7 weeks (Updated 06-17-2013).
Keep in touch with us and stay up to date on lead times and special offers:
Will I receive shop drawings?
We create shop drawings for nearly all orders. Typically you will receive drawings within several weeks of the estimated completion date. These drawings are based on information included in the Order Detail Sheet and are specific to each order.
Drawings are done in house by our engineer using the latest in 3-D computer modeling programs to provide a set of drawings that provide more information than those made using traditional CAD programs.
Can I get shop drawings before I place an order?
We do not typically provide drawings prior to the placement of an order (i.e. receipt of deposit). Whether or not we are available to do shop drawings in advance depends on our engineer’s current workload.
If we can turn around drawings in a timely manner, purchasing shop drawings is a possibility. The cost of shop drawings is based on an hourly rate of $75 per hour with a 2 hour minimum.
What is CFM?
CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) is a unit used in measuring airflow.
In a range hood, CFM is the amount of air drawn into the fan in one minute, in an open environment.
CFM is listed at 0.00 SP*. CFM is reduced by bends, size decreases and length of run in ductwork. Additionally, the size of the hood in comparison to the size of the cook top, as well as the height above the cook top, will affect functionality.
We recommend the width be no less than the width of the cook top and the height of the hood to be 30”-36” above cook top for best results. Please consult with your HVAC subcontractor to ensure that the installed duct will not seriously diminish the effectiveness of your hood.
We ensure that each hood is fully functional before it leaves our shop. However, Texas Lightsmith does not guaranty that any given hood will work as effectively once it is installed due to possible conditions beyond our control. We are happy to take calls regarding these issues and speak directly with those involved in that part of the project.
*S.P. stands for static pressure, the pressure existing in a line without any flow.
What type of liner do you use?
Our range hood inserts are individually designed and fabricated in-house to ensure both quality and fit.
Each range hood insert is specially made to complement the design of the range hood giving the finished piece a consistent, and unique look. Upon request we can incorporate mass-produced liners, provided or specified by the client, into a custom hood in lieu of the Texas Lightsmith Custom Range Hood Insert. The same applies to ventilation fans.
What type of range hood filter do you use?
Sturdy filters are essential to the overall functionality of your vent hood. In designing and fabricating our baffle filters in-house, we are able to ensure quality in both form and function.
Fabricated in the same material and finish as your vent hood body and liner, our filters fit snugly into the liner and work to trap grease while enhancing the overall beauty of your range hood.
What type of lighting do you use in your vented range hoods?
We manufacture our own exclusive, dimmable, recessed halogen lights for our range hood inserts. Each light uses a state of the art 120V halogen MR-16 lamp. For a better look and less maintenance, our lights are covered with borosilicate lenses and bezel rings matching the range hood in material and finish.
The arrangement of the lighting depends on a combination of your personal preference and available size. For hoods 36” or less, we recommend at least two lights. More can typically be added upon request. Further, the lights are often fitted into the liner at an angle to illuminate the cooking space as evenly as possible.
How should I clean the surface of my range hood?
Most stainless steel appliance and countertop sprays found at Home Depot, Lowes and many grocery stores are a good choice for cleaning your custom range hood. They leave a nice luster in addition to cleaning the surface and leaving an additional layer of protection. While standard cleaners such as 409 and Fantastic are fine, they tend to leave a slightly dull finish.
When cleaning or wiping down your range hood, use only a soft cloth. Even paper towels, over time, will wear through the sealant. Always avoid the use of abrasives and strong cleaners.
How should I clean my range hood's filter?
Our premier baffle filters are designed to last the lifetime of your vented range hood providing an eco-friendly solution to disposable filters.
To clean your filter, simply remove the filter from the liner of your vent hood and unscrew the sides to separate the filter into two halves for access to the baffle interior and grease trap. Wash with a soft sponge, soap and hot water as needed.
Avoid scrubbing or using abrasives on the outside of the bottom baffles, as this will remove the finish.
How high should I mount my vented range hood above my range/cooktop?
The bottom edge of your range hood should be approximately 30"-36“ from the top of your range.
What does listing mean?
Listing refers to the Underwriters' Laboratories (U.L.) classification. The type of listing is based on the amount of moisture your fixture will be exposed to. Depending on the location of your fixture, it can be listed as dry, damp or wet.
Is ADA compliance available with your fixtures?
ADA compliance is available for a large number of our fixtures. Generally, this information is provided in the spec sheet for each individual fixture.
The architectural barriers section of the ADA requires that wall mounted light fixtures below 80” above finished floor when installed come no more than 4” from the wall. Most of our lighting can be redesigned to accommodate this criterion. Feel free to contact us if you have questions regarding a specific fixture or custom project.
What is a living finish?
When considering a metal sink or countertop you may or may not have heard the terms “living” or “organic” finish. Any metal other than stainless steel that is uncoated or with no sealant will oxidize acquiring a unique “patina“ over time. This means the finish will change and transform through exposure to the environment. It is sometimes referred to as “oxidation“ (exposure to oxygen) but the patination process is also caused by other environmental factors that the metal surface might come into contact with as well as wear resulting from regular use.
A living finish is often a much sought after look when buying a copper, bronze or nickel silver sink. Without an added protective coating, these materials are allowed to age gracefully in their natural state in what is referred to as the living finish. Over time, the finish will oxidize with use adding more character and uniqueness to your custom piece.
The term “living finish” comes up most often regarding copper sinks. Faucet and drain manufacturers generally address this issue with coatings that protect the metal surface from environmental factors preventing the patina or oxidation of the finish. However, these coatings (PVD, powder coating and others) are more difficult to apply to a larger surface area such as that of a sink and require a mass production manufacturing process. In effect many of the artisan crafted copper, brass and bronze sinks are not sealed and will have a true living finish.
Stainless steel products are often referred to as “non-living”. However the surfaces of these products can also dull over time depending on the environmental factors involved and how well they are cared for. Nickel is also occasionally referred to as “non-living finish“ though Nickel will patina or “tarnish“ as well.
With uncoated brass, bronze, and copper the patina or oxidation process occurs more rapidly. So, what happens to the metal finish over time? The answer depends your finish choice and how the patina is applied when the sink is made, the environmental factors involved in your home, how much it is used and the type of care and maintenance you have decided to go with.
If you choose a copper sink that has a medium, dark or oil rubbed finish; heat and/or chemicals have been applied to speed up and mimic the aging process. In creating these finishes, the metal has likely been exposed to a chemical bath and or heat causing a reaction with the metal and changing its color. In choosing a medium, dark, or oil rubbed finish you still have a living finish that will evolve. However , the darker the patina is to start with, generally the slower the changes are over time.
Environmental factors specific to your home and chemicals that may be exposed to the surface of your sink are the great unknown. Every finish application and environment is different. Some factors include but are certainly not limited to;
- Airborne salinity
- Oxygen content
- Cleaning products and various chemicals
- Water hardness
All the elements and conditions listed above and more will work together with time to coat the metal surface with a unique patina. If you have a copper sink and expose the metal surface to certain acids such as those found in lemon juice, you will actually dissolve some of the patina. The constant changes due to limitless factors are admired by some and not so admired by others. You can anticipate your product to have its own “character“ and appreciate the uniqueness in color and tone between two identical products in different environments.
If you admire a living finish, the care and maintenance will be fairly simple. If you wish to prevent it, this is often possible to a certain extent. There are several different ways you can slow down the patina process. Applying a special wax that does not contain polish or cleaners (such as beeswax) can slow the change in patina similar to how an automotive wax protects the finish of your car. Patina on a sink can be removed with a metal polish or mild acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. Waxing the surface can preserve the shine, or you can leave the newly untreated metal to develop a new patina, how exciting!.
Some customers are fearful that the living finish will be more maintenance or it will turn out undesirable. Any copper or brass cleaner will revert the patina back to a bare surface if you so desire. Left unprotected, the aging process starts over again and within a few weeks the metal surface will begin to darken. In opposition, you could choose a sink with a darker finish and wax the surface regularly ensuring the least amount of change over time. While these methods will help mitigate or retard the evolution of your sink's patina, the living finish phenomenon will still continue.
An occasional cleaning with soap and water is the recommended maintenance. If you choose to wax your sink to extend the life of the desired finish, it is generally something you will need to do approximately every 3 - 6 months depending on the frequency of use.
How should I clean my sink?
Caring for and maintaining your custom sink is surprisingly easy and is no more complicated than caring for a standard stainless steel sink. Wiping your sink down with soap and water at the end of each day is adequate. Never use abrasives or harsh cleaners. Avoid using detergents such as ammonia or bleach as chemicals that are significantly acidic or basic will react with the copper. Similarly, avoid leaving citrus products in direct contact with the sink for extended periods of time.
All of our sinks have a living finish, meaning the color and tone of the bowl will change over time adding to the uniqueness. To mitigate the natural changes, one can apply peanut oil or beeswax to the sink. Your custom sink is prone to the same type of light scratching as common stainless steel sinks.
High end, luxury and custom residential manufacturing-Helpful Hints
Over the past thirteen years, the most common request from residential customers for Texas Lightsmith has been how best to carry a theme throughout their project from product to product. In most cases, designers and homeowners are faced with the onerous task of searching among different vendor lines, which make only one type of product, in order to find items that work together. Texas Lightsmith in a particularly good position to help make this happen as we make so many different products.
People contact us at every stage of their projects from the very early pre-planning to the day after it was needed. For residential projects, the very best case scenario for the client and the manufacturer is for the customer and or designer to begin a specification process as early in the project as possible. Over the years we have noticed that the clients who have put together a relatively comprehensive binder pertaining to their project, beginning before construction starts, tend to have less stress and anxiety as the project and construction really take off.
As part of the specification process, the homeowner, with or without an interior designer will search the Internet, showrooms (often including a trip to the Dallas Market), and peruse countless catalogs. It is during this process that items are selected, vendors and/or distributors are noted, pricing is noted, and lead-times for receipt of products are noted. Later, this preparation will help very much toward scheduling to avoid situations like electricians wanting to finish the job, but still lacking light fixtures, storage, and any number of other scenarios that conspire to bog down a project and create additional stress and anxiety. In general, it’s a good idea to contact any custom fabrication company at least 3-4 months before you need your item(s).
We often work with homeowners and designers months or even years before we do any work for them. We appreciate the need for preliminary research on the part of homeowners and designers and are happy to communicate and share information with them to help this process. Our wide range of standard designs, custom abilities, and a very user friendly website provide a unique opportunity for the customer to truly match items such as range hoods, farmhouse sinks, cabinet panels, and lighting. As we hand craft all products locally, maximizing the relationship of details like design and finish among pieces is made easy.
For high-end residential construction, the homeowner and or designer will typically work with some number of custom manufacturers. There are several things to look for when selecting a company and a number of standard business practices that are different from typical retail. For this, the homeowner often finds it helpful to have an interior designer as the professional should have a working knowledge of how the process typically works, be familiar with architectural language, and will likely have some preferred vendors with whom he or she has worked in the past.
A standard practice for custom manufacturers is to require a deposit before any work begins. The deposit amount may vary from company to company, but plan on about 50%. Also, there will likely be a work order agreement of some sort and payment is typically due when the items are completed. Lead times are widely varied both between companies and even within one company from time to time. For this reason, any advanced planning and early rather than late ordering can be very helpful.
When initiating the communication process with a custom manufacturer for the first time, try to size them up. In their marketing materials, look for things like membership in the Better Business Bureau, how long they have been in business, and feel free to ask candidly about their terms and policies. On the Internet, be sure to check the Better Business Bureau link on a company’s website to make sure it is active as it must be in order to be compliant and legitimate. Also, do a quick search on the BBB website for complaints about the company. Lastly, pay attention to your instincts. There are a lot of unknowns in the world of custom manufacturing both for customers and the manufacturers themselves. If there are specific deadline concerns, these need to be conveyed clearly at the onset to the manufacturer. At this time, the manufacturer has the responsibility to communicate what commitment, if any, can be made.
The bottom line is, you need to feel comfortable with the people you will be working with. Our residential projects often turn into large home packages with multiple items. Some such projects last for years. It is through many such projects that we have truly come to understand how much the small, custom manufacturer and client depend on each other throughout the process. Please visit us online at www.texaslightsmith.com to see what’s been going on in your own backyard.
-John W. Worsham III
Texas Lightsmith, Inc.