Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

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Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:08 pm

I recently moved and am planning out the new workshop space. I will be dividing up the finished part of the basement to accommodate my workshop. This will require me to build one wall and install a door so not too much work. However, where I have decided to build the wall puts two recessed light cans in the workshop area that are controlled by the light switch in the other area of the finished basement. I need to either 1) wire those cans to the workshop circuit and add two new cans to the the other room, or 2) remove those cans and replace them with "remodel" cans and add 2 new ones to the other room.

I have no access to the other side of the drywalled ceiling and I would like to not have to open up the drywall if I can avoid it, making option 1 difficult. Is there a way to remove the "new construction" cans without destroying the drywall? In the ideal situation, I could remove the cans and access the wire boxes so I can connect the lights to the other cans in the workshop and free up the wiring from that circuit to connect to two new "remodel" cans on the other side of the wall I am building. Is there a better way to go about this?
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:25 pm

There are different types of canned lights. Some have brackets that attach to the adjacent joists. You would have to cut a big hole to remove those. Others may be held in place by spring clips and might be able to be extracted by pulling in the clips.

Google "removing canned light fixtures" to get more details.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:05 pm

Yep, the ones that have the brackets that span the joists are the "new construction" type. That is what I have and want to remove. I'm hoping there is a way to dismantle them without disturbing the drywall. The "remodel" cans are the ones with the clips that attach to the back side of the drywall. Those are easy to remove.

I've been googling various combinations of removing canned lights, but haven't yet found any good description of removing the new construction fixtures short of cutting out the drywall or trying to cut up the fixture from the inside. I was hoping someone knew the trick. I suppose I might be able to get a reciprocating saw in there without destroying the drywall.?.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bob Gramann » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:16 pm

Can you find a can light just like yours at the building supply store? If you could fondle one and look it over, you could figure out how the crossbar is attached to the can. There’s likely a couple of rivets you can drill out. Failing that, remove the drywall flange and push it up. That flange wasn’t installed until after the drywall was done.

If all else fails, drywall patching isn’t all that hard. When I’ve had to rewire or replumb, I’ve often cut a small hole where the new wire or pipe has to turn a corner, done the job, and then put the cutout back in supported by a couple of 1x2 strips secured by drywall screws, taped the joints, and covered it with three coats of mud. If you use a large drywall mud knife, only you will know where it is.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:25 pm

That's a good idea! I'll have a look at the box store to see if I can figure out a good place to start dismantling. I'll see if I can figure out what make/model I have and hopefully find the equivalent at the store. I'm guessing I'll be able to do that since it appears that the basement was finished right before the house went on the market and I'm guessing all the supplies came from the Home Depot down the street.

The biggest reason I don't want to have to disturb the drywall is that I have back issues and working over my head is very uncomfortable. Repairing drywall isn't too much of an issue for me if it is vertical. When I moved out, I patched all the openings in the ceiling I had for by dust collector ports. It was then that I decided that I would not be running the DC ducts inside the ceiling at the new shop.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bob Gramann » Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:58 pm

Michaelangelo had a scaffold for his ceiling work.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:20 pm

Ha! There is yet another way he and I differ. It's good advice though, perhaps I could rig something up if it comes to that.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bill Raymond » Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:26 pm

Is there some kind of remote control switch that could replace the switch controlling the cans? If so, then that would be the easy way to control the can lights from "your" side of the wall. I think I may have seen something like this on "This Old House".
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:52 pm

Thinking outside the box is always appreciated! However, in this case a remote switch isn’t an option. Each circuit has 4 cans and I want to have 4 on the non-workshop side and add 2 to the workshop side. I need to keep them on a separate circuits so they don’t turn off some of my lights if they decide to watch a movie and want it dark.

I did get a remote controlled outlet for my dust collector which will be located in the unfinished part of the basement.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby David King » Tue Aug 27, 2019 12:58 am

IME recessed can lights are just about useless for a shop space, I'd put outlets in their places and daisy-chain a series of 4' LED shop lights as needed over benches and machines. Ceiling outlets are very handy for other things as well if the circuit can carry some amperage.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bill Raymond » Tue Aug 27, 2019 6:58 pm

Since the switch controls other lights it might not be desirable to put ceiling outlets in the cans. Since the fixtures have to accommodate ceiling materials of various thicknesses, the cans are adjustable in height within the bracket. If you remove some screws, you should be able to drop the cans themselves and find that they are attached to a fixed junction box with an armored cable. The junction box can be opened to access the wiring and you could disconnect the lights from the box then put wire nuts on each of the wires (should be coded black and white insulation), but leave the ground wire secured to the junction box. Close up the junction box and patch the hole for the can. If you do want to put in ceiling outlets, then keep the armored cable, but detach from the can and detach the wires to the socket, connect the wires to an outlet in a junction box, mount it to a plate that covers the can hole, or a plasterboard patch of the hole. There are outlet plugs that will screw into a standard lightbulb socket, but I haven't seen those for a long time, perhaps because they accommodate only a 2 prong plug and you'd most likely want to have an outlet that would accept a 3 prong plug.

I had wanted to replace some dedicated fluorescent light cans in my kitchen to put LEDs in, but before I got to it they came out with a plug in LED to replace the lousy fluorescent bulbs which didn't go on half the time unless you banged them with a broomstick and put out little light. LEDs are brighter and use less electricity, which is important when you are off-grid stand alone solar, as are we.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:32 pm

Update:

I was just talking to my wife and she suggested that instead of building a wall, I just take the whole basement. That solves all the wording issues, but I feel guilty. . . I think I will keep that extra space furnished as a small living room area in case we change our minds later. Is it weird having a couch and TV in the shop? I suppose I could watch the Cardinals games while glue is drying.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bob Gramann » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:22 pm

The only real disadvantage is future expansion limiting. Whatever size shop you build, you will find it’s half the size you want. If you had built your wall and then found that your shop was too small, you could have knocked down the wall and taken over the rest of the basement. Starting with the whole basement, you have no room for expansion.

Dust and humidity control can be easier with an enclosed space. You still may have some sealing to do.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Sun Sep 01, 2019 3:22 pm

lucky the new shop is 55% bigger than my old shop so I am already expanding :) the furniture is already there so i’d Need to get rid of it to expand anyway.

I have a furnace blower and motor that I was planning to box in with HEPA type filters. It should easily handle the full space. I have to work out humidity control there so I may as well plan on the whole space. This way if, as the kids grow, they need an extra hang out area with their friends, I can build
The wall. If not, I can nix the furniture and get more tools and wood.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bob Francis » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:47 pm

Bryan Bear wrote:Update:

I was just talking to my wife and she suggested that instead of building a wall, I just take the whole basement. That solves all the wording issues, but I feel guilty. . . I think I will keep that extra space furnished as a small living room area in case we change our minds later. Is it weird having a couch and TV in the shop? I suppose I could watch the Cardinals games while glue is drying.

Pretty sneaky technique Brian but I like it!
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:41 am

Hi Bryan,
You could build a light weight divider/partition wall that would allow you to have a "clean side" of the shop and keep the furniture and T.V. and put a workbench in the back corner. If the family still had some access it might alleviate some guilt and give you a place to work away from the dust. Last winter my wife allowed me to take over a hutch as a workbench which has proved to be handy for doing some jobs that don't require making dust or fumes.
As to the lighting issues - how difficult would it be to run a couple of new circuits? Do you have space in the box for a couple of breakers? Aside from lighting you might want to run a 220V circuit if you don't have one.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby David King » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:16 pm

I think a lightweight moveable divider, perhaps a folding one might be just the ticket. At a minimum you could install a plastic curtain temporarily. They make tape-in zipper "doors" for plastic sheeting enclosures for lead and asbestos abatement jobs if you needed doorway.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bryan Bear » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:23 pm

I like the idea of a lightweight movable divider. I’m not sure how to make something like that. I’ll
Have to do some looking around.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Bob Francis » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:31 am

You could do a et similar to barn doors without the pricey hardware if you weather strip the seams and bottom with even pool noodles.
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Re: Best way to remove "new construction" recessed light cans

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:07 pm

Shoji panels might be cool to make.
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