Recessed lighting comes in a wide range of options that you can pick from for your house that can depend on several factors. In particular, there can be some confusion about remodel vs new construction recessed lighting.

You can go through their differences and factors to consider below.

Recessed Lighting

remodel vs new construction recessed lighting

Recessed lighting itself is a light fixture that you can install directly into a wall or ceiling in a way that only the exterior part of its structure is visible. In this sense, recessed lighting includes the housing, which goes into the ceiling and the trim, which goes into the housing.

When it comes to recessed lighting, you will mainly need to pick between remodel and new construction recessed lighting, depending on your requirements as well as the kind of installation process you can undertake.

Remodel vs New Construction Recessed Lighting — Things to Consider

There are several things you should consider when it comes to choosing either remodel lighting or new construction lighting for your wall or ceiling. You can go through these considerations and their differences below to pick the right one for yourself.

1. Installation

The main difference between remodel recessed lighting and new construction recessed lighting is that of installation.

Remodel lighting fixtures are those that you can install into the topmost part of your ceiling using some metal clips. Essentially, the housing is meant to go into the openings in a ceiling, following which you can insert the clips to hold it together.

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These fixtures can work well for houses or structures that are already established. For instance, if you want to highlight or light up a certain part of your house, then a remodel fixture can be more convenient for you.

New construction lighting fixtures, on the other hand, are those that you can install to the frame or joists of your ceiling when your house is still under construction and the drywall of your ceiling is yet to be added.

These fixtures have strong support in terms of their installation. If you want to install these fixtures after the construction process instead, then you can only do this if there is accessible crawl or attic space.

2. Ceiling Insulation

If your ceiling has insulation, then you will need to take this into account when it comes to deciding which kind of recessed lighting fixture to opt for.

Make sure you look for an IC (insulation contact) label on the fixture to ensure that it is suitable in terms of its ratings to be installed in an insulated ceiling. This kind of fixture can also be quite energy efficient.

If you do not find this rating or label, then you will need to get an additional cover installed that might add to your expenses.

In this sense, whether you opt for remodel or new construction fixtures, you will need to check for the rating, although both of these usually have this label.

3. Trims

In terms of the trims, sizes and designs of the lighting fixtures, there are a few differences between remodel and new construction fixtures.

You can expect a wider range of options when it comes to new construction fixtures since their direct installation to the joists can make them more versatile. Since they have sturdy support, the sizes and designs can vary quite a bit.

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On the other hand, since remodel fixtures need to be pushed up into the drywall, the options can be a bit more limited.

4. Weight

The weight of remodel and new construction recessed lighting fixtures can differ based on their individual types, although some new construction fixtures are likely to be heavier based on the fact that they can also have bigger trims and sizes.

Further, new construction fixtures tend to have better support structures around them which can support their weight, allowing you to opt for them without too much concern.

Since remodel fixtures are installed after the ceiling is already in place, it can be difficult to install heavier fixtures, which is why they are usually lighter.

5. Cost

recessed ceiling lights

New construction lighting fixtures are more affordable and cost-effective as compared to remodel lighting fixtures since you can manage everything during the construction process itself without needing to make other structural changes.

This can then also reduce the long-term costs of these fixtures.

However, if you are installing fixtures in a retrofit manner, then remodel fixtures can be cheaper, especially if your installation requirements are relatively small in scale.

6. Voltage

There is not much difference in the voltage when it comes to remodel and new construction recessed lighting fixtures. This is more likely to depend on individual fixtures, so make sure you confirm this while choosing one.

Generally, you should go for low voltage options if your needs are restricted to a certain area of a room or improve the appearance of the room.

If you want to light up a larger area such as an entire room, then go for higher voltages.

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7. Bulb

Since new construction fixtures tend to have more options and trims, you can also expect this to extend to the kind of bulb you can install in the housing or the holder. The options might be a bit more limited when it comes to remodel fixtures, although you will still be able to find something that works for you.

Depending on your lighting requirements, you can opt for fluorescent, halogen, LED or incandescent bulbs. Make sure you confirm relevant lighting codes if any.

8. Wiring

The wiring process can be a lot more convenient if you have crawl or attic space that can then allow you to install a new construction lighting fixture.

If you are installing a remodel fixture, on the other hand, you will need to ensure that you drill holes through the ceiling and joists so that you can manage the wire feeding better.

Choosing the right kind of wire for this is also important, although you can consult your electrician about this.

9. Circuit

You can install multiple fixtures of both remodel and new construction recessed lighting fixtures on the same circuit. However, you will need to opt for low ratings in terms of the wattage of the fixtures themselves.

Once you figure this out, you can be free to install bulbs of any wattage rating in your recessed lighting fixtures.

Parting Thoughts

Overall, new construction fixtures can provide better sturdiness as well as more options as compared to remodel fixtures, but you can only install them if you have an accessible attic space or if your ceiling is not yet fully formed. Remodel lighting can be better in the case of retrofitting.

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