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?
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
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
: to my ceiling. Currently, there is no overhead light in the
: thus, there's no existing electrical box. Further, I have no
: the space above my ceiling (attic area), to go in and install a
: I'm not worried about the power -- I'm running cable from the
: a plug that I'll plug into the wall. I'm trying to find out
: options are for securing the light fixture to the ceiling? Am
: there are any braces between the joists in the ceiling, and I'm
: even sure of the spacing on the joists at this time. Assume I
: a stud finder to locate any braces, and also determine my joist
: spacing. What are my options?
Just use a pair of butterfly or toggle bolts - they'll easily hold 4
pounds in sheetrock or lath & plaster. Picture here:
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
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.
On 27 Dec 2005 09:52:54 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org 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. :)
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
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
Will see if I have any luck finding the joists.
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.
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.)
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let
me know if you have posted also.
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.
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
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.
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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