Installing a junction box with no studs

To see all of this on video visit the Drywall section of the Learning Curve. When you need to install an electrical box in a specific location and there is no stud to attach it to, we call that ReWork -- getting a box in where it is impossible or difficult to attach to a stud.

installing a junction box with no studs

Most electrical boxes are installed before the drywall during construction, so they are designed to be nailed or screwed straight across the box to the stud. When the drywall is already there, that simply doesn't work. You do have several choices. All of them depend on the wall tabs shown in the first photo being secured into place because these tabs will sit on the front side of the drywall as one half of the clamping action of holding the box in place.

How to install an electrical box where there is no stud.

In addition the hole in the wall have to be carefully cut out to be sure that these tabs have something to sit on. The most common box attachment is a pair of strange tabs that are put through the wall and then pulled forward. Then you work carefully to slide a regular electrical box into place, although choosing a box with the fewest protrosions possible that will make it hard to slide into a snug hole.

Always buy a couple of extra tabs because you may drop one or more inside the wall. Once the box is snug on the wall, you bend the tabs over into the inside of the box.

This catches the drywall between the end tabs and the ears of these little wings. Watching the video mentioned above certainly helps to understand this. If you want to purchase special no-stud boxes rather than use the tabs with standard boxes, you can get one that has a clamping arrangement on each end. This one requires that you open the hole just a little larger top to bottom to get it in the wall, but not so large as to loose your grip on the drywall.

Screws on the front will pull the back part of the clamp into place. The last photo shows what is probably the easiest box to use. Simply push it into the wall and a spring like piece of metal will pop open on the back side. Tighten a screw in the bottom of the box and it clamps onto the drywall. Be careful not to tighten too much or the clamp could cut into the drywall on the backside and you would loose some of the stability of the clamping action.

Last Updated : Wednesday, October 19th,Created : Thursday, January 31st, How to install an electrical box where there is no stud.Philip Schmidt is a book author, editor and freelance writer specializing in home improvement and DIY building projects. Remodeling work presents all kinds of challenges. One of the most common is a wall stud or ceiling joist not being right where you want it. But for simple wiring work, such as adding a light fixture, switch or outlet receptacle, the no-stud problem is easily solved.

The answer is to use a "retrofit" electrical box, which is also called an old work or remodel box. This clever box has a flange, or lip, on the front edge that catches on the front of the drywall, while little flip-out tabs attached to screws pull the tabs tight to the backside of the drywall.

Old work boxes also have integrated cable clamps, so you can secure the circuit cable before fitting the box into place. Shut off the power to any electrical circuits in the project area by switching off the appropriate breaker at the home's service panel or breaker box.

How to Install an Electrical Box Into an Existing Wall

Determine the approximate location for the new box. Check for studs or other framing in the area using a stud finder or do it the old fashioned way, with a hammer and finish nail. Mark any stud near the box location. Place the retrofit box face down against the drywall, precisely where you plan to install it.

The box's flange should be at least 1 inch away from a stud. Trace around the outside of the flange with a pencil; this is merely a reference line to prevent you from cutting too large of a hole. Flip the box over and place the back side against the wall so it's centered within the reference line.

Trace around the box body with the pencil; this is your cutting line. Cut out the drywall along the cutting line, using a drywall saw or keyhole saw. Work slowly, and stop to investigate if the saw meets any obstacles inside the wall cavity. Fish the appropriate circuit cable through the wall cavity and out through the new hole.

Feed the cable through the clamp in the back of the box. Fit the box into the hole, and hold the flange tight against the drywall face. Tighten the screw for each tab, using a drill or screwdriver. Tighten the screws snugly, but be careful not to over-tighten and damage the tab or break through any fragile drywall edges. Complete the fixture wiring and installation, as appropriate. Retrofit boxes are designed for lightweight fixtures and should not be used to support heavy fixtures and devices, which require a metal electrical box mounted directly to wall or ceiling framing or suitable blocking or bracing.

Philip Schmidt. Pin Share Tweet Share Email. Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4. Show Comments.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. It only takes a minute to sign up. I uninstalled my old bathroom light fixture to replace it with a nicer light but found that there is no stud and no wall box behind the sheet rock.

The old light fixture is very light but the new one is not. Is it safe to attach the new light fixture without studs or wall box to attach it to? Would it be safe to just use wall anchors or do I need to hire a professional for this job? I found almost that exact same image behind a bathroom vanity light fixture that I took down to replace.

Needless to say I was flabbergasted that such garbage workmanship would be hidden behind a fixture. You should look very closely at what is just behind the place where the romex cable is coming out one hole and reentering the wall cavity at the slot on the right.

I opened up a hole to the right of the stud for a suitable metal electrical box. I then drilled a hole through the center line of the stud from side to side and worked the wire through the hole. I then mounted the electrical box to the side of the stud and brought the electrical cable into the box and secured it with the box clamp at the rear of the box.

Now it is properly wired but I had to work at finding the proper lighting fixture that would cover up the messy slot in the drywall.

I would have patched and painted it but decided to wait till I give this bathroom a facelift remodel in the near future. That's terrible. Whoever did the work did very shabby and unsafe work, and you may have a house full of that. One option is an "old work" meaning retrofit junction box that attaches directly to Drywall, however drywall is basically schoolhouse chalk wrapped in paper soaked in glue, you don't expect it to have any strength.

It's a basically useless material except for being cheap, holding up paint and being an absolutely fantastic firestop. A better option is an "old work" lamp or fan box, which has a built-in metal cross-arm. The cross-arm fits through a sensibly sized junction box hole, but telescopes out 15" so it can bite into the nearest ceiling joists. That is how it carries the weight of a heavy light or the dynamic vibration of a fan. Then the junction box proper is able to clip onto that cross-arm at any needed position.

They are quite clever. I worked as an electrician for a few years. Normally it depends on the light fixture you are mounting. The reason why we just stub a wire out is vanity placement. Sometimes we cant get a box mounted in for a few reasons.

Plumbing vent stacks, stud placement, and round cut in boxes old work will show around the fixture. If the builder placed a nailer for a round nail on box to be used then its great.

Normally they dont. We just use a fixture designed for the wire to be spliced inside of it, and use a romex connector. Then we can center it on whatever vanity it's going over. A plastic box supports weight of the fixture. Its max is 25lbs. I believe a single gang nail-on is 9lbs. Weight shouldn't be a problem. Agreed they should of drilled through the stud and slid the wire through it or at least protected it. I hope this clarifies the shoddy look. BTW metal studs require a bushing be placed in the pre-cut holes to keep the wire from chaffing.

Does your new fixture have any instructions with it?Most electrical boxes are attached to a stud before the drywall is even installed. When you add a new box to an old wall, we always try to put it in right next to a stud for solid attachment. Specialized hardware does exist to allow putting an electrical outlet or switch absolutely anywhere without reference to a stud. All these items are generally referred to as ReWork boxes -- boxes to be installed after the initial construction has passed.

Some people tell me thay have problems locating them, but I have found one or more of them at most renovation centres. Looking at most of them on the store shelves you can be at a loss trying to understand how to make them work. Here you see the details, on both sides of the wall. When putting thick wall coverings over existing walls, like another layer of drywall or foam insulation, extender sleeves keep the wires properly protected without moving the existing box.

For still photos of all of this click here. Thank you. I now know what to do depending on the box that I find in my store.

installing a junction box with no studs

My situation may be slightly different because I live in Canada. Excellent video! Wish I knew these options two months ago when I shifted an outlet inches away from its stud before installing a kitchen backsplash. Very helpful. You might want to remind folks that if there is an electrical cable feed already snaked through the wall cavity, to pull from the wall cavity into the box and clamp it before you sock down the box to the wall opening.

Thank you so much. This gave me all the answers I needed!!! I suggest you upload this on YouTube for easy access. Thank you for taking the time to record this information. Very helpful and will definitely be a solution.

How to Run/Fish Electrical Wire Through Walls & Ceilings - The Home Depot

Thanks again! I really like your video and tips on "Electrical Boxes with no Studs". Where can you get those cool junction box brackets that you demo'd. I can't see to find them online. Hello Mark, The "Box Hangers", made by Iberville in Canada, are available in all hardware stores in the electrical department. Where can I find the bracket in this demonstration with the foldable tabs to do this. I went my local HD and Lowes and they do not stock. Excellent video. Thanks for the explanation.

My wife will be thrilled that I'm replacing the box that has started coming away from the wall. Actually if you dig into the Home Depot website -- about page 10 of 30 pages of "electrical boxes", you will find a variety of "no stud" boxes.

They are calling them boxes with "old work clips" or "plaster ears" -- their way of saying "no stud". Rona is the same story -- dig through the web. Hi Jon, Thanks for the clear video. You do not need to cut slots for the screws to make the box fit into the wall opening.Attaching a light fixture junction box to a wall doesn't necessarily require a stud, but it does help.

Find out how to attach a light fixture junction box to a wall with no stud with help from a foreman for Lighty Contractors in this free video clip. Hello, everyone. I'm Joshua Clement with Lighty Contractors, and today I'm going to talk to you about how to install a light box where you don't have any studs.

Now, for this job, you'll need a couple things. For this job, we'll be using a light box with extending brace, some drywall screws, a batter powered drill with a Phillips tip bit, and a hammer. So, the first thing we wanna do is determine where our box is actually gonna be mounted.

So, we're gonna be mounting our box right up here, so what we'll do is take our light box, put it in between the studs. After we have our braces in between our studs, just gonna take our hammer, and right on the sides, there's some spikes. We're just going to knock that into the studs. And, we'll go ahead and do that on both sides. Now that it's nailed into place, we're going to go ahead and install some screws in the pre-drilled holes that they've done.

Go ahead and do that on both sides. Now, that it's secure, it's not goin' anywhere, we can move our box wherever we want to.

After we get it into place, take your drill and locate it on the inside. There's some screws. Go ahead and tighten those down. Now, your box is securely mounted to the wall and ready for drywall. Thank you so much for watching, and good luck with this project! Skip to main content. Home Guides. Video Transcript Hello, everyone. Customer Service Newsroom Contacts.When you enter your home improvement center or hardware store you will be confronted with a multitude of potentially confusing electrical box options.

Some electrical boxes are metal and others non-metallic plastic. Some are for new wall construction called "new work" and some are for renovations to an existing wall. When you need to add an outlet or switch in an existing wall, you need to use a special electrical box called an "old work box. An old work electrical box may be metal or plastic and is specially designed to be installed in an existing wall where it has no support other than the wall itself.

Unlike electrical boxes you use for new construction which attach to a wall studold work boxes rely on a pretty cool clamping system that pinches the box between the front and back of the drywall. To remain firmly in place, these boxes have a pretty interesting fastening system that uses tabs or "ears" in opposite corners that pop up as the attaching screws are drawn tight.

Since the job of an old work box is to hold the electrical box in place in an existing wall, you will not be fastening the box to a wall stud.

It will be located in a wall position where it has no support. That's why the box needs its own mounting system. In the tutorial, how to install an electrical box in an existing wallwe provide detailed, photo-rich "how-to" instructions on easily installing the old work electrical box.

Included in the tutorial are tips for making the box installation go much smoother and faster so you will be up and running quicker. Read More.One type of approved enclosure is a junction box. A junction box is simply a standard electrical box that is mounted securely to house framing or another structure and contains the splice—the wiring connection—of two or more circuit cables or wires.

How to Attach a Light Fixture Junction Box to a Wall if There Is No Stud

The cables are secured to the box with cable clamps or conduit connectors, if the circuit includes conduitand the box must have a removable cover to create a complete enclosure.

Junction box covers must remain accessible; they cannot be covered with drywall or other surface material. Test all of the wires you'll be working on with a non-contact voltage tester. The test should confirm that no voltage is present in any of the wires.

installing a junction box with no studs

If you're using a metal box, remove a knockout on the box for each cable that will enter the box. Install a cable clamp for each cable, as needed. Standard plastic electrical boxes do not have knockouts and contain internal cable clamps. Metal boxes may have internal clamps; if yours does not, install a locknut-type clamp for each cable. Insert the threaded end of the clamp through a knockout hole and secure the clamp inside the box with the nut.

Tighten the nut with pliers. Mount the box to the framing or other support structure with screws driven through the factory-made holes in the back or side of the box, as applicable. Feed the cables through the clamps and into the box.

installing a junction box with no studs

The cable sheathing outer jacket should extend one-half to one inch beyond the clamp, and the cable wires should extend about six inches into the box.

If necessary, trim the wires as needed and strip a three-quarter inch of insulation from the each of each wire, using wire strippers. Secure the cables by tightening the screws on the clamps, being careful not to overtighten and damage the cables. Plastic boxes usually have spring-tabs for clamps and do not require tightening. Note: The ends of the individual wires should be clean, straight, and undamaged.

Carefully tuck the wires into the box. Install the box cover, securing it with two screws. Code requires that the cover must be a solid "blank" without holes. Restore power to the circuit by switching on the circuit breaker. Why You Need a Junction Box. Continue to 2 of 8 below. Shut off the Power and Test the Wires.

Continue to 3 of 8 below.