Chandelier installation


Old 03-21-04, 08:53 PM
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Chandelier installation

We're replacing the chandelier in our entryway, with one that seems to be a bit heavier than our original.

I'm concerned about this chandelier staying up there - all that would be holding it up is the two screws, and I think that the screw holes in the box got a little stripped somewhere in the past because the screws just about slipped out when removing the old chandelier.

I can only get to the box from the underside, as there is no attic space above or anything. The box itself seems to be in there pretty good, and actually, I can't even figure out how it's attached. So I don't know if it would be easier to replace it with a new box, or to just gum up the screws somehow so that they stay in their holes.

I still need to get in touch with the chandelier manufacturer to get some installation instructions (I bought the display model), and make sure the chandelier isn't supposed to have extra bracing. Is there a weight guideline for this?

This was a bit rambly...I was hoping maybe someone had a similar situation or could give some insight. Thanks!
Old 03-22-04, 01:03 AM
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What material is the box made of? Metal, plastic, fiberglass??
What does the chandelier weigh?

I wouldn't try to 'gum up the screws'.
Code says fixtures in excess of 50 lbs must be supported independently of the box. If your fixture is less than 50lbs, it can be directly supported from a box. The box must be rated for the for the weight you are hanging from it. Sometimes the rating is stamped on the inside of the box. Sometimes the rating comes with literature or on a sticker. But in your case, since the threads are stripped, change out the box!

Metal boxes are supported in a variety of ways, screws, nails, brackets, etc. Sometimes you can't get them out without cutting a chunk of the ceiling out.

If it is a fiberglass box, it has external nails holding it. You can use diagonal cutter pliers to cut out the box in pieces. If you are careful, you can do it without damaging the surrounding ceiling.

They make a variety of paddle fan boxes that are designed for heavy loads. Your local Home Depot or Lowe's will carry them. There is a type that can be installed from below, by reaching up through the hole in the ceiling. It has a support bar that goes in first that you rotate to make it expand and bite into the joist. Once you get it secure, then insert the box into the hole and attach to the support bar. All can be done from below the ceiling. If you end up damaging the ceiling, and don't or can't repair it, you can buy an inexpensive ceiling medallion to cover the damaged ceiling. Here pictures of those...
Home Depot carry those as well. Good Luck on your installation!
Old 04-15-04, 10:22 AM
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Thanks for the reply, it helped me think through this. Thought I'd post a follow-up...

I realized that the new chandelier wasn't as heavy as I thought - it just seems heavy when you're holding something so bulky up with one hand. Maybe 20 lbs at the most with all the glass shades on.

I really, REALLY did not want to replace the box. It seemed like it was in there so well, and it is in the foyer on a vaulted ceiling above a staircase - the less time I could spend on that big ladder, the better.

What I ended up doing was get really long screws - that go the entire depth of the box. The loose, stripped part was really only the very outer bit where the old screws were. The new long screws could actually grab on really well.

So that's what I did. It looks great!

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