LED down lights for 10ft ceiling, lumens, other ??s

szrunsJune 16, 2014


I am in the midst of a major remodel/addition project, and I met with the electrician today. I have some questions about lighting the kitchen.

The kitchen will have 10 ft ceilings, light hardwood floors (natural oak), medium cabinets (natural cherry), stainless appliances, and light walls (light grey or green) and white ceilings. I don't know about the counters, probably a mid-toned granite, but no decision yet.

The kitchen space is approx 18 ft by 18 ft. All 10 ft ceilings (flat).

Reading up on lighting here on the forums, it seems that 35 lumens per s.f. is a general guideline for kitchen lighting. However, does this assume 8 ft ceilings? If yes, then how much do I need to increase from 35? About 30%? So, about 50 lumens per s.f.??

Very recently, we finished our basement, and, based on recommendations here, I had the (same) electrician use the Home Depot branded Cree CR-6 (2700K) can lights down there (in Halo housing, with lutron dimmers), and they are FABULOUS. The windowless basement is nicely lit up, cozy, and the dimmers are perfect. No buzzing, no flickers, etc. (I did push him to use more cans than he wanted to . . . not wanting a dim basement . . . So we put 16 cans in about 600 sf of space . . . I love it.)

Anyway, so I was blissfully planning on using the same lights for the new addition spaces, but my electrician tells me that I should consider higher output fixtures for those very high ceilings. Something like 800 or 1000 lumen instead of 600. UGH. I see I can get a CR6 in 800 lumen, so maybe that would work?

What are the rules of thumb for increasing lumens/sf for a taller ceiling . . . and what do you think about this idea of using different fixtures?

I am also going to have about 1000 sf of 9 ft ceilings in the new space (big inlaw suite), so I need to pick cans/LEDs for over there, too.

All told, it is a BOAT LOAD of lights to put in, and so the difference between $40/fixture for the HD CR6 600 lumen fixtures and 60-100+ per fixture for alternatives is not insignificant. (Rough guess is 60-70 can lights . . .)

So, anyway, what should I do?

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The 35 lumens per sq ft rule should work fine with 10' ceilings. In all likelihood, ucl will more than compensate.

It does not really take the ceiling height into account.

An alternative is to utilize cove lighting as either a supplement or replacement.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Thank you. All the cabinetry will go the ceiling (stacked cabinets with crown molding above the top cabinets), so I don't think cove lighting will work.

What do you think about the electricians suggestion to go with 800-1000 lumen fixtures instead of the 600 (cheaper!!) ones?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2014 at 9:44AM
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A 800 lumen output lamp would allow you to reduce the number of pots.

The CR6 pdf has more specific information in foot candles.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:46AM
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If you look at the last page of the specification sheet for the CR6, you will find the Application Reference table which shows an example spacing and the illumination.
From the table
Using a 4x4 spacing, the 800 lumen version will give 47 foot candles while the 625 version will give 36, all for a 10' ceiling.

It would be advantageous to reduce the number of cans/ pots - reduced install cost, fewer holes in the ceiling.

In the kitchen the overhead lighting would likely be augmented/ supplemented by under cabinet lighting.

When installed, there is little visible difference between the CR6 variants. The higher output versions may appear to produce more glare.

The UCL would provide better task lighting than what would be possible from the overhead lights.

Following is a useful link for converting lumens/ sq ft to foot candles.

Here is a link that might be useful: lighting unit conversions

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 12:54PM
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Thanks much for the detailed feedback! Yes, I will have LED UCL wherever there are upper cabinets as well as pendants above the island and peninsula -- so most of the work surfaces will have those lights for supplemental task lighting.

I am off to read the specs on the CR6 and educate myself on foot candles!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 10:39AM
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I have something like 18 CR6 LEDs in my 18.5' x 18' kitchen. Periphery has 8' ceiling, with 9' ceiling in a tray area over the island. I used the regular CR6, except for the 6 over my island (~4 x 8), one over the table that abuts the island, and one over the sink, where I used 800 lumen CR6's. I have fluorescent lights under the cabinets, except the one over the sink. Plenty of light, but not overdone (at least for me). I also have cove lighting in the tray; about 2400 lumens of LED strips -- indirect, so less effective. All LEDs are on dimmers, in groups. UCL is on/off, no dimmer. You don't really notice a difference between the regular CR6 vs 800 lumen ones, especially since they are on different dimmers -- they all play well together.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 6:55PM
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