Ceilings, Lighting & Electrical

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Ceilings, Lighting & Electrical

A home's ceilings can be simple and unobtrusive or be an integral element of home décor. While most ceilings are made like their adjoining walls, out of plaster or drywall, they can be covered with decorative wood or metal tiles or panels. They may also be painted to match or augment the walls of a room.

Cathedral ceilings, in which the room is actually exposed to the roof trusses, increase the size of a room and offer a beautiful, natural look. However, they can be difficult to insulate and concealing wiring and plumbing becomes trickier. They can also be challenging to access for changing light bulbs and adjusting fixtures. Consider whether the enhanced look is worth the loss of convenience when deciding on a cathedral ceiling.

Dropped or suspended ceilings can offer easy access to electrical wiring and plumbing. They have traditionally had a somewhat industrial look, but modern tiles and panels offer more attractive choices. Acoustic dampers can be applied to any ceiling to reduce noise from overhead rooms.

A home's electrical wiring serves as its nervous system, and should be taken very seriously. Everything from the dishwasher to the doorbell relies on a sound, well-planned power supply. All wiring should be properly grounded to insure the safety of you and your family. And to protect all your expensive electronics, you may wish to install a whole-home surge protector.

Placement of outlets and switches is a crucial factor in electrical planning. Light switches should be placed at every entrance to a room and at the top and bottom of all staircases. There should be an outlet for every twelve feet of wall. Kitchen outlets should be more densely placed, and located above the countertop for small appliances.

Basements and garages should have sufficient outlets for power tools, garage door openers and appliances. Bathrooms require safety outlets to protect from accidental shocks. Weatherproof outdoor outlets will serve lawn and gardening needs. All outlets should be three-hole grounded receptacles.

There are myriad options for lighting a home, from floor lamps to skylights. Consider the primary function of each room before settling on a lighting method. Florescent tubes are often the best option for a workroom, while soft accent lighting can beautify art and plants.

Dimmers are handy not just for mood lighting but also for energy conservation. Energy efficient compact florescent bulbs will last for years and consume a fraction of the electricity of conventional halogen bulbs.

Built-in lighting and fixtures will define the character and intensity of a room's light, and there are plenty to choose from. Whether it's the diffuse up-light of a valance or the specific spotting of track lighting, there's a fixture for every purpose. Just make sure the fixture you choose have wattage ratings corresponding to the bulbs you plan to use.

Chandeliers, ceiling fans and other hanging lighting can be a very attractive option. Any such fixtures should be properly secured to the wooden frame of a house to prevent ceiling damage or worse.

Outdoor lighting, whether decorative lanterns or flood lights, is often motion activated for convenience and an increased sense of safety. Lighted house numbers can help everyone from the pizza guy to the police locate your home quickly and easily. Solar power is a smart way to power all your outdoor lighting.