Hanging Light Fixture to Ceiling without an Electrical Box

I've got a very lightweight (~4 lbs) light fixture that I'm attaching to my ceiling. Currently, there is no overhead light in the room, and thus, there's no existing electrical box. Further, I have no access to the space above my ceiling (attic area), to go in and install a box. I'm not worried about the power -- I'm running cable from the light to a plug that I'll plug into the wall. I'm trying to find out what my options are for securing the light fixture to the ceiling? Am unsure if there are any braces between the joists in the ceiling, and I'm not even sure of the spacing on the joists at this time. Assume I can use a stud finder to locate any braces, and also determine my joist spacing. What are my options?
Jason
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If you have any inclination to do the job properly, you can get a ceiling fan box such as Westinghouse 1100, that installs from below a finished ceiling and is designed for hanging chandeliers and fans

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You can start by going to the attic to get most of those answers, and probably work from there.
: I've got a very lightweight (~4 lbs) light fixture that I'm attaching : to my ceiling. Currently, there is no overhead light in the room, and : thus, there's no existing electrical box. Further, I have no access to : the space above my ceiling (attic area), to go in and install a box. : I'm not worried about the power -- I'm running cable from the light to : a plug that I'll plug into the wall. I'm trying to find out what my : options are for securing the light fixture to the ceiling? Am unsure if : there are any braces between the joists in the ceiling, and I'm not : even sure of the spacing on the joists at this time. Assume I can use : a stud finder to locate any braces, and also determine my joist : spacing. What are my options? : : Jason :
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Just use a pair of butterfly or toggle bolts - they'll easily hold 4 pounds in sheetrock or lath & plaster. Picture here: http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/rm_walls_other/article/0,1797,HGTV_3805_1381615,00.html
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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A few comments and questions
1) Why cant you get into your attic? This would be the best way to go. you can then fish a wire to a wall switch and do the job properly.
2) There are lights designed to be hung from chain. You can just put in a hook. I think they are called swag lights. This hook can just go in with a toggle bolt or screw into a rafter. The cord follows the chain up and over to the outlet. I spent a few miniutes on Google and didn't find exactly what I describe. Ikea may sell something like this.
3) I would not install a fixture, designed to be mounted in a box, the way you describe.
4) Where are you located? If near me I may be able to refer you to somone who can do this correctly, quickly and for a minimal cost.
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On 27 Dec 2005 09:52:54 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Two, find a joist and screw in a hook, that the chain will hang from, and don't try to put in a box.
But a box designed to go in from below. IIRC It's a regular box with two aluminum arms going in opposite directions. Their lenght is adjusttable so I think you can put the box in the middle between two joists, or not in the middle. How they attach to the studs, I forget. I forget if it requires sticking one's arm in the hole -- I doubt it though. I think it might have been something clever. Sold everywhere, but maybe there are better designs at electrical supply houses. Find and buy the box before you cut the hole. :)

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Thanks for the tips. In no particular order, here are some additional answers/observations. Went to my local hardware store and ran the toggle bolt idea by them...pretty much didn't like the idea. Stability, ironically enough, didn't seem to be the big issue, as much as concern about the toggle bolts not being grounded. Anyhow...it was suggested I try the same thing as the last person's remark -- electrical box with opposing "arms" that spread between the joists. Ended up buying this. My problem still remains on locating my joists...complicated by the fact that my ceiling is popcorn, and I can't get a reliable reading on my stud finder. Was also suggested using the sensor on the wall and following up to the ceiling...that's my next step.
The question on why I can't access the area above my ceiling is a good one. I have one attic access door and when I get into my attic it runs the length of the upstairs, but then "dead ends" where this room starts. Don't ask me why...just a peculiar design I suppose. Anyhow...I'm still stuck. Would LOVE to get in above the ceiling and do it right as the first person suggested, but just isn't a possibility.
Will see if I have any luck finding the joists.
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Where you say attic dead ends, what is there? Some plywood/ sheetrock you could pull off? Or cut through- carefully, not knowing what is behind? This is an attic after all, not finished living space? If you do follow this path, and find yourself walking on joists, be careful, place some plywood sheets to create walking path/ work area- easy to put your leg through a ceiling.
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Maybe it is a room from the Underground Railway? Maybe there is access from the other direction, an attic over the garage, perhaps. (we had an attic over the unheated garage, and some sort of wall between it and the other attic.)

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The box with 'arms' won't be grounded any more than a box attached with toggle bolts, or for that matter, a swag lamp hanging by a chain. It's up to you to run a ground wire to the fixture.
Txturner wrote:

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Txturner wrote:

Considered ganging electrical duplex or octagonal box to the existing fixture and running pig tail betweem two to solve grounding.(using long bolts and spacer; like peice of small diameter pipe or rolled shhet metal) to off set the outlet away from the fixture cover. You're only plugging in a power adaoptor weighing few ounces. Surely ceiling fixture must be very well anchored. It needs cutting a hole on the ceiling shhet rock. Tony
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Joists can ALWAYS be located by using a small drill bit. A curved piece of stiff wire can be used thru each hole or through an existing box to feel for the joists. A tiny dab of caulk will seal up the holes and will be invisible in a white ceiling. Don Young

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

How about swag lamp or fluorescent light fixture which will screw onto joist for mounting. Or can't you mount a fixture on the wall above the outlet? Gooseneck type? Tony
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The room is directly above my garage. The dead end of the attic has some plywood, then it looks like I can see the inside of the siding on the house (small hole in the plywood lets me see what's next to it). When you look at the room from the street, you're looking at a dormer in the center of the "roof" covering the garage. So...the attic ends where the garage roof begins, and there's open air space between the edge of the attic and the dormer roof. Essentially, the roof on top of my ceiling is only covering this room...and there's no "attic" access.
I've had luck finding the joists, and have a good idea of where I'm going to hang the fixtures now. As for grounding, the 3-wire cable that I purchased has a ground, neutral and hot. Ditto on the fixture.
Regarding grounding...will ground the fixture ground wire to the box first, then connect it to my cable ground with wire nuts. This was the recommendation of the electrical guy I talked to at the hardware store.
The light itself has circular mounting box that the wires are housed inside (your typical mount for many lights), along with the support bars that are attached by screws to the electrical box in the ceiling. The fixture is actually 4 lights that are suspended from a curved rail that hangs below the mount. Kinda difficult to describe...bought it at Lowes, but no picture on their web site.
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i've had good luck using supermagnets to locate the screws/nails holding the drywall onto the joists/studs.

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