How to Add an Attic Light

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Advanced
  • 150-200
What You'll Need
A ladder
A piece of chalk
A switch box
Electrical wire
Screws, large and small
A screwdriver
An electric drill
Wire clips
A small light fixture

An efficient attic light is necessary regardless of the function of your attic. You may use the space to live in, or use it for storage, but if you do not light it properly, someone could easily get injured. Attic lights are cheap and widely accessible, and installing one can be quickly and easily done by following a few simple steps.

WARNING: You'll need prior experience with electrical tools for this job, particularly since you'll have to install a new switchbox for the attic light.

Step 1—Choose Location

Use a ladder, if necessary, to gain access to the ceiling and mark out a location for the light with a piece of chalk or a white pencil. Pick a location close to the middle of the attic ceiling so as to more-easily light the whole attic. Do not worry if the ceiling isn't flat, because you can simply use longer screws to fix the light into the wooden studs.

Step 2—Install Switch Box

Choose an accessible location to place the switch box. Just inside the entrance to the attic is ideal. Try to place the switch box close to another light circuit, which will make creating a circuit for the attic light easier. Run the end of an electrical wire into one side of the box. After that, run a second wire from the other side to where the light will hang. Connect the wires to the relevant parts in the back of the switch and attach a cover to the box with screws and a screwdriver.

Step 3—Drill Holes

Use an electric drill to make holes in the attic studs close to where the light will hang. You can thread wire through these holes to the light. This will reduce the danger to you, because the wires will not be hanging down from the ceiling in a hazardous way. Feed the wire along the frame of the attic and through the holes to where the light will be. Use wire clips around the attic frame at various points to keep any loose bits of wire from sticking out.

Step 4—Install Light

Connect the lamp to the wooden attic studs where you marked the position earlier. Use the drill to secure large screws through the fitting plates of the light. Use longer screws to compensate for the triangular angle of the attic roof. Make sure the light is securely in place by using your hands to see if it is still loose.

Step 5—Connect Light

Connect the electrical wire from the switch box to the attic light using the manufacturer's instructions. Cut all power by switching off the breaker box. Connect the attic light to its own circuit. When you put the breaker back on, the light should be working and fully functional.