Lighting in loft conversion

Hi all,
We're putting lighting into an existing loft conversion. The ceiling is pretty low so we had hoped to put in recessed spots. The rooms are not very big and won't need a huge amount of lighting. Without thinking about the consequences, we were in one of the sheds and decided to buy mains halogens (GU10s, I believe) - yes, I now know the folly.
To overcome some of the problems associated, we were thinking about replacing the bulbs with GU10 CFLs - less light shouldn't be a problem and we're hoping they'll be much better in terms of efficiency and the heat they throw into the loft proper. We've also looked at LEDs, but these don't seem to be as good a solution. We were planning on putting earthenware flowerpots, inverted, above the lights to keep the insulation above them away from the heat.
Normally we're quite good about keeping receipts, but the ones for the spots seem to have eluded us. Given that we are unlikely to be able to exchange them (although they are still in packaging) is there a better solution? Indeed, what would be the ideal solution?
Thanks - Adam
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Try returning them. B&Q no problem. Homebase will exchange for another (not necessarily similar) item, &c
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John Cartmell john@ followed by finnybank.com 0845 006 8822
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Thanks John, will give that a try (wouldn't mind swapping) - if we can work out a better solution... Any ideas?
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B&Q would normally take them back.
Be careful with recessed lighting in loft conversions. The depth of insulation is usually very thin compared to the space between floors or above the ceiling of a non-converted house. There may well be no room for them, or if there is, the lack of insulation would be against building regulations and might make the room uncomfortable. Perhaps you should consider wall based lighting.
Christian.
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Thanks for the advice Christian, but wall lighting will be difficult in these rooms.
We are reinsulating the loft at the same time as we do this, and will be putting in a considerable depth of something like Rockwool. We'll also be laying vapour barrier (over the joists, as we can't be arsed taking all the ceiling plasterboard down and starting again). I'm not sure I made clear in my OP what I was intending to do (unless I can come up with a better solution/suggestion), so I'll try again and additionally include what we're doing wrt insulation:
- Remove existing, hopelessly inadequate insulation (that has no vapour barrier). - Install downlights, replace halogen bulbs with CFL (GU10s) - Lay vapour barrier with holes for downlights. - Place earthenware flowerpots inverted over downlighters, seal at rim/ceiling interface, cabling through hole in bottom (top?) of pot, hole subsequently sealed (to prevent moisture ingress). - Insulate with suitable depth of rockwool - probably leave tops (bottoms?) of pots exposed.
Does this seem sensible? Is there a better alternative solution?
The only other alternative I can think of is to use appropriately low-profile ceiling lights (we have something like this in the bathroom: http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/product/product.jsp?tb=&CATID €480&entryFlagϊlse&PRODIDf70252&paintCatId=), but I prefer that solution less for aesthetic reasons...
Cheers - Adam...
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Personally, if I had a loft conversion with low ceilings and enough space above the ceiling to shove rockwool, I'd pull down the ceiling, insulate with Kingspan instead and replasterboard and gain myself a foot or two. I wouldn't install downlighters for room lighting as they are an environmental abomination. If there still wasn't much room and wall lighting was inappropriate, I'd consider a flush mounted fitting with CFLs.
Christian.
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Sorry - lack of information on my part...
In this case, it's a loft conversion inside a pitched roof (I think that's the right term, but may be wrong). Raising the ceiling would mean removing and replacing the joists to which the plasterboard ceiling is fixed, which would be more ambitious work than we are prepared to take on. Above the plasterboard ceiling is the (pitched) remains of the loft - about 2m, I guess, at the highest point. Horrible ascii diagram that will only work in fixed font follows:
/\ / \ / \ <- Remaining loft / \ / \ /JJJJJJJJJ\ <- Joists to which plaserboard attached /pppppppppppp\ <- Plasterboard ceiling - Rockwool / I I \ to go on top of this / I I \ <- Loft conversion with low ceiling - I indicates 100mm of board-type insulation
Rockwool insulation intended to be placed on top of plasterboard.
I guess the alternative is to continue to insulate the entire loft with the insulation board we are currently using for the pitched ceiling/wall inside the conversion - then we could use whatever bulbs/lights we wanted...
Cheers - Adam...
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Christian - apologies - went off on one without, apparently, reading the last few words of your posting at all!
Thank you for the advice - we'll go with low(ish)-power CFLs in the downlighters, still surrounded above by earthenware pots as per other advice for halogens.
Thanks - Adam...
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Adam-the-Kiwi wrote:

You have almost the entire range of ranges of lighting to choose from, not sure what you want specifically. I agree the halogens would be an unideal choice.
CFLs are a good option as long as you use decent quality bulbs. Not all are equal by any means. And be aware the published power equivalances are not entirely realistic.
Retrofit CFL spotlight bulbs may be larger than the originals. LEDs I dont recommend.
NT
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I've actually seen some properly small ones now. In Ikea of all places. Almost as small as an incandescent golf ball and much smaller than an incandescent GLS. The light quality is quite good. A better spectrum that the bulb it replaced, which was a GE.
Christian.
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Christian McArdle wrote:

Yes, i should probably have been clearer.
NT
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Thanks NT and again Christian - will try Ikea for bulbs. We'd sourced a few on tinterweb, but would rather buy locally (even if it is Ikea). Was aware of the largely fictional nature of equivalent wattage estimates, but I don't think this will be a problem - in fact, the 50w halogens they came with would probably have been overkill - these are small, loft bedrooms with coombed ceiling/wall.
Cheers - Adam...
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Christian McArdle wrote:

Hi Christian,
Sorry to come back to this one after such a while...
Looked in IKEA (Edinburgh), but no luck. Do you have a catalogue number or similar? Which store did you get them from?
Thanks - Adam...
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IKEA in Brent Park (just off North Circular Road) has had them. However, their stock of compact fluorescents varies widely on different visits, and I would not suggest a special visit for those alone just on the off-chance (especially not from Edinburgh;-)
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Thanks for the info, Andrew. I'll probably pass on a pre-xmas trip to Brent Park IKEA from Edinburgh!
Adam...
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I got them from Brent Park. Unfortunately, no catalogue number is forthcoming. The packaging is long gone.
Christian.
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No worries. I'll try giving Brent Park a call.
Thanks for the info.
Adam...
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We've just completed loft conversion and replaced every other ceiling in the house. BC officer very difficult to deal with. Decided loft lighting in same position as OP, then found from RTC, fire rated downlighters approved for about £10 each. No need for flowerpots which incidently BC wouldn't consider.

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