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rjschwar 03-16-2011 11:39 AM

Bathroom Lighting Layout
I am in the process of planning the lighting for my bathroom. There are basically two separate areas divided by a wall with a doorway...One side, the shower is 3' x 10' the other area with sinks/bathtub is 5.5' x10'. Both have 7' ceilings Right now my main concern is the 3x10 shower area. the entire area including ceiling will be tiled. Do people typically use recessed lighting in a wet room/shower? Are there special cans that are needed aside from insulation/non-insulation installation? From my bit of research it looks like the trim piece is what keeps the moisture out. Is this correct?

Secondly, what size is best, and why? I have seen mostly 4 and 6 inch lights what are the pros/cons of each?

How many should I have and what should the layout be in each area?

Lastly, for the shower, where we are tiling the ceiling, how much of the recessed can should I leave exposed in the ceiling if any? Are most cans designed so they hang the correct amount down. We currently have the ceiling was lathe and plaster now the plaster is gone, and the lathe is still there to hold up the insulation. We will leave the lathe and attach the cement board on top of this. I have access to the attic so I will probably just use new work lights.

Thanks for the suggestions,


secutanudu 03-16-2011 12:35 PM

You can use standard housings in a shower, but you do need special trim (called "shower trim") to keep the moisture out. Usually, when you use a shower trim, it reduces the max wattage you can use in the fixture.

Aside from the trim, there are IC (insulation-contact) and non-IC cans. IC cans are also airtight, to prevent movement of air from your finished room to the attic. This is the type you'd use.

4" vs 6" cans....really personal preference. I put two 4" cans in my shower (3' x 5') on a dimmer switch. I think 4" looks nicer, but they output a smaller cone of light, so you need more of them.

3' x 10' shower? Wow, that's long!

I used this switch for my switch is a dimmer (shower lights), bottom is a countdown timer (fan):

rjschwar 03-16-2011 01:15 PM is long, but it is more of a wet room and has the toilet in it as well. Would 4" lights running down the middle of the room be ok, so basically one ever 2 feet?

secutanudu 03-16-2011 01:32 PM

Every 3 feet would probably be ok...3-4 lights total I'd say. I use my 2 lights at about half-dimness and it's perfect. If you have too many it might look like a runway...

rjschwar 03-16-2011 06:05 PM

So in terms the circuit that the lights are on, do they need to be GFCI protected? Should these be on the same circuit as the outlets, or can these be on a general circuit?

clydesdale 03-16-2011 07:11 PM


Originally Posted by rjschwar
So in terms the circuit that the lights are on, do they need to be GFCI protected? Should these be on the same circuit as the outlets, or can these be on a general circuit?

The circuit the lights are on only needs to be GFCI protected if the manufacturer of the lighting fixture say it needs to be protected if installed over a shower/bath. As you correctly point out you need to use a special trim and most likely that will leave you with an A19/40W bulb. If you use the same circuit for the lights and outlets that circuit can't feed anything besides that bathroom. Personally I would keep the outlets and lighting on separate circuits.

rjschwar 03-17-2011 12:22 AM

Yeah, I knew about the code that if the lights are on the same circuit as the receptacles then it can only service that bathroom, but I am leaning as you said to putting lights on separate circuit so that lights stay on if hairdryer or something trips the outlet. That is where my question about GFCI lights came from. I'll check the light for that info. Thanks for the help.


secutanudu 03-17-2011 10:38 AM

The lights I used did not require GFCI protection even if in the shower.

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