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removing recessed light

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removing recessed light

Postby mross_pitt » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:48 am

I'm looking to replace a pair of recessed can lights with pendant lights. Are they typically installed prior to drywall?
They are on the first floor(no access from above). I see at least 4 screws, on at each corner, but it also looks to be under the drywall at the joists. I can only see the screws using a mirror and flashlight. They aren't really accessible to try and remove.

Basically I need to put in a support piece between the joists to install a new ceiling light box and can't do that because the recessed light fixture is in the way. The junction box which is built into the can light fixture is blocking the one side access to the joist. Seems like there has to be a way to replace this recessed light, or at least get it out of the way.

I have seen the "kits" to convert a recessed light to another type but then you end up with a cheap looking adapter plate underneath your ceiling canopy. I know I could cut the entire drywall area of the can light out but that seems like a lot of effort for a little problem. My joists are also less than 16 inches in this area so I couldn't use some type of ceiling fan brace box above the recessed light fixture.

The only thing I can think of is to install cross pieces from joist to joist above the can light apparatus and then build down from there to the opening unless someone has a better suggestion!
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby timallen » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:53 am

How are you going to get in there to install the cross braces if you don't open up the drywall?
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby mross_pitt » Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:18 am

How are you going to get in there to install the cross braces if you don't open up the drywall?



Its a six inch can light...the opening is about 6 3/4 inches wide I can get a 2X4 board up and in, leaving enough room to fit my arm and screwdriver. I'm 6'5 ... I can reach pretty far, plus the joists here are close together, something like 13 or 14".

The recessed light fixture above the ceiling is about 12 inches wide with the screws on the far edges past a raised portion making them fairly unreachable plus it seems to be between the joists and drywall.

Maybe I'll check out a similar unit at HD to see if there is some way to remove part of the recessed unit. It looks like the edges are folder over similar to HVAC ductwork.
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby moonshadow317 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:04 pm

If you check out one at HD you will see how it is put together. I believe that there is a screw in the center of the can that connects it to the crossbar. I"m pretty sure that you can un screw it and remove the can. They are made pretty flimsy (what isn't nowadays??) so you could probably break anything that's in the way. I can only see one problem that you might come across and that would be that your wires might be too short to reach the opening...I hope not.
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby mross_pitt » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:18 pm

your wires might be too short to reach the opening...I hope not.


I think they're long enough.
I could always go to plan B which would be to use the existing can light hole to feed through a brace for right next to the can light apparatus, then just pull the wire to a new ceiling light box attached to that brace and fill the original hole with new drywall.

Only hesitation there is that the drywall ceiling is perfectly straight and I'm not sure I can get a patch to become more or less invisible. I've done numerous drywall repairs of all shapes and sizes., but not so much on the ceiling.

I'm sort of leaning this direction because I would have to patch the existing hole even if I find a way to install a cross brace in it. The can light opening is 6.75 while the new ceiling light canopy is 6" wide.
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby moonshadow317 » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:02 pm

I know what you mean about ceiling repairs. Every little line is spotlighted. If you use flat paint it will cover up the repair a lot better. On the bright side :idea: you are replacing the cans with pendents and they will shine the light down as opposed to a ceiling fixture with throws the light up. :D
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby Sacto Diane » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:18 pm

There are kits that convert can lights to pendents. Maybe that would be a simpler approach. I don't know how "period" they are but saves hacking up the ceiling.

This was top at the top of the list in Google for "can light conversion kit"

http://www.thecanconverter.com/store/index.php

There are probably others as well.

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Re: removing recessed light

Postby mross_pitt » Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:55 pm

I've seen the kits. They leave you with a really bad looking canopy adapter for the ceiling. There a few that come with lights that look respectable, but if you have your own light you are left with a very noticeable plastic piece between your light's canopy and the ceiling, and most people seem to complain that the adapter piece often can't be made to actually fully contact the ceiling, leaving a gap.
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Re: removing recessed light

Postby Sacto Diane » Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:03 pm

I've never seen them or used them so you are probably right. I've learned that shortcuts don't always end with the desired result. I've seen similar with these "shortcut" kits as well.

As my grandpappy said, "If you're gonna do it, do it right..."

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Re: removing recessed light

Postby mross_pitt » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:00 pm

Just for any future benefit....I found that the junction box that's built in to the recessed light fixture has removable front and back panels. Of course, I didn't realize this until I spent some time with various tools/pry bars, etc. trying to get the recessed light apparatus out of the way. Various band aids required from sharp metal edges as well.

Anyway, with the front and back of the junction box removed, I could just install a cross brace between the joists that actually went right through the old junction box of the recessed light. Attach new ceiling light box to cross brace, pull wires down,patch surrounding drywall.
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