I really tried to search into existing threads before creating a new one and closest I could find is this: Should ceiling fan mounting screws thread into the box or the framing behind?

Unfortunately, I didn't see a clear answer. But the scenario is pretty similar, my home is supposed to be pre-wired for installing a ceiling fan but they only installed a basic light fixture with two bulbs, after removing that light fixture, I was expecting two MACHINE screws going into the electrical box (like in other light fixtures I've replaced before), however, instead, there were two WOOD screws that I had to remove in order to remove old bracket.

So I'm suspecting the electrical box is something similar to this kind (the first two pictures in the album):


If you scroll further down in the imgur album, there are actual pictures of my box and the two wood screws I removed.

The box seems to be still very well attached/secured after removing those two screws and after cleaning up the paint a little bit, it actually does say "ACCEPTABLE FOR FANS UP TO 70 LBS" (i only need "acceptable for 35 lb fan") so I'm thinking making a hole in the plastic box and loop around the secondary support cable from the fan motor.

But my main question is, can I reuse those two wood screws I removed to install the new ceiling fan bracket as long as I get a good torque when re-tightening? or what should be the approach here? Should I replace them with slightly bigger diameter screws and hope I don't have to replace that fan again in a very long time? Should I replace the electrical box with a different kind with machine threads/nuts? (probably not easy as the attic is "flooded" with blow-in insulation).

Thank you in advance for any replies!

1 Answer 1


That looks like a plastic box. Plastic requires a greater thread bite than metal usually.

Would reuse those screws, since they are made for that box. They are probably only look like wood screws, but are slightly different.

When reusing, use only your hand to seat the threads before using tools. Will help to not strip the threads.

Do not use larger diameter screws since that will crack the plastic and ruin the box.

  • Thank you for the reply! I'm still a bit confused because the screws are not exactly the same, one has slightly more threads per inch and also the head is different, one is just hex head while the other is hex head with a slot for flathead screwdriver, that is why I was thinking however installed it just used what they had on hand of long wood screws about that diameter instead of something that came in the same package with that box.
    – vhblanco
    Oct 5, 2022 at 21:09
  • Not sure. Make sure there is no play between the threads of the screws and box. Put the screws in and check for any cracks in the plastic. Keep each screw matched to it's hole, mixing can/will cause problems with a fan running. If stuff does not feel right, buy new, don't need a rotating fan falling down on top of you.
    – crip659
    Oct 5, 2022 at 21:16
  • Thank you! I'll try that, keep the screw matched to were they were originally and will be monitoring the fan does not wobble or anything like that for a few weeks after installation
    – vhblanco
    Oct 6, 2022 at 12:38

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