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Old 04-10-2010, 08:04 PM   #1
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What do I Need? boxes/exterior

Two part question for anyone that can help and walk a newbie through, I am looking for some assistance in a project. I have a single gang box that I want to add an addtional switch for an outside light. Basically taking a one switch box and making it two switches. Today I pulled out the existing cables, cut out the old single gang box and went to install the new double gang box and I went...wait a minute this wont work. I had a blue plastic old work box. The current cables are the metal armored cables. I ran a new nm cable for the new light as well. Question is correct box to use? I assume it has to be metal because of the armed cables? Do they have a type of "old work" metal boxes? How do I attach it? What exactly do I need?
Second part of the question is, The outside light is going to be new. It is not going to be a motion light, but some form of an exterior wall sconce. We havent picked out the exact light but have an idea. What exactly do I have to do on the exterior of the house? type of box? Does it have to be flush with house or does it stick out? I have Vinyl siding (that is currently off, I just put new windows in) I am confused as to the transition from the cable inside of the house to the mount on the exterior of the house? Something that would take any light we decide on. I went to lowes and saw weatherproof boxes but was confused. What should I use and what should i get. Thanks!!!!! Need some help!!!!


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Old 04-10-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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Do they have a type of "old work" metal boxes? How do I attach it? What exactly do I need?
Yes, it's called a gem box. Buy two and there should be screws to take the side of the box off. Do so for the two boxes and they should then gang together. Screw them together and install. Attaching can be done two ways. If you have solid backing, you can put a screw through one of the holes in the ears on the face of the box. More than likely you'll need madison hangers. Often called switch box supports. Here is an image of a gem box and how to install the supports.

You should be OK with NM as long as it's legal in your jurisdiction. Be sure and attach the grounding wire to the box and any devices inside (will require a splice).

As for the second part, try a pancake box. I'm not a huge fan of these, but they do get the job done. When the siding is replaced, there is a special type of box that can go around these (I've heard them called discussion boxes or something like that). Pancake boxes look just as they are called. About 1/2" deep 4" round. Good luck!


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Old 04-11-2010, 06:30 AM   #3
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Great thanks for the detailed response. The pancake box, that will sit flush with house sheathing?
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:56 AM   #4
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Follow goose's advice on the gem box.
Look at the box stores for the mounting block. This is used for light fixtures, faucets, dryer vents.
The slide in and out to accomadate the thickness of whatever you are installing.

This is an article that shows another style of mounting block.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:03 AM   #5
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As far as mounting the exterior sconce, you need a vinyl siding accessory built for that purpose. Called a fixture mounting block (or other names) it allows the siding to expand and contract as it needs too. With this type block you can use any type of electrical box. All the big box stores will have them in various colors and sizes.

As an aside, I have always heard Madison clips called "battle ships". Hold it with the longest side down and you will see what the reference means.
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