I removed all the cheap LED “recessed” lights from my ceiling and replaced them with Hue recessed lights. These lights are intended to be screwed into a traditional recessed can, but I just cut the wires and directly attached them to the wiring in the ceiling. They work just fine.

The problem is that I cannot find a good way to strongly attach them to the ceiling. Below you’ll see a photo of what I’m talking about. The only thing I could think of was using a strong adhesive tape around the edge of the trim and push it up against the ceiling. This works for a time but it always comes a little loose in the average case or just falls off completely in the worst case.

enter image description here

The trim is slightly curved, so it makes it tricky to be in full contact with the trim and the ceiling.

What is the best option for permanently attaching these lights so they stay nice and flush with the ceiling? I imagine the heat from the light is what is eventually weakening the adhesive. I’ve had better luck with the strong clear adhesive (that smells like super glue…), but eventually those will come a little loose so you can see a little gap between the light and the ceiling.

  • I gather this light is supposed to be inside an existing recessed light can, not stand-alone. Did the Hue light instructions say that cutting off the screw socket adapter and hardwiring the wires to the house wiring was a permissible installation option? If not, the install is probably not up to code. And the wire on the light needs to be code-compliant for the connection made, which it may not be, making the installation dangerous. Is there a code-compliant junction box above the Hue light? Would code not like having the Hue light covering the junction box? Oct 3, 2021 at 18:51
  • The bare wires of the existing LED lights were just connected to the bare wires in the ceiling with a pigtail. Hot and neutral. That’s all the screw connector for the Hue light was so I just cut off the screw connector and wired hot and neutral to the same wires that were in the ceiling.
    – CIFilter
    Oct 3, 2021 at 20:48
  • Is the connection inside a junction box or just hanging in the ceiling? A picture with the light moved out of the way and looking up into the ceiling will be very helpful.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 4, 2021 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


Ok a few issues with what you're doing.

  1. Retrofit led trims are not designed or listed to be installed outside of a recessed light housing. Especially if it's in direct contact with insulation.

    The metal can housing has two very important safety features that you simply can't do without. First, there is a thermo protection device that kills power to the socket if the housing gets too hot. Secondly, the housing keeps a barrier between the hot surface of the led trim heat sink and any combustible materials. it also contains any sparks created during a short circuit.

  2. I'm concerned that you mentioned that you've directly wired these trims to your building wiring. How did you accomplish that when the led trims do not have a junction box? Also, the fixture leads built in to the trim are not to be exposed. They need to be in a junction box.

  3. I'm not sure what's above that ceiling space, but if it's another finished level, and not an accessible attic, you won't be able to permanently attach these trims to the ceiling because the NEC requires all splices and junctions to remain accessible after installation. You can make it so you need a tool to access it, but you can't have it so you have to demo or damage anything to get to it.

Now, despite all these problems, there is a solution that can get you right in your situation. They are called wafer lights. They are pretty popular these days and have largely supplanted can lights altogether, one because of material cost, and two, because of installation ease. They are slim discs that are thin enough to be installed under a ceiling joist and they come with an integral junction box. They are held to the ceiling by two spring loaded clips and can easily be pulled down to access wiring or replace. I always recommend purchasing one or two spares in case one goes bad.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.