My tree contractor accidentally broke my light fixture and decided to leave it like this (yes those wires are live).

I'm planning to replace it with a new fixture, but would the recommended plan be to just get a light fixture and install it flush to the wall? Cutting into it is likely infeasible given it is very old and very heavy stone. Or should I get a metal box and attach it first? Is there any way to seal it? Is metal or plastic preferred?

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  • On the plus side, there's a couple of anchors already in the stone. Perhaps a foundation for the mount?
    – fred_dot_u
    Feb 12 at 16:48
  • Second cable looks more like coax (old security camera?) with suspension wire or camera power wires than NM/B, from here (without being able to see the end) - NM/B does not normally have that crease.
    – Ecnerwal
    Feb 12 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Metal preferred

As I understand it, NM cable is not supposed to be outside at all. But there seems to be a bit of a debate as to whether "box attached directly to an outside wall" counts as outside (need to change to different cabling inside before going through the wall) or not.

Since it was previously installed this way, I would leave it as is. Which means installing a new light fixture and/or box + light fixture but not changing the cable. Some light fixtures include an integral junction box. However, here you need a box both for connecting the wires and for connecting to the wall. Depending on the particular fixture, it may be possible to attach the fixture directly to the wall and use an integral junction box to connect the wires. Or the fixture may be designed to attach to a junction box and not directly to the wall, in which case you install an appropriate metal box to the wall and then attach the fixture to the box.

The wiring does look a little strange. There appears to be black, white and bare ground from a cable and also a second cable (end not visible). What is that second cable for?

  • 1
    Thanks, very helpful. The second cable appears to just be dead/unused as far as I can tell. I was planning to just remove it.
    – GBa
    Feb 12 at 17:04

If you plan on doing the work yourself without getting it inspected. Look around and try to find something that allows you to keep the wire and connections dry. Im working under the assumption that both of those wires are romex and that the "dead" one is actually a jumper to another light.

If you were to get a metal box and use that get yourself a metal pancake and find a fixture that will cover it completely. You'd take the pancake and knock out the hole in the back. Put a plastic grommet or [my preference] an RC-50 in the knockout hole and shove both of those romex wires into it. Then simply follow the instructions on the fixture and make it up entirely.

Definitely use a metal fixture.

  • A pancake box won't have enough cubic inches for the two cables shown here.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 16 at 13:34

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