Stretch ceiling lighting: selection and installation of lamps

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This article will be useful to those who are going to order stretch ceilings and decided to focus on spotlights as lighting. We will tell you how to choose the right lighting devices for a stretch ceiling, what bulbs to equip them with, how these devices are mounted.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Many people think that it is difficult or impossible to implement functional lighting on fabric or PVC canvases. In fact, stretch ceilings allow you to use any existing type of lighting products: chandeliers, LED strips, spotlights, etc..

There are only two technological problems that tension systems pose to us:

  • fabrics and films do not have their own bearing capacity;
  • canvases are afraid of high temperature.

But they are successfully solved, it is only necessary to choose the right lamps for stretch ceilings and fulfill all the generally accepted requirements for installation.

How to choose spotlights for a stretch ceiling

It so happened that in the post-Soviet space, spotlights have taken a leading position among all types of lighting. Especially when it comes to suspended (plasterboard, plastic) and stretch ceilings, where mortise models can be used. The thing is that point lighting devices allow you to solve a wide range of tasks, both practical and purely design, and for relatively little money.

Why a point light source is good:

  • can illuminate the entire room or individual zones;
  • not striking, but creates an “atmosphere”;
  • the mortise version is extremely ergonomic (important for low ceilings);
  • has a low weight;
  • inexpensive.

Luminaires for stretch ceilings: recessed, semi-recessed or overhead

Built-in lighting products are most widespread, since the stretch ceiling always retreats from the ceiling to some distance. The ceiling space is at least 3.5–4 centimeters thick, often enough to “hide” a lamp there. But keep in mind that for some models of point light sources, you have to lower the canvas lower, up to 70-120 mm. Mortise spotlights for stretch ceilings almost do not protrude above the ceiling surface and do not hide the useful height of the room. Such lighting devices, as a rule, illuminate only the room, their rays practically do not hit the ceiling, they do not focus on it.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Attention! Since the lamp is completely hidden inside, the heat generated by it almost completely enters the inter-ceiling space. Choose lamp wattage carefully.

Surface lamps are essentially miniature chandeliers that are mounted to the ceiling from the outside. Such lighting devices are distinguished by a wide variety of designs; the most intricate shades and superstructures (crystals, faceted glass) are used here. Many platform options: cast or stamped metal; under a stainless steel, gold, silver, copper / bronze patina. Overhead devices are remarkable in that they illuminate not only the room, but also the canvas of the stretch ceiling, which, for example, on gloss allows you to get very unusual effects.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

A semi-recessed luminaire is a type of built-in model in which the body of the lighting fixture is located behind the ceiling, but a significant part of the lamp is located below the plane of the canvas. These models are mounted in the same way as recessed luminaires, but similarly to overhead devices, a lot of light is sent to the ceiling. In addition, the removed lamp gives off more heat to the inner space of the room, which means that a more powerful light source can be selected..

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Spotlights: fixed or reversible

Fixed spotlights for stretch ceilings illuminate the area directly below them. In this case, we can only manipulate the layout of the lighting fixtures, placing them evenly, or by some lines.

But sometimes there is a need to focus on a certain interior item, or an area that is important from a design point of view, then swivel lamps will be the best choice. These can be built-in, semi-cut and overhead structures, in which there is a rigidly fixed part and a movable module that includes a lamp. Most of the opportunities to direct light to a given point in the room are provided by outdoor spots with fixed hinges or flexible legs. By the way, these models can be very practical if used, for example, over a makeup table or over a bathroom mirror. They are also good for illuminating shop windows and exhibition areas..

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Focused or diffused light

The shape and brightness of the luminous flux is selected depending on the tasks. Some luminaires provide a focused, well-directed light (downlights), while others generate a soft, diffused glow. The first option is good for interior zoning, and the second is preferable for calm, uniform lighting, for example, in a bedroom or living room..

As a rule, the type of luminous flux is determined by the design of the luminaire. For example, a recessed luminaire with an open lamp typically produces a concentrated beam of light. And if the lamp is enclosed in a shade or covered with a matte glass plate, then the rays soften and scatter, change color, and are partially directed to the ceiling.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Light bulbs for stretch ceilings decide a lot. Open LED models and halogens generate a dense stream, while energy-saving samples and white incandescent lamps shine evenly around them.

Attention! Too “dull” plafonds significantly conceal the productivity of the lamp, and the level of illumination in the room may not be enough.

Luminaires for wet rooms

Where the air humidity can change, ordinary spotlights cannot be used, since the risk of a short circuit and breakdown to the housing is too great (unsafe for people). When choosing luminaires for stretch ceilings in the bathroom, for areas near the pool or on an unheated balcony, you need to give preference to special models that have a high second digit in the marking of the protection level (IP). The higher it is, the better. For reference, a 4 means splash resistance and a 5 means water jet protection..

Attention! Luminaires for wet rooms always have an insulating cover for the mechanism.

Types of fixtures by light source

In this case, we will simultaneously consider the types of lamps used and the technical, operational characteristics of the lighting device itself. The fact is that each spotlight has a holder designed for a specific type of lamp. At the same time, some types of cartridges can accept lamps of different power, luminous efficiency and even different glow technologies.

So, we look at the cartridge and base. Here we can highlight:

  • threaded models (E)
  • pin (G)

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Threaded sockets are designed for screwing in incandescent lamps and fluorescent light sources. Not so long ago, LED bulbs appeared that can be used here. Products marked E27 (standard class “Edison”) and E14 (class “minion”) are distinguished by thread diameter..

Attention! A distinctive feature of such lamps is considered to be a large installation height, which is about 80–120 mm. You will have to lower the stretch ceiling to this distance.

Models of cartridges GU5,3; GU4; GU10; G4; GU6,35 are the most popular in point devices (numbers indicate the distance between conductors). Luminaires with pin sockets are designed for halogen, energy saving and some LED lamps. It is the lamp here that determines how much the ceiling needs to be lowered, since the body of these lighting devices itself is quite compact. On average, the height indicator for such lamps together with the lamp is about 50–70 mm. By the way, in this regard, semi-recessed rotary lamps with a spherical movable module (also called a “fisheye”) may be somewhat preferable in this regard, since the lamp in them is taken down a certain distance.

Some purely LED lamps for stretch ceilings, the so-called “tablets”, stand apart. The caps and lamps of the well-known model GX53 together have the best mounting heights – about 35 mm. This corresponds to the smallest possible ceiling space for tensioning systems, so there is no need to take up the height of the room.

Attention! Despite the versatility of the sockets, some luminaires are recommended by manufacturers for specific types of lamps.

Comparative table of luminaires for stretch ceilings

Model Lamp type Mounting height, mm Mount type Luminous flux type Heat Illumination of the canvas from the inside Cost, rub.
2746 Ferron E14, incandescent 40 W 85 built absent-minded there is there is 50
L-200 (IP44) Brilum GU5,3, 44 LEDs 3W 45-50 built absent-minded not not 320
DRG4-15-C-55 NLCO Single built-in 4W LED 39 built focus not not 500
88966 Eglo G4, halogen. 20 watts 0 overhead absent-minded there is not 700
SEVO Eglo G9, halogen. 40 watts 0 invoice swivel spot focus not not 1100
Reccagni angelo E14, luminescent. 12 watts 0 overhead absent-minded not not 3000
LD5000 Elektra Luminescence. 6 watts 12.5 half-cut absent-minded not not 2000

Light bulbs for stretch ceilings

As you can see, several types of lamps can be selected for the same lighting fixture. Let’s figure out what characteristics you need to pay attention to, what restrictions can become critical..

Incandescent lamps:

  1. Are the cheapest.
  2. To replace a failed lamp, you do not need to dismantle the entire lamp.
  3. The most serious drawback of such a light source is a strong heat generation, therefore, for heat-sensitive PVC cloths, a power of 40 watts is considered the maximum, and for fabric ceilings 60-watt bulbs are allowed.
  4. Another drawback – the height of the fixture of the luminaire can reach 120 millimeters..
  5. Many incandescent lamps have a “back” glow, which sometimes creates an ugly effect if the ceiling is translucent. Mirror, reflex models are devoid of this disadvantage..

Fluorescent lamps:

  1. 70-80% more economical than incandescent lamps.
  2. They generate almost no heat, therefore they have no power limitations.
  3. Almost do not light up the ceiling from the inside.
  4. Allows you to select the temperature / color of the glow (from bluish white to warm yellow).
  5. Can have an installation height of 50–70 mm as halogen or up to 100 mm as filament.
  6. Comparatively expensive.
  7. Sensitive to wiring quality and voltage characteristics. For example, they may flicker, slowly flare up.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

Halogen lamps:

  1. Produce a compact focused stream.
  2. Requires 5-7 centimeters of free space behind the ceiling.
  3. Are inexpensive.
  4. Do not light up the ceiling from the inside (choose models with a high-quality mirror).
  5. They get very hot, so use a maximum of 35 watt bulbs.
  6. Glow temperature corresponding to white daylight – not available.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

LED lamp:

  1. Lamps are assembled from LEDs for different types of holders.
  2. An order of magnitude more economical than incandescent lamps.
  3. Stretch ceiling LED luminaires can be very compact (height 35-38 mm).
  4. Do not heat up (high power can be used).
  5. Very reliable and durable.
  6. Directional luminous flux.
  7. Glow white.
  8. They are distinguished by their high cost.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

How are stretch ceiling fixtures mounted

Whichever type of spotlight is chosen, preparatory work should be done before installing the stretch canvas:

  1. A supply conductor is supplied to each lighting device and is securely fixed to the main ceiling so that during operation the wire does not sag and pull off the fabric or film. If corrugation is used, then its color (black / white / gray) is better to choose depending on the tone of the stretch ceiling (dark / light), since there are highly translucent canvases.
  2. In place of the recessed luminaire, a universal mounting platform is installed using adjustable brackets, which is selected according to the mounting diameter of specific lighting fixtures. For overhead models, the platform needs a solid.
  3. The platform is set with brackets to the level with the mounting profile (in the same plane with the future canvas). If the platform is poorly exposed, then the lamp will either pull the ceiling down, or form a depression directed up.
  4. After stretching the canvas from the outside, a suitable size thermal protective rings are glued to it, which protect the film or fabric from overheating and mechanical stress.
  5. And the last stage: holes are cut in the canvas, the cartridges are switched, the lamps are installed in place, the bulbs are inserted.

Stretch ceiling lighting. Lamps for stretch ceiling

For the correct operation of luminaires on a stretch ceiling, it is necessary to strictly observe the installation requirements, as well as to correctly select light sources. You cannot neglect the quality of the components (thermal rings, platforms, brackets), since, saving a penny, you can ruin the ceiling. Spotlights on stretch ceilings have proven themselves well as self-sufficient lighting devices, but most often they are used together with chandeliers, which the portal will talk about in the next article.

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