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How to Wire a Fluorescent Light Fixture in a Garage

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Install Wiring for a Light Fixture: When installing fluorescent lighting for a garage that will be finished with sheet rock a NM Cable or Romex may be installed to the location where the light fixture will be installed after the sheet rock is finished and painted

Garage Fluorescent Light Fixture

Electrical Question: I want to install T8 fluorescent light fixtures in my garage so I need help with the wiring. The ceiling is unfinished s0 I plan on doing the wiring first. My question is do I need to install boxes or can i just use a cable clamp on the fixture and use the fixture as the junction box. Also, can the light fixtures be mounted right to the ceiling or do you have to leave a space.

This electrical wiring question came from Jeff, in Coleman, Wisconsin.

Dave the Electrician’s Answer:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Jeff.

Installing Type NM Electrical Wiring for a Garage Fluorescent Fixture

Application: Electrical Wiring for Lighting Fixtures.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a Voltage Tester, additional tools for the specific branch circuit wiring method.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and work with the circuit wiring.
Precaution: Identify the power source circuit at the panel, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Modifying or installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

How to Install Wiring for a Light Fixture


  • When installing fluorescent lighting for a garage that will be finished with sheet rock a NM Cable may be installed to the location where the light fixture will be installed after the sheet rock is finished and painted.
  • An approved cable connector is installed at the entry point to the light fixture.
  • When a fluorescent light fixture is installed onto a sheet rock ceiling an additional space is not required between the light fixture and the sheet rock if the sheet rock has the appropriate fire rating for the garage.
  • The area of the light fixture where the ballast and internal wiring is located may be used as the connection point for the single cable entering the light fixture.
  • Installing a junction box onto the ceiling joist or framing directly above the light fixture is always best especially when one or more cables are being installed to the location, and then an insulated bushing is installed into the light fixture knock out which will protect wiring leading from the junction box and into the light fixture.
  • The ground wire of the electrical circuit must be fastened to the metal frame of the light fixture using the provided grounding screw.


Many home fires begin in the garage and then spread into the main area of the home. Specific building codes have been adopted to help contain the garage area from the main area of the home by installing fire rated materials such asĀ  sheet rock and doors that are designed to contain the spread of fire for a specific time period. This is why it is vitally important that all levels of construction work is done with a building permit and all phases being inspected.

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Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

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