UK Bathroom Electrical Zones & IP Ratings Explained

UK Bathroom Electrical Zones & IP Ratings Explained

Using electrical equipment in bathrooms or wet rooms requires additional attention to safety due to increased risk of electric shock or even worse. 

There  are many electrical items which can be found and designed for bathroom use, such as ceiling and wall lighting, LED mirrors, extractor fans and many more. All these will need to comply with building regulations and follow rules for installation. This article is here to explain all of these so you can make the most informed decision on your bathroom's electrical safety.

Disclaimer: This article is solely intended  for information purposes. All bathroom electrical work should be carried out by individuals with correct qualifications.

  • Bathroom electrical zones explained.
  • Understanding IP ratings.
    • Examples of IP ratings
  • Where can I place Pebble Grey electrical items?
    • LED mirrors & Cabinets
    • Extractor Fans
    • Wall & Ceiling Lighting

Bathroom electrical zones explained.

We would all love an ornate chandelier above our bathtub, but is it practical and safe? This is why we keep to IEE wiring regulations (18th edition). They have identified particular zones within the bathroom to indicate what type of electrical equipment can be installed.

Below we will go through these bathrooms electrical zones in order to meet electrical safety standards. Each zone will require different, minimum IP ratings.

Zone 0

This area is inside your bath for example, jets with light to make your bath into a hot tub, the basin of your shower or sink or simply any area of your bathroom which can holt water. This area requires a minimum rating of IP67 and must be low voltage (12v max). 

Zone 1

This area is above your bath, shower and sink up to 2250mm from the floor and is within 600mm from the water source. This area requires a minimum rating of IP44. For 204v fitting s, a 30ma RCD must be used to protect the circuit. Don’t worry as this should make sense to any qualified electrician. At Pebble Grey we recommend using an IP65 rated  product for additional protection and longevity.

Zone 2

This area is 600mm outside your bath, show sink or water outlet to 2250mm from the floor usually being either side of zone 1. This area requires a minimum rating of IP44.

Outside Zones

Anywhere outside zones 0,1, or 2  where water jets are not used for cleaning purposes  the general rules of IBS7671 apply. In these areas, a rating of IP20 is sufficient. 

Naturally with larger bathrooms it is easier to space plan outside of zone 1. However, at Pebble Grey all our electrical products are IP44 rated or above as standard. You can be confident you can achieve maximin luxury with minimum safety issues.

Understanding IP ratings

Now that we have covered bathroom electrical zones, we can go into a deeper understanding  on IP ratings. An IP (Ingress Protection) rating is a two-digit code given to a piece of electrical equipment that indicates the degree of protection its enclosure provides from dust, water and impact.

In short, all bathroom electrical products should have an IP rating, meaning they have been tested sufficiently to supply the protection you need.

IP ratings consists of 2 numbers. The first being the protection against solid objects, i.e. dust, and the second is protection against water.  The higher the number the more protection it provides from dust and water. Another rule of thumb is that if the product has an X instead of one of the numbers it means it hasn’t been tested against either dust or water.

IP Ratings Examples


  • First number, 2 = Protection against solid objects over 12mm (e.g. fingers)
  • Second number, 0 = No protection from moisture
  • Can be placed in the outside zone of the bathroom.


  • First number, 4 = Protection against solid objects over 1mm (e.g., wires)
  • Second number, 4 = Protection from water sprays from any angle (e.g. splashes of water)
  • Can be placed in zone 1 & 2. We recommend only using in zone 2.


  • First number, X = N/A
  • Second number, 4 = Protection from water sprays from any angle (e.g., splashes of water)
  • Can be placed in zone 1 & 2. We recommend only using in zone 2.
  • TIP: If you see an X on an IP rating this means it hasn’t been tested against that substance. As you can see here the X is in the first number which means it hasn’t been tested against objects (dust). However, it has been tested against water, so it is still safe to use in the bathroom.


  • First number, 6 = Complete protection against dust ingress.
  • Second number, 5 = Protection from light water jets in any direction.
  • Can be placed in zone 1 & 2. We recommend using in zone 1 instead of IP44 rated products as IP65 offers extra protection. Perfect for a down light over your shower.

Where can I place Pebble Grey electrical items?

In this section we will cover where you can place your Pebble Grey products in their correct bathroom electrical safety zones. So, we can take the stress out of choosing the correct lighting to complete your bathroom.

LED mirrors & Cabinets

Most placements  of LED mirrors and cabinets are in the outside zones of your bathroom making it easy to choose your perfect look. However, each bathroom is unique, especially in the UK where our bathrooms are smaller compared to other countries  around the world. Hence, why space planning is very important when design your dream bathroom.

The main thing to look out for when adding an LED mirror or cabinet is how close you want to position it to your water source (e.g., taps). To stay within the outer bathroom zones this needs to be 600mm above your water source. The areas from your water source and 600mm above are classed as Zone 2.

This may start to sound complicated, but we have a solution for you. At Pebble Grey all our LED mirrors and cabinets are IP44 rated which means they  can go in zone 1&2 and anywhere in the outside zone. Simple! 

Extractor Fans 

Now this is where things start to get tricky. Most extractor fans are placed in the outside zones of the bathroom. Although you may have an ensuite where you need your extractor fan is above your shower because of limited space.

Additionally, an extractor fan's efficiency goes off room size and volume. If you have a large room, you will need a powerful extractor fan, but you will likely be placing this fan in the outer zone. On the other hand, if you have a small bathroom, you don’t need a powerful extractor fan but will have to be cautious over placement in particular zones

All our extractor fans are IP rated and after reading this article you will have the knowledge and power to choose the right solution for you.

Now that you’re up to speed with bathroom zones and IP ratings, you can make more informed lighting decisions for your bathroom.

Ceiling & Wall Lighting

As a rule of thumb, the placement of ceiling lights that are not directly above your shower or bath are classed as outside zones which don’t require an IP rating. However, for extra reassurance much like our mirror and cabinets all our lights are minimum IP44 rated. 

We also have a range of ceiling lights which are IP65 rated which can be placed in zone 1&2. Perfect for a romantic soak in the tub or an early morning shower.

As for wall lights, you can use them to make a statement feature to frame your mirror to create  a regency hotel inspired bathroom. As long as you keep them 600mm away from your water source, which is zone 2, you can create this look seamlessly and safely. Although as mentioned above all lights at Pebble Grey are IP44 rated including wall lights.