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Thread: Basement Shop Lighting- low ceilings

  1. #1
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    Jul 2007
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    Basement Shop Lighting- low ceilings

    Hi All,

    Yes, I've read the sticky on shop lighting (whew, nearly went cross-eyed!).

    I'm trying to figure out the best way to light my basement shop. I'm at the beginning phases of getting my unfinished basement ready in our new (old) house. The ceiling height is about 7'. I really don't want to sacrifice head room, but I don't want to deal with shadows all over the place. So I'm trying to figure out a decent compromise between those two things.

    I'm thinking that I need to put partially recessed T-8 fixtures between the joists. By "partially recessed," I mean that only the bulbs protrude below the joists, to take advantage of the ~180 degrees of light that come off of the tubes, while minimizing how much head room they take up. I'd need to think about a way to protect the bulbs though.

    I'm also considering mounting some lights at the tops of the walls, kind of like crown molding. Like the fixture in the picture below. Any other ideas? I'm planning to paint the concrete floor and ceilings a light glossy color to reflect as much light as possible.


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Aeschliman View Post
    Hi All,

    Yes, I've read the sticky on shop lighting (whew, nearly went cross-eyed!).

    I'm trying to figure out the best way to light my basement shop. I'm at the beginning phases of getting my unfinished basement ready in our new (old) house. The ceiling height is about 7'. I really don't want to sacrifice head room, but I don't want to deal with shadows all over the place. So I'm trying to figure out a decent compromise between those two things.

    I'm thinking that I need to put partially recessed T-8 fixtures between the joists. By "partially recessed," I mean that only the bulbs protrude below the joists, to take advantage of the ~180 degrees of light that come off of the tubes, while minimizing how much head room they take up. I'd need to think about a way to protect the bulbs though.

    I'm also considering mounting some lights at the tops of the walls, kind of like crown molding. Like the fixture in the picture below. Any other ideas? I'm planning to paint the concrete floor and ceilings a light glossy color to reflect as much light as possible.

    My local BORG carries plastic protective sleeves for fluorescent bulbs. They saved me more than once.
    NOW you tell me...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Anderson View Post
    My local BORG carries plastic protective sleeves for fluorescent bulbs. They saved me more than once.
    Yeah, I have those in my current shop. They're a bit clunky, but they do keep mercury from raining down when I carelessly break a bulb!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Midland MI
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    I just bought some led tape, it's a strip of leds about 3/8 inch wide, 1/8 thick, sticky tape on back. I just bought some to set up in my basement room I use for finishing and glue ups. About 8 ft seem about the same as a 60 watt bulb, and it is pretty cheap, if you shop around you can get 16ft strip for about 6$, the you need a 12v power supply, I am going to put 2 or 4 8ft strips and just stick it on the studs, I haven't got.the power supply in yet for mine but I tested it with 12v battery. It seems like a cool option, and would produce tons of light if you put it on each stud or every other.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Scarborough(part of Toronto|) Ontario
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    I have my shop in the basement as well and my ceiling height is also about 7ft. I installed drywall on the ceiling to reduce sound transfer to upstairs'
    Painted all the walls and ceiling white and installed 8, 4ft, 2 tube fixtures on the ceiling. It is just a hobby shop and has worked out well for me.
    Lots of light no shadows.
    The shop is about 11-1/2 ft by 31ft.

    P1010596.JPG001.jpg

    Good luck with your shop,

    Tim

  6. #6
    The plastic tube guards should work, or you could try to find fixtures with a protective wire cage below the lamps. You will probably have to go to a lighting distributor to find them, though.

    Painting the walls, ceiling, and floor white will be very helpful but I'd use a flat paint as opposed to glossy. You will get a better, more even distribution of light with the matte surfaces.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    South Coastal Massachusetts
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    My basement shop has exposed joists and sawdust everywhere, unlike Tim's surgical suite shown above.

    The ceiling is pretty low, just over 7 feet.

    I installed sealed miniflourescent fixtures that have a clear lexan lens and swivel like spot lights.
    Daylight balanced bulbs cast an even illumination on my bench.

    They're not bright enough for close work.
    I added Gooseneck Lamp LED task lights from Ikea for that.

    As shown in Tim's shop, the more reflective surfaces you have,
    the better the overall lighting. I hung reflective film off the
    joists to keep as much light bounced down where I can use it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Rutherford Co., NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Aeschliman View Post
    I'm planning to paint the concrete floor and ceilings a light glossy color to reflect as much light as possible.
    My basement shop has a slight slope toward the garage, and they have about a 93" clearance at the lowest point. I have the cheap, $17-20 48" hanging "Shop Light" type from the BORG. I use Philips 48" 5000K daylight tubes, and I used Valspar Flat Ultra White for my walls. I would stay away from glossy paint because of glare.
    "Live like no one else, so later, you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
    - Dave Ramsey

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys.

    Tim's post made me realize I might be over-thinking this. I think I'll just go for some troffer fixtures mounted on the surface and be done with it.

    Also, good tip on the glossy vs flat paint.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
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    This is what I did with my wife's art studio in the basement. I used both troffer fixtures and installed some basic shop lights hanging between the joists. I set it up this way so that light could be moved around if needed for different art projects. Both work well very few shadow area's and good coverage.

    recessed fixture 2007.jpgrecessed lights 2007.jpg

  11. #11
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    Aug 2010
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    Scarborough(part of Toronto|) Ontario
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Aeschliman View Post
    Thanks guys.

    Tim's post made me realize I might be over-thinking this. I think I'll just go for some troffer fixtures mounted on the surface and be done with it.

    Also, good tip on the glossy vs flat paint.
    I checked today and it appears that I used Eggshell white Behr paint on the walls and ceiling.


    Tim

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