We get a lot of questions asking how we use LED recessed lights (aka Pot Lights) in a stretch ceiling installation and how it affects the ceiling height. This article will address some of those questions.
Popcorn ceiling was developed and widely used long before LEDs came onto the market. So, how can you install LED lights and avoid popcorn ceiling removal or repair?
Traditional methods of popcorn ceiling removal or covering popcorn ceiling with drywall do not allow for LED light installation. Fortunately, stretched ceiling technology and LED lightings are both modern inventions and our LED pot lights have been developed specifically to be installed with the stretch ceilings, even in wet locations, such as bathrooms, saunas, and swimming pools.
The basic concept is simple: Stretch ceiling material is installed about 1” below the popcorn ceiling – yes, you lose only 1” of ceiling height. The LEDs are low profile fixtures (½” – ¾” thick, UL listed or its equivalent). Under normal conditions, recessed lights are installed within the standard 1″ space, which is required for the stretch ceiling installation.
For apartment owners in high-rise buildings and condos with concrete popcorn ceilings – this is more than just an opportunity to add lighting. Most buildings do not allow channeling (using a hammer drill to chip and drill into the concrete slab). This means stretch ceiling is the only reasonable solution to add decent overhead lighting in an apartment and avoid messy popcorn ceiling removal or expensive asbestos popcorn ceiling remediation.As you can see from the photos, you can use that 1″ space for ANY wiring. Our customers have used that space in the stretch ceiling system, to pull TV cables, CAT5, speaker wires and electrical wiring for the whole apartment. This is the easiest and the cheapest way to upgrade wiring in your residence.
Basic steps to installing Stretch Ceiling with LEDs:
- Install Perimeter track.
- Mark locations of LEDS on the ceiling.
- Attach colored string(s) to the opposite sides of the track, so that the string passes through the LED location(s). This will show the level of your future stretch ceiling.
- Mount the housing for the LEDs in the desired locations and complete the wiring.
- Test the LED lights, make sure all is working. Remove the LED fixtures from the housing.
- Install Stretch Ceiling material (PVC or Textile).
- Locate the LED housing through the membrane and carefully cut the openings for the LED lights.
- Install LED light fixtures back into the housing.
LED lights can be round or square, 4”, 6” or 8”. The most popular color light is warm white. We recommend dimmable LEDs.
As opposed to Stretch Fabric Ceiling installation, popcorn ceiling removal or textured ceiling repair will leave you with the same old lighting situation. Popcorn ceiling renovation requires an overhead lighting upgrade. (If going this route, we’d recommend that you use this opportunity to install modern, energy efficient and long-lasting LED lights and transform your house or apartment).
During a renovation, the stretch ceiling installers come after the drywallers and painters. This is because the installer has to unroll large pieces of material, which have to be kept very clean. The floors and walls must be free from dust.
In the case of LED lights, the installer must come during the electrical phase or you can hire your own electrician to do the wiring. In this scenario, we should install the perimeter track and the lights first (during the electrical phase) and then come back at the end to install the fabric.
Contact us to set up an appointment to see examples of LED lights and the ceiling material