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Thread: Troffers in the shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Troffers in the shop

    So, through another thread, I finally learned what to call recessed florescents: troffers. I usually equate these with the lights in a suspended ceiling. I would like to use troffers in my shop to maximize ceiling clearance and minimize glass showers. Has anyone installed these in a preexisting drywall ceiling? Any idea if they can be in contact with insulation? Any good sources or product recommendations?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    I think MOST folks use these. I think it's "troughers" originally, as they fit in the trough between hanging ceilings.

    They can be in contract with insulation (<--if IC rated it turns out from guys below); however, what I did (and most photos I've seen) is just SURFACE MOUNT them! They are only 2" deep or so, and it's no problem. I had to drill a couple new mounting holes, but they only weigh a couple pounds. I did have to make a 1" hole in drywall ceiling to let wire-clamp in, and did buy/install some 0.30 $ wire clamps to keep the NM-B from rubbing on the sharp inlet hole.

    The main problem with inletting them into the ceiling would be breaking the fire-wall barrier, I'd expect. I know that if you install a drop-down attic door, you must sheath the bottom with sheetrock where I live, or the inspector won't pass it--I'd be VERY hesitant to cut a bunch of 2'X4' holes into my sheetrock ceiling before I had an inspector's reading on fire code (not electrical inspector).
    Good luck!
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Didn't think about the firewall issue. I've got a standalone garage that I'm turning into my shop, so maybe that isn't as big of an issue. Of course, I don't want my shop burning down!

    The ceiling is at about 9 feet, so I don't really want to lose a couple of inches if I can help it. I know I'll lose some to dust collection at some point, but it can probably take a tap from a board a little better than the lights.

    I have seen troffers (troughers?) with a flange for drywall, but was curious if other folks had used those, and what kind of mounting issues they had. Also, they look to be pricey compared to surface mount fluorescents.

    For one product I found a spec that allowed contact with insulation, which made me wonder why all troffers aren't rated for this. I would have assumed that fluorescents couldn't create enough heat for a fire hazard.

    Thanks for your input!

  4. #4
    well for recessing them it will depend on the ceiling framing as well. you wont fit 2' light into a 16" bay also. i would surface mount the loss of 2-3" is worth all the trouble...

    Nick
    "there is no such thing as a mistake in woodworking, only opportunities to re-assess the design"

  5. #5
    Dave, some 12 years ago when I built the shop at home, I mounted 4'-4 tubers between the rafters. Of course, I had the advantage of having not done the sheet rock at that time so it was somewhat easier. Attached by driving 4-screws directly through the side, into the rafter. I did install blocking at the ends.

    It was great not having to worry about waving materials around, even with my 10' ceiling. Bigger problem was the poorly planned garage door opener that was directly behind my table saw, constantly hit that thing. If I had to do it over again, I would put a taller door in and get the opener up higher to the ceiling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    [quote=Dave MacArthur;774478]I think MOST folks use these. I think it's "troughers" originally, as they fit in the trough between joists.

    "They can be in contract with insulation;"


    Recessed fixtures must be UL "IC" rated for direct Insulation Contact before they can be in direct contact with insulation. Most recessed troffers are not "IC" rated. "IC" fixtures are special fixtures. The UL directory has details for building a "box" out of ceiling tile or GWB to place around a non-IC rated fixture that allows the heat from being trapped. Typically, the IC fixtures has a thermal overload built-in that shuts off the fixture it it starts to overheat to guard against the fixture overheating and causing a fire. With the insulation on the fixture there is no way for trapped heat to get out.

    Rob

  7. #7
    As the one who made the thread you're probably referring to that mentions troffers...

    I would second the suggestions here to surface-mount them. I have several troffers that were damaged in shipment (just a couple dents, nothing functional) that I brought home from a job and installed in my garage and shop. They are the typical type that fit into a drop ceiling, but I just surface-mounted them with some screws through to the joists above. The sheet metal on these is pretty flimsy; you can just drive the screws straight through if you don't have a pre-existing hole that works.

  8. #8
    Having just researched the IC capability of troffers for my day job, I discovered that yes there are IC rated and Non-IC rated troffers. I also discovered that in the case of at least two manufacturers there is absolutely no difference between their IC and Non-IC rated fixture except the rating. No Physical difference whatsoever.

    Unless I already owned the troffers, I would by a wrap style surface mount fixture or just a bare lamp strip and put the plastic Shatter shields over the tubes if I was really worried about breaking a tube. I have bare lamps in strip fixtures in my shop with it's 7'6" ceiling and the only time a lamp has ever been broken a child and a hockey stick were involved.

    Again if I owned the troffers and wanted to cut them in I would build a small drywall box to mount the troffer in. Or at least lay a piece of Drywall on top of the fixture and lay the fiberglass batts on that. They do make 1x4 troffers if your buying new and really want to recess your fixtures. Make sure you get T8 lamps and a good quality ballast.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Jacksonville, Fl
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    I may have some answers. I did some research last year and, like you, discovered troffers. Bought 16 fixtures from a local electrical supplier.

    They attach very easily as there are four level lug brackets to each one. Think of the blue electrical boxes that have that piece of plastic that flips up when you tighten them to the wall. This enables the fixture to clamp to the ceiling. You just use a power screw driver.

    Here's a picture of what I've done to my shop's ceiling

    http://picasaweb.google.com/Aspiring...ngLightFraming

    I built frames at each location so I can insert them after I install my insulation and dry wall. Of course you already have a drywalled ceiling. Check locally and see if the level lug brackets will lock to the drywall thickness.

    Here's a link to the accessory page for Simkar lights. The one's I bought.
    http://www.simkar.com/specmain/specp.../rec_opt_1.htm

    This shows the leveling lugs

  10. #10
    There are lots of these available used - remodels, dents, etc. I found mine either Craig's List or eBay local-pickup-only, but I got about 20 for a little over $100 (I have a bunch in my attic).

    The code is based on legitimate safety concerns. It's often silly in some details that don't reflect new technology, but basic concepts like a fire-resistant barrier to rafters catching fire seems like a good idea to me. So you dent a couple over the next year - you probably won't dent another one for the next ten years because you've trained yourself.
    Doug, the "Wood Loon"
    Acton, MA

    72, slow road cyclist, woodworking dabbler, tool junkie , and
    bonsai enthusiast.
    Now, if I could just stay focused longer than a few weeks...

  11. #11
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    Feb 2007
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    Thanks for all the information. It looks like I can get what I want, 1'x4' so that they fit between studs, and IC rated such that I can pile insulation above them. It looks, though, like I'll have to pay somewhat of a premium over surface mounted strip lighting. Cutting the holes might not be super fun either. Lots to think about.

    Again, thanks. I'm always amazed at how helpful everyone is around here!

  12. #12
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    Jul 2007
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
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    306

    Fire and Courts


  13. #13
    I put these lights in my kitchen by building plywood boxes in the ceiling and mounting the lights in the boxes. I used electronic ballasts which do not heat up like the mechanical ballasts. When enclosed in a box a flourescent fixture with mechanical ballasts will generate a LOT of heat.

    We've had them in for 4 years and they work great. Gives the ceiling a nice clean look.

    Fred Mc.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Jacksonville, Fl
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    Good point, I insisted my fixtures be electronic ballast also. Each fixture consumes.5 amps of power, so for 16 that a total of 8 amps. Wired it with 14 gauge wire and a 10 amp breaker. Perfect safety factor there

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