Recessed lights are the most convenient way to illuminate your rooms. These lights are trendy also. Compared to other lighting fixtures, recessed lighting fixtures are easy to install. You can install recessed lights no matter the ceiling is finished or unfinished.
Recessed lights for the finished ceiling are not our concern here. You are here to know how to install recessed lighting in unfinished ceilings. I will focus on recessed lights with a new construction fixture as this is easy to install in this case. Let’s get a clear concept of how you can do this.
How to Install Recessed Lighting in Unfinished Ceiling
Having the right tools for the right job make things easier. A good practice is making a list of required tools before you start any task. The list will help you to find out which tools you have and which you don’t. Then, you don’t have to go to buy new tools during your ongoing task.
Required tools for this task are –
- Wire stripper
- Drill gun
- Wire cutter
- Hand screwdriver
- Voltage detector
- Wire staples
Today’s recessed or can lights come with push wire connectors. These wire connectors are the easiest way to connect wires. But if your recessed lights don’t come with push wire connectors, you can buy them individually from the market.
Choosing the Lighting Fixture Type for Unfinished Ceiling
Choosing the type of fixture is easy when you have an unfinished ceiling. There is a recessed light fixture type called a new construction fixture. This new construction light fixture is specified for installing on an unfinished ceiling.
Choose a trim that matches the size and type of the fixture. You can also choose a trim that matches the color of the ceiling. This will make the trim sit flush effectively with the ceiling.
There is another thing you should consider. You will find two types of light fixtures – IC rated and non-IC rated. When your ceiling has insulation, IC rated is the type you have to choose. Else, non-IC rated is the type for you.
Preparing the Light Fixture for Installation
The new unfinished basement lighting fixtures come with hanger bars. Hanger bars are used to hold the lighting fixture into your ceiling. For each lighting fixture, two hanger bars are attached on either side. Screws or nails are used to hook the hanger bars with the ceiling joists.
When attaching the hanger bars, you can pick a side according to your preference. Keep the junction box closer to where the wires are coming from. This will help you to select the right side for attaching the bars.
Mark the position into the ceiling joist where you want to install the light fixture. When you install more than one fixture, do all the markings into joists at once. You will know how many light fixtures you need to install and where to install them from the markings.
Some hanger bars come with nails and some with screws. Screws have an advantage over nails. If you want to reposition the light fixture, screws are easy to remove. Also, the screws produce less dust than the nails while removing them.
Installing Recessed Lighting
First, hold the lighting fixture attached with hanger bars against the joist with one hand. Use your other hand to drive nails with a hammer. Don’t drive the nails all the way. Leave at least one-third portion of the nails sticking out. It will help when you need to move the lighting fixture.
You can use screws to hold the bars with the joist. As screws are easy to remove, you can also drive all the screws at once. So, when you need to move the fixture, just unscrew from the old position and screw it into the new position.
One advantage of hanger bars is you can extend the length of the bars. You won’t have to bother about the space between the joists while installing the bars. Make sure the bars are straight and don’t bind. Without that, you cannot move the lighting fixture along the bars freely.
There are locking screws attached with hanger bars. The locking screws will prevent the fixture from moving back and forth along the bars. Get the fixture to your preferred position, then lock the position with the screws.
Wiring Recessed Lights
Before you begin wiring the lights, make sure there is no live power flowing through the wires. Turn off the breaker switch that is related to the place you are working on. You can make sure if the wires are safe to work on by using a voltage detector.
Now it’s time to strip the wires that you want to connect with the fixture’s wires. Use a wire stripper to do this. First, strip the outside sheathing, which will expose the wires inside. Now strip the coating of the tip of each individual wire.
After stripping the wires, insert the wires through the knockout hole of the junction box. Use plastic push-in knockout connectors into the knockout hole before inserting the wires.
The last thing is making the connections. With push-in connectors, all you have to do is match the wires and connect them. All the neutrals will go in one connector, all the hot wires will go to another connector, and all the grounds will go to the last connector.
Finalizing Your Recessed Light Installation
Finally, you will want to check if all the connections are ok. Install a light bulb in the fixture and turn the power on to see if the light bulb is on. If there are no problems with the connections, close the junction box to keep the connections secure.
If there are wires everywhere in your ceiling, one extra thing you can do is wire management. You can use wire staples to attach the wires with the joists. This will organize the wires in your preferred way.
You will get flexibility from recessed lights in some cases where other lights will fail. With easy installation, many ask how to install recessed lighting in unfinished ceiling. With the above explanation, you will find the easiest way of how to do it.
If you are hesitant with electrical work, consult with an electrician. I always say this whenever there is even the simplest electrical task included.
Good luck with your installation of recessed lights.