Home>Discussions>ELECTRICAL & LIGHTING>Recessed light install: thru ceiling drywall or subfloor above?
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Recessed light install: thru ceiling drywall or subfloor above?

Hi all,

We're closing on a townhouse soon and the previous owners opted for some horrible lighting which looked like track lighting on suspended wires in the living room. In addition, they opted to run lights thru conduits up the wall. Hence we want to replace it with better lighting.

We plan on pulling up all the carpeting which will leave the subfloor above the living room exposed.

My question, which is easier, cheaper and more DIY-friendly:
1) cutting into the ceiling sheetrock, installing the lights and patching the sheetrock.
2) removing portions of the subfloor above where we'd want the lights, install and then replace the subfloor.

My big assumption is the joices are running the correct direction.


Re: Recessed light install: thru ceiling drywall or subfloor above?

Sounds like going from above might be easier but it's not common practice. No need for chase holes in the ceiling. I would cut the recess holes from the bottom room though.

Here's how I would do it.

Locate where you want to put the lights and insert a wire hanger through holes in the ceiling marking the middle of the light. put a 60* angle in the wire to hold it in place and eliminate the need for someone to hold the wire from down stairs.

Go upstairs and remove a run of subfloor and see if you can keep the original locations of the lights. run the wires and install the "cans".

go back down stairs, remove the hanger wires and use that hole to trace the inside of the "cans" and remove the circle of dry wall.

good luck

A. Spruce
Re: Recessed light install: thru ceiling drywall or subfloor above?

As Debbie suggests, cut the holes from the ceiling side, then assess if you can chase wires or not. If not, then pulling the floor upstairs will be the least destructive course of action.

Be prepared that when you pull up the floor that you'll have to clean glue off the joists and probably replace the subfloor material if it's glued down. If no glue you're ****en.

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