Locating Ceiling Junction Box Covered By Popcorn Texture

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  #1  
Old 09-19-13, 09:52 PM
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Locating Ceiling Junction Box Covered By Popcorn Texture

Hi,

Toured the new neighbor's home down the street. It's an exact copy of ours (70's quick build design). I noticed that they have a ceiling light fixture in their breakfast room, whereas we don't. In our room, there's a covered switch plate that's been painted over on the wall. I always thought that was strange Also, the entire house had its popcorn ceilings resprayed before we moved in.

Based on what I saw and what we have, I'm 100% sure there's a junction box somewhere in the ceiling behind the popcorn. There was probably an issue with it so the previous owners just had it covered. The problem is finding it. Any suggestions?

Room is 12'x13' and the ceiling is vaulted. I have a stud-finder.. if that's helpful?

Thanks for your time...
 
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Old 09-20-13, 01:55 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Does your stud finder have a "metal" setting? It would probably help. Having the quadrant measurements from your neighbor's house would narrow it down to a couple of square feet, as most breakfast room lights are placed in the same place. Same builder, probably the same electrician, and same plans.
 
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Old 09-20-13, 10:04 PM
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Hi chandler... thanks

No, it doesn't unfortunately. I know these homes use plastic electrical boxes instead of the old metal types. Would that render a "metal" stud finder useless? What about tracing the copper Romex from the switch?

I agree having some measurements would be useful. It would be a little awkward going back though and asking to take some. We just met.. they're not quite moved in yet. I would bet that the light is pretty dead center based on memory.
 
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Old 09-20-13, 10:44 PM
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Any studfinder will see metal. So if the box was buried with a metal blank cover it would be really easy to find with a stud finder. If it was open plastic box..... no good.

You could trace the wire if you had a tone generator and inductive pickup wand.
 
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Old 09-21-13, 02:29 AM
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Stud finders see "masses" like sonar. Yes, if metal is a mass in their path they will see it, along with the rafter next to it. Mine has a metal setting and only "sees" metal studs, conduit, or boxes. BUT, with plastic boxes, all bets are off.
 
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Old 09-21-13, 05:37 AM
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Some studfinders will also detect energized wiring.
 
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Old 09-21-13, 06:31 AM
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Based on what I saw and what we have, I'm 100% sure there's a junction box somewhere in the ceiling behind the popcorn.
Something to think about.....Regardless of whether a metal or plastic box was used, the box should have been installed to be flush with the drywall. If the ceiling has been patched and the acoustic resprayed over that patch, it is a very good possibility the box was removed in order to patch the ceiling.
 
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Old 09-22-13, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss
Some studfinders will also detect energized wiring.
If you have one of those, or can get one, you can uncover the blanked-off switch box, connect the wires there with wire nuts, turn the power back on and search for the ceiling box or ceiling wiring with the stud finder. That stud finder, if you have to buy one, will probably be more useful to you going forward than a tone generator will. It should also be less expensive.

Is there a finished floor or an open attic above this ceiling?
 
  #9  
Old 09-23-13, 03:46 AM
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Here's another can of worms: Depending on when your house was built in the 70s the original popcorn ceiling could contain asbestos.
 
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