DIY Step-by-Step Guide: Installing a Flexible Track Lighting System


Track lighting systems are often used over kitchen islands, in bathrooms, hallways or living rooms with high ceilings where traditional lighting is inefficient. Flexible track lighting allows for numerous configurations to make the lighting system meet your needs and to create the look and feel you want.

It is possible to purchase complete track lighting kits that include all of the parts you need, and you can learn how to install track lighting quickly and easily. You can update existing track lights or install them from scratch by following a few simple steps and with only basic tools. This even includes trendy, modern monorail track lighting kits that can create a completely new aesthetic in any room of your home.

Table of contents

Shop Track Lighting Kits

Why Buy From Del Mar Fans & Lighting?

Pictured are three icons to represent some of the reasons to shop with

There are many reasons to buy from Del Mar Fans and Lighting, however, here are just a few reasons we would like to bring attention to!

  • Returns for 90 days.
  • Free shipping on all orders of $40+.
  • A safe shopping experience.

Shop Our Deals!

Track vs. Monorail Lighting?

The two main types of lighting systems: track lighting and monorail lighting. The two are closely related and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Track lighting is the more conventional option and monorail often serves a decorative purpose along with being functional. Monorail is its own separate, low-voltage system (usually 12-volts), whereas track is line-voltage and an extension of your home's existing electrical circuit (120-volts). Generally speaking, track lighting is easier to install, but we now offer flexible monorail track lighting kits available that allow for this same easy installation. This way you can incorporate any desired decorative features such as alternate track heads or even hanging pendants.

Video Tutorial: How to Install Track Lighting?

Materials Needed:

  • Wire strippers
  • Tape measure
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Plumb bob with laser
  • Battery-powered drill
  • Stud finder

Overview: Installing a Track Lighting System

Installing track lighting using a kit is straight-forward, and can be done without an electrician, but it is important to follow all of the steps in order. It also helps to have a second person to assist you for several of the steps and this will expedite the process.

Step One: Turn Off Power & Gather Materials

Before getting started, the first thing you should do is turn off the power supply at your circuit breaker and gather the necessary tools. You will only need a few tools when installing one of our complete monorail lighting kits: wire strippers, a tape measure, an electronic plumb bob, a stud-finder, a battery-powered drill, masking tape, and a marker. You may require a hacksaw and a steel file if it is necessary to shorten or join tracks. All other materials are included in the kit.

Step Two: Plan Out Shape & Placement

Next, determine the shape of the lighting system and placement of the ceiling light fixtures for the space in which you will be installing the monorail track lights. To do this, measure the space and make a diagram of the space. Then create a drawing where you plan the layout of the shape of the rail and placement of the lighting fixtures.

We also offer additional light fixtures that are compatible with our flexible track lighting including a variety of modern pendants, as well as an assortment of track heads to hold light bulbs. The track kits, allow for an array of configurations to accommodate various room sizes from closets to living rooms and kitchens.

Shop Track Lighting Heads

The rails can be molded by hand. It helps to create a drawing to use as a guide during the process then mark the design of the rail and the placement of your light fixtures using masking tape on a countertop, table or the floor directly under where the installation location.

Step Four: Determine Location of the Junction Box

If no junction box is available in the room, you will need to install one along the rail. Use your laser plumb bob to determine the location of the junction box and mark it on the ceiling with a marker.

Step Five: Determine Location of Mounts

Shape the rail using your hands and have your assistant hold the track in place if necessary. The metal is flexible and can be made into curves of almost any size or bent at various angles. If you need more length, then additional rails may be joined together. To join two tracks together you may need to cut one of the rails along a straight edge. The rail may also be shortened to work in smaller spaces using a hacksaw. Be sure to file the end of the rail if you do any sawing. This is particularly important when joining two tracks to make sure the end caps fit snugly.

To join tracks, tape down the first piece to hold it in place. Connective conductors are provided in the kit to make joining tracks simple and they are inserted into the connecting endcaps between the sections of rail.

Step Six: Drill Pilot Holes

Mark the locations on the ceiling using a marker as you did with the junction box and do not forget to take the junction into consideration when placing. Using a stud-finder, determine whether or not you will need to use an anchor for the mounts or if you will be able to drill the mounts into the ceiling directly. Mark the holes requiring additional anchors. Drill small pilot holes at the marked points and set anchors as needed. Drill in the mounts.

Step Seven: Screw in Mounts

Secure your entire track fixture in place on your work surface then utilizing the plumb bob again, you will determine where to drill the holes in the ceiling to install the rigid standoff mounts. The standoffs should be between 30 and 36 inches apart on the track with the first one placed next to the last pendant. Work down the rail to ascertain the placement of the other mounts.

For this, you will need your wire strippers and drill. Once the junction box is wired and secured, remove the masking tape holding down the track and attach it to the mounts and the mount on the junction box - this is another step in which it helps to have a second person assist because you want to avoid bending the rail.

Step Eight: Secure the Junction Box

The most technical step in the process is likely wiring the transformer and securing the junction box that you will need to install unless one was already available in the correct location of the room. A junction box with a compatible mount is included in a complete track lighting kit.

Step Nine: Determine Height of the Track Heads or Pendants

Determine how high you would like to hang the light fixtures from the rail. This is particularly important if you will be utilizing any of our pendant fixtures. Their placement will affect the lighting in the room. You also do not want pendants to obstruct anyone's view or for them to be easy to bump into, especially if your track lighting is in a high-traffic room the kitchen. Read more about how to determine height and placement of track heads and pendants with our Home Pendant Lighting Guide

After the height is determined, cut the cords to the desired length and use the wire strippers. Re-splice the connector into the cord, and join the connectors to the track at your desired locations.

Shop Track Lighting Pendants

Step Ten: Turn Power Back On

Now you are free to turn the power source back on at the circuit breaker and enjoy your new track system.

If you want your new track lighting system to be energy efficient, consider using LED light bulbs and adding a dimmer switch. These options perform at a lower wattage and will reduce the amount of energy needed to light your room.

Shop Track Lighting Kits

Related Posts

Other Resources

Did this guide help you understand the steps involved to install a track lighting system yourself? Any tips you want to share with others who are taking on this venture? Comment below!

July 5, 2020
18 view(s)