How to Install Recessed Lighting above a Shower
by Glyn Sheridan
Adding a recessed light above the shower provides welcome illumination while showering. Recessed bathroom lighting is perfect for the ceiling above the shower because it does not take up any space over head. A special moisture-resistant bathroom light fixture is required in the shower because the area is subject to so much moisture and humidity. You may replace an existing light fixture or install a new fixture after an electrician runs the necessary wiring. Choose a simple recessed light or select a light-and-heat-lamp combination or a light-and-fan combination.
Installing Recessed Lighting:
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- Locate the ceiling joists.
Hold the template that comes with your new recessed light on the ceiling between joists and trace the shape onto the ceiling with a pencil. This is your guide for cutting out the drywall. Before you begin the installation process, turn off the electricity to your bathroom.
- Cut away the drywall.
Use a drywall saw or a small jigsaw fitted with a drywall blade to cut through the ceiling. Take care not to cut deeper than the drywall itself to prevent cutting any existing electrical wires.
- Attach the electrical box.
This metal box provides the connection screws to which you will attach the house wires. Use a screwdriver to mount the electrical box to the nearest joist, making sure you have adequate clearance in which to insert the light housing.
- Secure the light supports to the joists.
Depending upon the size and the type of the recessed light fixture you choose, these supports will attach to one or more joists. Larger lights frequently have support arms that attach to both joists.
- Connect the wiring.
Follow the manufacturer's specifications. In most cases, you will wire color-to-color, with the white fixture-wire connected to the white house-wire and the red wire connected to the red wire. A licensed electrician can perform this task if you're not familiar with wiring techniques.
- Slide the light housing into place.
Align the holes in the housing with the holes in the light support and use screws to secure them. Your recessed light is now ready for a bulb. Don't exceed the manufacturer's recommended wattage when selecting a light bulb.
- Install the moisture-resistant cover.
The cover may slip into the housing and snap into place; however, it may require a couple of screws to hold it. Once you have secured the cover, switch on the electricity that feeds the bathroom, and then test your new light.
Check with your local building code. Some communities may require that you attach the wiring for a bathroom light to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.