Shop Lighting

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Forum topic by bbc557ci posted 09-14-2013 03:35 PM 1637 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2277 days

09-14-2013 03:35 PM

Could use some feed back on shop lighting…. We just finished building the new combo garage/wood working shop. Inside is about 35×25 with 12 foot ceilings, and just waiting for the overhead doors to get delivered.

Walls are exposed framing and ceiling is OSB. Plan is to use an airless and spray the ceilings and walls white semi gloss. For lighting I’ve been thinking of either 8 foot flouresent (spelling??) fixtures or maybe just going with CFLs in ceramic fixtures. Seems 3 rows of 8 ft. flouresents would be the way to go (running the long way) but if/when a bulb needs changing it would be a PIA because of the ceiling height (and I’m not getting any younger!!). Hence the thought of CFLs. Cost is another consideration. The build has just about broke the bank!!

What do you guys, and or gals, think about lighting the place up with CFLs?

Thanks in advance :o)

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

8 replies so far

View Manitario's profile


2687 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 09-14-2013 03:55 PM

I don’t think that CFL’s will be bright enough. My current shop is 17×30 with 8 ft ceilings and I have 3 rows of fluorescent lights running the length of the shop which makes it just bright enough. CFL’s would not be bright enough for me! I’m in the process of building a new shop that is 25×40 with 10ft ceilings and I’m going with 4 rows of fluorescent tubes the length of the shop.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View mbs's profile


1657 posts in 3143 days

#2 posted 09-14-2013 04:51 PM

crank49 knows a lot about lighting. Maybe you can get him to chime in. He wrote the following on my workshop page.

T8s are good for economy. 32 watts for a 4 ft tube.
T5-HOs are the coming trend. They have 54 watts and high output for an approximately 4 ft tube.
The beauty of T5s is they can be cycled on and off without damage so they work well with motion sensors.
By the way, the number in the light designation stands for eights of an inch. So a T8 is one inch diameter.
T5 is, you guessed it, 5/8 inch diameter.

Another option is to hang the lights from a chain to make them lower than 12”.

Also consider hanging the lights such that your body doesn’t create a shadow over your work. this is especially important when your tools are against the walls of the shop.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Mark's profile


971 posts in 2177 days

#3 posted 09-14-2013 04:58 PM

BBC a 12’ ceiling is pretty high for any kind of lite fixture. Mbs pretty much nailed it with his suggestion of lowering the lites. Your thought of 3 rows is a good one. I’d drop ‘em down to 8’ but no more than that. There are the curved reflectors available for strip liting as well.

-- Mark

View Narm's profile


35 posts in 3250 days

#4 posted 09-14-2013 05:19 PM

The main area in my shop is 30X36 with 12’6” ceiling height. I painted the entire interior white and installed six four bulb T5 fixtures and they are more than enough. The great thing about them is you don’t need nearly as many fixtures for the same amount of light. I configured mine with two rows of three fixtures and I have no regrets. Check out they have the best prices I could find anywhere.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5286 posts in 1924 days

#5 posted 09-14-2013 05:22 PM

My shop is 13+’ by 32’ and with four double 48” fixtures (8 X40watts) works fairly well for my 8.5’ ceiling. Naturally it’s a little dark after just coming out of the sun and turning on cold fixtures. Most of my work gets done at night so even less of an issue normally. Each of the four fixtures is on its own switch so if I don’t need everything lit up it’s nice to know I’m at least saving a little electricity. I worked in a shop once that had 13’ ceilings and used 400watt mercury vapor lights, the kind with a large reflector, installed 12’ OC and they worked great after warming up. If you can get them cheap and won’t be in and out of your shop for couple minutes here and there, they might be the way to go.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2878 days

#6 posted 09-15-2013 12:04 AM

My shop is 30×40 with a white interior and 10 ft ceiling. I went to an electrical supply house and they faxed my info to their supplier. they recommended 7- 8 ft cold weather fluorescent light fixtures.

View Rob's profile


317 posts in 3190 days

#7 posted 09-15-2013 12:22 AM

My Garage/Shop is 24 X 40 with white walls and on the 10 foot ceilings I put up 1/2” 4 X 8 foil backed insulation panels. It holds up the insulation that is in-between the trusses and provides a little extra R value. They were a lot easier on the back putting them up too! I just used roofing nails with caps and used duct tape on the seams. For lighting, I have 4 sets of 8 foot dual fluorescent tube cold weather lights. Plenty of light as it reflects off the foil. I installed them 5 years ago and none of the bulbs have burned out yet, although I do need to take them off and clean them. The sawdust is starting to make them a little dingy.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3117 days

#8 posted 09-15-2013 01:47 AM

I’m stuck in the old T-12 world. As a matter of fact, I just bought a new case of 8ftrs and replaced all bulbs (after 10yr). I will probably by another case of bulbs before the first of the year, when T-12s are pulled off the market. For the difference in the cost of the fixtures, cost of the bulbs, and the little bit of juice saved, I figure I could never never break even on the added cost of the “new” technology. I figure it would take ~$850—$900 just to replace what I currently have with equivalent fixtures and appropriate bulbs. The case of bulbs I just bought was ~$76, or less than 10% of the upgrade cost and the first set of bulbs lasted 10yr. I do not see myself spending enough time in the shop to even save just the ~$800 difference to break even, much less actually SAVE costs. The local HD is closing out 8ft T-12 fixtures for ~$40 each, so at that price I might add one or two more for very little $$$ because at that price they are nearly as cheap as the ballast alone.

I have SIX 8ft X 2 fixtures in my 24×30 shop with 10-11ft ceiling. IMO, the best part of high ceilings is that that alone helps in creating “shadow-free” lighting. Sure, you need a few more fixtures, but it sure is nice to NOT have to worry about swinging/flipping a long piece around and knocking out bulbs.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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