When I opened the door to my storage closet I discovered the light fixture hanging. The junction box has broken at the two screw mounts and the ceiling around it is fully drywalled.

This is in a basement so there is no access to the junction box from above.

How do I remove the junction box and replace it without a major repair to the drywall around it?

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  • In most cases, you don't. Drywall repair is an unfortunate necessity in many cases. Given it's a storage closet the repair may not have to look perfect to not ruin your day - or it's a small area to work on until it does not ruin your day.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 7, 2020 at 23:40
  • Sometimes you can use a larger screw. Or you could epoxy in some toothpicks and pilot drill new holes.
    – Alaska Man
    Nov 7, 2020 at 23:43

2 Answers 2


If you don't see any obvious screws that secure the junction box to the ceiling or side joist, you can do "dental work" to carefully demolish the old box, cutting it up with snips, nipper, vibrating tool or a Dremel. Then you'll have a 4" round hole in the ceiling. Then you can install an "old work" box to the joist or whatever attachment point is available, or simply to the drywall itself using certain types of "old work" boxes. Use a lightweight, low profile fixture that you're not likely to bash into.


You have the broken pieces so just epoxy them back in, and replace the porcelain light fixture with a lightweight one with a LED bulb in it. The plastic looks embrittled with years of heat from the incandescent bulb. You probably could find a fixture with a large enough base that you could drill holes into the drywall and install plastic drywall anchors further away from the junction. This is why I cannot stand plastic junction boxes. These days code often doesn't permit unshielded bulbs in closets anyway.

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