DIY Network

Install a Recessed Canister Ceiling Light

Add light to a room with an easy-to-install recessed ceiling light.

More in Electrical

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Locate and Cut the Opening

Chose a location for the fixture and bore a 1/2" hole in the ceiling drywall. Use a length of wire to probe the opening above the hole. The fixture should be positioned between two rafters or ceiling joists (Image 1), as close to the middle as possible to provide clearance.

When you have determined the correct location, use the template provided with the fixture to trace the ceiling opening.

Drill a pilot hole within the template line for the jig saw blade, then cut the opening (Image 2).
If there is insulation in the space it must be cleared well away from the fixture, or you can buy a fixture rated for zero-clearance.

Step 2: Wire the Fixture

Run electrical wiring from a switch location to the fixture opening.

Insert the wire into the fixture’s integral electrical box and clamp the wire securely in place.

Connect the house wiring to the fixture wires (black to black and white to white). Use wire nuts to cap each connection.

Attach the house wiring’s bare or green ground wire to the fixture’s metal box, or to a green ground screw, if provided.

Switch on the power and test the fixture operation before you install it.

Step 3: Install the fixture in the Ceiling

Insert the canister unit into the ceiling opening.

On this type of fixture, clips installed near the bottom of the rim hold the canister secure. Be sure they are inside the fixture while you push in place. Once the canister is seated, push the pins out so that they lock in place against the top of the drywall.

Trim rings are available in several widths and styles; choose one to fit the type of bulb you use in the fixture. Hook each of the ring’s two retainer springs to an available hole inside the canister.

complete wiring and push canister unit in place

Courtesy of Jeffrey Rowe