Would You Like a Free Expert Consultation?

Las Vegas Handyman 

Not every project goes as well as planned. We would be happy to spend a few minutes answering your questions.

Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Browse by Tag

Pro Handyman Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Bathroom Light Fixture Installation Surprise


light fixture installationMany of us have the "Hollywood" light bars in our bathrooms. You know, the light fixture that looks like a bar with several large light bulbs in a row? (C'mon, imagine a starlet applying makeup in front of one). Well, these are among the first items that get replaced when updating the look of a bathroom. When you go to replace this type of light fixture, you are in for a surprise.

Normally, a junction box (a.k.a. j-box) is installed in the wall to house the electrical connections and give the light fixture something to screw into. Not so with the light bar. Builders have typically just punched a hole into the drywall and run the wiring to the light bar without using a junction box. This is all fine and dandy except when you go to replace the light bar with a fixture that uses a junction box. When you remove the Hollywood bar you will find a rather large hole.

So you have a couple of problems. There is no junction box, there is a large drywall hole, and now there is no light in the bathroom. The last one is easy as you can run a light with a cord into the bathroom, so at least you have light to work. The first two problems will take a little more work.

You may not have to do drywall work if you buy a light fixture that has a large enough base to cover the drywall hole. Here is some information on how to do drywall repair.

For the junction box, you can use a remodeling box which has plastic ears that grip the drywall. You simply place it in the hole and tighten the ears to pinch the drywall. The Romex wiring can then be placed into the box through the slots in the side or rear of the box. If your hole is next to a wall stud, you can use a metal junction box and nail or screw it to the stud. Here is information on installing a metal junction box.

Once the drywall and junction box issues are solved you can install the new light fixture.


Thanks, I was in a panic when I saw just a hole in the wall and no electric box! You made my day. On the way to the hardware I am  
Posted @ Wednesday, July 28, 2010 10:19 AM by Barbara Michael
Yes, I found the same problem, but I also have a plumbing vent stack that runs right where I need to install the junction box. Any suggestions - The new fixture has a round mount so it will be hard to cheat too much if it's way off center.
Posted @ Friday, November 04, 2011 1:24 PM by Kelly Mitchell
Ha! This post describes exactly what happened to me! 
Your posts have been exactly what I needed to get the job done.
Posted @ Tuesday, November 08, 2011 7:48 PM by James
I recently installed one of these types of fixtures and for some reason, when I turned the breaker back on, the light came on and is not responding to the light switch. Black to black, white to white and ground to ground. Simple installation but I have no idea what's going on now. Any ideas?
Posted @ Saturday, March 03, 2012 12:18 PM by Brad
I have the sort of situation you ahve dscribed, but ZI can't find teh right kind of old work junction box. I need one that I can attach a circular strap to, but I cna only find rectanglaur single gang boxes with the ears for retrofitting. that type of box will cause my fixture to be positioned at a sharp angle rather than level. solution?
Posted @ Friday, March 22, 2013 4:19 PM by wayne
Post Comment
Website (optional)

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics