DIY Network

How to Install Track Lighting

If your kitchen looks flat, these easy instructions will help you install track lighting for dynamic flair.

More in Electrical

  • Time

    2 hours

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Choose the Lighting Location

At the breaker box, shut off the power to any circuit that will be used.

Determine where to install the light, and drill pilot holes into the ceiling joists. Attach the track to the ceiling with wood screws. Use toggle bolts if you can't screw into the joists.

For installations where no previous light existed, feed the wire through the ceiling.

Use the stud sensor to identify an area between studs where the light switch can be placed. The switch should be at least 2" away from any stud. Use a measuring tape to mark the placement of the switch so that it will be the same height as the other switches in the room.

Step 2: Cut Out the Location of the Light Switch

Use the stud sensor to identify an area between studs where the light switch can be placed. The switch should be at least 2" away from any stud. Use a measuring tape to mark the placement of the switch so that it will be the same height as the other switches in the room.

Use the drywall-mounted electrical box as a template for marking the cutout for the switch.

Drill a pilot hole in the corner of the cutout, and use a long screwdriver to check for obstructions. Finish the cutout with a drywall saw.

From the attic, locate the area above the wall where you intend to mount the light switch. Use a 1-1/2" spade bit to drill into the void behind the wall. Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, gloves and a dust mask to avoid irritation from fiberglass insulation.

Step 3: Connect the Wires

Feed two pieces of electrical cable into the hole from the attic and out through the hole in the wall.

Strip the sheathing off the ends of both pieces of electrical cable, and strip 1" of insulation from the black and white wires.

Connect one electrical cable to an existing power supply such as an attic light fixture or other nearby power source.

Use the circuit tester to make sure the power is off before handling bare wires. Connect the bare copper wires with a barrel crimp, and use wire nuts to secure the remaining connections, keeping white wires with white wires and black wires with black wires.

Caution: Some switched fixtures may have confusing wiring arrangements. If you're unsure which wires supply constant power, test the circuit or call a licensed electrician.

Locate the cable for the light fixture, and attach a junction box to a nearby joist. Thread the light-fixture cable and the remaining electrical cable into the junction box, and splice them together with wire nuts and a barrel crimp. Attach a cover to the junction box.

Step 4: Secure the Electrical Box and Strip the Wires

Downstairs, push the other ends of electrical cable through the back of a drywall- mounted electrical box, and secure the box to the wall by tightening the wall-clamp screws.

Strip the sheathing and insulation from the wires. Twist the ground wires together with a 5" piece of ground wire, and secure the connection with a barrel crimp. Connect the white wires together, and secure them with a wire nut.

Step 5: Attach the Wires to the Electrical Box

Attach the black wires to the terminals on a single-pole light switch, and attach the remaining ground wire to the green ground screw on the switch.

Attach the switch to the electrical box, and attach a cover plate. For multiple track lights, consider using a stack switch.

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