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A Comprehensive Guide to Loft Lighting Options

Would you like to know what loft lighting options are available to you? Do you even need lighting (probably, yes!) or how much it generally costs, or what are the various types? Can you install the lights yourself and if so how? What about extra plug sockets? If you have these kinds of questions then you’ve come to the right place!

Who is this guide for?

  • Anyone who’s just a bit curious about the exciting world of loft lighting (each to their own!)
  • If you’re shopping around between different loft-services-based companies and want to see what we offer
  • Anyone who thinks they need better or new lighting in their loft
  • Or if you would like to know how to install your own lighting

The estimated reading time is: 23 minutes

An introduction to loft lighting

Loft hatch and ladder seen from above with light switch
The all-important loft light switch located next to the top of the ladder

Creating access to your loft is one thing, but it’s almost pointless if you have to explore it in the dark right? A torch works, but do you really want to be rummaging through the hidden treasures in your loft holding one between your teeth just to free up both hands?

We’re guessing the answer to the above is a big NO! So, the first thing to know is that you can have a permanent loft light installed. And with a conveniently positioned loft light switch, all for next to nothing. And another thing. Artificial loft lighting, although essential at night, is not the only option available to flood this dreary room with light. Have you ever thought about the benefits of natural light? A few well-placed roof windows can light your loft for no cost during the day. In this guide, we’ll just be concentrating on electrical lights.

Also in this guide, we’ll cover the installation of power sockets in lofts as this is something that people usually ask for. More on that below!

One final thing before you get stuck into this guide…

Finally, before we dive into the options available to you it’s worth mentioning something. We’ve been installing lighting solutions in people’s lofts since 2009. So we know what we’re on about! Plus, this is something that you should know about us… we never promote half-arsed solutions… ever! That means the solutions you find on our website will be the best quality we can find. The kind of things we’d be more than happy to install within our own or loved one’s lofts.

Do I really need loft lighting?

The answer to this one should be dead simple. If you’ve got a loft space that you would actually like to use then yes. Of course. You need some kind of lighting! Who wants to go stumbling around in a spooky attic in the dark anyway? A few well-placed lights, with easy to reach switches, will transform your loft into a highly useful storage space. You could even use it as a hobby room or workshop. In which case you’ll also need some power sockets right? More on those later in this guide.

Shelving running the length of the loft
Shelving running the length of the loft with good lighting

What are the benefits of loft lighting?

Proper loft lighting can provide numerous benefits for both you and your home. Here are two of the obvious ones:

1. It enables you to get a lot more out of your loft space

We bang on a lot about the benefits of transforming your loft into a usable space. We’re passionate about it because we want people to get the most out of their properties. And when we started there was no other service out there that offered what we do. Lighting a loft properly is an integral part of that. That’s because it’s the only way you’ll be able to get the most out of it. Coupled with some electrical outlets and you’ve got yourself a space you can do a lot more with than just store a few suitcases and the Christmas decorations!

2. It will help increase the value of your home

Yep, we’re serious. If you’re planning to eventually sell your home then being able to show prospective buyers a usable loft space will increase the value of your property. It’s as simple as that. You’re adding another useful room to your house. Plus it’s an extra storage space when we know that space is a premium! And we should all know by now that selling anything requires making it look good!

Already convinced that you need to talk to us about loft lighting options?

Why not have a chat with us about getting your loft sorted out?

Before you get started

There are a few things to consider before you should decide to get loft lighting. Those things will have an impact on the work needed to complete your loft electrical work to a professional standard.

Listed below are the main points to consider before you get to work (or give us a call):

  • What to do with existing lighting
  • What if I’m considering loft boarding?
  • How many lights do you actually need?
  • What about plug sockets?
  • Should I use an NICEIC certified electrician?
  • Can I install loft lighting myself?
  • How do you work in a loft safely?
  • What personal protective equipment (PPE) should you use?

We’ll get into each of these points in more detail throughout the rest of this guide.

Existing lighting

Some of the lofts we go into do have some sort of lighting in place already. In those cases, we’ll always check to see if this lighting has been installed properly. And to the standard of an NICEIC approved contractor. If you’re already wondering what NICEIC is then we’ll cover more about it later in this article. For now, it’s just important to know that we strongly believe any electrical work completed should be done by an NICEIC certified electrician only. And that’s primarily to ensure you and your families safety!

In some cases, we may advise that your existing lighting is fine and nothing more needs to be done. Although more often than not, some work usually needs to be done such as changing the light fitting or switch, upgrading the wiring or fuse board.

If you’re unsure whether you need new lighting just speak to us and we can advise you on what’s the best solution for you. And if you’re getting other loft work done then this is the type of thing we’ll cover during your free site survey.

Are you also considering loft boarding and/or insulation as well as lighting?

You might be wondering why we’re asking this. But we do have a very good reason (we’re not just trying to flog you our services!). If you’re getting any lights or power sockets installed in your loft then this work should always be done BEFORE any boarding/insulation is put in. This is because the boarding in particular will usually conceal a lot of the electrical wiring. And in places, we may need to cut into boards to form access so knowing where this might be required is quite handy.

layers-of-insulation
Layers of insulation going in

When we do any lighting or power socket installation we always use an NICEIC certified electrician (you might not have known that!). And it’s their responsibility to check the wiring within a loft for faults. Doing so without the boarding in place is a lot easier. And in case you were wondering, wiring faults are more common in older properties… go figure, right!?

Now for some shameless self-promotion!

We really hope you love this guide so far and are finding it useful (have you checked out our other guides yet). If you’d like some great reasons to choose us to sort your loft out, we’ve put together a video just for that here:

How many lights do you actually need in your loft?

How many loft lights you’ll need is really going to be dictated by how you’re thinking of using your loft space. And the size of your loft will also play a part in that too.

If you’ve got a smallish loft, perhaps around 10-15 m2, and you just use it for basic storage then a single, bright, loft light could be all you need. In that scenario, bear in mind that some parts of the loft will be quite dark and in shadow. Therefore it might not be as easy as you think to rummage through your stuff while you’re up there!

A loft space you could use as a hobby room
A loft space you could use as a hobby room with excellent artificial and natural lighting!

If you’ve got a larger space or one that’s quite long then two or more light points might be better. And if you’re lucky to have a big loft space then you might want to consider four or more points and you could even have them recessed into the roof boarding! If you don’t know what roof boarding is then fear not… basically it’s when you get the underside of the roof insulated and boarded over. This essentially turns your loft into a “proper” room. And opens up more possibilities like being able to paint the walls and ceiling – and install sexier lighting options. Yes, we did just say that!

Type of lights + how many

The type of light you pick also matters when considering how many. We’ll get into the different types of loft lights available shortly. But first consider that you can have a single bulb, multiple single bulbs, or one or more strip lights. A strip, or ‘batten’, or even ‘tube’ light throws off a lot more light uniformly than a single bulb would. You could even have recessed lighting. So some food for thought there.

Socket with two UK plugins
The trusty double power socket

And what about power (plug) sockets?

Again, how many power sockets to consider, just like the number of lights, really depends on what you’re planning to do in your loft. 

At a minimum, even if you’re just using your loft for simple storage, you might want to give it a vac from time to time to keep the dust down. Trust us, if you’ve got a power socket up there you’ll feel very satisfied with yourself!

Planning to install a number of plant growing lights in your loft? If that’s the case you might need quite a few power outlets. We’ve got no idea at all why anyone would need to grow plants or shrubbery in a loft but if that’s how you spend your weekends that’s up to you! Whatever your special “hobby” entails, it’s worth having a think about your electrical power needs. It could get annoying (and dangerous) to use extension cables. You’ve been warned!

Should I use an NICEIC certified electrician?

NICEIC logo

Firstly, let’s cover off what the NICEIC actually is. It stands for National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. Quite a mouthful, we know, but actually they do a very important job. Its mission is to ensure that any electrical work is safe and to a high standard. It’s worth bearing in mind though that this is a voluntary regulatory body and as such electricians are not required to be certified. Those who are certified by NICEIC “are assessed on a regular basis to ensure that they are competent and capable of meeting the relevant technical and safety standards, codes of practice and rules”. 

We think that electricians working within your loft should be certified. And at The Loft Boys, we will only use NICEIC certified electricians. This gives both us and our customers that extra peace of mind that any work that is undertaken will meet safety standards. This is particularly important in a loft where there can be items that are flammable. The electricians we use will leave our customers with a signed test certificate upon completion of work.

If you’re considering getting any electrical work done within your home we’d highly recommend asking if they are registered with the NICEIC. Just like when you have building work done, you probably wouldn’t consider using a building contractor who didn’t have a CSCS card.

Can I install loft lighting myself?

The simple answer to this is, not usually. Any electrical work with a home should always be done by a qualified and experienced electrician. If that’s you, then crack on but have a think about loft safety before doing so (more on that below). 

There’s one exception to this rule though and that comes in the form of the awesome battery-powered LED loft light! Oh yes, you read that correctly. Are we too excited? Probably. We just love that little light a lot because it’s such a great solution. It gets you going with loft lighting quickly and cheaply. More on its specs below but for now you just need to know that yes, you could totally install one or several of these yourself! Before you do install these yourself you should be aware of how to work in a loft safely (see below).

The different types of loft lighting

If like us you’re a proper loft nerd then this is probably the part of the guide you’ve been looking forward to the most! So without further ado let’s dive into the different light options available for your loft:

loft LED light on

Battery Powered LED Loft Light

This is the perfect option if you’ve got simple loft needs or you’re looking for a low-cost solution. Despite its compact size, this little light packs quite a punch and provides the equivalent illumination of a 32-watt bulb (350 Lumen). With three D batteries, it will last approximately 4 years if you use it for about 20 mins a month. It comes with an extra-long (2 metres) and highly-visible pull string to switch it on or off. And it can be screwed directly to any timber element in the loft (roof truss, rafter, purlin or noggin). It utilises the latest in LED technology and is CE certified, and RoHs and WEEE compliant.

We currently supply and install these lights from £32 inc. VAT as part of a loft installation but you can find them quite easily if you shop around.

bulb holder white image background

Single Bulb Holder & Switch

This is a simple way to illuminate your loft space. And it’s ideal for a small area of storage and for placement near any services within the loft that may require maintenance. The set-up is simply a holder for the bulb which is screwed onto a timber element in the loft (again, it could be a roof truss, rafter, purlin or noggin). And then there’s a wire running from that down to the circuit. 

The actual light bulbs you’ll need are the standard screw-in variety you can buy from lots of shops. The switch is just your standard 1 way kind in white and that can be mounted near to the hatch so it’s easy to reach without you needing to get all the way up into the loft.

At the time of writing, we install this type of light from £267 inc. VAT as part of a loft installation.

Ultra 40W LED Batten Light & Switch – 5 or 6-foot length

These batten lights are very powerful and can brighten up a much larger area than a single bulb. It’s a good solution if you’ve got a big space to lighten up and you also want to make the place feel a bit warmer and cosier. We used to stock the fluorescent kind but now only stock and install the LED variety which we believe to be far superior. (If you’re still not convinced about using LEDs over fluorescent lights, we’ve got a small section below that explains the benefits in more detail).

As with the other types of lights, battens are simple to install and won’t require any additional support.

We currently install this type of light from £307 for the 5-foot and from £327 for the 6-foot (all pricing includes VAT). And once again, we will only do this type of install as part of a loft installation.

recessed lights

Recessed Lights

If you’ve done your research – or talked to a loft expert – and decided on a “warm loft” installation then you might have thought about recessed lighting as an option. If you haven’t even considered this then fear not, let me explain. When you insulate the inside of the roof and then board over it (creating a “warm loft”), it can be possible to also install recessed lighting (which are usually small round lights that are sunk into a ceiling at intervals). 

We asked our head Loft Boy (and company founder) Dean Taylor for his input and this is what he said:

“Recessed lights are normally installed into the apex of the roof by squaring it off to accommodate them. They could be installed into a pitched roof but in those cases, you would normally need the rafters to be extended and made deep enough to house the lights with adequate breathing space. This can be achieved by planting another piece of timber straight onto the inside face of the rafter to get extra depth.”

This option will introduce some other considerations such as: where the electrical wiring runs; how to adequately insulate around the light fittings; and how to deal with the heat given off by the lights or their components. 

If this is something that you’d consider then it would be best to talk to professional loft installers such as us to go over all the options. We work directly with electricians to come up with a solution that’s suitable for your loft space and requirements.

image of open roof window

Natural Lighting

Okay, so we did say we’d be concentrating on artificial loft lighting options in this guide but we’d be doing ourselves a bit of a disservice if we didn’t mention this option at least one more time! So, you’ve probably guessed that by ‘natural’ we’re talking about roof windows. If you’ve had a chance to look through the rest of our website you might have discovered that we install Velux windows for customers. To be fair though, this is the best type of light you can get and is far superior to artificial lights, even on gloomy days! Yes, you probably will want a few electric lights too but roof windows are worth considering if you’ve got the budget and are thinking of doing a little more with your loft space than just using it for storage. 

We only work with Velux at the moment and that’s simply because we think they are flipping fantastic! The build quality is truly great and anyone with Velux windows will tell you how awesome they are. And yes, roof window envy is definitely a thing! The good news is that you can have a piece of the action without spending a fortune on a full-blown loft conversion done. Just saying.

For more on our roof window service check out the dedicated guide we created.

How much do loft lights cost?

As you would have hopefully read above, lights for your loft could cost as little as £32. That’s what we charge if you’re getting them installed by us and as part of a larger loft installation. If you’re looking for just the lights without installation then you can find battery or non-battery-powered options for less than £32. 

Steps for installing the battery-powered loft light
Steps for installing the battery-powered loft light

As we’ve said before, just make sure you know what you’re doing when working with electrical lighting. If in doubt, call in a professional!

How much do power sockets cost?

We can currently professionally install a double power socket from £397 inc. VAT. With that, you’ll also get a certificate that it’s been fully tested by one of our NICEIC certified electricians.

We don’t do this as a stand-alone service though, only as part of a loft installation with boarding too. If you definitely don’t need any other loft work done then there are thousands of decent electricians who would be happy to help you out. The NICEIC website has a handy find a contractor function that is worth a go.

What If I need more than one power socket installed?

The price for additional sockets will normally be much less than the first one. That’s because the electrician is already on-site and can extend from the first outlet. We currently charge £177 for additional sockets.

Which is the best type of loft light?

If you’ve already had a read-through of the different types of loft lights available that’s great! In that case, you’re probably coming to your own conclusion about which one is best. It’s hard to say categorically as it does depend on the space you have. A long batten light might be a little over the top for a tiny loft space. Certainly, though, the batten lights give off the widest light so will brighten a larger area than a single bulb could. That will also mean fewer shadows (scared of ghosts anyone?). 

finished loft with single battery light
Finished loft with single battery light
Finished loft with batten strip light
Finished loft with batten strip light

We’ll always have a soft spot for the handy battery-powered light and quite often customers will be very happy with a couple of those put up. 

Of course, if you’ve got the extra budget and really want to go to town then roof windows are the ultimate in loft lighting! There’s nothing better than throwing some natural light on the subject although you will still need some artificial light for after-hours loft shenanigans.

A well-lit loft space where we installed two LED batten lights

LEDs Versus Fluorescent Lights

LEDs (light-emitting diodes) have many well-documented advantages over fluorescent or incandescent types of lighting. Even if you haven’t used them in your own home yet, they are fast becoming ubiquitous everywhere else… from street lights to car headlamps. 

At The Loft Boys we now only supply and install LED lights as we think they are far superior in lots of ways plus much easier to work with. 

Here are some advantages to using LEDs over fluorescent lights:

  • Higher efficiency – LEDs use less energy with savings of up to 30-50%!
  • Longer lifetimes – LED lights can last up to 13x longer than fluorescent bulbs.
  • More rugged – LED lights are usually encased in hard plastic rather than glass so if you accidentally bump into one whilst moving some boxes around you won’t smash it! 
  • They are cooler – no, we don’t mean they will increase your street-cred, we mean they give off a lot less heat than fluorescent bulbs. Actually, the LED itself doesn’t give off any heat but with some lighting fixtures, the electronic components around the light will get hot.
  • No mercury – which is highly toxic to humans!

If you’re ready to talk about a full loft install that includes lighting then why not book a free survey?

Book a free survey and have a chat with us about getting your loft sorted out.

Working in your loft safely

At The Loft Boys, we take the health and safety of our loft installation teams extremely seriously. So if you’re a qualified electrician ready to install some lighting or plug sockets – or even if you’re just putting up some battery-powered lights – there are a few things you should consider when working in a loft. We take health and safety extremely seriously at The Loft Boys. Over the years we’ve compiled a set of guidelines that our teams have to follow.

Here’s a list of things to consider before you get to work:

  • If working within an un-floored loft space then crawl/kneel boards should be laid to enable safe movement. These can be temporarily fixed in place to eradicate the risk of creating traps or movement.
  • Try to ensure that the loft is well ventilated and free from condensation.
  • Ensure that the loft is well-lit so you can see exactly what you’re doing. Obviously, if you’re installing lights then there might not be enough light in place already to work with. That’s why another decent light source – such as a battery-powered light – is essential, even if you’re also installing a proper light bulb or batten lights.
  • Wear a protective face mask to prevent breathing in dust particles. 3M are generally considered the market leaders but a quick search for ‘Dust Masks & Respirators’ will give you plenty of options. If you can’t get hold of an industrial-quality mask then even just a simple one is better than nothing!
  • Crawling around on your knees for any amount of time can get pretty gruelling so you might also benefit from using knee pads or a couple of old cushions.
  • And finally, if your home was built before the year 2000 it’s possible that asbestos-containing materials could be present in your loft. If you suspect there is Asbestos in your loft then don’t take the risk, talk to us about how it can be safely removed (that’s something we can do for you!).

Conclusion: If you’re planning on doing anything in your loft, you need light! The good news is that putting decent quality lighting up in your loft can be done quickly and cheaply.

Having decent lighting in your loft – and not just using the torch on your mobile each time – will enable you to get the most out of your space. Safely and efficiently. As we’ve seen, the options start with a simple battery-powered light that can be installed quickly, by most people. For more light then you’ll need to connect either single bulbs or batten lights to the mains, and for that, it’s best to bring in a professional. Remember: electric shocks can kill! 

If you’ve got the budget for it then why not install natural (in the form of Velux roof windows) + artificial lighting? This will give you many more possibilities for ways of using your loft space. Hobby room anyone? If you’d also like to utilise your loft as a storage space then loft boarding is the way to go. Check out our guide to all things loft boarding. Or, head over to our loft packages page. If you’ve got other questions about us or our services you could check out our FAQs page or just get in touch.

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