How to install recessed lighting

How to install recessed lighting_1

Recessed lighting is a great option for decor enthusiasts who want to highlight particular sections of their home’s interior. Other than that, the unobtrusive nature of such lighting installations make them a hit among various spatial zones, including kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Finally, recessed lighting can also be used as a dedicated lighting solution for specific tasks, like lighting up an alcove, a hidden closet or even a newly renovated room.

With so many advantages at your disposal, it is high time to go the DIY route to install recessed lighting. You will not only save some cost, but also manage to do the job much quicker than waiting for an appointment with your ever busy electrician.

As for the basic installation process, we have decided to break it into four major sections (in chronological order) to make it easier to follow for the reader.

1) Starting out with the project

Step 1 –

Decide what is to be the function of your recessed lighting installation; like for example – it is to be lighting for accentuation or just a conventional lighting system. According to that map out a lighting plan. You can do this by using a graph and drawing according to scale, with the decor items, furniture and the closest power source included in the plan. You can then consult an electrician or any lighting expert (even lighting showroom salespeople will do) for the type of lights, their combination and most importantly their voltage requirement.

Step 2 –

After consultation and working out the plan (along with voltages and power source location), you will need to purchase the lights. For this you can go to showrooms, or even to home centers (for saving up a bit on the cost). Most lighting solutions fortunately come with their user manual with specific data relating to instructions, voltage requirements and the size of holes needed in the ceiling.

Step 3 –

With the starting of this step, you real project work starts. And, as we all know, safety should be our primary concern when starting any kind of electrical work. So, as our first working step, one should shut off the power when commencing with the lighting installation.

Step 4 –

Mark your lighting locations with the help of a piece of paper. You should also mark the center points and try your best to maintain the angles and straight lines. You can do this with the help of specialized tools like laser levels.

Step 5 –

After marking the positions, it is time to find out the obstacles in your ceiling that might prove to a detriment to the installation process. In an ideal scenario, your light fixture and its housing should fit between ceiling joists, and as such you can use a stud sensor to find out the joists. And, to get a clear idea about these obtrusive components and how to bypass them, you can follow this relatively easy method – drill a hole of about 1/8-inch through the ceiling at the center points we mentioned in the earlier step. Now, if you have an attic or any other accessible space above the fixtures, you can go there and visually check out the distance between the hole and the joist. After identifying the situation, you cam make the adjustments accordingly.

And, if you have some finished area over the fixtures, you can use a bent coat hangar wire for checking the obstacles. Bend the wire at around 90 degrees with one side measuring around 3-inches. Now, insert the wire into the hole from below, and then rotate the bend portion. If it meets any joist obstacle (within a range of 3-inches), adjust the hole accordingly.

2) Placing light holes and running wires through them

Step 1 –

This step obviously entails cutting the holes. You can do that by using a drywall saw slanted in an outward manner, and then cutting the holes according to outline marks you made earlier. As a handy tip, try your best to make measured cuts without any hurry. You should also cover up your floor with newspapers or canvas to protect it from the falling ceiling bits.

Step 2 –

Now, you need to install the mounts for each of the light fixtures. If there is an attic above, you can pretty easily screw the mounting arms to the joists to secure them. However, if your ceiling is finished, you will need to use mounting hardware for fixing the mounts to the drywall surface.

Step 3 –

This step involves the stapling of the wires. You can do that for every 2.5 ft to 3 ft distance, while also putting loops for every fixture. You should also leave some part of the wiring hanging from the hole, thus allowing a convenient slack for wiring each light. Now, if you have an attic above the space, you can easily run the wiring through the attic floor. And, if your ceiling is finished, you would need to drill through the joists and then wire across them (otherwise known as fishing).

3) Connecting the wires

Step 1 –

After we have fished the wires through the joists while maintaining their slacks, it is time to strip the ends of the wire. We can use tools like a wire stripper for this job.

Step 2 –

Now you need to use the stripped wires for connecting the cables from the power source to the light fixture’s mounting hardware. When using connectors for hooking up the wires with the fixtures, you can just clamp the connectors inside the housing. Then you proceed on by feeding the set of wires (along with other wires) to the next light of the arrangement, and then secure them at the housing.

Step 3 –

This step entails the ‘locking’ of the wires into the market available push & lock wire connectors. You have to splice the wires of same color into a single push lock mechanism, and then keep the wires and the connectors securely within the fixture box. Keep on repeating the same process of every light of your DIY project.

4) Finally, we need to install the lights

Step 1 –

Install the trims along the ceiling as per the instructions. Installing these items varies according to the lamp fixtures (light bulbs) you have bought or the trims you have chosen for each light.

Step 2 –

The final step entails installing the light bulbs, by screwing them into the fixture. You then need to test your DIY recessed lighting project by turning the power on. And, also note in some cases – you will need to install the lights before the trims.

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