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#213531 - 05/29/14 02:19 AM Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls  
wewire2  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
Most standard nail-on 3/0, 4/0 and hanger boxes are called ceiling boxes. These boxes are commonly used for wall use. I couldn't find anything on the net that says they can be used in walls so I called the tech line on their web page. Dumb question right? Well they said they would call back with an answer but never did. Carlon plastic type L boxes (see link below)are stamped "for use in ceiling with non-metallic wiring systems only." These boxes would be perfect for wall use because the bracket is in the side back which allows them to be set out further for the thickness of stucco. The ears on standard 3/0 nail-ons are set too far forward so it's a problem if you have to set them behind shear panel. Got any input on this?

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#213534 - 05/29/14 04:24 PM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
Tesla  Offline
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Sacramento, CA
The very dimensions of the (octagon) Carlon J-box were selected for ceilings. Octagon boxes were originally crafted for ye old classic porcelain Edison socket style outlet. (key-less or switched)

Subsequently, other light fixtures were dimensioned to directly affix to said octagon J-boxes – or to enclose an adapter plate for same. (spider ring and/ or lumière strap)

The additional weights involved caused the NEMA players to come out with up-rated designs that could handle ever heavier lumières. These became known as “hanger boxes.”

In the latest incarnation, hanger boxes have been up-rated to “fan-rated.” Not surprisingly, considering the price premiums and the usage, all such boxes became known as ceiling boxes.

That's a thumbnail history of the octagon box, and its (round, ie Romex-BX era) sisters.

[ The octagon provided flat surfaces facing side-ways in an era when piping was common – all of this before BX or Romex. It's that old. ]

If I was piping towards an Edison socket, I might still use an octagon box.(metallic) But, if you visit any big box store you'll notice that octagon boxes are (now) thinly stocked. (metallic or plastic)


Any ceiling rated box is also sure to be rated for (less demanging) wall usage. You stumped the tech rep. grin


I have to say that in my humble experience, pancake J-boxes are the universal norm for stucco exteriors. Hereabouts, stucco is always applied to OSB/ plywood. (exterior grade) So it's no big deal to punch a hole after the sheathing is up and slap on a pancake – which can be placed just about anywhere to suit and at great speed, certainly far faster than setting a box that requires punching a big penetration with a hole-saw.

(The carpenters have finished the rough-in, setting the box and penetration is all on the electrician. The stucco contractor is expected to mesh-in around the pancakes and slather on his green coat, etc.)

Pancakes beat octagons, hands down. Again, these are terminal boxes that only feed a sconce.

The very dimensions of a pancake make it automatically perfect for exterior stucco.


Lastly, my practice is to always screw such pancakes down. Nails are shunned.

Last edited by Tesla; 05/29/14 04:27 PM.


#213538 - 05/29/14 10:11 PM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
HotLine1  Offline

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,874
Brick, NJ USA
When you ask 'can they be used in walls?' you may have confused the tech rep. He may think you are asking IF the box is listed/labeled for fire rating. The non-metalic boxes have a UL 'rating' in hours for installation in a rated wall/ceiling assembly. It is molded on the inside back wall, and is not easy to see.

The UL White book is the source of info IF a box is listed for a particular use.

Without reading thru the White Book and risking falling asleep, IMHO I see no reason that you cannot set the box you mention in a wall.


#213542 - 05/29/14 10:20 PM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
wewire2  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
Thanks Tesla.
Just wondering why they went so far as to to say "for ceiling use". It makes it sound like an exclusive installation method. The problem I see with pancakes is they are only good for one 14-2 and they are almost a 1/2" too shallow for stucco. They do make it simple though. Found some 1-1/2" octo's with NM clamps. I figure I'll hole saw through the shear and keep going enough to recess the box into the stud. Been doing commercial forever and decided to do a house for a change. This'll be the last for another while........

#213546 - 05/30/14 11:27 AM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
mbhydro  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 347
Winnipeg MB Canada
No 1/2 scraps of plywood/chipboard in the jobsite trash pile you could mount a pancake box on to fir it out? Save cutting holes.

#213549 - 05/30/14 08:11 PM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
Tesla  Offline
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Sacramento, CA

Agreed. thumbs


#213550 - 05/31/14 12:56 AM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,136
Maybe I am confused, Why is stucco an inch thick? It is 3/8 to half when I see it. (stucco over block)

Greg Fretwell

#213551 - 05/31/14 02:17 AM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,708
Anaheim, CA. USA


Why is stucco an inch thick?

As I remember (it has been a long, long long ^2 time since I last did any Plastering Work),

For Exterior Lath & Plaster (Plaster applied to Metallic Wire Mesh Lath with weatherproof "Tar" Paper backing):

1.: Min. 3/8" Scratch Coat,

2.: Min. 3/8" Brown Coat,

3.: Min. 1/8" Color Coat

If I Remember Correctly (IIRC), Interior Metallic Lath and Plaster dimensions were similar to the Schedule listed above.

Additionally, IIRC for Interior Lath and Plaster (Plaster applied to 3/8" to 1/2" Gypsum Board Lath):

1.: Min. 3/8" Base Coat,

2.: Min. 1/8" Finish Coat.

I have always expected the Plaster to be at least 1" for the total Scratch/Brown/Color Coats on Exteriors, and at least 3/4" overall for Interiors applied to Gypsum Lath.

--Scott (EE)

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#213552 - 05/31/14 11:48 AM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,136
When they go over block they skip one of those coats and maybe two, only having one 3/8"coat with texture.
The finish is generally painted anyway. It seals it against water better. That may not be an issue out in the desert but here in the swamp, it cuts down on mildew problems.

Greg Fretwell

#213553 - 06/01/14 12:16 AM Re: Nail-on ceiling boxes used in walls [Re: wewire2]  
wewire2  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
Scott, you're right. Stucco is usually right around 7/8"-1" I stick boxes out 3/4". Nothing is worse on finish than having boxes stick out too far and end up installing terra cotta fixtures with a flat back. Well...come to think of it there are worse things like forgetting a wire or plug and switching the wrong house,(Turns out there were 2 houses being built on F street.)Greg, I'm petty sure they paint the stucco over there so the mud from the alligator tails is easier to clean
off smile

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