By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Lights mounted on rails across a ceiling or along a wall are often practical, but they can also be a dramatic design element, too. The rail and light pendants can be used as general overhead lighting in a room or tasked to focus on one wall in particular for a decorative effect. The two elements of a rail system, the light pendant fixtures and the rail, are sold both as a kit and as individual components so you can combine them to create a unique design. Fixtures range from traditional spotlights to colored glass pendants; the rails can be straight or curved monorails in a variety of dimensions, but they usually come in lengths of 4 to 8 feet. While some can connect to the existing junction box in the ceiling and operate on standard household voltage, other low voltage systems require a transformer.
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An electrician will charge $998 to remove and replace an existing ceiling fixture with a 12-foot low voltage rail system with six directional spotlights. That includes labor and material. You can buy a rail and lights for $600 and do it yourself, assuming you have experience with electrical projects and basic electrical tools. If a new electrical line is required, definitely hire an electrician to do the job.
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Wrapping up, given the average cost to install rail 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 2020