Time for Kitchen Track Lighting

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ November 10, 2009

Kitchen track lighting allows you to aim light where it's needed most. Whether you want to spruce up a dark kitchen or target your lighting on critical work areas, custom or off-the-shelf track lighting can add functionality and warm up the aesthetics of the kitchen.

There are basic kits to get you going, as well as more expensive models. The best news is that most new kits are lightweight, easy to modify to your needs, and can cut energy bills when you install separate tracks and switches. Light only the fixtures you need, and dim the ones that you turn on only when people visit. About Kitchen Track Lighting

The best thing about track lighting is its flexibility. If you're going to do the work yourself, be sure to stipulate a "set" when you buy the kit or you may not get all the necessary components. These include:

• Mounting heads • Elbows (if you're adding tracks at 90-degrees) • Track • Mounting hardware

You also want to shop for fixtures that operate with the track kit, put out the kind of lighting you need, and look great in the kitchen. Depending on the location of the electrical box for your existing ceiling light, you may not need any additional power source. If the light track is mounted on the surface of the ceiling, it installs easier than recessed lighting.

Because the track lighting sets are lightweight, you won't need to attach them to joists. Some go into a hollow ceiling with molly bolts. Be sure your ceiling can handle the weight. Measure your distances carefully--especially if you're installing track lighting under kitchen cabinets. The last thing you want is a swinging door to bash into your new fixtures.

Safety Tips

It's a great idea to install the track lighting where you can use the existing wiring. Be sure to turn off the power source before working on any existing fixtures in the kitchen. Once you're sure there's no current, you can remove the existing lighting. Before doing any drilling to install the lighting tracks, it's a good idea to mark your chosen locations with tape.

Read all the instructions to make sure you don't overload the kit with fixtures. The manufacturer should include documentation. Choosing fixtures and bulbs can present a financial challenge. Many new kits feature LED lights, while conventional halogen lights can cost more than other options. Remember, don't rely on incandescent bulbs--they're being retired from the marketplace in the next few years.

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