I was attempting to replace a simple light fixture on level one of our two story home. As I went to install the new fixture, I discovered the bracket attachment point on the old electrical box was stripped on one side. This was a box on bracket (between braces) installed, I assume, new with the home in '89. I took the box off the bracket, thinking I may have access to remove the bracket - no such luck.

So, what I am stuck with is a bracket, surrounded by insulation, right in the way of any old-work electrical boxes that I've been able to find in town.

I have never attempted drywall work, plus I'm looking at a spackled ceiling, so I am attempting to avoid cutting if I can.

My question is this: How can I remove the old bracket (without starting a fire using a metal cutting bit on my Dremel)?

  • can you please upload the image of the problem anywere else probably facebook and post the link it help us as you cannot post an image here
    – Deiknymi
    Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 14:58
  • I could - but the image would show a brace 2" above the 3 1/4" opening in the ceiling, with insulation around it. Don't think anyone could get much from it.
    – bleedsblue
    Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 15:06
  • but it will help
    – Deiknymi
    Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 15:07
  • You can't take a hammer and chisel it over and leave it in the wall?
    – DMoore
    Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 17:32
  • @DMoore - I tried, to no avail. The bracket bar runs straight through the middle of the opening.
    – bleedsblue
    Commented Jul 21, 2013 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


A sawzall should make quick work of this. If you don't have one and know no one that does, they can be rented. There are also handles that clamp onto hacksaw blades so you sort of have a small, manual sawzall. It will take some work, but you will be able to cut enough that the remainder can be twisted off or chiseled aside.

If done carefully and methodically, a dremel tool can do much of the work without starting a fire. Try to direct the cut so that the sparks are ejected mostly downwards. Stop often and check the area for signs of burning. Have a spray bottle handy to quench any embers, as well as a fire extinguisher just to be safe. When finished cutting, spritz the area with water and check the area frequently for the next hour for any signs of embers developing.

Finally, depending on the finish, cutting and patching the ceiling is not that big a deal, then you can ensure the new box is properly supported instead of relying on the little tabs of the old work box and ceiling material for support.

  • I hadn't considered the sawzall as I only had wood blades. Considering this is a lightweight fixture in a hallway, I may end up going that route if I can't talk the wife into allowing me to move the hole 6" one direction or the other. Thanks for the tips.
    – bleedsblue
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 2:21

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