Replacing Single Light with Downlights

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by wywywywy, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Hi,

    I just bought a small flat, because the living room is small and the ceiling is not high, a large light in the middle doesn't look very good. So I am thinking of replacing the single light with about 5 or 6 mains downlights.

    Now I know about the wiring (gotta double check), I've done a search here and all the posts are about wiring. What I don't know is how to physically attach the downlights to the ceiling?

    I am okay with electrical, but not ANY building work, have no experience at all. And if I am stuck with the electrical bit, my neightbour is an electrician.

    Is it just a case of crawling in the loft and using a circular cutter to cut a hole on the ceiling plaster, then attach the downlights? Or is there any special tools/skills required?

    Or better yet... is there a DIY guide somewhere? Or manufactuerer's fitting instructions etc. I can't find anything on Google :(

    Please advise!

    Many thanks.
     
  2. stevelup

    stevelup
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    Hi

    Yep, it's straightforward - just use a circular cutter, or mark it and use a plasterboard handsaw.

    However, I certainly wouldn't drill down from the loft as this will make a real mess of the plasterwork on your ceiling.

    You need to drill up into the loft from your room. Just make sure you work out where all the joists are first :)

    Steve
     
  3. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Hi,

    So, I think I should drill a pilot hole for each light from the loft (because I can then see where the joists are), then get down and use a circular cutter to make the actual opennings from the pilot holes. Is that correct?

    By the way... how about the loft insulation material? Is it safe to use the material to cover the back of the lights? My guess is probably not due to the heat... so I'd need to cut the insulation material as well. Right?

    Many thanks!!
     
  4. stevelup

    stevelup
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    I'd still be wary of doing any downward drilling. If you're not careful you could push a whole chunk of plaster down. It's easy enough to work out where your joists are from the room by just tapping on the ceiling.

    You definitely should cut away a suitable amount of loft insulation. I removed a 12" square around each light when I fitted downlighters in our bedroom and landing.

    Steve
     
  5. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Thank you for the tips!

    I'd assume physically there is no difference to 12v in terms of installation, except finding somewhere to mount the transformers, right?

    Because I think eventually I'd use low-volt water or splash proof downlights in the bathroom, so that I can have over-shower lighting.

    Thanks.
     
  6. John

    John
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    Your gonna need a qualified sparks for the bathroom . Part P regs . DIY electrics in the home isn't as legal as it used to be .

    John
     
  7. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Ohhh is that the new reg since early 2005?
    And is that just the wiring, or the actually fitting of the units as well?

    Places other than the bathroom (kitchen, living, etc) are still okay, yea?

    Thank you!
     
  8. stevelup

    stevelup
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    I would have thought that changing the light fittings would fall under the definition of "Replacement, repair and maintainance" - which is exempt.

    It's my understanding that as long as new fixed cabling is not being installed, and that the existing wiring to the switches and consumer unit are undisturbed, the work is exempt.

    Steve
     
  9. John

    John
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    I'm fairly sure for bathroom and kitchen work the rules are different to the rest of the house

    John
     
  10. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder
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    All low voltage lighting, regardless of location, is notifiable.
    Apart from the pre assembled B&Q type kit.

    Have a look at this PDF DOCUMENT for a guide.
     
  11. mkjustuk

    mkjustuk
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    The way I did all mine was to measure out the pattern of lights from the room and mark the ceiling. Then I pushed a thin screw up into the plasterboard where I wanted the centre for each. In the loft I then checked where each screw had come up and checked it in relation to the nearest joist. If it was ok I would push the screw back down and move on. If one was a bit close it just got moved in the right direction and try again. Once all the screws are out you have the centre holes from which you can cut out the circles from downstairs.
     
  12. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Thank you guys!

    So I think I'd better forget about the bathroom and the kitchen, don't do them for now.

    And I'll try to get some quotes on changing the lights in the living room and bedroom. If its expensive, then I'll DIY as much as I safely can.

    Is there any recommended places for mains downlights?? I much prefer the "eye-ball" style ones. Because I want most of them slightly tilting to the wall, and the centre ones showering the coffee table and possibly my desk, while nothing is pointing at the TV.

    Thanks.
     
  13. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder
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    Any local electrical wholesaler will have lots of kit on the shelf.
    Also, a whole lot more available to order in their catalogues.
    Just pop in there mate, they will help you out.
     
  14. mkjustuk

    mkjustuk
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    Screwfix sell a whole raft of downlighters and their more expensive ones are very good quality. They also do tilting ones that tilt 'within' the housing so avoiding the ultra-ugly eyeball section.
     
  15. mhuk05

    mhuk05
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    www.diynot.com is worth a look.

    And don't buy your lights from Ikea- they suck for reliability.
     
  16. stevelup

    stevelup
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    I buy all my stuff from TLC. They are very cheap and do decent quality stuff.

    Steve
     
  17. loz

    loz
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    Resurrecting this old thread as I have the same question.

    Existing lights are two ceiling roses.
    These just have L/N/E coming out (no loop) - there is a junction box somewhere in the ceiling that these both spur off and connects to the wall switch.

    So, I plan to replace each light with 3x 240v downlighters, all wired into a junction box that connects to the existing L/N/E wire from the rose.

    Can I do that by just tucking the wiring and the JB up through the holes drilled for the downlighters? There would be 1 mtr of cable from the JB to each of the furthest downlighters, and the 3rd light would be next to the JB.
    Or do I have to get the floorboards up and "fix" the wires and the JB down.

    Does this come under the category of replacing a light fitting and hence requirin no inspection?

    Generally, if you buy these box of 3 downligher kits that are common in every DIY store, is it expected that installing these falls under the category of replacing a light fitting in the above scenario? (providing not in bathroom or kitchen).

    When you are replacing them in an upstairs room and have access to the loft, so it is easier, does all the wiring need to be tacked down (or is it just good practice and neat and tidy anyway)
     
  18. wywywywy

    wywywywy
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    Hi. At the time I was told that it required no inspection, so I got a local electrician to do a cash in hand job.
     

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