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What type of lights?

I just bought a house built in the 1960s and added onto in the 1970s. There is no overhead lighting in the entire house. It has exposed beams and cedar tongue and groove ceilings. We're thinking about putting in recessed lighting and I don't know enough about lights to know what is best for overall lighting a room. We'll add task lights and ambiance lights later, but for overall lighting, what is the best?

Re: What type of lights?

What kind of construction method is you house ?? I once had a post & beam modern (1 story) house which has tongue & groove plank ceilings --- basically, it had no joists and no gap space; the (mostly flat) roof was a layer over the tongue & groove planks.
If that's what you have, you can forget about recessed lighting.

Re: What type of lights?

I'm guessing that the cedar tongue-and-groove you see is actually the subfloor for the upstairs or roof. There simply is no way to install wiring inside of this; all your overhead wiring will be exposed. While the NEC generally permits exposed Romex above a certain height, it's not very pretty and your inspector may grump about it. The selection of standard fixtures that are compatible with exposed wiring is minimal; most are designed to interface with a recessed electrical box.

Find an electrical wholesale house and talk to them about some of the new LED lighting options they have in their product catalogs. Many of those places will sell retail, usually with a minimum charge of $30-100. With LED, there are fixture styles that simply are not possible with CFL or incandescent. You won't find them at your big-box store.

Compared to CFLs, LEDs are more expensive, but are slightly more efficient, have a longer service life, run much cooler, and are dimmable. Some LEDs present a noticeable flicker; others don't. Different LEDs have different color casts; choose carefully as this can really affect the "mood" of the room.

Another option is track lighting. This would allow the use of CFL, incandescent/halogen, or even LED lighting.

You just might find something that fits in with the style of your house and doesn't look like a hack job.

There is also the option of dropping the ceiling to the bottom of the beams creating a cavity where wiring, boxes, and recessed fixtures may be installed, but you'll no longer have the exposed beams.

Re: What type of lights?

FP: he hasn't said anymore so it would be unproductive to go into too many details.

He biggest challenge will be an electrical powersource, either running up behind drywall wall (and across studs) to reach the ceiling or using an existing overhead box (which he said he doesn't have).

In our 1-story post & beam house, we tapped from an overhead box.

We had a "soaring ceiling" (pitched height of 8-11 feet) and the wife chose 12v halogen because of small point light source. But the transformer was 300w so it powered only a limited number of lights, and the dimmer was a special $80 electronic one to have low hum (it was a $2,500 project just for the Living room and broke my wife's heart to have to leave it when we sold).

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