Recessed lighting?

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Old 02-03-07, 10:15 AM
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Recessed lighting?

I'm new to the forum. thanks for all the great posts. I am currently remodeling my basement (2 rooms 15x20, about 600 square ft). I am planning on installing a hanging ceiling after the lighting is in. I am using the space as a game room/rec room and the other room as a tv/bar area. I only have 2 very small windows for natural light. My ceiling (no insulation) is also only about 7 feet high. Are recessed lighting cans appropriate for these rooms? If so, what type and what spacing should be used? Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 02-03-07, 10:29 AM
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With only 7' ceilings, preserving headroom is critical. A drywalled ceiling usually preserves more headroom than a drop ceiling. So you might want to reconsider.

If you do install the drop ceiling, they make special hangers for recessed cans, so that would be my first choice.

Recessed cans are great, but they get less and less great as the ceiling gets lower. The problem is that they don't cast a very wide beam, even with wide flood bulbs. So as the ceiling gets lower, you need more of them.

On the other hand, you don't want surface-mount fixtures either, since they further encroach on the headroom. If you don't object to fluorescents, then recessed fluorescent units might be best. Fluorescent bulb technology has made great strides in recent years to improve the quality of the light.

Advantages of fluorescents: take less power and therefore cost less and you need fewer circuits, cast more even light, normally cheaper to buy than can lights.

Disadvantage of fluorescents: cannot easily be dimmed, and some people don't like the quality of light (looks too much like an office).

Advantages of recessed cans: easily dimmed and have great light quality.

Disadvantages of recessed cans: can create a cave-like feel, especially with low ceilings, and probably requires more power, more circuits, and more fixtures.

When I finiished my basement, I put fluorescents in the game/rec room, and recessed cans in the bar/tv room.
 
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Old 02-03-07, 03:41 PM
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I know I will lose some head room with a drop ceiling, but I like being able to get to an hvac or plumbing problem without destroying drywall. If I were to go with recessed cans, how many lights would you suggest in both areas (14'x29' and 16'x23')? I don't need alot of light, but want to stay away from the "cave look". Just an estimate would be great. Thanks.
 
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Old 02-03-07, 04:06 PM
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In the 16x23, I'd go with two rows of three (six fixtures). In the 14x29, I'd go with two rows of four (eight fixtures). Install dimmers in the TV/bar area. You can probably run six fixtures off one dimmer, but if you put dimmers in the 14x29, I'd use two dimmers, one each for half the lights.
 
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Old 02-03-07, 07:46 PM
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Hi Zep,

I just did the exact same thing (finished a basement with only 2 small windows)

Couple of lessons learned..

Recessed are great for the basement... It costs a little more but look for the 4" can lights.. This is my second finished basement (one inherited when I bought it, and the other I just finished)... The first basement had 6" cans and I hated them... There werent enough and like John said it felt like a cave.. For the basement I did I went with 4" and probably over compensated from the cave like feel of the last place..

Look for low voltage lights... Again a little bit more, but you will save on energy when your not heating your first floor with the can lights below..

Good luck
-Tim
 
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Old 02-04-07, 07:42 AM
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I just finished a basement with a 7'6" dropped ceiling. The room is L shaped, probably 600 S/F. We used 10, 6" recessed cans with incandescent floods and 5, 5" recessed cans with spots. In addition we added pendants over a pool table and bar. I think the entire lighting load was around 1200W if the fixtures are bulbed to their max rating. We went with 65W floods in fixtures rated for 75W so we are a bit under that. The cans are on two separate dimmable circuits. The lighting is more than adequate.

When you are doing your lighting layout, consider the lighting footprint that each can will illuminate and space them accordingly. The first time I did recessed lights I put them up temporarily just to get a feel for how large an area it would light. The light pattern is somewhat adjustable at each can depending on the bulb position and the trim. You will also get a lot of bounce especially if the walls and floor are light colored rather than dark.
 
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