Recessed lights or track lights?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sergey M, Jul 26, 2001.

  1. Sergey M

    Sergey M Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 17, 2000
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    Hi all,
    Well, I screwed up. When we were going over new house plan at pre-construction phase, I planed for wiring, knew where every speaker and TV will go, etc. Being busy with all new house developments, I've completely forgotten about TV lighting. It's too late now and to make things worse, my home theater setup is in my living room and house is on the slab.
    My TV sits against the wall, which is sort of a dividing wall between living room and one of our offices. Ideally, I'd like to add some lighting above the TV. As far as I know, my choices are either recessed lights or track lights. Again ideally, I'd like to add recessed lights but I'm afraid it'd be too difficult to go over the corner (where vertical wall and ceiling meet). I could install track lights on the vertical wall as high as possible but I'm not sure how good that will look. In that case all I have to do is to fish the wire down.
    So, what do you think all? Should I go with recessed lights or track lights? How difficult the recessed lights installation will be? So you think I should for professional help (electrician)? Do I have any other alternatives? BTW, what's the good place to look for track lights (besides Home Depot)?
    I'd appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.
  2. JerryHatchett

    JerryHatchett Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 4, 2001
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    Sergey, if you don't completely understand what you're doing on this issue, I'd say it would be a good idea to get an electrician.
  3. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

    Jun 4, 2001
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    I think I know what you're saying... You want some recessed lights above the TV area, but forgot to put them in before all the drywall was done right?
    That was my situation in my dining room last year. Although, I bought the house new and we wanted a little chandelier type thing hanging in the room. But, there was no light box in the ceiling for a light. So we had to run a line upto the ceiling and put one in.
    This is kind of tricky, but it can be done by yourself. If you have any kind of basic wiring knowledge and minor drywall repair skills. What you have to do is determine where in the ceiling you want your lights. Also you need to know which direction the ceiling joists are running. You definately want to run the wire between the joists on the ceiling, then have them travel down the wall. Ideally, there would be an outlet straight down from the point where the wires run across the ceiling and meet the wall.
    So, get your stud-finder and determine how the joists run. Then look on the walls and see where there are outlets or switches. What you are going to need to do is cut a "L-shaped" hole where the ceiling meets the wall. Like a small square on the ceiling and a small square on the wall where they meet. Then you chisel out just enough wood that will let your wire slip past that junction. You know what I mean?
    If your outlet is not stright down the wall (i.e. if it's over a stud or two to the left/right) you have to cut a square hole where the stud is and do the same technique... chisel out a little wood. You should then cover the wire with a little metal sheet so no screws might get poked into it sometime in the future. Then you just do a little drywall repair. Get your little kit at Home depot for $5 and it has tape, mud, everything you need.
    Does that make any sense or did I make it more confusing?
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    You have the same problem with either rack or recessed lighting, Sergey, and that is getting power to the proper location.
    If you have attic access, it will be no problem to install recessed lights. If not, this project will be a problem unless you are pretty well versed in retro installation techniques. Ace’s directions are very good, but if you find them too difficult, you will be better off hiring a professional.
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
  5. Mark Nelson

    Mark Nelson Agent

    Oct 19, 1998
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    Whichever way you go avoid having any light shining directly on the screen, as it will wash out the picture. Also a dimmer is always a good idea. Lutron makes some that are remote controllable (the lowest cost version is called the "Spacer")
    Track lighting is more versatile because you can change the model of fixture to solve various lighting problems. Just choose from the fixtures that are compatible with your type of track and plug them in. You don't have the same flexibility with recessed lighting. BUT, track lighting is notorious for rattling at HT sound levels. Even if you add double-sticky tape under the track they are still likely to rattle.
    Either way, the AC wiring is about the same. As Wayne mentioned you have to fish the wire to the point of origin of the fixture(the "J-box"). The handyman part of the job can be done by any competent homeowner with the right tools, but never work on 120 volt circuits if you don't have the experience and confidence to do it correctly and safely.
    Best of Luck

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