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How To Install Track Lighting

We have talked about the many types of home improvements you can make on short budget. One thing that always adds value to home is increased light. However, if you don't have a great deal of natural light to work with or you don't have the money or ability to install skylights, consider for a moment track lighting. Track lighting is often simple to do by yourself or with a helper and rather inexpensive compared with other DIY projects. You can change the ambiance of a space, add a new tone to an old room like a kitchen or den and spruce up old fixtures in one fell swoop. This guide will explain how you can get there.

Install Track Lighting Step By Step

Safety First

Here is a caveat of common sense (to most) for any invasive electrical job in your home: cut the power. It can be as easy as a visit to your friend the circuit breaker box. Use a circuit tester to make sure you didn't misjudge or turn off the wrong switch before you start working. If you are at all unsure if you have cut the power to the right line, kill the power to the entire home for the duration of the the job. Better safe than sorry.

Remove All Bulbs and Fixtures

Here is where having a helper comes in handy. Carefully remove all bulbs and unscrew fixtures. If you are renting make sure to box up and save these items in case your landlord wants them back.

Disassemble The Fixture Base

Carefully unscrew the fixture base. Be cautious as it will hang down from the wires in the ceiling it is attached to. Again, keep all of the pieces and parts for later and restoration if necessary.

Mind Your Wires

After you have detached the fixture base from the wires remove all tape and wire nuts. Be mindful that black wires are hot, white neutral and green is the usually the ground.

Attach The Mounting Plate

Pay close attention to detail here. Make sure this is done properly. A plate mounted wrong will often result in an a non-working fixture or one that falls and breaks later.

Mark Off The Mounting Screw Points

Grab your pencil and mark off where the mounting screw points ought to be. Using the actual lighting track, a ruler or even a plum line/balance is a good idea here for the integrity of the measurement.

Mounting Bolt Mechanics

Drill a hole in the ceiling for mounting the toggle bolts. Most track lighting sets will come with all of the bolts and fasteners you need. Run a parts check before you begin the job in case you need to make a hardware store run.

Secure The Track

Attach the track to the ceiling taking care to not tighten any one screw all the way until all are part-way attached. Then one at a time, turn each screw slightly until all are tightly wound. This helps keep your track even, balanced and prevents stripping screws if they were poorly manufactured.

Install The Cover Plate

The cover plate hides all of the exposed wiring. Be sure not to pinch any wires when doing this as you may cause an inadvertent short.

Add Your Fixtures

A few more maneuvers left to go and you are all set! Install each fixture into the track according to the manufacturers instructions. Use your eye and knowledge of the area to determine how many or how few lights will work. Don't hesitate to use less fixtures for a warm, subtle affect. If this is confusing there is a great how to video on YouTube that breaks this all down for you. Good luck!

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