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Old 03-17-2010, 12:12 PM   #1
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In the process of prep to hang drywall in basement. Wood framing all complete. New construction. Recessed lights in ceiling. How do I properly measure for where the holes need to go in the drywall to give access to the recessewd lights?

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Old 03-17-2010, 01:02 PM   #2
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Measure to the center of the fixture from both ends. Mark the center. Buy a circle cutter from HD or Lowes and use it to "scribe" the correct size hole (it will actually score the face paper on the drywall). Knock the hole out with a hammer (or use a keyhole saw), clean up any rough edges with a utility knife, and you're ready to hang. Pro's use a Roto Zip or similar cutout tool (on big jobs), but there's a learning curve and more expense to buy compared to the circle cutter for a small job. Make sure you're standing directly under the can light when you measure, not looking at an angle. Look directly at the center of the fixture where the bulb makes contact in the socket. Hopefully you've got someone to hold the "dumb end" of the tape against the wall (or previously hung sheet). Most cans don't have a big trim ring, so measure carefully and cut "tight"....

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the information. It was thorough and useful.
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Old 03-17-2010, 11:28 PM   #4
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My wife bought me a roto-zip for Christmas about 4 years ago and it sat unused in my workshop until this Spring. Didn't really have a use for it.... until it came time to hang the drywall in our new home. Now, I love it. Once you get the hang of it cutting holes with it is a real time saver.
Before the roto-zip I would undercut my hole size and then, using a keyhole saw, would enlarge the hole after the board was screwed to the ceiling. Just don't place screws within a few feet of the proposed hole so that you are not putting pressure against the cut-out or it will become a tear-out, which is not good. Once the fixture hole is cut free, go back and add the remaining screws in the field. I dry to keep my screws a few inches back from any fixtures or boxes. It makes it easier to fill and sand the screws and prevents break-outs near your cut.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:11 AM   #5
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Your method for using the roto zip is dead on. Gotta be careful on cans though. Often they can easily slide on the mounting "rails" which can cause mis-cuts. Make sure the can is anchored (use a couple of screws, bend th slideing rail, whatever works) beforehand.....
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:11 PM   #6
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Strait-Flex makes pre-cut patches when you over cut or miss on cans or outlets.
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:48 PM   #7
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You can save $$ by using tape and/or drywall rather than buying pre-made patches. It's not rocket science...
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:08 AM   #8
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Wile it is true that homemade solutions can work just was well, the cool thing about these pre-made items are the very nice cutout that are already the correct size. And it isn't just for covering up the hole completely, but cleaning up the edges. You can do it with just tape, but it is more steps and time and more feathering, so for a DIY, the pre-mades make a lotta sense.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:58 AM   #9
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Same number of steps either way. Apply tape or pre-made patch, bed, skim, sand. Either will work...
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:12 PM   #10
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Almost. Many pieces of tape over lapping to go around the circle or the outlet, verses one piece. Multiple layers mean more depth of mud to feather out. Easier for a DIY to do just the one.

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