Installing under cabinet lighting can either be a very simple home improvement project or immensely complicated depending on the type of lighting you purchase and your skills at this kind of task.
Most under caninet lighting will not require any specific skills as far as electrical work is concerned as they simply plug into regular electrical outlets in order to function. If you prefer that your under cabinet lighting is attached to a wall switch this can be accomplished but is a much more involved process and not necessarily one I would recommend for the novice electrician.
There are two common types of under cabinet lighting. Puck lights (halogen), which are named for their resemblance to hockey pucks, and fluorescent lights are the major choices for under cabinet lighting. They both offer ease of installation and each one has one benefit over the other. It is up to you whether you choose the halogen lights, which offer more natural lighting or fluorescent lights which are much cheaper in the long run.
Installing Under Cabinet Lighting
As I have mentioned before, the process of installing under cabinet lighting is a rather simple process. Before you begin the process you should plug your light around and play around with it a little. See where you like the way it casts light best and mark the spot where you will be attaching the strip with a pencil. This helps you make sure you have it in the right place and gives you the opportunity to make sure you like the lighting effect before you begin damaging your cabinets in the process.
Once you have established the location for each set of lights you should then follow the package directions for the installation. Most are pretty clear-cut instructions and very easy to follow. You should have no trouble with this part as it is generally simply installing screwing the strips to the bottom of your cabinets.
At this point in time you should be able to plug in your light and turn it on. If you marked the spot for multiple lights you may want to check each additional strip in relation to the other light being plugged in and turned on before you actually install them. It helps sometimes to see them all together so that you know if there is too much space between them or too little.
Once you have finished with the installation you should make sure that the lights are not at eye level as they can cast a glare that can both distracting and harmful to your eyes. If this happens to be the case it is easily remedied by creating a valance to cover the light. This can be done with very little carpentry effort by cutting a strip of wood to install below your counter and in front of the offending light.
The biggest trick or difficulty with this is staining the valance to match your existing cabinetry. This is actually a good idea even if the glare is not offending, as it will hide the light fixture, which may not blend so well with your current decor.
After the Installation
Once you are finished with the process of installing under cabinet lighting, you can move on to more challenging projects in your kitchen (such as convincing the dishwasher to load and unload itself; a girl can dream right?). This is a great project for building confidence and one that requires no serious carpentry skills in order to complete.
Photo by mufan96, Creative Commons Attribution