I would like to install recessed lighting in my vaulted ceiling. One contractor I spoke with suggested not doing that because the rafters are shallow (only 6 inches), which does not leave much room for the light housing and not much room for insulation and a channel for moisture to escape. Basically it will compromise the insulation of the roof. I already have ice dams that build up when there is heavy snow, so I don't want to add to the insulation problems. Any ideas as to if this can be done safely with 6" of roof to work with? I would be using insulated lighting (ICAT).

  • 1
    Have you considered track lighting?
    – Tester101
    Feb 6, 2012 at 20:55
  • I removed my answer because it didn't do anything with slope. However you can use a shallow can with eyballs and point them straight down. A typical slope can is 7-1/8 inch, using 1/2 drywall.The top of the can has insulation in it also. I don't know what size the channel is but it must not touch the can. Not much after that except what @Tester said, try track lights.
    – lqlarry
    Feb 6, 2012 at 22:05
  • Yes, I have considered track lights but recessed lighting looks much cleaner IMO, and what I'd like to do, if possible
    – Andrew
    Feb 6, 2012 at 22:58
  • @Andrew - I changed my answer, give it a look.
    – lqlarry
    Feb 8, 2012 at 3:15
  • Update: I went ahead with the recessed lights. I put in shallow elite (ICAT) cans with a 50W par30 bulb. I'm hoping to replace them with LED once the prices come down. BTW, I could not find any 4" remodel lights in ICAT. I would have liked 4" halogen since they're smaller and not as deep. It has only snowed once so far (2") but I did noticed six circles on the roof where the heat from the lights melted the snow. I may just not run the lights if it snows heavily to prevent ice dams. Not ideal but lighting was really important to me and they really change the dynamic of the room
    – Andrew
    Dec 10, 2012 at 3:18

2 Answers 2


You can install a shallow 6" can made for 2x6 construction. Halo H27ICAT is the 6" you can use. Lots of manufacturers make these shallow cans.


You can use regular incandescent, fluorescent and LED lamps and have a large selection of trims. The only drawback is you can't use taller lamps or they might stick out the bottom. The most common is the 50PAR30 / 75R30 style lamps. These are also made in remodel style in case the ceiling is already up.

Here is the spec sheet for the H27


I'll give this another try. I originally deleted this answer because it is not a slope can. Where I work, some people use regular can lights and use adjustable trims. Because of the depth you have, 8 inches, this can is 5-1/2 inches. I suggest you use a gimbal ring trim. It works like a eyeball, but the lamp is recessed so you don't get that 'bug eye' some people associate with eyeball trims. You can get the above can in 5 inch or 6 inch round cans, both IC rated, depending on the manufacturer your supplier uses. Think about a trim like this.

Gimbal Ring

Make sure you use the same manufacturer as the can and trim to cover yourself. This gives you 2-1/2 inches for your channel and insulation. If this doesn't float your boat try going to a local lighting showroom and look at what they might have. If you want recessed you will find what you want. Consider LEDs to keep from getting the ladder out if your slope gives you a tall ceiling. While considerably more, doing it all together will be less painful. Either way PAR30 Halogen or PAR30 LEDs offer different beam spreads, so you can at least do something with the lighting.The biggest problem is you can't shine the light back to the wall, mostly straight down or with the angle the can is hung, not backwards. If you choose this, don't forget the dimmers!

  • 1
    That still doesn't leave much room for insulation.
    – Tester101
    Feb 6, 2012 at 21:30
  • @Tester101 - as long as they don't touch wood it will be OK. The cut sheet even says "The H27ICAT housing is designed for use where 2" by 6" joist construction is used." 5-1/2 can height with a 2x6 "5-1/2" wood. Whatever the drywall is will be the clearance from whatever is above it.We sell them all the time just for this use.
    – lqlarry
    Feb 6, 2012 at 21:41
  • I had thought I had 8" rafters but they are only 6" so this leaves me with only 1/2" for insulation. My main objectives are energy efficiency of bulb (CFL -- LED still too pricey for me) and not compromising the insulation of the roof. I've read people mention that the heat given off from the light tends to melt snow and create ice dams, and I get plenty of snow and already have an ice dam issue. I would imagine a CFL would greatly reduce that effect. Perhaps if insulation is tightly packed around the light it would be okay, but I'm not sure. Thanks
    – Andrew
    Feb 8, 2012 at 16:20

Why not just add some strips to fur out the rafters? I think three inches will allow plenty of room.

And adding some strips will allow shimming to take any waviness out of the rafters.

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