Is there a term for a trim piece that surrounds a surface mount electrical box to accomodate a flush install? I'm replacing some exterior lights by our garage, but all the lights my wife has selected are either intended for a flush mount or do not have enough space to accomodate the existing electrical box, so they leave a gap. I could make something out of plywood but would prefer a more finished product.

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Update: Ended up removing the box and attaching the lamp directly to the wall. Of course the mounting plate holes didn't line up, so I had to rivet a j-box cover to it and drill appropriate holes. Spray painted the plate for rust prevention.

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  • Including a picture of the wall side of the fixture would help. You've got what's known as a "pancake box" mounted to the wall, are you looking to be able to completely hide the box?
    – FreeMan
    Nov 28 '21 at 18:10
  • @FreeMan added to OP. I want to eliminate the gap between the fixture and the brick. We're adding motion activated lights and I have yet to find one that will bolt to the existing box without leaving at least a 1/2" gap.
    – DanCo89
    Nov 28 '21 at 18:30
  • Can you flip that mounting bracket around so it's actually indented into the fixture base instead of flush with it? That might give you the clearance you need to get this box flush. Looks like there are 2 small Phillips head screws that hold the canopy to the mounting bracket, and the screw sticking through the bracket is the ground screw and could probably be threaded through from the side we can see here.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 28 '21 at 18:44
  • Take a good & thorough look at the instructions for that fixture. I'm sure you bought a UL/ETL/TUV listed product with decent instructions and not something out of the online bargain-bin right ;). What you're looking for is some indication that the fixture housing itself is its own junction-box. If you find that is the case, then remove that inappropriately-placed pancake box from your wall and install the fixture directly onto the wall.
    – brhans
    Nov 28 '21 at 22:32
  • 1
    @brhans if you want some stack exchange points, add your suggestion as an answer. that's what I ended up doing. Looks great.
    – DanCo89
    Dec 4 '21 at 0:06

A canopy does what you want but I haven't seen one for an exterior wall mount, they are usually for interior ceiling mount.

The box you have there should be an exterior one, not a plain metal one like that, it should be recessed in the wall and there should be a cable or conduit coming through the wall, entering the box, and attached to the entry hole.

There are other kinds of exterior boxes that are intended for surface mounting, will look better, and will interface nicely with appropriate fixtures meant to be mounted on them. They don't look as nice as a flush mount but they look a lot nicer than a fixture hovering a half inch off the wall.

In every case however you should have a cable or conduit coming through the wall.

Edit adding this thought after seeing your link to the kit meant for vinyl siding.

If you are somewhat handy with a jigsaw and a router you could make something much nicer by cutting some 1/2 inch composite material to the shape of your lamp base, routing the edges to match the lamp base, and cutting a hole for the box in it.

  • Option 1 - Buy a 1/2 inch thick piece of white composite trim, like a 12x12 inch board. Trace your lamp base onto it. Add a quarter inch all around, cut it out and route the top edge to a nice shape. Then paint it black or a color to match the lamp or the wall or the pointing.
  • Option 2- Use Marine Board HDPE. Similar process to Option 1, more expensive, but you can buy it black so if you want it black you don't have to paint it.
  • Something like this is what I was thinking of. Have seen them on vinyl siding but not brick. I'd strongly prefer not to recess the box into brick.
    – DanCo89
    Nov 28 '21 at 18:37
  • Just use one of those panels, @DanCo89 and spray paint it to an appropriate color. Try matching the brick, or the grey of the lamp base. Whatever you prefer. Of course, the box should have been embedded into the wall in the first place, since that would have been the ideal installation method.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 28 '21 at 18:54
  • A lot of those vinyl siding mount kits have their own integral junction box and expect a suitable sized hole in the wall for them. If you can find one that is JUST a facade and will mount over your round box, GREAT! A LOT of caulk and maybe a bit of this stuff and nobody will be the wiser. :)
    – jay613
    Nov 28 '21 at 19:51
  • I added to my answer, an option to make something from composite board that will fit and look better than the kit intended for vinyl siding. Apologies for the Brick Mactac link, I couldn't help myself. :)
    – jay613
    Nov 28 '21 at 20:04
  • @jay613 option 1 is what I'm considering. I actually have some black HDPE sheet I used for crosscut sled runners but given the price I'd rather save it for other projects. Do you have a link to the white composite trim you mentioned? Searching on home depot for composite doesn't return much in a 12" width.
    – DanCo89
    Nov 28 '21 at 22:43

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