Basic lesson in under cabinet lighting? Recommendations?

gigibozoMarch 24, 2013

Can anyone give me a lesson in under cabinet lighting? Any recommendations? Tips? I don't have it in my current 20-plus year kitchen, so I am clueless.


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things i would do differently: i did not spend as much time researching lighting in general, just took my GC's recommendation. next time i would do more research first. i used his recommendation - juno undercab florescent lights.

i really like under cab lighting in general and use undercab almost exclusively, rarely using the overhead LED canned lights as they feel too sterile and bright. while the juno undercabs are good, would have preferred to be able to dim them and these cannot be dimmed. the other issue is based on my house layout i can see directly into the kitchen from the livingroom and when seated in the livingroom, based on the angle i could see the light strips from below the cabinets. it looked bad and hurt my eyes. this required me to do a retrofit cabinet lightrail fix after the fact. fortunately they were custom cabinets and i was able to do so and match the paint, would have been more problematic if they were off the shelf. so check to be sure the profile will be hidden from all angles needed and decide if LED is required. LED's are more expensive and this is not my forever house so it is fine but in my next house, which hopefully will be my forever house i will put LED's in.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 3:19PM
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There is a lot of info on the lighting forum.
I did quite a bit of research on the topic but also worked with the local lighting store, Sparky, and the GC.
Even so, I made a few goobers.
I thought I wanted 5 inch cans and bulbs but really wanted the trim kits - the 5 inch cans limited my options but worked out in the end.

I did put GMLighting LARC LED light bars under the cabinets. I originally had them positioned at the front but had some shadows, so Sparky moved them back an inch.

They are on dimmers - the LED lights are relatively expensive but the transformer to run these was also expensive.

We are planning 20 more years in this house, so felt the ROI was worth it.

Now you can see them

Now you can't - I do recommend the lower trim board if you want them to be "invisible"

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Just had undercab lighting installed this morning! So at this point, can't tell you what they look like at night :) But did want to give you an idea of what pricing would be. I love the GW forum, but lots of times, I wish fellow GWer's would give us pricing so we know what to compare it with, so that we can determine if we are getting a fair price. It obviously differs from region to region. I am in Orange County, CA and I paid an electrician $300 for LED lights with dimmer.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:00PM
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Sorry, I still haven't figured out how to post several pictures at once. Here is what the LED light strip looks like. It is super narrow and thin, so you can't see it at all.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:02PM
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I am doing CSL eco under cabinet light. Super bright. Nice warm color (not blue at all but not yellow either). Does not get hot. Much better light spread than puck lights. Dimmable. Very thin profile. Mounted towards the front of the cabinet pointing back.. so the light is on the counter and backsplash.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:29PM
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So, here's a question to go along with this, what's the difference between the LED Christmas style lights and the LED under cab lights and the LED rope lights? I'm being serious here, I'd really like to know. I'm probably more clueless in this area than the OP, and hope I'm not veering too far off topic.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:02PM
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Laughable the Xmas and rope lights just seem to have the diodes further apart. That's what I gather from looking at pictures anyway. I'm not a fan of 'light-shadow-light' patten on the counter.

There is good info on the lighting forum but boy is it technical.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Look into Maxlite. I really liked the quality of light. We went with the 8.6 watt version (though it says 10w on the package.) I think it has 33 diodes per foot and each light bar is 12" long and are daisy-chainable. They are expensive but self contained and easy to install if you have 120v available. They are dimmable, but only with an equally expensive dimmer by Lutron. You can check their website for the "plug and play" light bars and buy on line wherever you can get a good deal. Expect to pay around $60 per 12", but they are self contained, powerful, dimmable and you won't need anything additional except maybe power cords. There are a couple version so make sure you are purchasing the one you want.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:49PM
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MrMaryMac23 - Thank you for the information. The lighting is lovely. Did you have these installed after you installed the backsplash? I am undecided on undercabinet lights, is it very hard to install after the cabinets, counters and backsplash are installed?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 7:35PM
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That's seems to be a very reasonable price, MsMaryMac. I received a quote for 10 linear feet of LED ribbon light plus installation & dimmer $660. Don't know which brand LED lights they use. I can't get my husband to say yes but sounds like I need to get some more quotes. I'm in NE Florida.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:34PM
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I have Philips eW Profile Powercore direct wire(the transformer is built in) UCL light bars. I really like the light output and would buy them again.
You can dim them but I didn't bother since I like the light and my pendants are on dimmers.
Send your details to Farralane's and get a quote.
The box you see is the wiring compartment. The installation is really simple for your electrician.

Here is a link that might be useful: Philips LED

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 9:38PM
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If I remember correctly the lights and wiring boxes, I needed 2, and connector/jump cable cost about $650 for 16 ft. not including install.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 9:45PM
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I had the lighting installed after the cabinet and backsplash installation. It was something that I didn't think about until AFTER the fact. But it was a pretty easy process that took roughly 2 hrs. He had to drill small holes between the cabinets and ran a wire inside the lining of cabinet. I didn't have to do any drywall repairs. Which probably adds to the overall costs.

Kgolby - just measured mine and it's about 8 feet. They charged $30 for the dimmer.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:27AM
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eatrealfood, so your Philips Profile Powercore rest on the bottom of your face frame cabinet at 18" above countertop? I read last night the height of the Powercore is 1.7 inches in height and width/diameter 0.88".

I'm researching the 18" from range surface top to adjacent cabinet before ordering my cabinets, and it seems the Philips Powercore fits this without any additional light bar.

I'd appreciate any feedback on this, as direct wire Philips Powercore ucl is definitely being considered for multiple reasons. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:11AM
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Here's a front view photo. Measure the space you have underneath in front of your cabinet, they should fit. Also mount at the front for the best task lighting.
You can't see the lights from the front. I can see them from the adjacent sitting room open to the kitchen but if they are off it doesn't bother me. I haven't bothered to order a light rail, since the dealer & I are not speaking.
Have you read davidtay's UCL lighting threads ? These lights are a really nice option for direct wire, dimmable, LED bars. I do not like LED strips at all. The ones the electrician showed me were so dim and I couldn't figure out the material charge from the estimates so I ordered my own lights and paid for labor. The install is easy, if you are handy you can do it yourself. Color Kinetics has the installation guide on their website I think.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Thanks, eatrealfood. Face frame cabinets should allow them, but frameless not so much without a significant light rail. I haven't ordered my cabinets yet as I'm working through the space.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 1:20PM
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MsMaryMac23, I'd like to know more about yours as well. What brand are they? And how are they installed, direct wire or plug in? If direct wired, how did they do that after everything was finished?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:02PM
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MsMary - those look pretty cool!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 5:50PM
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Your entire kitchen looks very nice MsMaryMac. Love your backsplash and granite-they highlight the rich tones of your cabinetry. I'm glad you were able to find the right under counter lighting and thank you for giving the general price. I live on the US east coast and it seems ucl is fairly costly. Wish I was more of a DIY and comfortable around electricity.

Thanks for your post and I hope discussion of light rails wasn't too off topic, Gigibozo.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Here is a picture of my under cabinet lighting with no other lights on. I used Revolt Ecco Link lightbars (LED) by Core Lighting. You can see them at Core Lighting's website. I am very happy with them. They are very small and thin light bars. The company also makes LED tapes.
I had these installed before the back splash was installed so that all the wires are hidden in the wall.
Nora Lighting makes a similar product, but I went with Revolt because it was considerably less expensive.
I put mine at the front of the cabinet and mounted flat. They can be angled to light the back splash but I wanted the light on the counter top.
If you go to a local lighting store, they should have displays so you can see how they look. Mine did!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:08AM
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Super helpful thread. I ordered ucl but I don't know anything about what our cabinet people use. I am also concerned that the balances might get in the way of my stand mixer -a professional kitchenaid- fitting between the counter and the uppers.

Gorgeous pics from you all too. Lots to think about...

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 6:18AM
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I just ran across these yesterday. I don't own them yet, but am quite sure this is what I will use.
You can go to inspired led website and see more options. There are others on amazon as well.
What really sold me was the overwhelming positive reviews and the easy do it yourself installation.

Here is a link that might be useful: undercabinet lites

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:11AM
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MsMary - your UCL looks great and I need to consider installing after the fact too. Can you give us any more info on the brand and how it is wired?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 7:50PM
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eatrealfood - I'm probably going with the Philips eW Profile Powercore and I'm glad I saw your posts because I was going to order from another online store if I hadn't found that Farralane was cheaper. I was wondering, how long did it take for Farralane to get back to you with a quote?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 7:21PM
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