The area around the kitchen sink, the fireplace, or anywhere that you might want either a spot of light or an accent is a good place to consider for a recessed lighting fixture. Unless you are planning to install several recessed fixtures, it is not the ideal fixture for lighting a whole room.
Recessed lights almost always come with a cannister that holds the light and the wiring. The cannister is hidden above the ceiling with a piece of trim that covers the lip of the cannister and any gaps between the hole in the drywall and the fixture. It is this cannister that gives the most problem when installing recessed lighting.
Before purchasing a recessed light fixture, take a trip to the attic. Always be careful when walking on the tops of the joists that are above your ceiling. If you miss one, you have a nasty hole to repair plus the chance of broken bones if you fall through.
Make your way to the area where you would like a recessed light. Using a tape measure, note the amount of clearance above the drywall. You do not need to be near a truss because you can always insert a board across the trusses for anchoring the recessed fixture.
However, it is important that you have enough clearance to be able to fit the height of the cannister into the space without hitting bracing or the roof line. Take the time if you are not replacing an existing fixture to find a power source and way to install a wire for the switch.
Now, go shopping and find a fixture that will fit in your attic. Buy any additional wire and switches that you may need to complete the task. You may need junction boxes for the wire connections and the switch. Pick up some wire nuts that match your wire.
The fixture should come with a template for marking your ceiling to cut the hole for the fixture installation. Before cutting the hole, go back to the attic and clear away any debris and insulation. This will make the clean up after the hole is cut much easier. Check your measurements several times before cutting the hole. Once the hole is cut, you will need to go back to the attic to attach the cannister firmly to a truss or board that you install for this purpose.
While in the attic run any wires and make all connections that are necessary. Make sure the power is off before you patch into any wires or junctions. You may need a drill to make holes to drop wire down for the switch. Remember the switch is installed on the ground wire. Double check the clearances for the fixture to keep the heat from burning down your house. The fixture should have suggested clearances. Follow these and do not cheat on the space.
Once all of the connections are made and the junction boxes are closed, exit the attic to complete the installation. Sometimes the fixtures are already installed inside the cannister. If not, you will need to do this. Normally, it is just a matter of a few screws. Put the ring in place to cover the opening around the cannister and install a bulb.
If you must install a new switch, cut the hole before going to the attic and have someone tell you when the wire has reached the opening. Now, you should be able to use an “old construction” junction box and wire in the switch. Once the cover is over the switch box, you should be ready to test your work.
Given that you have made all of the connections securely and correctly, turn the power back on and flip the switch. You should be ready to enjoy the outcome of your work. Plan on this job requiring about 2 hours if you are not replacing a fixture. If you are replacing an existing fixture, you might be able to complete this job in under an hour.