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Scott99999 11-22-2009 07:41 AM

Normal light fixtures with suspended ceiling?

I've got a bathroom under a bathroom that needs a new ceiling. As I went to put up a sheetrock ceiling, I realized that the original ceiling interfered with the upstairs plumbing, which extends LOWER than the ceiling line. There's a standard light fixture box on the joist in the center of the room.

I could drop a new drywall ceiling with furring strips to lower it, but I'm thinking that a suspended ceiling is the way to go, since it will give me access to the plumbing in the future if anything ever leaks (we already fixed one leak).

QUESTION: Can you put a "normal" light fixture through a suspended ceiling? The Armstrong site says you can, but I couldn't find any info. Am I going to need to hire an electrician to rewire this thing for a flourescent?

That would make the whole thing moot, since the room is 5x5 and the center 2x2 section would end up being a light. :( We also want to use the historic-looking tiles, which conflicts with the style of the larger light panels.


darren 11-22-2009 08:13 AM

What type of fixture are you wanting to put in. Is it one that drops into the tbar or does it require a octagon.

Bob Mariani 11-22-2009 08:37 AM

you can buy the hardware you need at any electrical supply house. Caddy is one brand that makes many clips to suspend the octagon box used to mount a ceiling light to the Tee-bar supports.

Jim Port 11-22-2009 09:11 AM

Get the round electrical box that has a spreader bar on it. The legs will support the box off the T instead of depending on the tile. Secure the legs with small Tek screw to the grid.

LaneLester 09-02-2010 12:33 PM

My problem fits the title of this thread, but not the OP's situation.

I bought a plastic box with spreader bar. It's sitting on top of the T bars, but I don't see any way to fasten it. OTOH, with the light fixture in tight, everything should be OK.

Everything is in and wired, but I ran into a snag with the fixture mounting screws. I assumed they'd go in the box holes without any special treatment. Wrong! They went in part way and then got so tight I knew further effort would strip the head slots.

I tried cutting the bolts to a shorter length, but I overdid it and couldn't get them started. In my junk box I found a couple of replacements, but I think the plastic "threads" in the box have gotten stripped, and I can't snug the fixture up tight.

Right now I don't have a clue of a solution other than taking it all down and starting over... not very appealing.


Jim Port 09-02-2010 02:59 PM

You might want to try a better quality machine screw.

Also the speader bars would get screwed to the grid with short Tek screws like 3/8 long or so.

LaneLester 09-02-2010 03:26 PM


Originally Posted by Jim Port (Post 494984)
You might want to try a better quality machine screw.

Thanks, Jim. There didn't seem to be any problem with the screws, but rather the plastic holes in the box. Perhaps I can find a machine screw that will work; it will have to be pretty long and pretty thin in this situation.


Also the speader bars would get screwed to the grid with short Tek screws like 3/8 long or so.
I wish I had a photo of the spreader bars to show you to see if you use the same as these. Holes would have to be drilled in both those bars and the T bars, because there aren't any now.

For the box not to hang down too far below the ceiling I have the bars perched on the T bars using little metal flanges that were cut in the spreader bars. I'm not sure enough metal hangs down to drill holes even if I were inclined to do so.


Jim Port 09-02-2010 04:15 PM


Jim Port 09-02-2010 04:17 PM

This is the box I use

LaneLester 09-02-2010 04:44 PM

That's it, all right. By supporting the spreader bars on the little cutout shelf on each bar's flat end, the lower edge of the box came flush with the ceiling tile. If I had just let the horizontal part of the bar rest on the T bar, the box would have hung down too far.

The fixture is in place and functional. It's just not tight against the ceiling.
I'll be looking for appropriate screws to attach the fixture tightly.


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