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  • Sam Helme

Bathroom Lighting - The Rules and Regs!


It may be the boring bit about bathroom lighting - but water and electricity don't mix well, so an important part of it!


Throughout your bathroom you may have a range of different lights fittings ranging from decorative pendant and mirror lighting, downlights, spotlights and maybe some linear LED. These different light fittings are all suited to different areas in the bathroom, and protected to different levels to repel whatever they are required to. For example LED fittings fitted in baths/shower spaces will often need a much higher IP rating than a mirror light installed either side of a mirror above the sink.



So how is it measured?


The Ingress Protection rating, otherwise known as the IP Rating, is a measure of protection against solids and liquid. The first number is the level of protection against solids, the second the level of protection against liquids. The higher the number, the higher the level of protection in both cases. The table below shows the different levels/codes of protection fittings can have, which is usually shown on the box and on a information sticker on the fitting:


Bathroom Zones


Different requirements are needed for the different areas of a bathroom (or anywhere moisture will reach the fittings). These are broken into 4 different zones, as below


Zone 0 : In the shower tray/floor or the bath itself. Fittings in the bath need to be rated to at least IPx7 and be low voltage. For fittings inside the bath that will be submerged for a longer period of time IPx8 must be used.

Zone 1: The space around the shower or bath up to a height of 2250mm from the floor. If fittings are 240v, a 30ma residual current device (RCD) must be used to protect the circuit. I use fittings with a minimum IPx5 in a shower cubicle where splashing, spray and moisture are more contained. Fittings in Zone 1 need a minimum IPx4 rating. Wherever possible I try to keep these fittings as low voltage.

Zone 2: An area stretching 600mm outside the perimeter of the bath or shower and to a height of 2250mm from the floor. The area round a washbasin within a radius of 600mm from the tap is also withinZone 2. This area needs an IP rating of IPx4.

Zone 3 (outside zones): Anything outside Zones 0,1 or 2. No IP ratings are needed here. However if jets are likely to be used for cleaning, this would need fittings with an IPx5 rating.


The diagram below shows the zones in place in a bathroom:

When renovating your bathroom, speak to us or your electrician about the rules and regulations to make sure the correct fittings are being used.


We use Chiara lightings Arch pro fitting which can be adjusted to have a higher IP rating to suit the different applications.

Just because mirror lighting and decorative fittings in the bathroom should generally be IP rated to some extent, shouldn't limit your choices. Below are just a few of the different styles you may be be looking to achieve:



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