how to fix a T5 fixture to the ceiling?

greentoe357February 23, 2014

What hardware/tools do I need to use in order to suspend a T5 fixture (4-ft 4 bulbs) from my apartment ceiling? And how do I do it? I won't need adjustable chains, as a tall plant shelf will be right under it, high. Fixing the light as close to the ceiling as possible is important to me because of space considerations.

I am not handy at all, so talk to me like I am 10 years old. Thx.

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Ill try and give you some amateur advice.

It all depends on several things, such as what exactly is your ceiling made of? Is it an exposed ceiling where the joists are visible, or is it simply a ceiling with some thin dry wall, or worse, painted cardboard, covering it?

If on the off chance you can see wood, you can use eye hooks and drill a hole into the wood, screw the eye hooks in, and hang the fixture from that.

If its something other than that, such as the much more likely dry wall or cardboard, you cannot hang a 20 pound fixture from that; the hooks will be pulled out of the ceiling and youll have glass and mercury everywhere.

Again it depends on how your apartment is constructed, but if you have wooden joists behind the dry wall / cardboard, you might be able to use a stud detector to find out where exactly they are, and then drill holes through the ceiling and into joists, and then place the eye hooks into the joists that way.

In my basement I had a similar problem; had to hang grow lights and the ceiling was not suitable to be used to hang anything weighing more than probably one pound. I built a wooden structure thats securely holding about 60 pounds right now, and is ultimately supported by the concrete floor, not the flimsy ceiling.

Thats what I would really recommend, building a sturdy wooden structure to hold that fixture, with room to expand and hang more in the future if necessary (its a big hassle building just enough for say 20 pounds, then 6 months later wanting to triple the weight and find out you need to reinforce every aspect of the structure (personal experience)), if you want to do it yourself, which is very satisfying to do once its all completed

If you dont want to build anything, and are not comfortable locating the joists with a detector and drilling through the ceiling into them, you can also buy fixture stands that are essentially ready to use and hang fixtures on them right away.

I would suggest searching amazon for one.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:58PM
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If you are in an apartment, you are not allowed to attach anything to the ceiling.

If you are in a NYC apartment building, then the ceiling is concrete. Being not handy yourself, you will find it difficult to securely anchor the fixture into concrete.

Better go buy a tall shelving system with adjustable chains so that you can lower the fixture for changing bulbs.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:06PM
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The ceiling is most likely something very hard (concrete?), but I am not sure. When they made electrical fixture holes in the ceilings, I do not remember layers of any kind (not cardboard, no sheet rock, nothing - just a slab of the very hard material). The building is a ~50-year old high-rise co-op.

I checked all my apartment papers for what I can and cannot do, and there is nothing about not drilling the ceiling. I might talk to the management just to be sure.

Here is a pic of how my plant stand looks. I am thinking to hang another light fixture from the ceiling - and then use the top lamptop itself as a lit shelf.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:00PM
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What sort of hardware should be used in order to hang it as close to the ceiling as possible?

I imagine I need something that will expand in the ceiling and resist the fixture crashing down, like these hooks?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:12PM
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The fixture itself has adjustable metal wire cords like this on both ends for suspension.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:14PM
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"---I imagine I need something that will expand in the ceiling and resist the fixture crashing down, like these hooks?""

Wrong kind of hardware for concrete.

Go to Home Depot, they will show you what to use. You will also need a hammer drill with a carbide bit.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 5:31PM
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I have a normal cheapo drill, not buying another one for 2 holes. My psychic powers tell me there is a contractor call in my near future. :-)

Thanks, all, much appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 6:14PM
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it would be easier to look for pole extensions for your shelf - to raise them even higher. from the look of segmented steel, i'd say you should be able to find pole extenders and may be even an additional shelf for the top - just like you have now. if you know the manufacturer, you should be able to locate some parts shop.
alternatively - it could be easier to find metal shelving brackets to mount on the wall - it should have studs to drill in. if not that - those metal strips for shelf, sev feet long should spread the weight of one fixture.
here's what i am talking about:

Here is a link that might be useful: 3rd pic in top row, 2nd pic in last row

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Apartment buildings probably have metal studs.

Not easy to attach things to.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:23PM
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