Steam Shower Vapor Proof Light

wisconsingalDecember 14, 2007

Hello All! I posted this on the lighting forum too but thought I might also try here...

We just finished building our custom home at the end of October and are working through our punch list with our builder and his subs. A big point of disagreement that we can't seem to resolve is the rc used in our master bathroom steam shower. The electrician used a light that is wet location approved but will not provide us any information/assurances that it is vapor proof as is recommended for steam showers. Can anyone shed some light on this as to what should be used in a steam shower? We went to the expense and trouble of making sure that the plumbing fixtures were all vapor proof and using a kerdi system behind the tile, now we just want to make sure that the light isn't going to be a weak link in the vapor proofing.


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There are two things you want:

1) you want the light bulb enclosure to be gasketed. Normally the gasket is between the trim and the can, and it's all held together with crews for a tight seal. That will prevent vapor from entering the fixture. Gaskets that are held together by the trim ring just springing up on the housing? Not good enough in my opinion. Meaning, if you ever need to change the bulb you should need a screwdriver.

2) You want the fixture itself to be sealed to the ceiling, meaning there should be no way for vapor to get between the ceiling and the light housing. You don't want vapor getting into the framing bays of your house.

With Kerdi, I'll seal the Kerdi to the light's housing with Kerdi Fix.

Will a "wet rated light" suffice? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on its design (see #1 above) and with the installation (see #2 above) details.

A vapor rated light meets #1, but it still need to be installed correctly.

Last two steams I've done, one used "Nicole II" lights, the other used one called "Cora". Not all vapor-rated lights are expensive, but those two were.

Wet and vapor-rated assemblies? It's a somewhat code-ambiguous issue where I live. But what I wrote is my way, and I tend to lean towards bullet-proof construction.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 12:59AM
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Mongo, Thanks so much for your reply! This is VERY helpful! Since URL does not specify vapor proof lights, only damp or wet locations (at least that is what our electrician said) how do you know if a light is "vapor-rated"?

Warmest regards,


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 9:58AM
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That's the problem. Honestly, I'm not sure if I've ever seen a "residential" light UL listed as "vapor proof".

But some sellers will rate it as "vapor proof" based on the construction of the light. Not all "wet" or "damp" housings are "vapor proof".

Lemme see if I can find something on line...

It was more difficult than I thought. Most links were to commercial applications, where you need a vapor proof light for explosive purposes.

This is the only site I saw that mentions "vapor proof" lights.

What you want in your light is for the light's trim ring to be screwed (or mechanically snapped, or twist-locked, you want it to be a positive and secure connection) to the light's housing, and you want a gasket to be between the trim ring and the light housing.

Not all "wet/damp" lights will have that feature. But all "vapor proof" lights should.

Does that help?


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 12:07PM
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Just realized you name/location. How's the winter? I used to live up on Big Cedar Lake, about a half-hour north of Milwaukee, in Slinger. We still go back there during the summer to spend a couple weeks on the lake.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 12:09PM
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