Now that my bathroom reno is 99% done, I'm going to start work on my basement again. I plan to section off a part of the ceiling with dropped ceiling tiles. I know traditionally, clear 2x4 plastic sheets were used, and then flourescent lighting on top.
There must be a better way, can I use recessed lights with energy savers? What type of recessed lighting is used for this, and would a 2x2 ceiling tile be strong enough to hold up the apparatus? I don't think I've ever seen it done, but I'm sure you guys have. Thanks guys..
I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator
You get a lot more light per watt out of T8 or T5 linear fluorescents than you'd get out of any CFL or LED in a recessed can. "Parabolic lensed" 2x2 troffers designed for office type suspended ceilngs can be easily adapted to other ceiling types, and have very high fixture-efficiencies as well, but it might feel a bit office/commercial for you. They're available with dimmable ballasts too, but it runs into real money.
It depends on what type of ceiling tile you use. The "fire resistant" solid panels are would support a recessed fixture exactly like a drywall ceiling would.
Licensed residential and commercial plumber
Sorry I am so late in making comment, I have been away. I have done many basements and there is a tendency to light it like an office space. Don't do it! Consider using the recessed around the perimeter to make the space appear larger. There are more recessed housings choices than there are cats at the shelter. I like the fluorescent type but an incandescent housing will give much better flexibility with the selection of trims and light sources. Even a mix of 4” 5” and maybe 6” housings will add to the look of the space. Let me know if I can help in any way. If your project is done I would love to hear how it came out. I am always learning. Might want a to get a dehumidifier for that moisture problem.
Thanks for the replies, I actually didn't start the suspended ceiling/tiling yet. I've read your comments and I think it would help for you to know the exact situation.
The dropped ceiling would be used in a basement hallway approx. 30 ft long, 36" wide. I just need maybe 2 or 3 cans, with flourescent lighting. No dimming needed, and no need to make the room appear bigger since it's only a hallway.
mrmedic- Your suggestion about spreader bars sounds to be the way to go, even though I have no idea what they are. Could you provide a link? (I just googled "spreader bars, good thing my boss wasn't nearby. Closed that link real quick! Haha)
This is a multi-step process but it works:
1. Buy any 'new work' can. They have bars on the sides that allow you to position the can when you nail it into wood framing. Every big box store sells these cans as they are the most common type. Also get some small 3/8'' sheet metal screws that will fit in the holes next to the nails in the bars (cuz nails aren't going to work so great on a suspended ceiling).
2. Go home and position the lights where you want them and use the spreader bars to position them. DO not screw anything together yet. Now wire all the cans. Secure the wire to the wood ceiling joists. You should leave yourself a 1 + or - foot piece of wire from between where it is secured with a staple to the wood down to the can. Do not run the wire directly over the cans, do not position the wire in such a way that it may come in contact with the can.
3. Next, take a ceiling panel and mark on the back the exact center of where the can will be. Take a nail, stick it thru the tile, and using the included tracing template (make sure at least one of your cans has this stuffed in it when you buy them) trace onto the FRONT side of a panel exactly where you want the light using the nail as the center point. Now use a sharp razor knife to cut out a hole in the tile for the can. (You can cut from the back side of the panels, but I find it comes out neater it you cut from the front).
4.Put the panel in the ceiling, and position the can over the hole. They usually sit up there nicely without any adjusting for height. Now use the sheet metal screws to secure the spreader bars to the sides of the ceiling grid in the holes next to the pre installed nails for the cans. (You can leave the nails, or not, it doesn't matter)
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until your done.
A couple of notes, 1. You cannot remove the ceiling panel after you have fastened the can to the track, so plan accordingly. 2. Getting the sheet metal screws to start into the track can be a pain. If you are unlucky you may have to use a marker to mark the holes, move the can and the ceiling tile, pre drill the holes, then put everything back and screw the spreader bars to the track using the pre drilled holes. And this probably goes without saying but keep your dirty hands off of the white ceiling tile! - Queue Mission Impossible soundtrack.
Last edited by drick; 11-04-2011 at 10:27 PM.