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j_sun 09-21-2012 05:35 PM

Cutting holes for can lights in sheetrock
Hi All,
I'm about to put up a drywall ceiling in my kitchen. I 've got 5 6" can lights I need to cut holes out for. I'm looking for advice on how to best measure and cut these out.
Do I get the coordinates and cut out the holes before hanging? Or do I hang it and then cut the holes?
I'm guessing the first option as the "can" part of the can sticks down. Correct?
Any tips or tricks you can share to help?


Daniel Holzman 09-21-2012 05:41 PM

I purchased a special hole saw bit specifically for cutting can lights. Cuts exactly the right size hole (comes in 5 inch and 6 inch diameter, you pick the one you need). You cut the holes after the sheetrock is up. You can prewire the cans, cut the holes, pull the wire, and connect. Works very nicely, only issue the hole saw bit cost something like $30, but worth it.

user1007 09-22-2012 05:52 AM

A rototool raced around the can as a template works to a point. Hole saw is better.

oh'mike 09-22-2012 06:06 AM

I use a Rotozip and cut the holes and other openings after the sheet is up----there is a learning curve --so some mudding might be needed as you learn.

A drywall compass is handy and inexpensive if you wish to cut before you hang.

princelake 09-22-2012 11:52 AM

agreed! i got a ryobi cordless, they go on sale for $30 for the bare tool.

oh'mike 09-23-2012 07:41 AM


Originally Posted by princelake (Post 1015156)
agreed! i got a ryobi cordless, they go on sale for $30 for the bare tool.

I received one of those as a birthday present many years ago----great tool much better than I expected.

orange 09-23-2012 08:47 AM

We have used a different technique. We used this on 9 cans on my daughter's new basement room, and 6 cans at my new cottage porch.

We put lipstick on the edge/rim of the cans when fitting the drywall. Drop the drywall down and used a Ryobi drywall zip to cut the hole for the cans.

Works for us, but may be a little slower since we did a test fit, then drop the drywall for cutting.

Worked great for 5 and 6" cans. We used the same approach for receptacle and switches on the walls.

On the walls put machine screws in the receptacle attachment holes in the box, just put lipstick on the screw heads. When you take the drywall down, trace the box outline on the drywall, using the lipstick marks to position a receptacle box.

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