Recessed Lighting in a Condominium Kitchen

The existing 2' x 4' fluorescent kitchen light fixture
This is what the existing kitchen light looked like in this condo kitchen. I knew from working in this condo before, that the ceiling was supported by wood trusses. The truss design makes it very conducive for fishing wires in the ceiling

Dear Mr. Electrician: I would like to replace the existing fluorescent light fixture in my condominium kitchen.  How difficult is it to install recessed lighting in a condominium and will it make a difference in appearance?

Answer: The most challenging aspect of installing retrofitted recessed lights is the measuring and laying out of the location for each light.  With a finished ceiling there is no simple way of knowing what obstacles might be in the way of your light installation.  Therefore you must probe the ceiling ahead of time to see if there are any utilities where a light was planned.  Something to be mindful of is the fire rating of the ceiling if there is another condominium above yours.  Remodeling type recessed lights are usually not fire rated.  An alternative would be to install surface mounted LED disks on the ceiling which have a similar appearance to recessed, but mount directly onto a standard round electrical box.  Below are some photos of a recessed lighting installation in a condominium kitchen.

 A hole was cut in the middle of the ceiling to facilitate the installation of the wires. The center round box was the original feed for the old ceiling light.
Although this condo was built with wood truss construction, there are still obstacles to prevent the wires from being easily fished across the ceiling.  A hole was cut in the middle of the ceiling to facilitate the installation of the wires.  The center round electrical box was the original feed for the old fluorescent ceiling light fixture.
A pig tail light socket was connected temporarily to the existing light feed for temporary lighting.
A rubber pigtail light socket was connected to the existing light feed for temporary lighting.  The existing ceiling electrical box will be removed and the wire brought into one of the new recessed lights.
In this particular ceiling, water pipes and gas pipes were located where the recessed lights were originally planned to be installed. By probing with a thin screwdriver and a short fish tape it was possible to locate the obstacles through a small hole.
In this particular ceiling, water pipes and gas pipes were located where the recessed lights were originally planned to be installed.  By probing with a long thin screwdriver and a short piece of fish tape it was possible to locate the obstacles through a small hole.
With wood truss construction, there is a lot of room to fish wires for recessed lights in the ceiling without having to drill ceiling joists. Halo H7RT 6" recessed light remodel housings were used here with white coilex trims.
With wood truss construction, there is a lot of room to fish wires for recessed lights in the ceiling without having to drill ceiling joists.  Halo H7, 6″ recessed light remodel housings were used here with white coilex trims.
The square hole in the center of the ceiling was cut with the compass saw held at a 45 degree angle. This makes it much easier to patch the hole with the same piece and some joint compound. All of the edges are buttered with joint compound and are smoothed in place without taping.
The square hole in the center of the ceiling was cut with the compass saw held at a 45 degree angle.  This makes it much easier to patch the hole with the same piece and some joint compound.  All of the edges are buttered with joint compound and are smoothed in place without taping.
The round hole from the former existing ceiling electrical box was patched using a filler piece of drywall that was cut from one of the light fixture cut-outs. A piece of wood was laid across the opening to support the filler piece. A drywall rasp is good for shaping drywall.
The round hole from the former existing ceiling electrical box was patched using a filler piece of drywall that was cut from one of the light fixture cut-outs.  A piece of wood was laid across the opening to support the filler piece.  A drywall rasp is good for shaping drywall.
A complete rough patch. After 24 hours it can have another coat of joint compound applied. After that dries and is sanded, the ceiling can be painted.
A complete rough patch.  After 24 hours it can have another coat of joint compound applied.  After that dries and is sanded, the ceiling can be painted.  On this particular installation it was possible to eliminate the existing round ceiling electrical box because it had only one cable in it which was re-routed to one of the recessed lights.
The bulbs used in the recessed lights are 70 watt BR40 halogen light bulbs which are approximately equal in light output to a 100 watt BR40 incandescent light bulb.
The bulbs used in the recessed lights are 70 watt BR40 halogen light bulbs which are approximately equal in light output to a 100 watt BR40 incandescent light bulb.
UPDATE: I no longer use BR40 halogen light bulbs due to lack of availability.  I now use BR40 LED light bulbs for recessed lighting installations.