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So I went to go change my bathroom vanity light today and discovered that it simply had the wiring coming through a hole in the wall and the previous vanity was literally just screwed into the wall with 2 screws.

Went to the local home improvement store and the employees guided me to some old work boxes that look like this:

Old Work Box

So I get it installed, but it had me wondering...is this safe? I mean the vanity light isn't THAT heavy (I weighed it at around 3 lbs). I do not have a stud nearby (that I can see anyways) (nor would it matter because I would need to have access behind it anyways), and I really don't want to be tearing out an entire wall ideally)

Is this ok? I looked at various guides on changing or adding vanity lights and most seem to use these boxes (Which "seem" to be rated for 6 lb's, and only mention NOT to use them for ceilings).

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Yes, an old work box is completely safe for what you're using it for. Just make sure the dogs are snug against the drywall.

  • Thanks, I mean it's not on the ceiling so really it would require the drywall to completely fail. I mean considering the last light was basically held to the wall by 2 screws I figure it can't be any worse than that! – msmith1114 Jan 13 at 1:37
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    It's actually better off in a box than anchored to the drywall with screws. I run in to the same situation almost weekly. Lol – BillWeckel Jan 13 at 1:39
  • Better off compared to what? just 2 screws? What I had before was one of these "cheap" lights: lowes.com/pd/Project-Source-4-Light-24-05-in-Vanity-Light/… – msmith1114 Jan 13 at 1:46
  • Yes, just being attached with 2 screws to the drywall. – BillWeckel Jan 13 at 1:47
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I've used lots of old-work boxes of various designs and love them. When you have a heavy fixture, you need one that will support the weight (by being secured to studs or joists), but your vanity light is.... well, light.

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Make sure the box doesn't show around the fixture. They usually do and makes it unsightly for the homeowner. I made that mistake as an apprentice once and made a huge mess for the drywall guy/boss man/everyone else to fix. More higher-end expensive fixtures have a wire gutter built-in and the splice takes place inside the fixture. Never splice inside a wall cavity. You need to splice in an UL approved box. Then just place a plastic button connector in the back. Drywall anchors should be fine or find a stud to screw it too if its a long fixture. Unless its a piece of lead or iron, then weight shouldn't be a problem.

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