Recessed Lighting in Concrete Ceilings
You can't install recessed lighting directly into concrete ceilings, but our expert suggests some alternative work-arounds.
 
I have an older condo with concrete ceilings and popcorn. Is it possible to install recessed lighting or do you have any other suggestions?

It is not possible to put recessed fixtures into a concrete ceiling, but there are a few creative ways you can approach it. One possible solution is to install box beams (hollow beams) that run from wall-to-wall or installed a coffered detail. You can then place the recessed fixtures in the beams. It also means that you can install hanging decorative fixtures as well.

Another more modern solution would be to suspend floating wood or medium density fiberboard (MDF) panels which would hang down 3.5 inches from the actual ceiling. You can then put recessed fixtures in these panels as well as run a perimeter LEDs light for an attractive ambient glow. And if I were you, I would get rid of the popcorn. All you have to do is water it down and scrape it off. There are videos you can watch; just type in "how do I remove the popcorn ceiling?" into your search engine. If it is asbestos then you have to have a specialized company do the work. But if it has glitter in it, I would keep it.

Randall Whitehead lighting designer
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

I am happy to help. I just redid the under-cabinet lighting in my own kitchen. The company that I used and recommend is Aion LED. I have also used... read full story
I like bright, but not scary bright. There is a big difference between brightness and glare. A bright light source that is too intense can make you... read full story
You have some flexibility with the distance off the mirror. It is the distance off the floor (5 feet 6 inches to the center of the luminous source)... read full story
This sounds like a lovely combination of finishes. We do have a bit of a challenge here. How do we keep these colors looking cool and crisp without... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Emerson and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   Wednesday, April 8, 2-3 p.m. EDT Register for this free CEU webinar by clicking here. Webinar Overview:Learning... read full story
Sponsored by Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting and Spotlite-USA.   This live webinar has already taken place, but you can still view the presentation on demand by clicking... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Engineered Lighting Products, Langlais Group Inc., LTF and Pure Lighting/Edge Lighting.   This webinar has already taken place, but you can... read full story