Loose electrical box in wall for vanity light fixture

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  #1  
Old 12-30-13, 10:20 AM
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Loose electrical box in wall for vanity light fixture

I'm redoing a half-bath in my house, and I'm having a problem.

The old vanity light was secured to a square electrical junction box inside the wall, with no plaster ring. How they did that was screwing in one screw from the light bracing plate into the box, screwing the other into the drywall directly without an anchor. Oh, and they also used a hacksaw blade to help brace the light brace plate across the opening in the drywall.

I've removed all of that, added a plaster ring to the box, but the box is slightly loose in the wall and isn't staying stable enough to get the mounting screws from the new fixtures brace into the fixture. I'm also not sure what the problem is with the box itself. I can tell the box is secured to something above it (not the wiring-wiring comes in from the side) but I don't see any screws from the box to a brace above.

I don't want to have to enlarge the hole any more than I have to, because I'll end up having to do a bunch of drywall work and finish work isn't my best skill. However, the drywall is already boogered up there. Can you give me some advice on how to proceed from here? I'd like to make sure that

1. The box is secure,
2. I can get the light fixture mounted correctly,
3. I do as little damage as possible.

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-30-13, 10:43 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Is this a plastic box or steel? Is the box next to a framing member? Can you post a picture?
 
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Old 12-30-13, 11:02 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

It's hard to give you any real advice without knowing exactly what you have there.

Is that a 4" square box that you put a mud rung on ?
It's probably a nail on box and the nails or screws holding it to the beam are loose. The hole in the rock is supposed to be smaller than the mud ring so that the sheet rock holds the box in the wall.

You may be able to use a box support/madison bar to hold the loose side of the box in.

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Old 12-30-13, 11:24 AM
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It's a 4 inch square metal box, with the knockouts on the side. Before it didn't have a mud ring, box was open at front, I added that. It's secured somehow to something above it. I'll take pictures tonight and post them.
 
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Old 12-30-13, 11:27 AM
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Steel boxes have a few holes it them, maybe you can run a screw into some wood. OR you can make your own hole.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 11:36 AM
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I'm back with pictures. (My back decided to cramp up on Monday night)

Looking straight on. There's what I think is a ground screw, screws for the clamp for the wire, and one screw I left there when I removed the mud ring. Those are the only things in the box I can see.
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Looking up into box - note no screw or nail.
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Looking to the side - not sure if there's any information there.
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So, I'm not sure what is holding this box up. All I can tell without cutting more wall is that the box is secured somehow from above, but it's loose. Any ideas please?
 
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Old 01-01-14, 12:26 PM
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You should be able to slip a screw driver between the box and drywall with out making too big of a hole to find the framing. I suspect it is similar to the box PJ posted with the mounting flanges out to the side behind the rock and nailed/screwed in. I do not see any screws in the back going to a bracket other then the ground screw you have mentioned. (Note: Ground wire should be connected to the screw.)

I have used expanding foam to help secure a box inside a wall before with good success by inserting the tube between the rock and box. Just don't go crazy and fill up the box.
 
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Old 01-01-14, 09:27 PM
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Now......that's a GREAT idea with the spray foam. I'll have to remember that.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 07:43 AM
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I'm concerned that the spray foam won't provide enough stability when supporting the vanity light fixture. I'm going to go ahead and cut a little around the top to see if I can tell what is holding the thing up.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 09:59 AM
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Again, sticking a screwdriver between the box and drywall will help you to find the framing. I am pretty sure the the box is not just floating there otherwise you could move the box into the wall and look around.
 
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Old 01-02-14, 10:59 AM
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The box should be supported by the bar above. That will carry the fixture weight. You just need to keep the box in place. Spray foam is plenty strong enough (and sticky enough) to do what you need.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 11:26 AM
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OK, found the can of spray foam sealer I had. I'll give it a try this weekend.
 
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Old 01-03-14, 03:55 PM
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Smile

You guys got me thinking about this the right way. Turns out I didn't need the spray foam. The box will support the light from the brace above. What is causing it to push in? A bundle of wires on the back of the light base pushing the brace in. Move those to the side, and they don't push the brace and box back in. And now, with a little bit of sticking a finger behind the light base and holding the brace, it mounts! A side-effect is that everything is held nice and secure.

Thanks Tolyn and PJ!

(PS: Now the light is down again, needing to spackle around the hole, because of the round light base and a sqaure hole. But it should be on tomorrow.)
 
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Old 01-04-14, 09:07 AM
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And we have light. Thanks again. Now, off to deal with the toilet.

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Old 01-04-14, 09:16 AM
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Looks good! Well Done!

Now, off to deal with the toilet.
We have a forum for that!
 
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