Recess Lighting Installation in a Shower


Installing a low-maintenance recessed lighting fixture in a shower can add some much-needed illumination to a dark shower area. With some attention to details, and some patience, you can safely complete this shower lighting project over the course of an afternoon and save yourself some money in the process.


  • Call or visit the local building code department and speak to a code enforcement inspector to find out what the regulations are for installing light fixtures in the bathroom shower area. The fixture must be marked as an insulation-contact (IC) rated fixture. This means that it can be safely installed around insulation, which is usually in an attic area. The recessed lighting fixture you choose for the shower must also be waterproof. You can also put a dimmer switch if you would like to control the lighting level and the overall effect.

    Determine what the source of power will be for the new fixture. If there is already a power source located nearby, it may be just a matter of running cable from the existing power supply. If you are replacing an existing fixture, the installation is even easier because the wiring and switch is already in place.

Installation Tips

  • Shut off the power to the junction box that you plan to tap into for your shower fixture. Use a circuit tester to make sure that there is no power before you proceed. You should also put a note on the electrical panel to ensure that someone doesn't mistakenly turn the power back on while you are working.

    Cover the drain with masking tape and place a drop cloth in the work area before you start cutting the ceiling plaster or drywall. This will catch any debris and make cleanup easier. Make sure that there are no wires or cables in the area before you commence cutting. Keep in mind that the canister must be positioned between two ceiling joists.

    After you establish the position for the fixture, drill a test hole, then go up into the attic to verify that the positioning is correct and unobstructed. Recessed canister has a self-contained junction box. So all you have to do is run wire from the power source to the shower lighting junction box. The wiring is straight forward; connect black to black (hot), white to white (neutral) and the green or copper ground wires (ground). Secure wire nuts and tape the connection with black electrical tape.

    Usually, the limited weigh of the housing means that the canister does not have to be attached to the ceiling joists. Employ the mounting clips on the housing to ensure a tight fit around the ceiling. Install the inner baffle and housing trim on the housing unit per the directions.

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