Some Questions: Shower Recessed Light, whole 'Kit' ?

ladyamityJanuary 5, 2008


I am usually on the Decorating Forum but I have some specific questions regarding Wet Location lighting so I am hoping someone here can guide me in the right direction.

We are doing a very budget renovation of our teeny, tiny Master Bathroom that was an after-thought of the previous homeowners.

When we purchased the house over 25 years ago, and wanting to do some little renovations we soon found out that everything done in this home by the P.O.'s was very make-shift.

Example: Broom handle nailed to a header over a window to make up the space difference.

And that was just the beginning of the surprises we've found over the years.

The very last room still yet to have any upgrades will be this M. Bath in our bedroom and from what we can tell it was originally a 5' x 8' closet.

From door frame to back wall the bathroom is/was 5' deep.

End to end, including the 3' x 4.5' shower stall in one end, is 8'.

We have already DIY expanded the bathroom by 23 inches from door frame to back wall.

We've purchased the Toto Toilet, the fixtures, the vanity/sink, the tile and last weekend hubby put in a new, larger window.

We are overly-ready to dig in.

One, well, two little problems----both I can inquire about here on this forum (I think?) but I'll start with the wet location lighting.

With the extra space, we are going to turn our cubby-hold shower stall into something where we can actually move our arms to wash our bodies. LOL

I'm having some physical problems and hubby wants to add a tiled seat in the corner of the new shower area (the shaving legs thing is becoming more difficult) and a canned light in the ceiling directly above the tiled seat.

Now, if you've been patient enough to stick with me this long, here is our problem.

We have looked high and low for a "Kit"-- The recessed light 'can' to go into the attic crawl space and the accompanying trim, glass, seal, the works.

Why are we only finding 'Recessed Lighting for Wet Location Trim'

Operative word: Trim.

As in, the recessed shower light only comes with a trim?

What about the rest of it?

As my husband would say "Where are the guts?" LOL

Are there no complete kits anymore?

I remember when we re-did our little kitchen he bought 2 cans, trim and all (they came with the bulbs, even!) and installed them in the ceiling of old construction, just over my stove/range.

What happened to the all-in-one recessed light in a box?

Or, am I totally out of the ballpark here?

Can anyone direct me to what we will be needing to give us a light in the ceiling of the shower (preferably with a dark bronze/orb trim, not that I'm picky or anything like that. *grin*)

Thank you so very much for any advice, help, tips you can offer.


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Most of the time, the recessed cans are sold separately from the trim.

Where that typically differs is with vapor-tight lights that are sold. Sometimes vapor-proofing is required where explosive gases (no, not toilet/husband related) as might be found in a shop or a laboratory might be ignited by an arc or spark.

If you go to Home Depot or Lowes, they sell cans. Various types. You'll want an air-tight can, one that's rated for insulation contact. You can buy the can size that you want and then get a trim ring to fit it, but typically you'll find a trim ring of a certain size and then buy the correctly sized can to fit the trim ring.

Shower trim kits sold at HD usually have a glass lens to contain the bulb, as well as a "sticky" rubber gasket that gets pinched between the trim ring and the can when the spring-loaded ring is snapped into place. Those are good enough for a shower, but they're typically not good enough for a steam room.

Vapor-tight for residential steam showers? Those lights have a gasket between the trim ring and the housing, and screws that hold them together to truly make it tight tight tight. They're usually quite a bit more expensive.

Realize that some cans are "remodel" and some are "new work". Remodel is if you're going to cut a round hole in the drywall and insert the can into the hole. New work is if you have the ceiling gutted and you can see the joists. You install the can, then hang the drywall, then cut the hole out so the can can pop through.

So, how to shop?

Go to a store and find a shower trim kit that you like. It'll be a certain size, 4", 5", or maybe 6".

Now find a can to fit it. Choose a new work or remodel can based upon the stage of your project. Make sure it's air tight and insulation contact rated.

Inside the can is a sticker that shows the maximum wattage for various types of bulbs that can be used in that can. Don;t exceed the wattage. If you do, the can could overheat. IC-rated cans have a thermal cutoff that will cut off power if the can temp gets too high.

Most cans are a standard depth. They make shorter cans for low-clearance situations too.

At HD, the can may run you $10. The "wet" trim kit may be $20-40.

Vapor-tight lights intended for steam rooms? They can be $75-$300.

Confused? I am!

Best, Mongo

    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 7:49PM
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thanks mongo!! i didn't start the thread but sure appreciate the detailed info :)


    Bookmark   January 5, 2008 at 10:44PM
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You have answered questions for me before I even asked!
OMG, I can't thank you enough for all your valuable information!
I hope we can do you proud when the little bathroom is finished and I can post some pictures of actual lighting in the shower (Actual light INside the shower... I won't have to wait so long between leg shaves due to the bad lighting in the bathroom! *g* )

Thank you, Thank you so very much!


Here is a link that might be useful: More Bathroom Reno Pics

    Bookmark   January 6, 2008 at 4:04AM
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