Installing Track Lighting
Time Required: Over 1 day
Track lighting offers a way to get focused light from a single ceiling fixture. The track works with a narrow-focus bulb to spotlight a piece of artwork, a wide-focus "wall washer" to bathe a wall in light or a general-purpose bulb to light a kitchen counter or reading chair. This guide will teach you all the basics to install track lighting in your home or office.
While installing plug-in track lighting involves only a screwdriver and a drill, this project will show you how to hard-wire a track directly to an existing switch-equipped outlet. First, you need to shut off power at the service panel. Use wire nuts to splice the house wires to the plate leads. Connect the ground wire to the plate and to the box if it is metal. Push the wires into the box and screw the plate to the box so it is snug against the ceiling.
At the mounting plate, measure to see how far the side of the track will be from the nearest wall. Mark the ceiling so the track will be consistently parallel to the wall. Use a framing square to draw lines if the track turns a corner.
Use a stud finder to locate joists. If the track is more than 4-feet long, have a helper hold one end while you work. Snap the track onto the plate and drive a screw into every available joist. If there are no joists, drill holes every foot or so, insert plastic anchors and drive screws into the anchors.
Insert the live-end connector and turn it 90-degrees until it snaps into place. Align the connector's two copper tabs with the two copper bars inside the track. Snap the plastic canopy over the track and mounting plate.
You can buy connectors to make 90-degree turns, T- shapes or odd-angled turns. Slide the connector into the track that is already installed, slide the next track onto the connector and attach that track to the ceiling. Cover all open track ends with end caps.
This type of light twists into place in the same way as the live-end connector (Step 5). Another type has a metal arm that is twisted to tighten. Restore power, turn on the switch and swivel the lights to position them for the best effect.