Installing Porch Lights

A porch light.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 25-50
What You'll Need
Wire caps
Light fixture
Light bulb
Crimping tool
Junction box
Mounting bracket
Circuit tester
Wire strippers
Electrical cable
Tape measure

Installing porch lights requires an ability to work with electricity and wiring. If you are unsure about working with electrical circuits, consult a contractor, or hire a professional to complete the installation for you. Taking a few precautions as outlined in the steps below may alleviate the need to pay for the services of a licensed electrician.

Step 1 - Mark the Area where the Light Will Be Added

Take a pencil and mark where you want to add the porch light. You should locate the junction box for the porch and place the light as close as you can to it so that you have less wire to run to the new light.

Step 2 - Test the Wires

Use a circuit tester to determine if the wires in the junction box are live. After testing the wires and before replacing any bad ones, shut the power off from the main circuit breaker box. To be safe you may consider shutting the entire circuit breaker off in order to prevent shock or electrocution from occurring.

Step 3 - Connect the Junction Box

Disconnect the wires in the old junction box that will be needed to connect to the new one in this order: black, white, then the green or ground wire.

Attach the new junction box in a position where you marked the new light fixture. Use 3/4-inch screws to attach the new box. If attaching the box to the ceiling, be careful not to poke them into the roof tiles.

Step 4 - Connect the Old and New Junction Boxes

Take a piece of electrical cable to connect the wires from the old box to the new box. This is done in order to continue the circuit and provide power to the new light fixture. Strip the installation from the wires with a wire stripper and insert the wires through the junction box.

You will need to attach the wires beginning with the ground wire. Attach the white and black wires together as well and use the plastic wire caps to secure the connection. Seal the connection with black electrical tape in order to prevent a wire hazard from occurring. Some areas may require a permit for this work and/or an inspection by the building inspector’s office before you encase the wires.

Step 5 - Install the Bracket and Light Fixture

After securing the cable to the roof or wall of the house and positioning the new junction box, use a mounting plate to secure the junction box. Attach the light fixture to the mounting plate after you connect the wires and cap them with the plastic wire caps. Push the wiring in place behind the mount into the junction box and secure the fixture with screws.

Step 6 - Test the Light

Restore the power from the circuit main and place a light bulb into the new fixture. Hit the power switch that controls the light and it should be on. If the light fails to turn on, run a quick test of the wires with the circuit tester to make sure that all of the connections are correct. Once completed, you should have light for your porch.