Can lights: drop ceiling vs sheetrock

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Old 05-23-17, 11:39 AM
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Can lights: drop ceiling vs sheetrock

I'm trying to plan out a basement finishing project and trying to decide between a drop ceiling vs sheet rocking and potential issues with installing recessed can lighting.

In reading up on the lighting, I would want to space the can lights out as evening as possible. But then it seem if I used a drop ceiling, I very well will not be able to have those lights centered within each ceiling panel.

I'm learning towards sheetrocking for a better look. But I would still prefer to have ceiling access if later running any Cat5, Coax cable or other things across the room. And the added benefit of getting at any plumbing, hvac, and other lines if ever needed. I do still have some piping to relocate as well if I use sheetrock.

Currently, I purchased new construction 5" cans to nail in between the joists. But it seems once I do that, I would likely not have those lights being centered in a drop panel tile.

So if you do use a drop ceiling. Should you install the tracking first, and then work to position your lights to ensure they are centered in each panel and use old construction type housing that can sit onto of the tile?
 
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Old 05-23-17, 12:09 PM
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When you install recessed fixtures in a suspended ceiling you use the suspended ceiling bars.
Instead of fastening the cans to the joists.... they clip on to the t-bar track.

This video shows the process.
you tube/buunelCfJXY?rel=0&autoplay=1
 
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Old 05-23-17, 12:22 PM
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Sometimes conduit can be run to allow future running of wires without damaging the sheetrock.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 02:12 PM
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The biggest issue is most joists are framed at 16" on center where most suspended ceilings are 24" on center. If you drop the ceiling grid far enough down away from the joists to fit in the lights, centering them will not be an issue. However, most people do not like doing that as you will lose aprox 7" of your ceiling height. They do make shallow recessed lights but you only gain 2" and they are a lot more expensive.

Another option is a shallow LED can looking light. They are remodel lights that you would just cut into the tile. Google "ultra thin led light"
 
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Old 05-23-17, 05:18 PM
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Instead of fastening the cans to the joists.... they clip on to the t-bar track.

So are you saying there are special cans for suspended ceiling?

I always use new construction and just extend out the nailing bars, tighten them up and they sit on the panel all the way over to the T bar.


Also, light do not have to be centered in the ceiling panels, more important to get the lights in the correct spot than the panel. May seem like a big issue but after they are installed you won't even notice.
 
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Old 05-24-17, 04:36 PM
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So are you saying there are special cans for suspended ceiling?
No, a lot of manufactures have slots in the "legs" that clip onto the ceiling grid. I tend not to use them as they will lift the can off the tile, and are not as secure as attaching them to the grid with small pan head screws.
 
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