I am replacing a ceiling fixture the holes for mounting the bracket are stripped

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to repair a fixture box when the holes for mounting the bracket are stripped

Repairing a Light Fixture Box

Electrical Question: My town home was built in the early 1970’s. I am replacing a ceiling fixture in the kitchen. The junction box appears to be made of a pressed wood fiber material and the holes for mounting the bracket are stripped out. Is this repairable and if so how? I would have to hire someone to replace the junction box if that is the only solution.

This electrical question came from: Suzette, from Decatur, Georgia
See more about Home Wiring for Georgia

Dave The Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Suzette

Replacing a Ceiling Fixture

How to repair a fixture box when the holes for mounting the bracket are stripped

  • When an electrical box for a light fixture has holes that are stripped out you have a few options to prevent a costly electrical repair bill.
  • Use a Tri-Tap tool to dress up the threads or make the hole one size larger, such as go from a 6-32 to am 8-32 hole.
    • A Tri-Tap is a threading tool that has the three most common screw threads, 6-32, 8-32, 10-32 and other 24 thread sizes as well on the opposite end of a reversible shaft.
    • The tool looks is about the size of a screw driver.
  • With some non-metal boxes a slightly larger wood screw may be used, this also works with some receptacle outlet boxes where the threads are stripped out.
  • With non metal boxes you could take tooth picks, dip them in wood glue and insert them into the holes, then when the glue is dry re-tap the holes or use wood screws.
  • NOTE
    • These repairs may work for fixtures that are NOT heavy, however if the light fixture is heavy then the fixture box may need to be replaced.
    • Heavy light fixtures and ceiling fans require special boxes which are rated for the weight of the fixture being installed.

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