Guide to Bathroom Light Zones

Bathroom Lighting Regulations

Why do bathroom lights have an IP rating?

Lighting in the bathroom is important. Regulations are very strict as to which lights you are able to use in a bathroom and to complicate matters, bathrooms have different zones, which determine what type of light you may use within that zone. Light fittings that are used in a bathroom are IP rated.

What does IP rating mean for bathroom lights?

Ingress Protection rating

Ingress means entering, in the case of bathroom lights it means, water or steam entering a light fitting – Ingress protection means the amount it is protected. There are various Ingress Protection ratings =IP ratings.The higher the IP rate is, the more protected the light is.

The rating refers to the light fittings ability to prevent solids or liquids penetrating the device’s enclosure.

IP rating

An IP rating usually has 2 or 3 numbers after it, for example IP 68. The first number corresponds to solid material entering the light fitting. E.g. Dust, tools, fingers etc. The second number would correspond to water or steam entering the light fitting.

Protection Against Solid Objects & Dust Protection Against Fluids
First Number Description / Test Second Number Description / Test
0 No Protection 0 No Protection
1 Protection against solid objects over 50mm, e.g. accidental touch by hands. 1 Protection against vertically falling drops of water.
2 Protection against solid objects over 12mm, e.g. fingers. 2 Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical.
3 Protection against solid objects over 2.5mm (tools / wires). 3 Protection against sprays to 60 degrees from the vertical.
4 Protection against solid objects over 1mm (tools / wires / small wires). 4 Protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted.
5 Protection against dust – limited ingress (no harmful deposit). 5 Protection against low pressure jets of water from all direction – limited ingress permitted.
6 Totally protected against dust. 6 Protection against strong jets of water, e.g. for use on ship decks – limited ingress permitted.
7 Protection against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m.
8 Protection against long periods of immersion under pressure.

Every light fitting has an IP rating. Bathroom lights must have higher IP ratings than lights you would use in the lounge, dining room or bedrooms etc.

Once you have found an IP rated light fitting it must now comply with the different bathroom zone areas.

Bathroom Zones

Ip ratings for different bathroom lighting zones

All installations must comply to the guidelines which are based on a zone area which is similar to the installation of lighting around a swimming pool area.
Each ZONE AREA has an IP rating. IP rating = Ingress Protection Rating. Each ZONE AREA is sought from the degree of the risk of electrical shock.
Inside the bath or shower cubicle. Rated IPx7.
The area directly above the bath or shower up to a height of 2.25 metres. Rated a minimum of IPx5.
This is the area immediately next to ZONE 1. This is 0.6 metres wide, and covers the area directly next to ZONE 1, all around ZONE 1 and also the area above the 2.25 metres high directly above the bath or shower cubicle.
Is also the area around the wash basin. Rated a minimum of IPx4.

A minimum rating IPx5 are the areas of ZONES 1 and 2 for where water jets are likely to be used for cleaning purposes.

Whilst it is important to select the style of fitting to suit your decor, safety is the most important factor when choosing a light for your bathroom. The guidelines for bathroom lights, above will help you decide which zone sector the requirements are for the positioning of light fittings in the bathroom.

The light in a bathroom needs to be as bright and as evenly spread as possible without any glare to the eye. The most important area to concentrate on usually, is around the wash basin area for make – up application and shaving etc. It is important to remember that a central ceiling light will create shadows whilst facing into a mirror at the basin area. The use of mirror lights on or over the mirror will help combat this.

Our range of suitably IP rated bathroom lighting can be viewed by following the link.