Moving a light fixture with no ceiling access: ugly?


I "need" (as defined by wife, not me) to move a 1st floor light fixture about 56 inches. OF COURSE it's across joists, and OF COURSE it's on the 1st floor so I don't have access to it from above.
Is this as ugly a procedure as it seems like it must be, or are there tools and/or techniques to make it less painful (primarily defined as not messing up the ceiling byond the existing hold and the one I'll need to make)? I am assuming I have to drill through all the joists between the old and new locations, so some type of extended drill bit seems like a bare minimum. But 20+ years of DIY home repair/remodel has taught me others often know a "slick" way to do a given task, and I'm hoping that's the case here (although the geometry and physics of the problem certainly don't seem to leave much wiggle room for such a solution).
Thanks in advance for your input!
-dave
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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

Speaking of ugly, you could use wire-mold. Let your wife decide that one.
Dependin on the "need", another option would be to cut a hole at some point -- say in the middle -- do the work, and repair the sheetrock when you're done.
Those chains with the wires, like you see on some lamps, is an option.
I don't imagine that you're lucky enough to be doing this over an upstairs closet that you could take the floor out of.
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Pat wrote:

Or track lighting?
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Pat, Thanks for the (incredibly quick) reply.
OF COURSE I'm not under a closet... no self-respecting wife would let her husband get off THAT easy :->
You did 2 things: 1) confirmed my fear that it's not going to be "easy" 2) added another option (wire-mold) that I'd not considered.
Well, at least this way I can say I've researched the options and then let her decide.
Thanks again! -dave
Pat wrote:

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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

96" commercial flourecents and span it??? ;-))

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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

Tell her that if she puts up the new suspended ceiling that you want, you'll wire the new light into it. That'll end the conversation. :-))
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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

Have you looked at ways to run a completely new feed to the new location ?? IOW, don't think of it as moving the old fixture, think in terms of installing a new fixture.
or use those fake "beamed ceiling" beams to hide a wire behind ?
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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

Okay, I've got the solution.
Go measure it out, measure out everything in the room. Get a compass out and read the direction of everything to everything else. Put it all on graph paper. Then go browse the internet for an hour and tell her that you've discovered that moving the light would make the room's Feng Shui all wrong. In fact, the light needs to stay and you need to add a small refrigerator next to your chair.
It might short circuit "woman logic" and work. Okay, the refrigerator thing won't wrok, but the Feng Shui thing might.
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Do you have access to the wires feeding the light from one end of the house or the other? Crawlspace or attic.?
I am assuming romex is here and it is running through drilled holes in the joists...
If its ran throught the joists and not secured by staples you may have a couple options.
1. If it comes from the same direction you are trying ro move the light you may be able to pop you a small hole in the ceiling ( assuming its sheetrock) big enough to get your hand up in there and pull it back. Hopefully the fixture will cover up your hole you made or just fix the hole.
2, If it comes from the other direction and you can pull it back, tie some jetline or strong string and pull it back and add another piece long enough to make it to the new light location. You can get 60 inch bits that you can drill through the joists, Set you a j-box in the attic where you pulled it back.
Certianly sounds like a pain to attempt.
On 21 Oct 2006 21:09:11 -0700, "BallPeanScrewdriver"

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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

Dave-
You've got a really tough situation.
If the ceiling is a smooth plaster or any kind of drywall finish this is totally doable but not easy.
But first a few questions......
Does the original box / light installation point have to "disappear"? or can the box merely be covered w/ a painted box cover?
In every joist bay cut an access hole (~6 - 8" ?) to allow a small right angle drill
(If the joist depth is large enough you might get by with an access hole in every other joist bay & long drill or drill extension ........drill two joists from each access hole)
Fish your wire or conduit from the existing box to the location of the new box
Install the new box & connect the wire from old to new.
If the box is going to support a heavy fixture, you'll have to make sure it is securely fastened to a joist or to blocking that you install
Once the installation is complete, go back & repair the access holes.
Like I said, doable but a lot of work.
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:

Where are the electricians on this group? If it's a switched light you are moving, one lead runs between the switch and fixture. You can pull both ends and put a tone on it and see what path it takes. "Good" would be near where you are moving the fixture to so you could use the existing cable with maybe a little circuit mod.
Just like Bob said, drywall is easy to patch. More than once, I've seen a 30ft sawzall cut (6" wide) here to there. Drill the studs, pull the wire, put the removed drywall strips back, tape bed paint. Cutting access holes takes too long ;-)
Know an electrician or a drywall guy to help? AV guys are doing this routinely to install ceiling speakers these days too. happy fishing ;-)
-larry / dallas
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Sorry I don't have any suggestions about the best way to do this job. But, before you actually start working on this, get your wife to mark the ceiling in the exact spot she wants the fixture. DAMHIKT.
--
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - snipped-for-privacy@charm.net
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A flex drill bit should enable you to drill the joists with just a hole at each end.
Bob
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On 21 Oct 2006 21:09:11 -0700, "BallPeanScrewdriver"

I think the simple thing to do is loose the wife. :)
If you really must do it, then one option would be cut a rectangle about 14 inches from half of the joist on the outside of the existing fixture to the outside joist the new location. Cutting only half the sheet rock off the joist gives you a place to screw up the new piece you cut. You can obviously see what a big hole it is going to leave but it is one smooth square seem. Opening up the entire area means less surprises. You don't need to do any magic tricks this way.
You will have to leave the existing box, and put a cover over it so you have access to it.
If the new location is over a table or something you might consider leaving the existing light and putting a hanging lamp. These hang from chain and plug in the wall like a lamp.
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Tell her that you need anal in exchange for moving the light fixture. Please post response.
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It shouldn't be too hard. Determine where the light has to end up, and mark the ceiling there. Then cut out the entire piece of ceiling (drywall I hope), and turn it so the existing hole will be where you need the new one. Extend (or shorten) the wiring, install a new box, re-hang the fixture. Patch things up, and you're done.
It's a really good idea to test your measurements out with a piece of paper, where you can cut out that 'ceiling' panel with scissors to see if you have the reversal right.
Keith

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your wire. Sometimes you can run the cable through the joist space to some place where it is easier to cross the joists, such as in a closet, downstairs or upstairs.
Check your wire directions carefully. It might be pretty difficult to prevent having a junction box at the old location, and it cannot be made inaccessible.
Don Young
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BallPeanScrewdriver wrote:

No. Bite the bullet and cut the holes at each joist.

If you want to operate the light off of a remote, it may be possible to run a piece of 14/2 from a recepticle in the room directly above the one you're installing in. Make sure it's one of the inside walls. No insulation.
That way, the only cutting and fixing of drywall is below and to the sides the recepticle.
I've done this many times.
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