Sloped ceilings are often able to provide dramatic geometry in a home, but they are also problematic. The unusual angles can make it difficult to install lighting the way you might want to. This means that you’re probably looking into using a sloped ceiling adapter. After all, lighting is always very important. It can transform the room by drawing attention where it is needed. So, we’ve thoroughly researched when you need a sloped ceiling adapter, and how to use one.
You should install a sloped ceiling adapter for your lighting fixtures when the ceiling is angled too far. Most light fixtures only support a slanted angle, ranging from fifteen degrees to thirty degrees, with some exceptions. If your ceiling has a steeper angle than that, follow these steps to install a sloped ceiling adapter:
- Measure the ceiling pitch
- Measure downrod length and clearance
- Weigh fixtures for outlet box
- Assemble wires and equipment
Many lighting fixtures are able to hang just fine on sloped ceilings with the mounting system in the box. But to a certain degree, this equipment just doesn’t cut it. When your ceiling is steeped at too severe of an angle, it’s time to use a sloped ceiling adapter. Keep reading to learn how to install one, and how to light the room once you can.
What is a sloped ceiling called?
Before investing in a sloped ceiling adapter for every light fixture in the room, you should learn about sloped ceilings themselves. This may help you shop for the right adapter when certain brands use different terminology.
A sloped ceiling is also known as a vaulted roof or a “Cathedral” ceiling style. This is because the slope doesn’t form an archway. Instead, a vaulted ceiling will just line up with the roof. In this way, sloped ceilings are able to occupy attic space that would otherwise go unused. This creates more space inside the room, adding both height and style versatility. You can read this post to learn how to hang a picture on sloped ceilings and walls.
Do I need a sloped ceiling adapter?
The lighting in your home needs to be handled very carefully. This is important for both safety and style. It should always be easy to view everything as you walk throughout the rooms. Otherwise, all of the investments you put into expensive furniture and décor will be wasted. If there are lingering shadows in the corners of the room, it will be highly distracting for everyone.
More importantly, the lighting fixtures need to be secured properly to the ceiling. You and your guests will constantly be traveling underneath these fixtures. If the ceiling is sloped, then the canopies above your light fixtures will be hanging even higher than usual fixtures. It should be safe to walk beneath them.
Besides, if the lighting fixtures are elaborate or valuable, a fallen light can create a mess and be difficult to replace. In fact, lighting fixtures with a rigid downrod won’t work with any kind of slope. Instead of taking all of these risks, it’s worthwhile to purchase a sloped ceiling adapter.
If your ceiling is sloped at a noticeably high angle, then it may be pretty clear that you need a sloped ceiling adapter. But the only way to be certain if you need one of these adapters is to follow the first step of installation. You’ll need to measure your ceiling correctly and determine if the current light fixture won’t support the angle.
How do I install a sloped ceiling adapter?
If you feel that you might need a sloped ceiling adapter, there are a few steps to follow in order to install the equipment properly. To begin with, there is a lot of preparation before any actual installation. But it is essential to make sure the lighting fixtures will be secure.
If you aren’t sure that you need a sloped ceiling adapter, then be sure that you at least measure the pitch of your ceiling. This is the most important step in the process, but it will also require a lot of work. You should make sure you have enough time and the right tools for the job.
You will need a ladder to reach higher places, as well as a measuring tape and a level. A laser level can project straight lines in a variety of angles. The price tag for a laser level can range from fifteen US dollars to a hundred.
You can choose the level of quality for your budget. Either the measuring tape or laser level will be necessary in order to measure the slope of your ceiling.
Step One - Measure the Ceiling Pitch
The angle of your slope is also known as the “pitch.” This measurement doesn’t always have to be exact. You just have to determine that the slope of the ceiling is clearly more than thirty degrees or so. You can likely refer to the manufacturer of your desired lighting fixtures in order to find the highest slope angle they support.
The first thing you need to do is measure the rise and run of your ceiling. There is a universal formula for this calculation.
The rise is determined by measuring the height of the slope. This will be the difference between the height of the ceiling and the height of the wall.
The run is determined by measuring the length of the slope. This is the length from the highest point of the ceiling to its lowest point.
Divide the rise by the run for a decimal solution. Then, find the arctangent of this decimal. Unless you feel confident about the math, you can find a calculator online to find the arctangent. This will result in the slope’s total degrees. Home Depot agrees with the accuracy of this formula.
Step Two - Measure Downrod Length and Clearance
Now you will need to measure the total length of the downrod on your light fixture. Once you know how low the light is going to hang from the ceiling, you can use this result to find the right clearance. The correct clearance will be determined by where the lighting fixture is installed and what kind of lighting fixture you are using.
Specialists like Lamps Expo advise that a chandelier's height is determined by the ceiling’s height, where every foot of the ceiling’s height equals three inches of the chandelier’s height. For example, a traditional eight-foot ceiling would require a chandelier around twenty-four inches tall.
If you’re hanging a pendant light above an object like a dining table, then the rule changes again. It’s usually suggested that you hang a light between thirty and thirty-six inches above a dining table.
No matter what, your light fixtures should hang at least one and a half to three feet away from the nearest wall. Also, measure the diameter of your downrod. Some ceiling adapters only work with a certain diameter.
Step Three - Weigh Fixtures for Outlet Box
Your outlet box is what houses all of the wiring inside the light fixture’s canopy. This makes it crucial that you weigh the light fixtures. Traditional outlet boxes cannot support a weight of more than fifty pounds. If your lights weigh more than fifty pounds, you’ll have to find another option. Some sloped ceiling adapters don’t come with an outlet box at all.
Step Four - Assemble Wires and Equipment
Now you are free to begin installing the sloped ceiling adapter. Before you work with anything electrical, it’s always a good idea to turn off the circuit breaker.
Different sloped ceiling adapters may have different instructions. But most of them will involve screwing different pieces together. These pieces usually include a mounting bracket, the canopy, an outlet box, and the downrod. Aligning and securing everything properly is crucial for a secure fixture.
How do you light a room with a sloped ceiling?
A sloped ceiling adds a lot of height to your room, but the basic lighting principles remain the same. After you evenly hang all of your lights at the same height, you should determine how far they should be spaced apart.
The space between your lights is based on their unique size, radiance, and purpose. For example, you can calculate how far apart recessed lights should be by dividing the height of your ceiling in half. Pros like LightUp advise using this formula, too. You can read this post to learn how far apart recessed lighting should be.
What is the best lighting for a sloped ceiling?
The best lighting for a vaulted ceiling would actually be fixtures with an adjustable downrod. This will make it easier to work with the sloped ceiling.
Recessed lights are hidden directly into the ceiling. This would look awkward on a slanted surface, and you would lose light further up the ceiling. Meanwhile, even light fixtures with a rigid downrod can work with a sloped ceiling adapter.
A chandelier may not be a good idea for a sloped ceiling either. This is because chandeliers are often much heavier than regular lights. They are also more valuable, so they are a greater risk.
Preparing for a sloped ceiling adapter can take a lot of work, but it does pay off. Vaulted ceilings are beautiful but complicated, and a sloped ceiling adapter can allow you to reclaim the roof. Now that you know how to work with a sloped ceiling adapter, the lighting in your room is limited only by your creativity.