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[SOLVED] Convert Recessed Lighting to Flush-Mount Lighting

This is a discussion on [SOLVED] Convert Recessed Lighting to Flush-Mount Lighting within the Home DIY Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. My 1988 home still has some of its original touches, and among them is this 14" x 8" Recessed lighting


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Old 01-05-2012, 09:39 PM   #1
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My 1988 home still has some of its original touches, and among them is this 14" x 8" Recessed lighting combo that serves as a fan, a heater, and a light (located in center of fixture).



When we moved in, we purchased flush-mount fixtures without yet realizing we had existing recessed fixtures. These fixtures are 13" Diameter and are obviously not large enough to cover the hole that will result when I remove the existing fixture.



After removal of existing fixture, I need to be advised on how to proceed with repairing the large 14" x 8" hole, which I would then need to install the flush-mount to.

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Old 01-05-2012, 09:45 PM   #2
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I attached images, but I don't see them on my post just yet. Let me know if you are unable to see my attached images (2). If you can't see them, I do want to add that it's implied the flush-mounts 13" Diameter are circular--in case that could have been overlooked.

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Old 01-05-2012, 09:59 PM   #3
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Yes, No images are visible. If the ceiling is drywall put a patch in it. You will also need a electrical box installed if the wiring is not long enough.

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Old 01-06-2012, 02:43 AM   #4
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The pics appear to be in a private album....may have to use a photo hosting service or add the pics as an attachment.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:21 AM   #5
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Thank you. It is a dry wall ceiling, so I'll need to look into repairing with a patch. I think the wire will be long enough, but I'll figure that out as electrical is the only thing I have experience with. As far as pics, you're really not missing much anyway--imagine a 14" rectangle with a 13" circle covering it, and it is the lack thereof I'm concerned with.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:27 AM   #6
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Patching a ceiling is no fun, especially if you have a textured ceiling. A small piece of drywall can be hard to find, as it is sold new 4x8 ft or bigger. Then there is the "mud & tape" and the tools.

May want to check into a decorative ring to cover the hole and mount the box. Something like this:

ceiling medallions | ceiling centers | polyurethane trim

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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You're right, but unfortunately I will not be able to even consider the flush-mount fixture, unless I can make the 14"x8" hole a flush surface with the rest of the ceiling--so that the screws holding the fixture will have somewhere to anchor into. I was thinking that I'll probably need to box the hole with (2) pieces of 2"x4" to fit between the rafters, and screw a 14"x8"x1/2" section of plywood to the bottom of 2x4's. In the center of the plywood (2x4 are located on perimeter) I'll drill a hole for wiring, and also have my 4 screws fastened into plywood that I'll need to hold fixture. I imagine something like this...


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Old 01-06-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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I thought more about it, and I'll still need a creative way to cover the plywood showing around the circular fixture. I can paint the plywood (and retexture if I was especially picky) or I might also look into still doing a ceiling medallion. That was a good idea that I wouldn't have considered otherwise.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:34 AM   #9
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Sounds like a bathroom light.......I would think twice about eliminating the exhaust fan.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:38 AM   #10
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Yes keep a fan, it could be a code requirement in your area.

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Old 01-08-2012, 10:31 AM   #11
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Last time I checked the codes (1988) if the bathroom did not have a window, an exhaust fan was required. Even with a window I still installed an exhaust fan. Very hot showers/baths will create mildew if the bathroom is not vented.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:04 AM   #12
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I did not know any of that regarding codes. I will double check with a local master electrician to confirm what local codes are applicable before I proceed...thank you.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:35 AM   #13
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A qualified electrician should know of the code......kinda falls in between both trades (HVAC and Elec). An electrician may install and wire the unit but I doubt they will do the ductwork.....
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Old 01-09-2012, 12:58 AM   #14
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You're right in most cases. I talked to a trusted one since last post, and he said that of course it's preferred, but for my area it's technically optional to have an exhaust fan. He was pretty sure of his response as I asked a second time to make sure he heard me right. Let me know if you happen to come across different information for West Texas.
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Old 01-09-2012, 03:19 AM   #15
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I'm only familiar with the Central Ohio codes......and have not kept up since retiring. Some areas have no codes or just basic codes....when I built, the only code that was in place was for the septic system, basic framing/footer requirements, and utility burial (water and electric lines).

Codes are created and enforced to keep builders/contractors honest and homeowners safe. But......just because a code is "not on the books" does not mean certain things should be done....it just means that certain things are not a "must".

If your bathroom/s have a window I would say you are safe without an exhaust fan......no window, I would think about it carefully before eliminating it.

Now.....as for the patch. I would cut a circular patch from a good grade of plywood (more stable than solid wood) and dress the edges. A 15" diameter would leave a 1" reveal on a 13" light. Doesn't sound right.......(15-13)=2!! I cited diameters but when working with reveals on circular patterns you go by radius. 13r=6.5 and 15r=7.5......equates to 1" difference.

Of course, I know what I'd do....but I have the tooling to do it. A 'tethered' router can cut perfect circles with clean, square edges.....freehand with a bandsaw or jigsaw, good luck. Without the tools you can go to most home improvement stores and have them custom cut a square piece of plywood.....they do sell smaller pieces of plywood and you need not purchase a full 4'x8'. Just have them cut a 15" or larger square and surface mount the patch (after it has been painted or stained). It's better to create a definite break rather than patch something in and try to make it look right.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:51 PM   #16
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You would use celing medallions to cover up the hole. Not cheap but when you add labor and time for patching it comes out ahead.

Ceiling Medallions, Ceiling Fan Medallions
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:37 AM   #17
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Well medallions aren't cheap and since this is a diy project then I should get away with just parts.lol SABL, I like the idea of adding a circular cut piece of painted plywood to surface of existing ceiling. If I don't flushly fill the area first, how would i plan to secure the circlular piece (with fixture attached) to the ceiling. I really can't fathom a clean way to do it other than making a T-shape apparatus to secure across attic rafters. Please enlighten me. BTW--Bath does have a window.
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:26 AM   #18
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Check for framing around the existing fixture......mount the homemade medallion to the framing with drywall screws so the screws do not show. If framing is not present you can screw strips of wood inside the existing housing with drywall screws. Handy little things.....the drywall screws are made for wood or light gauge metal. Predrill a shank hole (same size as the screw diameter) in the wood to prevent double threading and frustration. Being flush with the ceiling is not an absolute....just need to be relatively close but will need to be flush or slightly above....never allow the 'scab' blocks to hang below the existing surface.

Before installing the medallion, cut a hole for an electric box in the center. You will be using a round light box for old work (notice the clamp that is mounted to the box). Pull the existing wires into the new box and install the box.....if needed, wire can be spliced onto the existing wires to increase the length by using 'wire nuts' (make sure you include the ground wire). Once the box is installed simply mount the new light.

EDIT: Make sure the recessed housing will accomodate the new box!! If not we go another route.....
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:46 PM   #19
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What I actually did and completed was put a plywood patch in the 14"x8" hole in ceiling, and fastened that to two-by-fours running perpendicular to attic rafters. Then simply install flush mount to new ceiling addition. I did run into one hiccup, which was my fault. The recessed combo was run off of 3 switches (heater, fan, light). In attic only 2 standard romex's ran to fixture. It was a tight fit for me in the attic, so when I finally unmounted fixture, I excitedly just cut all wires and threw it to the side. Since there were only two total switchlegs in the romex, but three devices and switches, the installer used one of the neutral wires as a third switch leg without marking it. I did not pay attention to which white wire was neutral and which was switchleg when I uninstalled. After careful research, I was able to reverse process the cut angles and figure out what each wire connected to. Once solving, I taped the wires not used from one of the romexs, and connected the other romex wires to single device fixture that I installed. I do want to add that I did learn from my mistakes, and completed the same project successfully in second bathroom, in less than half the time. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:44 AM   #20
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What did you do with the 3 switches?? There should be one common feed that supplies all 3 switches......disconnect the jumper that supplies the unused switches. Any wires that were "thrown to the side" need to be in a box (with a cover) if there is any chance they can be energized....

Using a neutral as a feed is common.... if the device/appliance (light) is used as a "feed through". It should have been "marked" with black tape.

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