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markronz 04-20-2010 12:56 PM

Lighting Options for a dropped ceiling basement
 
1 Attachment(s)
Hey there everyone. Just got done installing my grid for my dropped ceiling in my basement. Everything went well with the install, but now I have to figure out how I want to light everything. I plan to use canister lights as much as possible, but unfortunately in two room length strips in the middle of the room there are obstructions above the grid, making it impossible to put canister lights above the grid in those spots. This puts me in a pickle since my lighting is going to be pretty barren in the middle of the room. I've attached a picture of my basement and the layout. The long gray bars are the obstructions (which are a heating vent and the main beam of the house). The yellow circles are the can lights. As you can see, in the main room, there is quite a gap between the lights and thats not going to work.

I was sort of thinking that I could use track lighting, which I've added to the attached picture as the pink long tracks in the middle. This would keep the symetry going, which is nice. I found these clips online, which are designed speicfically to install a track onto a ceiling grid:
http://www.drillspot.com/products/44..._Lighting_Clip

So, that was my initial solution to my lighting woes. Now I am starting to worry about it. Since it is a basement afterall, ceiling height is an issue. Right now the entire ceiling is at 6'11" I believe. This is a good height I think, but I am worried that the track lighting would take a huge chunk off of that. Most of the track lighting I've seen is at least 6 inches in height, most of them more. So that brings the ceiling down quite a bit.

So I guess I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about this. Since theres almost no room above the grid in the obstructed areas, I guess I don't see any other option, right? Anyone have any thoughts on this, or miracle fixes for me? Or failing that, anyone have any recommendations on the shortest (least hanging) track lighting available? Things would have been so much better if I could use the cans every where. Sucks...

Anyway, let me know what you think. Thanks!

HooKooDooKu 04-20-2010 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markronz (Post 431075)
Since it is a basement afterall, ceiling height is an issue. Right now the entire ceiling is at 6'11" I believe.

Building codes require 7' ceilings in habitable rooms (6'8" for bathrooms).



Based on your diagram, it looks like you've got room to install lights right next to the obstructions. Another option would be "eye-ball" can lights on the outsides of the obstructions (and maybe some between) and turn the eye-balls towards the center of the room.

markronz 04-20-2010 01:31 PM

Sorry, I'm not much of a builder and certainly not up on my building codes. What does "habitable room" mean? Like for it to be legally counted as part of the square footage of my living space in my house? Or what?

I haven't measured it officially in quite some time, but I thought it was around 6'11" around the edges. But I could be wrong on that. My basement floor isn't exactly level either. So I suspect it is likely over 7' tall in most places.

My graph is not perfectly accurate, but I think that you might be right, and that it might be possible to put a can light next to the obstruction. The light would be off center of the tile, but I guess if it's angled toward the center of the room, it might be ok. At least the light would be properly dispensed in the room that way. Not really symetrical though. But I suppose light dispersement is more important than a symetrical pattern on the ceiling. I'll have to think about that as an option though. Thanks for that suggestion.

markronz 04-20-2010 01:40 PM

I just found this article:
http://evstudio.info/2008/10/20/mini...iling-heights/

It says this:
"Where you have basements with no habitable spaces (bedrooms, kitchen, living, etc) the ceiling can be at 6'-8" and beams and ductwork can be at 6'-4". "

In my basement I have two (finished) rooms. There is the big rec room area that I have in my picture above. There will just be a TV, maybe a bar and couches in this room. Then there is also an office down there. The office is not a legal bedroom, I know that, because I did not install an egress window. So whats the deal then? I mean, I can't take my ceiling down and raise it an inch (if it is in fact 6'11"), so I guess it doesn't matter at this point. But I am wondering what it would mean if my basement DID have a 7' ceiling. What would that do for me?

PaliBob 04-20-2010 01:41 PM

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What I did on my lower level was use Halo H5T fixtures because the can, can be moved to one side of the opening.

http://www.cooperlighting.com/specfi...nfopdf/H5T.pdf

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markronz 04-20-2010 01:47 PM

Thanks for the suggestion PaliBob. Do you think the lighting will look weird at all when that row of lighting is so close to that wall on the right side of the picture? I must admit, I do like the symetry there though...

I guess I could always put the cans up there to see what it looks like.

HooKooDooKu 04-20-2010 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markronz (Post 431089)
Sorry, I'm not much of a builder and certainly not up on my building codes. What does "habitable room" mean? Like for it to be legally counted as part of the square footage of my living space in my house? Or what?

I'm working on finishing in my basement... and I've been having to learn some of this terminology as I've worked with the inspector on getting a permit and all.

I'm not 100% sure from a "legal" stand point what is and is not a "habitable room", but in general, it's going to be a room that you "live" in or typically spend lots of time in. Examples include bedrooms, living rooms, playrooms, home office, hobby room. Rooms and "spaces" that are not listed as "habitable" are what we might think of as utility type rooms, rooms that you only spend relatively short times in to perform some function. Examples of non-habitable spaces include laundry rooms, bathrooms, closets/storage, garage. Then there is also the spaces that really are not even rooms such as craw spaces, unfinished attics, unfinished basements.

HooKooDooKu 04-20-2010 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markronz (Post 431096)
I just found this article:
http://evstudio.info/2008/10/20/mini...iling-heights/

It says this:
"Where you have basements with no habitable spaces (bedrooms, kitchen, living, etc) the ceiling can be at 6'-8" and beams and ductwork can be at 6'-4". "

But here's the full quote:
Generally you need 7'-0" clear minimum. Beams spaced 4'-0" or more can be at 6'-6" above the floor. Where you have basements with no habitable spaces (bedrooms, kitchen, living, etc) the ceiling can be at 6'-8" and beams and ductwork can be at 6'-4".


The part about basements with no habitable spaces deals with an unfinished basement where you might have exposed utilities (plumbing, HVAC, etc). But once you put up drywall, a ceiling, lighting, etc. and make it a room you can spend time in, it becomes habitable space. Basically, you've just turned this space into a living room (though you might call it a rec room, playroom, etc). The part about 6'6" is basically making allowance for obstructions within the room (i.e. basic ceiling is 7', but if you build a soffit around duct work running down the center of the room, the ceiling JUST UNDER THE DUCT WORK can be as low as 6'6"). At least that would be my interpretation of a "beam". An inspector might insist that this only applys to support beams, as many houses used to be built with a main beam down the center of the house supported by poles. Those beams might be 2x10s or 2x12s, while the rooms have floor joists of 2x6 or 2x8s.

HooKooDooKu 04-20-2010 02:09 PM

Another thing about habitable rooms (at least for those under the 2009 IRC like I am... not sure what the 2006 IRC says), you have to allow for ventalation. From what I learned, a habitable room must either have a window (of a certain size relative to the size of the room) that the occupant can open, a ventalation fan (that pulls outside air INTO the room, not a bathroom fart fan that pushes air OUT of the room) that can be controlled by the occupant, or some means of the whole house getting ventalation, such as the the HVAC system pulling some outside air to mix with the conditioned air.

It's because of all these and other requirements I gave up on making a corner under-ground room in our basement into a "habitable" room. Instead, it's a "storage" room and "computer server" room... basically a huge walk-in clothset.

PaliBob 04-20-2010 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markronz (Post 431099)
.. Do you think the lighting will look weird at all when that row of lighting is so close to that wall on the right side.....

If so you could put smaller bulbs in that row.

I toured the 1908 all original 'Gamble' house in Pasadena last week. All the custom Arts & Crafts copper light fixtures held 16 W bulbs. Too dim for modern taste, but still looked great. If you get to Pasadena, be sure to make the tour.

http://www.gamblehouse.org/
.

markronz 04-20-2010 02:18 PM

Yeah I guess at this point, my room is what it is. Like I said, its very probable that my ceilings are 7' in most places. I do have venting installed in the rooms down there too. Along with one window. But whatever. If it's considered habitable at this point great. Otherwise, if not, whatcha gonna do.

markronz 04-20-2010 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PaliBob (Post 431118)

If so you could put smaller bulbs in that row.

I toured the 1908 all original 'Gamble' house in Pasadena last week. All the custom Arts & Crafts copper light fixtures held 16 W bulbs. Too dim for modern taste, but still looked great. If you get to Pasadena, be sure to make the tour.

http://www.gamblehouse.org/
.


True, I could use a lower watt over there if needed. Thanks again for the suggestion.

That house looks sweet btw!


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