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Vanity lighting is a basic necessity in the bathroom. Lights positioned strategically to prevent shadows when you are looking at the mirror make it easier to efficiently perform personal grooming routines, such as shaving, putting on makeup, and tweezing the eyebrows.
Installing bathroom vanity lighting where no vanity light was previously mounted could be a bit of a challenge. But if you are willing to do this project, this do-it-yourself guide will help you get through this task like a pro.
The vanity light can most easily be connected electrically to the main bathroom light. The wiring for this light will be visible in the attic, although insulation will need to be temporarily removed to make it accessible. The hard part is locating where to drop the wire down into the wall for the light. However, this is not as hard as it may seem.
Before you start with this project, check if you need some remodeling electrical work. If so, then you will need to purchase remodeling electrical boxes. Unlike regular electrical boxes which are used for new construction and are designed to be nailed to the studs in the wall, remodeling electrical boxes are designed to be attached to a drywall without having to destroy your wall. Once this is sorted out, we can begin with your bathroom lighting installation project.
Before you start, switch off the power to the ceiling light. To ensure that the power is kept off, use a small strip of tape to keep the light switch locked in its place.
Identify where to install the electrical box for the bath vanity lighting. This should be centered above the mirror and sink, high enough for all the light and its globes mounted over the mirror.
Cut a hole in the drywall for mounting the electrical box. Make sure that the hole is just the right size so that it is able to properly hold the electrical box in place.
Uninstall the globe and the shell of the ceiling light. You may leave the light hanging by the wires, as long as the globe’s weight is removed.
Look for the vent pipe for the bathroom in the attic. This is a PVC plumbing pipe about 2 to 3 inches in diameter that rises vertically from the bathroom plumbing, within the wall. In cases where there is more than one vent pipe, this would be the one which is directly behind the toilet.
Once the insulation is removed, the top of the wall’s header should be visible. Be careful not to step on the drywall on either side of the header.
With the vent pipe as your reference, measure and locate where the sink is then drill a 0.63-inch hole into the center of the header where the wire will be inserted. The header is usually a double 2×4, so you will have to drill through 3 inches of wood.
Next, run some Romex electrical wiring down into the hole, inside the wall. Make sure that the wire is long enough to run down and reach at least one foot past where the hole for the electrical box should be in the wall.
Using wire staples, attach the Romex wiring onto the ceiling joists. Run it over the electrical box for the ceiling light. Run at least one foot of wire down through the box, then secure it to the joists using wire staples. Replace any insulation that was removed earlier.
Back in the bathroom, attach the wires to the wires in the electrical box of the ceiling light fixtures. Make sure that all electrical connections in your home must be contained within electrical boxes. Reinstall the ceiling light fixture.
Locate the wire that was run down inside the wall and pull out its end through the hole for the electrical box. Insert it in one of the holes in the electrical box then mount the electrical box in the wall. Strip off about 4 to 5 inches of the outer insulation on the Romex so that the insulated wires inside are exposed. On each wire, strip off 0.63 inches of insulation.
Separate the shell of your vanity lighting fixture from the mounting plate. Attach the mounting plate to the electrical outlet box in the wall, with the Romex wiring running through it. Make sure that it is level. Check the wiring of your vanity light and make sure that the wires are stripped. If not, strip off 0.63 inches of insulation from the ends of the wire.
Supporting the shell of your vanity light, attach the wires to the Romex wiring inside the electrical box with yellow wire nuts. Remember that if there is a ground screw, both wires should be connected with this instead of the wire nut.
Attach the vanity light’s shell onto its bracket using the hardware that was removed to take it apart. Then attach the vanity light’s globes. Hold them in place with small knurled screws. Finger-tight is enough. Do not over-tighten them, because this can break the globes. Install the light bulbs.