Sunday, March 18, 2012

Let the light shine!

Before Photo of my dark living room, even with the light
streaming in the windows.
All the tools I used. (I forgot to photograph the fish line)
I doubt many of you have noticed, but I rarely post pictures from activities in my living room. There is good reason for that. My Living Room is a dark cavernous hole. I have attempted a few things to fix it. When the sun is up, my windows are open. I painted the underside of the front porch white, to reflect light inside, I placed a mirror over the couch, opposite the window. Yet still super duper dark. I have been mulling around the idea of recessed lights for some time. There is attic space above the living room for access, and I love the clean look of recessed lights. I was just waiting for my opportunity. Then last Friday, My Vet got a text, and 6 days later he was on his way up to Lake of the Woods for some ice fishing. That meant I had roughly 4 days to see what I could get done. Since I have my preschool helpers, I figured I might be able to get the popcorn ceiling down, and just maybe get lights installed, before he came home. After prepping the ceiling, I compiled all the tools I figured I would need.

I started by measuring my room roughly 20x12. Then based on the manufacturers recommendation, and the spacing of my joists, I mapped out the placement of my 6 fixtures.

I measured and marked where they would go.

I scored the cutout with a utility knife

Then used a drywall saw to cut a precise hole. A specialty tool for working with drywall that is worth the $5. Be careful measure twice, cut once. Any mistakes will need to be patched/repaired it is easier to erase pencil marks than it is to patch a bunch of holes.

Fish the wire from hole to hole. Make sure you have a continuous line of wire to each can, (creating a complete circuit) before pushing the can into the ceiling and securing.

Connect the wires. I have this cool tool that cuts and strips the wire in one squeeze of the handle. (Sorry for the poor resolution. doing a tight shot in bad lighting...)

Push in can. Be sure to use proper cans for your installation. I needed remodel lights rated for direct contact with insulation (IC). Install housing/trim and bulb.

Ceiling, Walls, Lights, After
It took a few hours and some effort, but I am more than ecstatic about the results.  I still have a ways to go before I am finished with the living room, but I am 1 step closer.

**Before starting this project I did some looking online. Thanks to that looking I found a 6 pack of recessed ceiling housings at Lowes for $48 (Menards and Home Depot were over $100) While at the store to pick them up, I found a clearance deal for a 6 pack of trim for $12 (Originally $40) Since I live in a rural area, I didn't want to miss anything so I grabbed a 100' of wire and bulbs. My total for everything at Lowes was $110. By shopping (and getting a bit lucky) I was able to do this entire project for very little $$!

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