Now that my wife and I have a new deck (see post here), my wife decided that she would like some new lights to go with it.
Pictured here are the porch lights that we used to have. You can see that they are tarnished and kind of wore out.
We went to a couple home improvement stores and my wife finally picked out the style that she wanted.
On Saturday morning, I got my tools together and started working...
The first thing I did was make sure there wasn't power running to the old lights. 110v at 15 amps probably won't kill you if you briefly touch it, but the jolt is still scary enough to make you be sure it is off (trust me, I have felt that tingling hum several times).
Once I was sure the power was off, I pulled the old light down from the wall. It was a pretty simple process that just required me to loosen the two thumb screws on each side.
With the light down and the power off I disconnected the power and ground wires from the light. This left me with the old mounting bracket. It would have been nice if I could have used the old mounting bracket, but the new lights stick out a little farther than the old ones.
I removed the two screws that were holding the old bracket in and installed the shiny new bracket.
After that, all I had to do was connect the back wire on the light to the black wire coming out of the wall with the wire nut. I did the same thing with the white wire and then I connected the copper ground wire to the bracket.
Finally, I fitted the light over the two mounting screws on the bracket and placed the thumb screws on to tighten it down.
I had the first one done in probably about five minutes and I am really happy with the way it turned out. My wife did a great job of picking out the lights.
The second one turned out to be much more difficult...
If you are a homeowner in a house that isn't new construction, you probably are very familiar with the way previous owners tend to "jimmy-rig" things to make them fit.
The previous owner had cut much too big of a hole in the mounting plate and the old light was barely hanging on to the side of the house.
My intital thought was to make a bigger bracket myself. I had some spare metal sitting around so I cut it down to the length I thought I needed and went to work.
I threw on my saftey glasses and started to grind down the metal in the areas I needed. It was right about then my wife came in and said "nice glasses". She teases me, but we all know if something happened to my beautiful baby blues, she would be devestated.
After adding some nuts and bolts, I thought I had a solution that was going to work for me.
I walked back outside so I could try to fit it in place.
After trimming it down a couple more times, I was finally able to make it fit. There was only one problem. The main mounting bracket was sitting too far back in the hole for the light to mount properly on it.
The set posts weren't even reaching through the holes onthe light for me to put the thumb screws on.
So I went back to the drawing board...
I finally came up with this solution. I used part of the old bracket and the new bracket to make a sort of clamp. I tightened down the bolts and nuts to pinch the opening of the hole. I wouldn't trust a lot of weight on it, but it is definitely strong enough to hold the new light.
I connected all of the electrical back up and mounted the light on the set posts, then put the tumb screws on and tightened them down. I think the new lights look really nice on our house.
If you have ever wanted to try a project like this but have been intimidated or scared I encourage you to go for it. It isn't as bad as you think and as long as everything goes smoothly you can have the whole project done in 20 minutes or less!