Bathroom Lighting Zones Explained: IP Ratings, Zones, and Diagram

Bathroom Lighting Zones

When it comes to UK bathroom lighting, you will have to know the different zones that make up a bathroom layout. Bathroom lighting zones are based on how close they are to water and how likely any light fixtures in the zone will get wet. By knowing the different zones, you can then choose the right light fixtures for safe lighting. Bathroom light fixtures will have an IP rating, which rates how well the electrical components are protected. The zones and ratings are set by the IEE Wiring Regulations, a UK national standard in which all wiring must adhere to. So if you are looking to install a range of bathroom lighting ideas within in the UK, these zones and ratings are important for safe wiring.

IP Ratings

Each bathroom light fixture will have an IP rating. There are two numbers in an IP rating, the first is the protection the light has against dirt, insects, and other foreign things. The second number is the one that applies to bathroom lighting, this is the amount of protection the light has against liquid and moisture. The second number will range from 0-8, with 8 being the most protected from moisture and water.

8 = the light fixture can be used for pressurized immersion
7 = the light fixture can be submerged in water up to 1 meter in depth.
6 = the light fixture can withstand high pressure water jets, coming from all directions
5 = the light fixture is protected from water jets
4 = the light fixture is protected from water spray from all directions
3 = the light fixture is protected from water spray when tilted 60º
2 = the light fixture is protected from water spray when tilted 15º
1 = the light fixture is protected against condensation

The Different Bathroom Lighting Zones

Lighting zones in a bathroom is determined by the distance from a water source. In order for safe bathroom lighting, light fixtures with the right IP rating need to be used within specific zones.

bathroom lighting zones explained

Zone 0: There are a number of ways to add decorative lighting within water fixtures. For example taps and shower heads can have LED lights fitted inside of them. Zone 0 refers to areas that will be submerged in or have direct exposure to water: inside bath tubs, the shower base, or inside a basin are other examples. Lights in zone 0 must have an IP rating of IP67, and must be low voltage (12v or less).

Zone 1: This zone is usually made up of areas above (up to 2.25m) a bath tub and a shower base. Lights for this area should be rated IP44, or if the lights will be in direct contact with water, such as inside a shower space, the lights need to be rated IP65.

Zone 2: This is where any water might be splashed. So right next to zones 0 and 1, measuring 0.6m horizontally and up to 2.25m vertically. This zone also applies to wash basins, ranging 0.6m in diameter around the water source (the tap). Light fixtures in zone 2 need to be rated IP44 or better.

Not Zoned (Use to be Zone 3): This is any area beyond zone 2 (white area in the diagram). There are no requirements when it comes to lighting past zones 0,1, and 2. It would be wise though to use lights that are rated IP44.

The information provided above should only be used as a basic guide. For the full comprehensive guide, the 17th Edition to the IEE Wiring Regulations can be bought here. An easier route would be to use a qualified electrician when deciding what light fixtures to use in the bathroom. After having bathroom lighting zones explained, why not take a look at our posts regarding different bathroom lighting design ideas and styles:

More bathroom lighting posts:

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