Installing Track Lighting
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated January 28, 2022)
Track lighting is, without a doubt, one of the most versatile options in home lighting. But, just because it is versatile, doesn't mean that it is in everyone's home. If you do not currently have any track lighting in your home, and want it, then you only have one option, installing some. Installing track lighting is a fairly straight forward process, though it can take up to six hours to complete depending on your skill level. Follow these simple steps, and you can be sure that your track lighting will be installed properly.
Be aware that this project assumes that you will be using the same electrical box and wiring that is already in existence in the room. This means that you will have to remove the old lights and fixtures, before proceeding with this project.
- Track system kit (with lights)
- Wire nuts
- Plastic anchors
- Combination tool
- Lineman's pliers
- Drill and screwdriver bit
- Hacksaw or saber saw
- Shut off the power. Whenever you begin work on any kind of electrical project, you need to make sure that you turn of the power first. This will ensure that you do not get accidently electrocuted while working with wires. Simply shut of the power to that particular room, or section of the house, by flipping the breaker off at the service panel. Leave a note to ensure that no one accidentally turns it on while your project is underway.
- Install your mounting plate. Remove the mounting plate from the track lighting kit, and begin installing it. Do this by splicing the wires from the house to the leads on the plate. Use wire nuts to attach the wires together, and simply attach like colored wires to each other. Place all the wires into the box, and screw the plate to the box until it is flush against the ceiling.
- Track measuring and marking. Starting at the mounting plate, begin measuring how far the track will be going towards each side wall. Make the marks as parallel to the wall as possible, and if there are going to be any turns, use a framing square to mark the corners. Write down the measurements for these marks so that you know how long your track will need to be.
- Attach track and mounting plate. With the help of a friend, begin attaching the track to the mounting plate. Do this by having a friend holding the track into place, making sure that it is as centered as possible on the mounting plate. Drive the screws of the mounting plate into the track to anchor the two together. If you will be attaching the track to an area that is longer than four feet, attach the track to studs in the ceiling to help hold it in place. In the event that you cannot find any joists or studs, then place a screw into the track and ceiling every twelve inches to do the same job.
- Attach live end connector. Insert the live-end connector, and then turn it 90 degrees. There should be an audible snap when this happens. Align the copper connectors to the two copper tabs and bars inside the track. Once this is complete, attach the plastic canopy cover over the exposed wires.
- Attach corner. If you have any corners, then you will need to purchase a connector that will allow the track to make up to a 90 degree turn. In fact, you can purchase connectors that will allow the track to take on a T-shape appearance, or even some pretty odd angles. Use the ones that will fit your needs, and attach them in the same manner as steps two through five.
- Twist lights on. Typically, track lights can be attached to the tracks by simply twisting them into place. Follow the instructions as listed by the manufacturer for your specific brand to ensure that you do this correctly. After twisting the lights into place, position them where you want them for their maximum effect.
- Test your work. Install light bulbs (if necessary) into your new light fixtures, and then restore power. Turn the lights on to test the effectiveness of your work, and if necessary reposition the lights for proper effect.
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