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Old 11-26-2011, 12:13 PM
 
Location: North Burb Chicago
316 posts, read 1,982,663 times
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How easy / difficult is it to install a ceiling light in a room that has no ceiling light fixture?

Looking to install a ceiling light in our living room but there is no ceiling fixture.
On the main floor and above the LR is the master bedroom so I can't access the ceiling from above.

Is this something for a pro or can a weekend handy man do this?
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:42 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,594 posts, read 23,805,174 times
Reputation: 14787
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi5 View Post
On the main floor and above the LR is the master bedroom so I can't access the ceiling from above.
How are your drywall skills?

Placing a fixture (and a box) where X marks the spot is not hard.
Getting the switched 120V power to that spot is where the work is.

That WILL require tearing up at least some of the ceiling and at least some of the wall
(which in turn will need to be repaired).

hth
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:13 PM
 
21,720 posts, read 37,184,337 times
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A skilled electrician can usually fish up the wires with just the new box on the ceiling and a retrofit of a wall box, the framing details will generally require just one drilled out slot for the wire to pass from behind the wall to above the ceiling.

Most skilled residential electricians that do renovation work (as opposed to new construction, where work is more segmented...) ought to be able to do the necessary drywall patching.

Figure about two or three hours for the whole job (minus any paint touch-up) at rate of probably under $100/hr...
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,362 posts, read 55,867,493 times
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Make sure that you get any permits that are necessary. Your insurance company would love to find an reason not to pay a claim if your house burns down.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:34 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,134 posts, read 22,273,218 times
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It would depend on just how handy the handyman really is and if they have fished lots of wire before. Best bet is to call in the Electricians. Speaking as one who has fished wire for the last 28+ years, there are a number of factors that will determine how difficult the job is and how long it will take, none of which we know here online.
Major questions would be:
1) Where do you want the switch
2) where do you want the light fixture
3) which way are the joists running in the ceiling in relation to the switch and fixture location
4) where can you pick up power
5) lath-and-plaster or drywall on the walls and ceiling


Crown molding helps in a huge way in this situation. I have done this countless times over the years and frankly it can be a 1 hour job, or you are still fighting it 8 or 9 hours later due to lovely things like firestops in both wall and ceiling, customer wants the switch in a location that is damn near impossible to get wire to, old frail plaster that breaks off in huge sheets at the slightest touch, etc....
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: North Burb Chicago
316 posts, read 1,982,663 times
Reputation: 227
Thanks all for the suggestions and advice.
Wow, to much to digest...

My drywall skills are OK I guess. I finished my basement. Some drywall was OK and others... well you can see where the drywall meet.

I do have crown molding in the room but I thought that would be a problem.
There is a light switch that controls an outlet. I was thinking the wiring would run up from this outlet, is this correct?

When you guys say fish the "wire", you are talking about a whip with the flexible metal conduit, right?

So *if* I were to do this, I'm placing the light fixture in the middle of the ceiling and then running the wire from ceiling to the outlet controlled by the light switch or am I going straight to the light switch?

This sounds like a lot of work.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:54 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,594 posts, read 23,805,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi5 View Post
This sounds like a lot of work.
hire someone.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
Reputation: 5354
This isn't a matter of d/wall skills- it's a matter of understanding branch circuits of residential electrical systems and residential framing.
As non-typical as it sounds to you- overhead lighting in livingrooms is not common. The switched receptacle is (as you currently have). Depending on how the room was wired you would more than likely go to the switch location, change the the box to a two gang and keep the switched receptacle, or you may be able to just change the receptacle (because of the clipped contacts) and disconnect the line-in in the switch box. This is usually a 3-wire feed. Then the single switch/box can be used for the overhead light.
Here's a typical wiring diagram for a switched receptacle:


Now you know what's in the wall- the only thing left is having the right knowledge and tools to fish the wire to the box(s).
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:09 PM
 
Location: The Triad (nc)
17,594 posts, read 23,805,174 times
Reputation: 14787
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Now you know what's in the wall- the only thing left is having the right knowledge and tools to fish the wire to the box(s).
As said... hire someone.
This sort of project is NOT the one to cut your teeth on.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,987 posts, read 3,436,746 times
Reputation: 2591
Simple answer: If you are posting on a forum to ask how difficult the job is, it's worth hiring someone to do the job. Electrical wiring is not really something for the average home-owner to tackle as diy project.

Less simple answer: The term difficult is relative. For someone that's done it a few times, your project is a fairly simple, straight-forward job. For someone that's never done it, it's going to be a bloody nightmare.
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