3" recessed lights

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Georgeoh, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. Georgeoh

    Georgeoh New Member

    I bought several dozen 3" recessed lights from HD on clearance for around $6.00 each, and they have 50W halogen bulbs in them. They can be aimed, and they have satin nickel faces and trim, etc. Technically, they are for remodeling, because they were sold without the new construction hangers. However, I can purchase the hangers separately for joist-hanging in my new construction application.

    My question is, does anyone have any experience using 3" lights like this in a home? I'm thinking about using them in the 16'x17' kitchen and elsewhere on the 1st floor (non-insulated areas), but I am unsure of:

    1. How they will look (aesthetically) being that they are only 3" cans and have the satin nickel trim which will be against a white ceiling (note that there will be stainless appliances in the kitchen); and
    2. How the 50W halogens will light the area, as compared to typical 6" incandescent bulbs.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. questions 1 and 2 make sense to me and are good questions, in my mind. The preceding question stuns me because millions of these 3" with halogen lights have been bought and sold, so yes i think almost everyone has had some experience with seeing them, using them, planning their installation, etc. Did i miss something?

    how it will look against a white ceiling with other stainless appliances is A.) probably quite good, since it is all consistent, and nobody is going to compare how fine the finish is. But this depends on your tolerance for cheapness. My wife had me return the cheap fixtures when i bought three different types (at HD / big box stores) to compare; all were 3" and "nickel" or "stainless" finish; all looked a bit cheap when you put them on the dining room table and really looked at them. We got the most expensive ones, at a specialty store. We had small bathrooms, not a kitchen which has stainless already.

    ultimately nobody spends much visual energy looking at the trim around a light bulb, especially not in a ceiling. When the bulb is shining it is actually quite hard to see the trim well, since you get blinded by the bulb. So i predict it will work out very well, and it will save you a few hundred dollars compared to what i did.

    hope this helps.

    dimmers are essential. always. do not skip the dimmer. the total lumen produced by your bulbs will depend on the bulbs themselves. pretty much everybody finds halogen light better than incandescent for a kitchen ceiling, and in general almost everywhere else too.

    hope this helps.

    p.s. my predicament with the cheapest trim around halogen, reminds me of a story i heard about a man in a Lada driving in at a car scrap yard to see if he could get a gas cap for his other car. The owner saw the Lada and said, "i can't trade it for that."
  3. Georgeoh

    Georgeoh New Member

    Thanks, Genie!
    I like to hear encouraging news like that! I have about 3 dozen of these things to put around the house (such as in front of the fireplace, and around the master bedroom and bath), I thought they looked great in the store, and I really like halogen light compared to standard bulbs.

    I guess I understand your confusion about my question regarding people using halogens, but I have to admit that I, personally, haven't seen too many homes with this type of fixture in place. Usually, I've seen 6" standard bulb white cans that blend in with the ceiling, and I didn't want my tiny 3" nickel cans to look like little specks on the ceiling.

    I'm wondering if there is any type of standard spacing for the 3" lights in a 9' ceiling, considering they are rated at 50W. I understand the lumens are greater for halogens, but I don't want to under-light the kitchen.

    Thanks again!
  4. light everywhere except in the middle

    with 9' ceilings you won't see the trim up close. even better. (My bathroom had a dropped ceiling, most of the trims are only at 7' 2", and one of the trims is below 7' from the floor....)

    the core idea with placing halogens is generally to arrange them a bit closer to objects and walls that you want to highlight, and not to just point them at an open floor ("in the middle of nowhere"). If you have a very good reason to highlight that piece of floor area where ther is nothing else, fine. Otherwise the light goes near "something", and two lights around "big things" like fireplaces. How they all line up in the ceiing is less important; it is easy to place most of them in a few major lines. When there are a lot of them they are like stars in the sky, and those don't line up do they?

  5. PEW

    PEW DIY Senior Member

    For our last three kitchens, I have used nothing but 3.75 inch fixtures with 50 watt halogen bulbs. In fact, I have used that size everywhere we used recessed fixtures.

    They are not as glaring there as larger fixtures, and create nice lighting. Also, have never installed them without dimmers. In our existing kitchen there are 10 different dimmers, makes it nice for different effects.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    The type of bulb you use (spot, flood, etc.) will determine the spread of the light. There are usually charts in the catalogs showing the light spread at different heights and with different bulb types for each size fixture. So, the spacing will depend on the bulb you select, and whether you want point lighting or area lighting. Most reflectors are similar in similar sizes, so if you can't find the info on your specific manufacturer, you can get it from another and be reasonably close.

    Personally, I like to install these with dimmers - you often don't need the full output, and it can save some serious money when you've got a bunch of them ganged together.
  7. Georgeoh

    Georgeoh New Member

    Thanks for the encouraging news! I will definitely use dimmers, too. I may take a few out and hook them up temporarily to see how they look in the room, even though there's no drywall yet.

    As a side note, since these are actually for remodels, could I just leave excess wire within the joist cavities and drywall over it, and then just cut holes after the drywall is installed, or would it be better to just buy the joist hangers now and have it set up before the finish walls are put up?

    Thanks again!
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