Moving a Light Fixture on the Ceiling with an Attic Overhead Remodeling Know How

Moving a Light Fixture on the Ceiling with an Attic Overhead Remodeling Know How

Moving a Light Fixture on the Ceiling with an Attic Overhead

Mar 10, 2012

We frequently have to move lights in older homes because the owner wants the light over a table or centered in the room. Moving one is not that difficult, but there are a few things that may need to be done ( This is for normal lighting only, not heavy lights or ceiling fans). You will need access to the attic to do this normally. As always, make sure the electrical is off to the light before doing this work.

List of Items you will likely need:

  1. remodeling box(es) I suggest getting a standard blue box and a 1/2 pancake metal box
  2. Keyhole saw with short blade
  3. 14/2 wire to extend the cable if necessary
  4. Moving a Light Fixture on the Ceiling with an Attic Overhead Remodeling Know How
  5. Yellow wire cap nuts
  6. Junction box and a cap to extend wiring if needed
  7. Screws
  8. 12 of 14 or 12 ( scrap wood is fine)
  9. small piece of 1/2 sheetrock
  10. Hot Mud ( dry joint compound:45 is good) sets up quickly for several coats
  11. mud pan and mud knife

The new location has to be decided on and you need to confirm that you can place a round remodeling box in the ceiling without hitting a ceiling joist. I find it easiest to drill an 1/8 hole in the center of where you want it and stick a piece of stiff wire in the ceiling that is shaped like an L so you can move it around to see if there is anything in the way(make sure the insulation isnt grabbing the wire). If it looks good, I will drill 4 more holes at each side to confirm my research. By drilling holes, if I need to move the hole a little, I can easily patch the holes with some plaster. Once I am certain the hole is ready,  I make a hole using a keyhole saw. Make sure and cut the hole carefully. Keep in mind you may have electrical cables in the attic running over the joist. You dont want to make long deep cuts and you dont want to do this with a sawsall, unless you have looked in the attic already and have a wood sub ceiling under the sheetrock.

If there is a ceiling joist you can consider using a 1/2 thick pancake box and cut a circular hole in the sheetrock to make it flush with the ceiling when it is inserted. You will then secure the pancake box to the ceiling joist. If there is no joist in the way then you can cut a hole in the sheetrock and use a standard blue remodel box.

Once the hole is cut and ready for the box, you need to move the wiring from the old location to the new box. If you are lucky there is enough wire to make it to the new location with 6 sticking out after you feed it through the box and place the box in the ceiling to secure it. If you are not you will have to create a junction box in the attic to extend the wire.

A J-box is nothing more than a gang box where the old wire and new wire are located inside and twisted together with electrical caps holding them in the place. The J-box should be nailed or screwed to a ceiling joist or rafter with a cover screwed over it for future access. Once this is done you can then feed the new section of wire to the new location and feed it through the ceiling box. Your light is now ready to be installed on the new box.

Now you will need to remove the old box that was holding the light previously. I have demod  these out before and used them as my j-box in the attic if they are in good shape. They will usually be secured to a wooden ceiling joist of some sort and will have to pried off. This is usually easier to do from the attic than the space below. Once the box is removed I will lay a 12  or so section of 12 or 14 centered across the hole and screw it down from the ceiling with 2 screws on each side. Once it is secured I will cut a piece of sheetrock to fit the hole and then screw it on to the wood. You are now ready to tape and mud the hole.

Incoming search terms:

  • round remodel box
  • how to move a ceiling light fixture
  • moving a light fixture
  • does a ceiling light fixture need to be centered?
  • move electrical ceiling box
  • ceiling bar to move light
  • no light fixture in ceiling of older home what to do?
  • relocating ceiling fan with no attic access
  • relocating electrical ceiling light
  • adding a ceiling electrical box after sheet rock for a light fixture


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