By Gene and Katie Hamilton
One of the features we like best about track lighting systems is the flexibility of the tracks and the directional heads that can be used to illuminate a room or any part of it. The ability to cast light in a tight corner or across a wide expanse of a room makes a track system a stylish solution for many lighting schemes.
Lighting experts agree track lighting is a good choice for homeowners because it’s so versatile. Use a track high on a wall and direct the heads to showcase artwork. Install it in a tight hallway and direct the heads to cast light in difficult to reach areas. On a wall or ceiling above a desk or workbench track lighting is a good source of task lighting.
We've always liked the traditional tracks attached directly to the ceiling, but there's a lot of high style in the rails that are supported by standoff tubes, some straight, others curved and winding. Both styles offer choices in the size and shape of heads using incandescent, halogen, or low voltage bulbs, which are sold separately.
To replace a ceiling fixture with a four-light, 10-foot track light system with a 120-watt transformer and bulbs an electrician will charge $334, which includes the labor and material. If you have electrical experience and tools, you can buy the system for $160 and do the job yourself and save 52 percent.
If you do the job you'll need basic electrical tools, including an electric drill, screwdriver, wire strippers and cutters, and of course, a ladder. As always, when you're working with electricity, pay close attention and bone up on the instructions before doing anything. And before you begin, don't forget to turn the power off at the main circuit panel, not just at the light switch.
That's assuming there's an existing ceiling fixture; if there isn't one in the room, definitely hire an electrical contractor to add a new electrical line to the room. It's a job best left to a professional.
Here's a link from Instructables How to Install Track Lighting Without House Wiring.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install track lighting you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2018
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.