What's The Safest Way To Install A Chandelier Over A Stair Case? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 07-30-2009, 12:45 PM   #1
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


We have a really dated chandelier that needs replacing. I've replaced tons of ceiling mounted lights and chandeliers... so I'm confident I can do it... BUT... (isn't there always a but? )

It's suspended off of the 2nd story ceiling and hangs over our stair case! (It's about 4 feet from the 2nd story hallway, so you can't reach it from that angle.) The last time it was replaced, we hired an electrician, and he was teetering on the stairs with a ladder. Not terribly safe. There MUST be a better way!

I was thinking about scaffolding although on the stairs, that seems not safe either. The stairs curve around while ascending, so I don't think you can put a huge A frame on the ground and reach the 2nd story ceiling.... the opening (between the stairs and upstairs hallway is too narrow).

How would a pro approach this situation?

thanks!

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Old 07-30-2009, 12:52 PM   #2
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Hiring an electrician and letting him absorb the liabilities would be my first choice, make sure he shows you his workman's comp insurance policy. The electrician who did the "teetering act" on the stairs concerns me. If he fell would he have insurance to cover this in your house? I'm still thinking an "A-frame" ladder would be the choice. The do make them with one set of legs that can be extended for using on stairs, IF the chandelier is over the stairs. I'm not to fond of reaching out while on a ladder myself. Thanks, David

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Old 07-30-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


We did it with two guys and ceiling access. I had to remove the old elec. box and make a composite elec. box out of two boxes (one with no bottom) to pull off this stunt.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:59 PM   #4
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


the teetering guy was insured... we made sure of that.. an unnerving experience, none the less....

Yeah, we might bite the bullet and have an electrician do it again. So $$ for something I could do ... well, if I could reach it Not to mention, I dislike watching anyone reach and stretch and struggle... I will be nervous the entire time the guy is working!

It's ALMOST over the stairs.... the electrical box is roughly 12 inches from the banister.

What a hideous location for a box... what was the builder thinking??!!!
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


I just remembered..... "teetering guy" also accidentally dropped the original fixture (a big/heavy one).... it crashed to the ground and took a chunk of drywall out of the wall on the way down!

I really am nervous to have even a qualified person there.

maybe 80's light fixtures aren't that bad after all
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:26 PM   #6
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


I would just setup proper ladder/scalfolding. It may take a while and be tedious, but at least it will make the job easier once you're up there.

Also put spiral bulbs in there, you want them to last so you don't need to go up there again in a while!
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:49 PM   #7
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Scaffoling of some sort.


We HATE lights over stairs
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:52 PM   #8
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I would just setup proper ladder/scalfolding. It may take a while and be tedious, but at least it will make the job easier once you're up there.

Also put spiral bulbs in there, you want them to last so you don't need to go up there again in a while!

good point with the spiral bulbs. I should select a fixture with frosted glass for sure......
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:58 PM   #9
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


The trouble was the rental 17' ladders needed a lot of room at the bottom which we didn't have.

If you make a sketch to scale of what you have we all can design something for you that is safe and stable.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-30-2009 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 07-30-2009, 11:15 PM   #10
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Many home centers rent scaffolding by the day and the half day. They are inexpensive and easy to use. They are also easy to misuse. If you are not comfortable getting up on the thing you put together then don't. I agree that you should probably hire someone, but if you really wanted to tack a crack at it there are options available.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:57 AM   #11
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Sometimes an articulating ladder will work on stairwells, if used carefully. These will fold into practically any shape, and one leg can be much longer than the other. I've also done it by setting a ladder at the bottom of the stairwell, leaning against the far wall, and then placing a "plank" that spans the distance from the ladder to a high enough stair step so that I can reach the fixture. The "plank" was actually two 2x4 on edge with 1/2 plywood on top and underneath and a piece of 2x4 blocking at each end. The 2x4's were of course reusable.

The problem I see with standard steel scaffold frames is that you have no way to use the x-pieces that tie the two ends together and make the thing stable.

As a last resort, if none of the above feels safe, I'd just stick build a scaffold to fit the job. The teetering ladder is just handing money to doctors and lawyers.
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:54 PM   #12
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Would a narrow scissors lift from the ground floor work?



More...
http://www.westernone.ca/aerial_lift...sor_lift_20ft/
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Old 07-31-2009, 11:59 PM   #13
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?




I can honestly say if we need narrow scissors, I'll instead learn to love the 80's

In actuality, that is also way too big for the area... At best, the left-right clearance between the stairs and the upstairs hall is about 20-24". this is the main problem... a tight, awkward space.

on the flipside, I'd LOVE to watch the expressions of my family members if I rolled narrow scissors into our hallway. I think they'd confiscate my tool box
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:45 AM   #14
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


Two ladders

A regular extension ladder on the ground that reaches up almost to the 2nd floor ceiling - make sure it faces the hallway. Then setup a small A frame ladder in the hallway and ran a plank across to the extension ladder, giving you a place to stand. A 2 x12 should work or you could go and buy one of those aluminum, extendable planks
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Old 08-01-2009, 02:48 AM   #15
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what's the safest way to install a chandelier over a stair case?


I saw a large light with a cable for support, which ran to the attic and over a pulley and was tied off at a cleat. The light was lowered to change bulbs, and pulled up for use.

On that job, we were installing sprinklers. We used a small scaffold and supported the lower end of the scaffold with 2x 12. I climbed the scafold, as it is my company. I did not enjoy working on that scaffold at all. I now have a Little Giant Ladder and use that for stair work.

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