Add light under a cabinet

By Gene and Katie Hamilton, Tribune Media Services

Do It Yourself or Not?

9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013


A kitchen doesn't need to be totally remodeled to make it more functional. As an inexpensive but highly worthwhile investment, consider adding under-cabinet lighting to make working at countertops safer and easier. The low-profile fixtures come in strips and are easy to install in the shallow recess on the bottom of cabinets; they plug into a wall receptacle. The light these surface-mounted fixtures provide makes chopping and cutting chores safer, and reading fine-print recipes easier. They work nicely in the evening to provide just enough lighting for safe footing without using overhead fixtures.

An electrician will charge $143 to install three 14-inch surface-mounted fixtures near a wall or backsplash receptacle, but you can buy them and do it yourself for $55 and save 61 percent. Make sure you choose fixtures with ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which detect a shock hazard in the electrical power and turn it off. In fact, check your receptacle and replace it with a GFCI device if it doesn't have that protection. Under-cabinet fixtures with compact fluorescent bulbs are sold at hardware stores and home centers.

If there's no receptacle nearby to power the lights, it'll cost considerably more to have an electrician run a new power line.

To find more DIY project costs, and to post comments and questions, visit http://www.diyornot.com and http://www.m.diyornot.com on smartphones.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$143 -- $55 -- 2.6 -- 4.0 -- $88 -- 61 Percent