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Forum topic by Keekee posted 01-20-2019 01:48 AM 570 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 1778 days

01-20-2019 01:48 AM

I’m finally remodeling my shop. The size is about 17 X 17 X 7 feet high. Since my ceiling height is 7 feet I’m thinking of using flush mount cans. Do you have any suggestions and what would you make the spacing.

6 replies so far

View wuddoc's profile


354 posts in 4326 days

#1 posted 01-20-2019 06:03 AM

View splintergroup's profile


3209 posts in 1830 days

#2 posted 01-20-2019 04:04 PM

Recessed is ideal since you apparently have the space above the ceiling layer. You can get very thin flat panel LED fixtures that could flush mount an cost only an inch or so, also save time installing.

View Stevedore's profile


100 posts in 2633 days

#3 posted 01-20-2019 05:31 PM

I used a bunch of utility-type LED hanging shop lights to light up my basement shop in this house that we bought a couple of years ago.

My ceiling was just floor joists, i.e., no sheetrock or other surface material, so I simply hung them from the joists. If you have a similar unfinished ceiling, you might consider hanging shop lights up between the joists, so as not to take away any height from your 7 ft dimension.

If you have a finished 7 ft ceiling, I’d ocnsider what splintergoup mentioned; low profile LED panels. Mounting a sufficient number of recessed cans is going to be a lot of work, & may end up costing more.

Whatever you do, I’d suggest being generous with the amount of light. Speaking from experience, as you get older, the more light the better!

-- Steve, in Morris County, NJ

View Fresch's profile


460 posts in 2529 days

#4 posted 01-20-2019 05:59 PM

Think task lighting, over drillpress, table saw, workbench, etc, walkways will be lighted by light spill over.

View clin's profile


1076 posts in 1604 days

#5 posted 01-20-2019 08:45 PM

The amount of light you want or need varies quite a bit from person to person. Younger people need much less light.

Based on this PDF, here are some lighting standards:

Easy Office Work: 250 lumen/sq-meter = 23 lumen/sq-ft
Supermarkets, Mechanical Workshops: 750 lumen/sq-meter = 70 lumen/sq-ft
Detailed Drawing Work, Very Detailed Mechanical Work: 1500-2000 lumen/sq-meter = 139-186 lumen/sq-ft

Using a supermarket, mechanical workshop as a target, that’s 70 lumens/sq-ft. You have a 17×17 = 289 sq-ft shop. So you would need 289×70 = 20,230 lumens total to achieve this level of light.

Typical bulbs you might use in a recessed fixture range from 65-90 W equivalent. About 600 to 900 lumens each. Using the brighter ones at 900 lumens each, you would need 20,230/900 = 22.5 (23) fixture to reach this light level.

You would need fixtures spaced about 3-4 ft apart in a grid. That’s a lot of recessed fixtures.

Now, I have seen many here on LJ’s that find much less light acceptable. I on the other hand have about twice this amount. Yes it is bright, but it makes seeing so much easier.

In my case I use T8 fluorescent fixtures. Each fixture holds two 4 ft tubes. Each tube puts out 2,750 lumens. I have eight fixtures (16 tubes) so I have 44,000 lumens in a roughly 300 sq-ft shop giving 147 lumens/sq-ft. Except much of that light goes up and has to reflect of the light fixture. So actual is less than that.

In general I don’t think recessed lighting is suitable for a workshop. It’s great around the house, but in general you get too little light from any one fixture. And of course you could put in a small number like 6-8, and then add task lighting. But I for one hate that. Lot’s of light well spread around and you don’t have shadows.

If I had a huge space, like a warehouse size shop, than sure, I wouldn’t necessarily light up the whole thing that bright. I.E., the wood storage area doesn’t need as much light as the table saw. But in a small shop it just easier to light the whole thing up good and proper.

Another thing that matters a lot is ceiling and wall color. Even floor color matters. Light bounces off all these surfaces. In my case I have a bright white ceiling and nearly as bright painted wall. I made cabinets with white melamine doors. This makes a huge difference. While the log cabin look is attractive and gives that cozy, down-home look, it’s not nearly as practical.

In your case I would look for a low profile LED fixture. Also, there are fixtures that are designed to be flush with suspended ceilings. Like a typical fluorescent light in an office. Bottom line is other large light fixtures can also be recessed. You’re not limit to recessed can lights.

-- Clin

View Holbs's profile


2262 posts in 2637 days

#6 posted 01-20-2019 10:48 PM

consider doing 2 zone lighting on separate fuses if possible. would not be fun to be running table saw and the light fuse trips you into darkness.
I have 3 zones. 1 original garage light bulb and 2 zones for fluorescent lights rows.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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