Cable lights vs. track for post and beam construction

inthevilleMarch 7, 2009

Hello, new to the lighting forum. I have searched this topic and have not found a post with the pros and cons of cable lights vs. track lighting.

New construction house of post and beam construction, there is no space above the ceiling, the "ceiling" is 2x6 SYP that serves as the floor for the upstairs. So any lighting fixtures will need to be wall mounted. there are 14ft 6 x 8 doug fir beams running perpendicular to the 18ft long wall, with 6 x 12 beams dividing the overhead space between each room. In case I'm unclear this is the web address for our home plans w/some pics from the architect

The space I'm concerned about lighting is a living room, 13,6" x 18, dining room and and kitchen 12 x 14.

I like the look of cable lights, that they are unobtrusive and can be wall mounted. They do seem pricey - have only seen Tech's Kable Lite systems.

Track lighting seems like it would be difficult to wall mount, is distracting from the beauty of the wood. It is much less expensive.

I would love to hear more experienced users comment on these two lighting systems - ease of use, quality of light, expense and difficulty to install. I want a space that is well lit for reading and ambient room lighting.


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Hmm. No one has an opinion on these lights?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 1:44PM
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One of the rooms has what appears to be six junction boxes on the ceiling with temporary fixtures.

Cable lighting looks too hi tech for a post and beam home. Antique Bronze monorail blends in better IMHO.

Where are the power sources for this lighting? How did you get this far along without a lighting plan of some kind?

You can't light a room very well from wall mounted track fixtures because you create a lot of glare if aim them into the center of the room . It's best to put them away from the wall and aim them back at the wall for art and down at the furnishings.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 2:37PM
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I agree, cable lights seems too high tech (LOVE your house BTW). cables also seems better suited to higher ceilings. Track lighting is easy to mount on walls but dim4fun is right about the glare. We have all our with alternating heads pointed up, down, up, etc. Those pointed up are switched separately from the downs and 95% of the time we only turn on the ones pointed up because otherwise we feel like deer caught in the headlights! Good reading light will probably have to come from a floor lamp.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 9:12AM
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Thanks for the input. I like the way the sparseness to the cable lights in the store, but the ceilings there are 10ft and white and we have 9ft covered in wood! gslgal - I like the suggestion about using tracks by pointing the heads up and having them on separate switches.
dim4fun - I had to smile at the suggestion for antique bronze b/c we choose that for our window hardware. The picture link is to a house built by someone else and I'm assuming that they did not build to plan b/c there must be space for those ceiling fixtures - I didn't see any conduit running. So that's a little misleading. Built to plan, as our house is - the ceiling is 2 inches of pine that IS the floor for the upstairs! We could hide some junction boxes in the floor of closets and mechanical spaces but those are 1)already small and 2) not conveniently located to have symmetrical fixtures.
I guess we got this far along w/out a real lighting plan because we just loved the floor plan and style of house and knew that we would find a way to make it work. thanks for your input. It sounds like wall mounted track lights with thought devoted to how the light will project into the room will be the way to go. . . although I am very tempted to buy some of the real cheap cable lights from Ikea or Lowes to try .. . . :-) I hope to post some pictures of what ever the outcome is!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 8:33AM
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Just found your post as a result of my search to address a similar problem. We recently bought a mid-century post and beam with no down lights. There are some old track lights with the glare issue. Can you share your story? What did you finally do and are you satisfied with the results? I would appreciate any guidance you can offer.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 4:35PM
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