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How do I know if my ceiling can take the weight of a chandelier?

netrate's picture

I recently purchased a chanderlier and wanted to know, before I install it, how I can tell if my ceiling or the electrical box with take the weight?  I would rather not try it and see, if you know what I mean...

David amateur

There is no way to know (post #206972, reply #1 of 4)

There is no way to know unless you can confirm that electrical box was fastened to the frame with heavy fixtures in mind.  A box may be nailed or screwed to the wood frame, or wood cleat.  It may have its own install wing or may be hanging on metal brace.  If it looks like ceiling fan brace (search a photo), it will not support a chandelier since it is usually a after thought and hanging by a pressure only.  Also if a box is fanstened to the frame by a nail or screw through the side of the box, the box may droop from the weight.

Only way I know to be sure would be to cut that ceiling, install a brace, and bolt the box to the brace.

But how heavy is the chandelier?  Step on bathroom scale with/without it.  Most boxes I've seen, as long as some nail or screw, looked like it will hold at least 30-40 pounds, but I am guessing here.

Unless you're house is really (post #206972, reply #2 of 4)

Unless you're house is really poorly built or the chandelier is exceptionally heavy there's little doubt that the ceiling can support the unit.  The problem is that the existing fixture box may not be able to support it.

Your best bet is to replace the existing fixture box with a "fan box" that firmly anchors to adjacent joists.  There are varieties that can be installed as "old work" through the existing ceiling hole, without having to enlarge the hole.

(But if you can access from above, that's much better.)

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

I did have access, about one (post #206972, reply #3 of 4)

I did have access, about one month ago - and then I had insulation blown in and now impossible.  Sucks to be me.  I will have to try and look inside to see if it is attached to a stud or not.  Not sure how I can tell though.

David amateur

See if there is wood right (post #206972, reply #4 of 4)

See if there is wood right above the box. If there is odds are it's a joist and you can safely hang your light. if not do as Dan said and install a ceiling fan bracket. Remove the old box and follow instructions to add the bracket. it's easy and fairy fast and will support 150 pounds.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.