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wannadoitmyself 08-09-2012 04:09 AM

replacing vanity light bar with two lights
I am replacing an existing 8 light bar that was over a 96" x 36" frameless mirror over my master bathroom vanity. the mirror is being replaced with two framed mirrors and I want two 4 light vanity lights over the new mirrors.

I have done the mirrors and am now on the lights. I have removed the light bar and it was screwed in place with just a small opening in the center of the wall for the wire to come out of. it is just hanging out of the small opening, no box or anything.

Everything I have read says I will have to cut an opening from the main existing wire in each direction to connect my two new fixtures. I am wondering if I can cut a small opening where I want the new light to go to accommodate a small box with a hole in the side and feed wires to the live wire in the center and connect them. the midline of the new mirrors are both on studs, so I think I can just attach the new boxes to them and put the fixtures right over the boxes without too much drywall patching to do.

I guess my question is can I do it that way? can I just feed new wires to the live wires and attach at both ends without doing a lot of drywall cutting, which I really would like to avoid? Also, do I need to make the opening that the live wire is coming out of in the center larger and put a box in there? or is it ok the way it is? And do I even have to put boxes in for the two new lights? or can I just attach the light bracket to the stud? And,is there any problem attaching both sets of wires from both lights to the live wires? the light bar that was there had multiple wires attached to the black and white live wires.

I hope these questions don't sound ridiculous, I have never done any electrical before and I am pretty much counting on YouTube and DIY websites, not to mention electricity makes me VERY nervous. I turned off all the power to the entire house when I took the light bar down and I was petrified, but when I didn't get electrocuted, I felt a little better, better enough to think maybe I can do the rest of this project without killing myself. Any info/help/ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

gregzoll 08-09-2012 08:03 AM

Install a couple of smart boxes if the stud is next to where the hole will be, if not, use old work boxes.

wannadoitmyself 08-09-2012 05:41 PM

I'm not sure what a smart box is, I can look it up though. Currently there are no boxes. the wire that was powering the old light is stapled to a stud and coming straight out of the drywall. I went to Lowes today to get some more hardware and asked the lighting guy about my project. He told me I can't do what I had planned as running the wires from the new fixtures to the original line is illegal and unsafe. He told me I need to go into the attic, find the box where the current line is coming from, attach another set of lines to that and drop them down to the site of the new fixtures. I would need to do all of this connecting in a "box", which I purchased, with a cover and attach it to header or something in the attic. I was not anticipating crawling around in the attic, but I also don't want to cut a big section of the wall out either. Is he right? is this the only way to do this project (I mean, without the drywall destruction)?

gregzoll 08-09-2012 06:37 PM

1) Forget what the idiot at Lowe's stated.
2) Repeat to yourself "I am never going to mention what I am doing to anyone drone at Lowe's, Ace, Menard's, (Insert big box store), because they do not know what they are talking about."
3) The drones at the big box store are not licensed experts.

You just need to run the current wire into either a old work box or "Smart box", then from that box, you just pull the romex for the other light, or if your area uses conduit, you would have to possibly cut more of the drywall out, to put in place the conduit.

Here is what a "Smart Box" is

NewHomeDIYGuy 08-17-2012 02:01 PM

Ok, let me just get this straight.. You currently don't have an electrical box where the old light figure was wired up correct? Was the electrical box built into the light fixture? This is common on recessed lights and some other things where you don't have an external box separate from the fixture, as it's "built in" per say. If you don't have an electrical box, and your new light fixture doesn't have a box built into it (most of the time they don't), you do in fact need to add an electrical box. Basically, any wire connections (where you use wire nuts/etc), must take place INSIDE of an electrical box. Perhaps that's what the lowes guy was trying to say? I don't know.. Most wall mounted light fixtures mount to the electrical box (so the electrical box really serves two purposes).

As greg said, you can use an "old work" box (which basically uses "ears" that hook and mount to the drywall), or those smart boxes. That's the first time I've seen smart boxes, pretty damn cool (normally the nails for mounting the boxes are on the outisde of the box, meaning you can't mount "old work" boxes to a stud).

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