I'm trying to upgrade my non-IC recessed lighting to air tight IC recessed lighting. After removing the can, I see that the new-construction fixture has been nailed to the bottom of the joist (see picture). In the picture, it's not clear if it is nailed to the bottom of the joist or the other side of the joist, but I've confirmed it is the bottom by looking at other ones.

Is there a way to remove this without damaging the ceiling?

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Get your rotary tool, (Dremel, etc) with a cutoff wheel and cut through those two bracket between the fixture and the top joist. Then lift up the fixture and slide it toward the joint and then cut through those two brackets by the bottom joist. You might be able to lift up the fixture enough to slide it off completely after the first two cuts but you could damage the ceiling. Play it safe and cut each bracket twice.

You could use a hacksaw, single handle one, but it would really be difficult and take a lot longer to cut.

  • 1
    What about using an oscillating tool to cut the metal bars? (Just was reading about this after posting the Q).
    – Eric
    Feb 5, 2022 at 22:12
  • That will work too. What ever you're most comfortable with. I like the rotary tools because they are smaller and fit into confined spaced easier.
    – JACK
    Feb 5, 2022 at 23:53

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