What Are Bathroom Lighting Zones? A Guide to Bathroom Lighting Regulations

bathroom lighting zones

Did you know that the location and type of lighting in your bathroom is dictated by bathroom lighting zones? Lighting a bathroom is different to lighting any other room in your house due to the high levels of moisture and steam present. These unique conditions mean that any lighting installed in your bathroom has to be appropriately water resistant to ensure both your safety and the longevity and performance of the lighting itself. Bathroom light regulations exist to guide you on what each bathroom light zone is and what type of lighting you should use.

However, if this is all new to you, don’t worry. We have put together our very own simple guide to the bathroom lighting zones to help you make sure you’re choosing the right lighting types for your bathroom space.

Bathroom Light Zones: An Introduction

The IET wiring regulations make up the UK’s national standard for safe electrical installation, and they set out four basic ‘hazard zones’ for bathroom lighting. Each bathroom light zone represents the various proximities of light fittings to bathroom water sources, dictating which types of lighting can be safely used in each zone.

Light fittings that are placed directly over the shower stall, for example, will be exposed to much higher levels of steam and moisture than lights that are placed on the opposite wall, therefore requiring water resistant light fittings.

Here’s a guide to the basic bathroom lighting zones and the types of lighting that can be used in each one:

bathroom lighting zones

The Zones

Zone 0: Lighting directly inside the bath or shower

Zone 1: Lighting directly above the bath or shower, up to 2.25 metres(m) from the floor

Zone 2: Lighting placed either side of the bath, shower or wash basin up to 600mm (0.6m) outside the perimeter of the water sources and up to 2.25m from the floor.

Outside Zones: Any areas outside of the above lighting zones

The Lighting

The types of lighting for bathrooms are usually identified by their zone suitability or IP rating, or both, as set out in the bathroom light regulations. An IP (Ingress Protection) rating ranks the light source by how effectively it is protected from liquids or solid objects, and this will dictate where in your bathroom you will be able to safely install the light.

An IP rating is always indicated by the initials ‘IP’ followed by two digits. The first digit indicates the level of protection from solids, so you can ignore the first digit when looking for bathroom lights. It is the second digit you want to pay attention to, as this indicates how water resistant the light is. The higher the digit, the more water resistant your light will be.

Here’s a breakdown of the water IP rating digits and the level of protection they indicate, according to the latest bathroom light regulations:

IP Rating (2nd Digit) Protected Against …
0 Not protected
1 Dripping water
2 Dripping water when tilted (15 degrees)
3 Spraying water
4 Splashing water
5 Water jets
6 Powerful water jets
7 Immersion (up to depth of 1m)
8 Immersion (beyond 1m)

And if you’re still unsure about which IP rating you need to choose, here’s a list of recommended IP ratings (in their full form) for each of your bathroom lighting zones:

Lighting Zone IP Rating
0 IP67
1 IP45 or higher
2 IP44
Outside Zones IP20 (IP44 recommended)

Now you’re clued up on all the bathroom light zones you can begin choosing your brand new bathroom lights to suit your tastes and bathroom space. Here at Moonlight Design we have a wide range of bathroom lighting for you to choose from, including stylish recessed downlights, spotlights and wall lights.

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