A guide to Bathroom lighting and Zones

A Guide to Bathroom Lighting and Zones

Designing a lighting installation for the bathroom in your home is not just a straightforward process as in addition to planning the layout solution, there are also strict regulations which need to be adhered to, regarding the voltage and ingress protection of lighting being proposed as well as restriction in the location of individual fittings. It is important to select bathroom lighting which will, in addition to being compliant, provide an installation offering a well illuminated space with good visibility. Bathrooms tend to be limited in size, whilst in some cases also be devoid of natural daylight and the design should create an illusion of a larger space which can be achieved by planning the installation with different forms of lighting. Before starting the design process, consider the possible lighting locations as those positions may fall within different individual zones and could affect the type of lighting equipment required for compliance.

Zone 0

is the area inside the bath or in the shower tray itself. If lighting is required in that location, any fitting which is used must use a Low Voltage supply, which is to a maximum of 12Volts and any fitting must also be rated to at least IPX7, which means it is protected against the effects of temporary immersion in water.

Zone 1

is the area above the bath or shower tray up to a height of 2250mm from the bathroom floor. Any fitting installed in this zone must have a minimum ingress protection rating of IPX4, which means it is protected against splashing water from any direction. If there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, replace the lighting to an ingress protection rating of IPX5.

Zone 2

is the area extending to 600mm outside the perimeter of the bath and to a height of 2250mm from the bathroom floor. Any fitting installed in this zone must have a minimum ingress protection rating of IPX4, which means it is protected against splashing water from any direction. It can be considered good practice to consider the area around a wash basin, within a radius of 600mm of any tap as Zone 2. If there is a likelihood of water jets being used for cleaning purposes, replace the lighting to an ingress protection rating of IPX5.

Outside the Zones

is anywhere within the bathroom outside of Zone 0, Zone 1 & Zone 2, subject to specific limits and where no water jet is likely to be used. Any fitting installed in this zone need not have any ingress protection, however if there is any likelihood of water jets ever being used for cleaning purposes, replace the lighting to an ingress protection rating of IPX5.

The Design 

Start the design process by considering the ambient lighting within the bathroom, that which will provide the general uniform illumination to the space and is generally fulfilled with recessed fittings into the ceiling. Where the bathroom height is greater than 2250mm, there may no requirement to use IP rated fittings, as they may be situated outside of the zones, however it is always recommended to install IPX5 recessed downlights for the application as they will provide adequate ingress protection from water and steam as well as operate in a higher ambient temperatures. The lighting can be installed either in a grid pattern if the space is large enough to do so or, strategically placed within the bathroom for a smaller space.

Adding task lighting can significantly change the appearance from just a bland illuminated space to a that providing focus on specific areas within the bathroom, such as the sink area and the shower. This can be achieved with supplementary downlights over the sink area, by installing an over-mirror light or using LED Strip. For the shower, a single downlight, or possibly two downlights for a walk-in shower can provide the additional focus lighting required.