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The living room in your new home has beautiful sloped ceilings but is very dark. The table lamps don't provide enough light to see the beauty of the ceiling, which brings up the question: how do you hang a light fixture on a sloped ceiling? We did the research to answer this question for you.
The basic steps for hanging a light fixture on a sloped ceiling are:
- Shut off power
- Follow directions
- Know the room
- Put up the lights
It is imperative that you understand the types of lighting that you are working with and follow all safety precautions when working with electricity or call a licensed electrician if you are not experienced at this type of work. Keep reading for all the step-by-step details!
Basic Steps for Hanging a Light Fixture on a Sloped Ceiling
1. Turn off the Power
When working with any electricity, the most important safety tip is to turn off the power to the current light fixture. The easiest way to do this is by flipping the power circuit switch for that area. (A good idea is to turn on the light you're going to be replacing, so you know for sure the power is no longer on when you flip the breaker switch). The power circuits are found in the circuit breaker box or fuse panel, which is usually hidden someplace like in the closet or at the top of the basement stairs.
2. Follow The Directions Provided
Although we are going to review different light fixtures in this post, each light is different. Before cutting holes or pulling out old fixtures, read the directions that come with the fixture to make sure that your choice of light fits your needs and your ceiling.
It will also tell you what extra parts you may need, such as anchors, connectors, or braces. The directions will also let you know how insulation can affect your lighting or if your fixture needs an outlet or junction box (source of power in the ceiling).
3. Know Your Room
Before drilling into your ceiling, know where your joists (the studs in the ceiling) are and how far apart they are. Know if the space behind the ceiling is insulated, then figure out what angle the slope is. Decide where you want the light directed if any dark corners need light or areas you want to be highlighted. Also, decide if you want the light to draw attention to the ceiling or if you want the fixture to be the room's star.
4. Attach track, cables, etc.
Now you're ready to hang your lights. Go slowly. Measure twice, cut once. Don't guess. Then connect your fixtures to the power source, attach your fixture to the ceiling with all the correct parts, tracks, wires and support you need, add the lights, and step back to admire your work. Then remember to turn back on your power and enjoy your well-lit room!
Hanging Specific Lighting types
The steps for how to hang lights on a slope vary depending on the type of light fixture.
Recessed Can Lighting
We know it doesn't seem like recessed lighting is hanging from the ceiling, as it is flush, but recessed light housing hangs inside the ceiling.
These things need to be considered when installing traditional recessed lighting into a sloped ceiling: the angle of the ceiling, the space between the joists, and the space between the ceiling itself and the roof's interior.
The housing of some recessed lighting does come at an angle up to 45 degrees. Getting the incorrect angle means that the housing won't fit properly, and the lights won't be flush to the ceiling, so make sure your measurements are accurate.
The space between the joists (basically the studs in the ceiling) can differ in distance, usually between 16" and 24". Ensure that the housing, and the hanger supporting the light, can fit in the space allowed.
Remember, a sloped ceiling is not the same as a vaulted ceiling. A sloped ceiling follows the shape of the roof, for example, in an attic room. A vaulted room is created in a larger space provided. Because a sloped ceiling is basically the underside of the roof, there may not be as much space as you need for the housing you want to use.
And the last thing: is the light hitting the area you want lit? Sometimes you can't put the light exactly where you want. Some recessed lighting comes with an "eyeball trim," so you can point the light where you want it.
Recessed Ultra-Thin Lighting
If all of that seems like many things to consider, you can go with the retro-fit style of recessed lighting, which is an ultra-thin style light with a spring mechanism. It's called "retrofit" because it's used chiefly in already-built houses instead of new constructions.
Its spring-tension grips keep the light in place and make it easy to install in a sloped ceiling. It also doesn't have as many limitations as the can lighting.
This lighting consists of a track that mounts to the ceiling with light fixtures hanging from the track. Tracks installed in a sloped ceiling require specialized sloped ceiling anchors, but then the lights can be moved and positioned where you want. The style of the lights helps draw attention to the ceiling without overshadowing it.
Track lighting is easy to install; you can do it in one afternoon. Tracks come in various lengths, and there are connectors to make them longer as needed. They can also be cut to size as necessary. Track lighting can either be a plug-in, which requires an outlet or hard-wired, needing a junction box connection.
Cable lighting is similar to track lighting - and sometimes is labeled as such - but instead of the lights being on a track, they are hung from two electrified cables strung across the room. This is a good choice when you don't want to distract from the beauty of the ceiling or when you can't access an electric power source in the ceiling.
Cable lighting systems provide adaptors and re-routers so you can customize your light display. Mounting the system can be done from wall to wall, wall to ceiling, or ceiling to ceiling, depending on the best aesthetic look of the room. The length will determine the type and number of ceiling supports you will need. You will need either rigid or flexible supports, depending on the length of the run and the weight of the fixtures on it.
You also have choices of different transformers (which can be mounted or installed remotely), fixtures, and the wattage used. They can be used for ambient, accent, or direct lighting. All of these options give you the flexibility needed for easily installing lighting on your sloped ceiling.
On the total opposite side of the lighting spectrum, we have chandeliers. Unlike the lighting previously mentioned, chandeliers are meant to be seen. They are intended to add sophistication and create a focal point in the room.
A chandelier does not need to be at the center of the ceiling to hang correctly. Chandeliers on chains can be installed on a slope because gravity will help the chains hang straight naturally. Just be aware of the chandelier's weight, as a ceiling can't hold more than 50 pounds. If it weighs more, it will need a brace between the joists to handle the weight.
Another perk of the chain is that you don't have to put the chandelier where the junction box is. The wiring and chain can be connected to the box and then draped to a hook in a stud so the light can hang where you want.
How Do You Hang Pendant Lights On A Sloped Ceiling?
The difference between pendant lights and chandeliers is simple: chandeliers have multiple lights on one fixture, pendants have one.
Pendants can hang on chains, but they can also hang on rods, and that's when you need to use a sloped ceiling adaptor so it will hang straight. The adaptor goes between the canopy (the round metal plate covering the junction box) and the rod. There are sloped-ceiling canopies available as well.
Can You Put A Semi-Flush Mount On A Sloped Ceiling?
Flush mounts are close to the ceiling, which gives a better clearance below. Semi-flush mounts are suspended and provide more light, often providing a 'halo' or 'hourglass' effect, with light above and below.
When it comes to a sloped ceiling, there are semi-flush fixtures available that are adaptable for sloped ceilings (this is true for flush mounts).
Can You Hang A TV On A Sloped Ceiling?
You can hang a TV on a sloped ceiling as long as you have a tilting mount. The mounts vary depending on the size of the TV but can be adjusted to be flush on the sloped ceiling. Depending on the mount, you may have to find the studs in the wall and the ceiling, but either way, make sure that the mount is screwed securely into studs, or there will be nothing to support the weight.
The adjustable parts can be moved to fit the TV perfectly in the space provided.
What Is The Best Lighting For A Sloped Ceiling?
Not all rooms are the same, and that can also be said for sloped ceilings. As mentioned before, a sloped ceiling follows the natural shape of the roof. Depending on the layout of the rooms, the ceiling may be a full curve, a steep slant, or a half-u. They can be high, low, or in between. There could be natural light or a lot of shadows.
The best lighting for your sloped ceiling can be recessed, track, cable, or hanging. They can be flush mount or semi-flush; chandeliers or pendants. The choice comes down to what look you want to achieve. Do you want to brighten the entire room, or is there just a particular area or item you wish to highlight? Should the lighting be making a statement or be subtle and out of the way? Are you looking to draw attention to the light or keep the lights from being a distraction to the slope? Answers to these questions will help you choose the best lighting for your room.
Hanging a lighting fixture on a sloped ceiling isn't as difficult as you might think once you find the right one for your needs. When you are ready to install it, remember to locate the appropriate joists and junction boxes, have all the supports and adaptors you need, and - most importantly - shut off the electricity.
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