Skip to content

How To Install Track Lighting

    Considering how practical track lighting is, it’s insanely underrated! Providing 360-degree adjustable-angle lights that can themselves be moved along a track, it’s hard to beat this lighting format in terms of convenience, especially as they’re incredibly easy to install.

    How To Install Track Lighting?

    Yep, that’s right, I said it… track lighting is simple to install. Though they sound like rather complicated fixtures, they’re often easier to fit than traditional fixtures, and today, I’m going to be telling you exactly how it’s done.

    We’ll run through safety considerations, the gear you’re going to need to finish the job, and of course a step-by-step guide to lead you through the installation process. Ready to add whole new worlds of convenience to your home? Awesome; let’s begin!

    Safety Considerations

    As always, when wiring, it’s crucial that you switch power off at the breaker or service panel before you get hands-on, and being that track heads can dip below the point of installation by about 6”, it’s best not to install track lighting in rooms with ceiling heights lower than 7 ft.

    Here’s What You’ll Need

    Installing Track Lighting: A Step-By-Step Guide

    Step 1 — Removing Old Light

    If there’s still a light hanging from the wires where you’re going to install your track lighting, you need to remove it. Normally, you can do so by unscrewing the screws holding the wires in place on the light fixture.

    Step 2 — Checking The Location Of Joists

    Use your stud finder to check the location of studs where you’re planning to mount the track. If there are joists along the installation zone, you’ll be able to use regular screws to mount the track, but if there aren’t any, you’ll need toggle bolts to secure it to the drywall.

    Step 3 — Trimming The Track

    You may not need to trim your track, and if so, you can go ahead and skip this step. On the other hand, if you do need to trim your track, measure out the length you need, mark it on the track with a Sharpie, then grab your hacksaw and get to work.

    Once you’ve cut it down to size, neaten it up by removing the burr with your metal file, then re-fit the dead-end.

    Step 4 — Voltage Testing

    Grab your contactless voltage tester and check that the now-loose wires are dead.

    Step 5 — Removing The Mounting Plate

    It’s common for manufacturers to pre-fit the mounting plate of the track to the circuit canopy to make shipping easier. If this is the case with your track lighting kit, simply remove the screws holding the plate in place and separate it from the canopy.

    Step 6 — Making Connections

    Take the box with the electrical wires in your kit, climb your stepladder up to the fixture wires, and connect all of them color to color, i.e. black to black, white to white, red to red, green to green (sometimes copper to copper).

    Once all the connections have been made, use the connector caps in your kit to secure them in place.

    Step 7 — Fitting The Mounting Plate

    With the electric box wired in, you can fit the mounting plate to the ceiling using the screws supplied in the kit.

    Step 8 — Marking Drill Holes

    Your lighting track should have a number of pre-drilled holes, any of which you can use to secure the ends of the track to your ceiling. Hold it up against the mounting plate and assess which hole would be best to drill through.

    Once you’ve chosen, poke a pencil through the hole to mark the drill spot on your ceiling. Do the same on the other side, then move on to the next step.

    Step 9 — Drilling The Holes

    Nothing complicated here — Simply use a ⅝” bit to drill the holes you marked out a moment ago. 

    Step 10 — Inserting Toggle Bolts

    Thread your first toggle bolt through the hole you chose to use on the track, screw on the “wings” about ¼”, insert the toggle bolt through the drill hole in your ceiling, then use your cordless drill to tighten things up and secure this side of the track in place. Rinse and repeat for the other side of the track.

    Step 11 — Mounting The Track

    Using the screws provided in the track lighting kit, secure the track to the mounting plate.

    Step 12 — Installing The Electrical Connector

    There should be a small white box hanging from the mounting plate. This is the electrical connector that provides the track light with power from above the ceiling. It should twist into place on the track rail — No tools required.

    Step 13 — Installing The Canopy

    All functional elements are pretty much ready to go at this point, but the exposed wiring and mounting plate don’t look all that pretty, so take the provided cover and either screw or snap it into place in accordance with your kit instructions.

    Step 14 — Installing The Track Heads

    Take the track heads and twist them into place on the rail of the track the same way you did with the electrical connector.

    Step 15 — Fitting The Light Bulbs

    Screw suitable lightbulbs into the track heads and give yourself a pat on the back because you’ve just finished the job. But before you treat yourself to a celebratory cold one, turn on the power and flick the wall switch to see if your new lights are working.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s hard to believe how easy it is to install track lighting, but, trust me, it’s a total breeze! There’s really no reason why you can’t give this easy DIY job a go. Take things slow, be sure to turn the power off before you begin, and you’ll have your super functional light fixture set up in no time.