Do you think using a 1 gallon metal paint bucket as a barrier in the attic over 3" non-IC rated recessed lighting will cause any heat problems?

I've been looking for ways to keep the blown in insulation away from my recessed cans that will also allow me to seal and insulate over them and thought this would be a cheap way to go. It seems safer to me than plastic or a hand made foam board box. I plan to use fire-rated caulking around the perimeter of the can to seal it to the attic floor and make it air tight. I'll probably slap some HVAC mastic on the can's seams for good measure and then insulate directly over the paint bucket.


1 Answer 1


Yes to causing heat problems, No to using a closed cover.

There is a 3" distance spec around such covers (to the sides), but the top must remain open for non-ic fixtures (to vent their heat).

  • 1
    Use A piece of 2' wide coil stock and tape to make a 10" circle. Use this to keep insulation away and leave top open.
    – Justin K
    Oct 11, 2013 at 12:26
  • 2
    Or replace fixture with ic unit. Even if the unit is ic it might not be air tight(is an even more expensive option). So an airtight cavity still might needed.
    – Justin K
    Oct 11, 2013 at 12:32
  • @JustinK I'd favor air sealed, IC rated, as the best long term solution.
    – HerrBag
    Oct 11, 2013 at 14:32
  • What's the diff between IC and non-IC that makes the IC version not have heat problems? Both use the same bulbs so how does an IC rated one solve the heat issue? Oct 13, 2013 at 7:43
  • 1
    That logic is correct. However, your assembly has not been tested as a unit, so it won't meet code. Also, some future owner would look at the wattage ratings on the can and logically conclude (in error) that higher wattage bulb could be used.
    – HerrBag
    Oct 20, 2013 at 12:25

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