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When to Specify a Fire-Rated Downlight

Fire-rated downlights provide a solution to increase a building’s integrity against fire. When installing recessed downlights, using a fire-rated downlight from RP Lighting can noticeably reduce the time it takes for a fire to spread when it is compared to a non-fire-rated recessed light.

Why is specifying a fire-rated light fixture important?

As we know, there is an increase in multi-family homes being built, and many people already live in multi-family homes and apartments. These personal dwellings are accessed by common spaces such as corridors, stairways, lobbies, and entry/exit doors. 

The common areas in these types of multi-unit buildings have regulations that directly relate to controlling fire spread. These spaces are designed and constructed to provide specified fire protection levels that will allow the occupants to exit the building safely if an emergency arises.


In a nutshell, fire-rated products’ role is to delay a fire’s spread, allowing the occupants greater time to exit a building.  

Here is what the IBC says:

“The International Building Code Section 711.4.2 states, “Where floor/ceiling assemblies are required to have a minimum 1-hour fire-resistance rating, recessed fixtures shall be installed such that the required fire resistance of the ceiling will not be reduced.”

Also, the Uniform Building Code states, “When materials are incorporated into an otherwise fire-resistive assembly that may change the capacity for heat dissipation, fire test results or other substantiating data shall be made available to the building official to show that the required fire-resistive time period is not reduced.”

In single home residential applications, the use of fire-rated recessed lighting is often limited to the garages and walls connecting garages to the main structure of a home. 

We find the use of fire-rated products in more spaces when it applies to multi-family, commercial, hospitality, and institutional construction. Again, think safety! 

But how does this pertain to lighting? The fire rated recessed light maintains the integrity of the fire-rating that is stated on the building materials. To demonstrate an example, think of a building that uses fire-rated sheetrocking material with a 90-minute rating between the first and second floors.  When recessed lighting is installed on the first floor, the sheetrock is penetrated to install the lights, thereby compromising the sheetrock’s effective fire rating.  To maintain the fire rating of the sheetrock and to meet code compliance, the use of a dedicated fire rated fixture like 

When an airtight enclosure is needed, when using a non-fire-rated fixture including a fire rated barrier around the fixture, it is required.

Estrin Zirkman Sales has immediately available fire-rated downlight solutions in multiple sizes.