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Old 10-19-2005, 08:23 AM   #1
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light fixture box set below plaster.


I just bought a house that was built in the 50's, and one of the first things I planned on doing was replacing the two hallway light fixtures. I didn't think that would be too much trouble, but I ran into a little problem. The walls and ceilings are plaster and the boxes for the light fixture are set above the plaster. There are two wires to the box one white and one colored. (at one fixture it was orange and another was blue) So I assumed the colored wire is hot. The problem I have is that the plaster is pretty thick so if I screw the strap down to the box the fixture will not reach box, but If I don't screw the strap down to the box I won't have a ground, will I?
Anyone have a quick fix for this problem. I looked for and extender ring like you would use for wall outlet boxes but no one seemed to carry them.

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Old 10-19-2005, 08:36 AM   #2
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light fixture box set below plaster.


You can tap a green ground screw in the back of the metal box and hook a piece of green or copper wire to it,(14 ga). I might use a self tapping machine thread screw,(hex head not green), if it were my own house.

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Old 10-19-2005, 10:23 AM   #3
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light fixture box set below plaster.


Erik,

The strap you are talking about I assume, is the mounting strap for the fixture where, depending on the fixture, it mounts with two screws or the centre threaded tube. All this is, is a mounting strap and has nothing to do with a means of providing a ground. What if all the fixture parts were plastic? The ceiling box itself must be grounded and I seriously doubt that its not. So, connect the green wire from the fixture to the ground screw in the box which should already be securing a bare copper wire.
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Old 10-19-2005, 11:45 AM   #4
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light fixture box set below plaster.


The light fixture I removed was not grounded at all.
Your right the strap I was talking about is the mounting strap that came with the fixture itself. There is no grounding screw on the box but there is a grounding screw (green screw) on the mounting strap. I assumed (I know bad idea) that the box itself is grounded, so I figure that if the strap was screwed to the box and the ground wire from the light was on the ground screw of the strap, then the light would be grounded.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in older homes isn't the circuit usually grounded through the metal conduit?
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Old 10-19-2005, 12:06 PM   #5
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light fixture box set below plaster.


.
Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in older homes isn't the circuit usually grounded through the metal conduit?
[/quote]

That is correct. Another way to add a ground wire wound be to use a ground clip but the clip would not work if there is a lip on the box. Some guys would put a bunch of washers between the box and your strap,(mounting bracket), but that would probably not be correct. I would zing a self tapper in there with a piece of bare wrapped around it and call it art. HD sells an orange handled tapping tool for $7 that will tap a 10/32 ground. I still use a self tapper to start the tapping hole and then finish it with the tapping tool.

Last edited by K2eoj; 10-19-2005 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 10-19-2005, 01:06 PM   #6
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light fixture box set below plaster.


selftappers can not be used for ground wires!
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Old 10-19-2005, 01:55 PM   #7
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light fixture box set below plaster.


Thank's for all the help, I think I'll pick up one of the tapping tools from HD.
I know this would have been built prior to the code changing but in most areas isn't the code that the box must be flush with the drywall or plaster?

Last edited by ERIK2173; 10-19-2005 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 10-19-2005, 02:38 PM   #8
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light fixture box set below plaster.


JB is correct. I should not have mentioned self tapping. > I don't know what the code says about flush boxes but everyone I know carries a box with different sized 8-32's, (also at HD), for the same situations you are in. > The tapping tools are in the electric isle.
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Old 10-19-2005, 02:51 PM   #9
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light fixture box set below plaster.


Thanks,
I'll stop by on the way home from work to pick one of those up.

I swear if I spend anymore time there I'm going to have to start wearing orange.

Last edited by ERIK2173; 10-19-2005 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 10-20-2005, 06:33 AM   #10
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light fixture box set below plaster.


I'm there every Fri. waiting for my paycheck!! Haven't seen one yet!

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