Replacing ceiling outlet box.

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  #1  
Old 04-29-06, 02:30 AM
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Replacing ceiling outlet box.

I'm trying to replace an old ceiling fan with a new one. The previous fan was installed over a regular plastic outlet box with no support, so I'd like to remove it and install a support brace and metal box. The old plastic box is attached on one side to a joist (the other side moves freely) and I'm assuming that it's nailed into the joist because I don't see any screws from inside the box. I'd like some advice on how to remove the old box because all that I can think of at the moment is to pry the thing out and hope for the least amount of drywall damage.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 03:16 AM
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The easiest way to do this is to push up the "loose" side of the box with a hammer handle so that you bend the nails the box is likely mounted with. This will take a bit of effort. Start gently and you won't break the drywall. Once the box is pushed up working carefully with a pry bar will often get the box pried loose although on occasion you may wind up breaking the plastic around the nail retainers if the nails won't pull out. Sometimes I've had to resort to putting the prybar in the box and hitting it with the hammer bo break the box to get it out (if you aren't wearing eye protection by all means do before hitting the prybar with a hammer) Drywall damage is usually minimal, if any, even if you have to beat on the box as most of the "action" will be above the ceiling. Remember, you don't need to get the old box out through the hole, just out of the way (leave it in the ceiling)

There are several varieties of fan boxes with expandable braces to anchor them. The best ones have a rectangular plate with points on it to anchor to the joists. There are several brands that have a round piece with the points on it and these aren't as good a product IMO.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 04:20 AM
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I guess this isn't an unfinished attic above this room.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 06:15 AM
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Sawz-Alls (Tm) are good for this. As suggested try to get a bit of room at the nailed side using a small thin pry bar then insert the Sawz-All using 6" or 8" nail blade to cut the nails. Try a hack saw blade taped on one end to form a handle if no proper saw.

You can also try busting up the box using a hammer and wood chisel on the joist side. Once the box is out the nails are easy.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 10:18 AM
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That sounds pretty much like what I had in mind. I just didn't want to manhandle the box without knowing that there wasn't an easier way (like snapping my fingers 3 times and it will fall out on its own). So, thanks for the reassurance.

I already purchased a Saf-T-Brace kit from Westinghouse. It has the round end with the points, but I figure that compared to what was holding up the old fan, this brace will be a huge improvement anyhow. The new fan is very small, doesn't weigh more than 15 pounds and I think the kit will do the job quite well. The only thing that I'm worried about is that these kits assume that the ceiling hole will be cut between joists so the brace will be attached by the points and with both ends also resting on the drywall. Since I'm using the existing hole which is cut right next to a joist, one end of the brace will only be fixed with the points. There's also no side holes in the metal box so that I can at least screw it into the joist.

Thanks again for your help.


Originally Posted by itsunclebill
The easiest way to do this is to push up the "loose" side of the box with a hammer handle so that you bend the nails the box is likely mounted with. This will take a bit of effort. Start gently and you won't break the drywall. Once the box is pushed up working carefully with a pry bar will often get the box pried loose although on occasion you may wind up breaking the plastic around the nail retainers if the nails won't pull out. Sometimes I've had to resort to putting the prybar in the box and hitting it with the hammer bo break the box to get it out (if you aren't wearing eye protection by all means do before hitting the prybar with a hammer) Drywall damage is usually minimal, if any, even if you have to beat on the box as most of the "action" will be above the ceiling. Remember, you don't need to get the old box out through the hole, just out of the way (leave it in the ceiling)

There are several varieties of fan boxes with expandable braces to anchor them. The best ones have a rectangular plate with points on it to anchor to the joists. There are several brands that have a round piece with the points on it and these aren't as good a product IMO.
 
  #6  
Old 04-29-06, 12:04 PM
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I think you should bite the bullet and cut the drywall so that you can get your brace to attach to a joist on both sides. A drywall patch joist to joist is easier anyhow, and your mud job will be easier because the fan will be hiding a good deal of it.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 12:26 PM
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The points are what hold up the brace and box. The part that rests on the drywall is strictly for properly spacing the brace above the drywall.
 
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Old 04-29-06, 10:44 PM
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I started to pry the plastic box and discovered that it's attached to a metal box above it. The metal box is the one that's nailed to the joist and the wires for the fixture lead into it through the plastic one. I have a feeling that there are more wires in the metal box that continue along the circuit. Is there anything I should be concerned about before I yank the whole thing out?
 
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