Moving light swich over about 4-5 inches

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Old 04-21-08, 10:24 AM
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Moving light swich over about 4-5 inches

I need to move the bathroom light switch over about 4-5 inches over to the right if not less. How and can I do this?

Reason: I'm replacing the trim around the door and the trim is double the size the existing one. The trim will run into it and I really don't want it to.
 
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Old 04-21-08, 10:49 AM
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it may be a doable but the biggest issue is the wire itself it can be pain in the butt espcally if they are allready stapled and dont have any slack on them.

4-5 inches that is pretty good move distance.

is that switch box is one gang or two gang type ??

if two gang type it may i say may can be done without much issue.

do you have tile on that wall or not ??

other wise one of my suggest it can be sorta tricky but done before is that if you have access to the attic above bathroom that will be great you can put a junction box above it and run new wires [ if you go that route before you do that make sure make a note which way the wire are running from above and also if you have any wire comming from below that will be little trickier.]

most of the exsting box useally are nailed to the wall [ both plastic and metal ]and it may be little tough to cut it out without getting hit the wire unless they have a little offseted from the stud.

if all the wires are from above that will be pretty easy to do it and you can use the old work box for that.

if other members here have better idea they can chime in on this one as well.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 04-21-08, 11:07 AM
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So...I think I exaggerated a bit too much on 4-5 inches. Not sure of the exact measurements yet. I just did a "visual". It might just be an inch or two, but I'll know for sure when I get home.

There's no tile on the wall or anything that would cause more work.

A one gang is for 1 existing switch? I don't know how these things are identified but there's only 1 switch if that's the case.

I doubt I'd go as far as to getting up in the attic or running new wires, etc. If it's as simple as just cutting in the wall a bit and moving it over and patch up the wall-great. Worse case, I'll just cut the trim around it. I think it'd just look pretty horrible IMO but at least I'd be "safe" not trying to rewire or move things around that much.

I'll open it up tonight and see what I really got.
 
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Old 04-21-08, 05:10 PM
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Switch boxes are secured to a stud with nails from the side of the box before the drywall goes in. Moving these boxes usually requires ripping up the drywall and prying the nails.

Pros correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Romex coming into the box must also be secured to the stud (usually with a wire staple) within 6 to 12 inches of the box, depending upon local codes.

That doesn't leave much room for movement, especially if the next stud is 14 inches away!

Fortunately, "old-work" boxes can be used to hold the switch in the new position in open-space drywall (again, as long as your local code allows them).
 
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Old 04-21-08, 11:00 PM
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Switch boxes are secured to a stud with nails from the side of the box before the drywall goes in. Moving these boxes usually requires ripping up the drywall and prying the nails.
Rick I must respectfully disagree with you. A SawzAll or even a hacksaw blade can cut the nails with little or no damage to the Sheetrock.

The staple nearest the box is the real problem but once the box is removed you can get a hand in the wall (with power OFF) then feel for the staple. If it is more then ten or twelve inches up no problem. If closer you can make a small opening (maybe an inch) in the sheet rock and carefully pry the staple loose loose. Basically you swing the cable at a bit of an angle. While this brings the box a little higher or lower depending on where the cable comes from really not enough to matter.
 
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Old 04-21-08, 11:28 PM
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Rick .,,

with modern sawall types you can actally cut the box support or nails with ease without doing much damage to the drywall but however just becarefull when you cut them just dont push it too hard other wise it can land and hit the wires.


now for the staples 6-12 inches away from the box yes that is correct per nec code most electrician useally staple them 6~9 inches away from the box.

DIYaddict.,,

if only need to move about inch it possible to do that but we have new item it may work as well if you build a shim to move over

here one type of box you can actally screw in the stud

they useally come in one or two gang size [ i think there are other size as well ]

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 04-22-08, 05:32 AM
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Thanks for the correction. But ... you guys haven't seen me with a sawsall. By the time I got done there wouldn't be a doorframe, much less any drywall!!!
 
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Old 04-22-08, 10:47 AM
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I lied. Sorry guys!!!! I went home and checked it out, but I was right that my visual is entirely incorrect on the "actual" size.

Here's a photo of what I want to do and how far I need to move it:

(Which, BTW, there's a stud right there...not so far away. Found it with my stud finder) You can see the trim piece size at the top in the photo) The red box I drew is where I want and probably need to put it. The right side of the box is the end of the stud. To the left of the switch is the door.

I open up the switch thing and I'm still not sure if the wire's long enough until I really get in there. Maybe I'll just cut a big gigantic hole in the wall so I can get into everything. Not sure I'd use a sawsall either! Look like a simple task, but I'm still not sure until I get in there and I don't want to start cutting away unless I know for sure it'd work. Otherwise, I'm gonna have a lot of patching up to do for nothing.

Great pic example Marc-thanks.

Does this look do-able so far? If so, should I cut a hole around the whole area or just that red box?
 
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Old 04-22-08, 11:49 AM
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DIYAddict

if this were me i would go a similar direction as French227V advised below.....

I see only one wire (it appears) from this digital.... meaning power in HOT and White returns the hot to the light (or whatever this switch is controlling) .... not sure what the wire nuts for but if 2nd wire then check and see if power starts from fan/light (or whatever this switch controls) and see if it bypasses light, goes to switch and then returns..... if YES then pull out this line... and just rewire new run from attic to new opening 1 stud cavity away.... easiest and means you don't have to kill yourself trying to make something work .... or adding unnecessary junction boxes.... one new drill hole through top stud plate and fishing line (assuming no cross bracing in this cavity) to new box cutout (red outline on your digital) ....use a plastic RETROFIT box (screws and wings on the sides that flip out and tighten against the drywall once in ....

IF i am wrong and power is from below then i would have to rethink this.....

by the way.... is this wall DRYWALL ?


my .02 worth.

rf
 
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Old 04-22-08, 11:57 AM
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This is more complicated for me than I thought it was, even with all that great explanation. Lots for me to learn here. From briefly taking out the thing, there's more than 1 wire in there. Just one of the nut is hanging out.

BTW: it is drywall

I thought I could just simply detach it from the existing stud, move it over and attach it to the stud on the right. ...if it would reach and if that is safe and another right way to go?
 
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Old 04-22-08, 12:06 PM
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YES it can /should work.
but that requires many things

turning off power (unless you are daring! )

taking all wires OUT of the junction box and having JUST WIRES

breaking the current drywall to expose the staples above/below the current box and releasing (i find using a flat head screw-driver the best for this) them from the stud.....

THEN, drilling a hole to get the wiring moved into the next stud cavity....

obviously once you push the wire through to the next stud cavity it will probably be much LOWER than you want... probably 12-24" lower than current level ... pending on slack in the wiring....

don't know.... think both are "work" but that is why DYI is great... everyone has choices !!! haha

good luck!!
rf
 
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Old 04-22-08, 12:17 PM
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thanks.

I thought that looks easier to do rather than to get new wires, rewire and get my butt up in the attic (where I'm scared to go and never been in! )

I'll definitely turn the power off. That's the easiest part.

I know how to break a wall -that's easy too
 
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Old 04-22-08, 12:27 PM
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there is one trick i done all the time take a old coat hanger [ metal verison ] and punch very small hole and bend that hanger wire and do a quick scan because sometime you will find something else what you may not like find behind the wall and also i used the coat hanger to verified the distance to the stud.

once that is good then you can increase the size of the opening.

it sound more doable due if i am right in the exsting switch box you have romex comming from the top so it make it better due you only have 2 cables in there if that so it can be done but for staple it can be tricky but it do able and before you do anything more check out the hardware or big box store and find the box like i show you the photo.

if they dont stock that yet don't panic there is few other ways to do it.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 04-22-08, 12:37 PM
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hahaha..... totally empathize !!!

spent 1 full week upstairs in my sisters attic --- wiring ONLY !!! (during her home renovations) ... and swore I would never go up... problem is i was running behind on wiring and then had to move 2 lines (based on city's inspector) so was working A LOT upstairs.... got tired of running ext. cord with light so wired 2 lights upstairs (switch @ entry point ) so i could SEE !!! haha....

once i finished i have not gone back up.... no plans either !! haha.... but nice and lighted now !!!

have fun with the wall breaking!! ha
rf
 
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Old 04-22-08, 12:48 PM
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rf...too funny.

So.. don't detach the existing box and buy a new one right? A 1 gang box should do right? Or am I looking for the 2 gang and remove the existing one and replace it. Then, put it in the right side so it fits where I want it?

Sorry...electrical terms are not my thing what-so-ever so I'm looking 'em up as we go (and finding pictures).

Nice trick about the metal hanger. I'll do that.

Guys, guys...I'm sorry and I know I should read up on electric stuff or maybe not mess w/it but I think I can do anything until I'm proven wrong!...or told not to.

I have this terrible feeling that I'm gonna have to go up in the attic and rewire but I'm really not leaning towards that.

Seriously, worse case...the trim will be cut to fit and just go around the switch.
 
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Old 04-22-08, 01:05 PM
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DIYaddict

you don't have room (it sounds like) for a double gang in the new stud area if i read your post correctly......

do the hanger trick from French227V and test the width you have from stud to stud.... you truly don't need a double gang box for 1 light switch ..... he was merely trying to show you a new type box that is easier to install than the other models i think....

my only other comment would be RETROFIT vs. new construction type single gang boxes....

since you are opening up walls anyway the city (usually) prefers you to NOT USE retrofit boxes.... the want them attached to the studs.... (Retrofit boxes "float" on the drywall -- not attached to studs -- only the "wings" hold them in place) .... so if you are cutting back drywall anyway you are going to go from stud to stud .. that way you have something to screw new drywall back to when your work is done.... so consider just getting a NEW CONSTRUCTION single gang box when buying new one....

rf
 
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Old 04-22-08, 01:18 PM
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Oh! This is starting to make more sense.

I guess I didn't realize those boxes were so important! I just thought they were all the same except for the size, just different colors or something. (I actually should've known just like anything else we have to buy or choose from).

Thanks for that explanation.

My next step will definitely be the hanger trick and then go shopping.

Thanks guys
 
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Old 04-22-08, 02:19 PM
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You'll probably learn more about repairing drywall than wiring when you are done with this project. Your pic shows both the hot and common wires connected to another within the box so you may have less room for movement than you think. After turning off the power to the switch I'd remove the new trim and cut out the drywall from 3/4" inside stud to stud ( that way you'll have room to secure both the new and old drywall to the stud when making repair) and 8" above and below the box so you can see as much of the wiring as you can. Then use a new work box on the stud to the right. If the wires won't reach without too much tension then you can cut a spacer and insert between the stud and the box. Even if you end up rewiring down from the attic you'd need to cut out about the same amount for the new box. One nice neat drywall repair will look better than an lot of individual ones. Good luck!
 
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Old 04-22-08, 02:55 PM
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Thanks. I'll probably learn a lot on both and hopefully I won't say when done..."I shoulda done it this way, if I had only known..."

But, I think you're right. I actually don't think I have enough wire to play with. Meaning..having to go up the attic, which I doubt is something I'd do.

I think my first step might just be finding out how wire I have to work with. Otherwise, there's no sense in doing the other stuff.

BTW: the new trim hasn't been put up yet. In the pic I was just holding it there while taking a pic. I want to get that last piece of trim up but if I don't figure out this part first then it's never going to up.
 
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