I'm installing a pair of vanity lights in our new bathroom. One of them, conveniently, needs to mount directly over a stud which precludes installing a regular octagon box. Instead, I'll have to use a saddle box like this:

enter image description here
Click to embiggen. Source: Lowes.com

Installation of the box looks quite straightforward: Install the small screw (hidden behind the bolt visible at the front, then make pilot holes and drive the two larger bolts.

Once I've done that, though, I see nothing to attach either the ceiling fan they claim can be hung from this nor the wall sconce I plan to put on this. My light comes with an adjustable x shaped brace and some 8-32(?) screws that would normally go into the mounting holes in a "normal" octagon box like this:

enter image description here
Source: lowes.com

Note the holes on opposite corners. What I'm not seeing is the place to put the screws in the saddle box I'm going to have to use. What obvious thing am I missing?

How do I attach a wall sconce to this box once the box is on the wall?

  • The Lowes ad mentions attaching lights/fans to the stud. Either this is just a box for wire connections or you need a cross piece attached to those two screws.
    – crip659
    Feb 5, 2023 at 14:17
  • One type of crosspiece: amazon.com/Universal-Mounting-Diameter-Crossbar-Chandelier/dp/… (not endorsement) Feb 5, 2023 at 14:48
  • That makes sense, @crip659. The light does come with a cross brace, but it looks like those screws are significantly too large for the holes it comes with. Maybe I'll have to take a look once I've got one in hand. Wanna write up an answer? You'll get my vote, and if it works, a check mark for your efforts... ;)
    – FreeMan
    Feb 5, 2023 at 15:25
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate my light comes with a bracket and some 8-32 (?) screws, just like that bracket. However, there are no holes in the box to put those screws into. I guess I wasn't clear enough in my question since you & crip both said nearly the same thing... I've edited the question to be more explicit. I knew what I was asking, didn't you? :D
    – FreeMan
    Feb 5, 2023 at 15:27
  • This is the first time even knowing about them. The one on Lowes seems to have two mounting points for stuff, on the top sides which yours does not show. Zoom in and does seem like mount points at those screws.
    – crip659
    Feb 5, 2023 at 15:32

3 Answers 3


You drive the mounting screws through the bracket and holes in the box into the joist

The way saddle boxes, like yours, work is that the fixture bracket is able to be mounted to the stud through the holes in the box using the mounting screws supplied with the box. To do this, you use the fixture bracket as a template to mark and predrill for the holes after the box is mounted; you can then use the supplied screws to mount the fixture bracket, as detailed in the instructions for your box.


The Ceiling fan mount or the fixture "X" brace goes under the 2 long screws pictured. It's that simple.

  • This. Sconce bolts to brace. Brace screws to studs. Toss the box bolts that come with the brace. If there's no brace buy one.
    – jay613
    Feb 5, 2023 at 23:01
  • This is what I was hoping for. However, I just picked up the box last night and haven't had a chance to install it yet, so I don't know if those bolts will fit through the x-brace that comes with the lights. I'll have to test that out before installation.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 6, 2023 at 12:10
  • @FreeMan hubbellcdn.com/salesdrawings/7120.pdf has instructions inside it Feb 6, 2023 at 12:46
  • Ahh... It's steps 2 & 3 that weren't obvious. Write that up as an answer, @ThreePhaseEel, and I'll happily give it a check mark as that is the solution. TYVM!
    – FreeMan
    Feb 6, 2023 at 13:20
  • It all seemed so obvious to me. I have to give better details.
    – RMDman
    Feb 6, 2023 at 15:41

You don't really need this fan-rated box, it's overkill for a bath sconce. In this situation, as long as you have only one 14/2 cable coming in, you can just use a 1/2" pancake.


  • 2
    Pancake boxes are very short on cubic inches, even compared to what volume exists inside a saddle box. Feb 5, 2023 at 15:42
  • The fill rating for pancakes will accommodate one 14/2 conductor. And then there will always be more space inside the sconce. It will work fine. Feb 5, 2023 at 15:49
  • 3
    Could be a lot here. Two lights (as stated in question), so could be as much as 1 14/2 coming in from panel, 14/3 to switch, 14/2 to 2nd light. And could all be 12/ if on a 20A circuit. So min. 1 x 14/2, max. 2 x 12/2 + 1 12/3. Big difference. Feb 5, 2023 at 15:57
  • It is, in this case only going to be one 12/2 cable coming in, so this might actually be an option. I'll have to take a look. Thanks! Hrm... on second thought, a box fill calculator says one 12/2 requires 9 cu in, and the Raco 8293 pancake box is only 6 cu in. But... there's space in the canopy, so that just might work.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 5, 2023 at 17:03
  • 2
    @5000fingers Even if this job is not inspected now, it probably will be some time in the future. When it happens and an inspector sees this, can be sure they will go over the whole house with a fine tooth comb. If there is one mistake with code, they will figure there are others.
    – crip659
    Feb 5, 2023 at 20:41

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