I am installing a sconce pancake box in a bedroom. The plan was to put the sconce over a stud with one of these.

All lined up and 4" hole cut, and then I realized I am working with 3/8 drywall (the pan box is 5/8).

I was curious if anyone has seen a fixture pan with a depth of 3/8" before; do they exist?

I am pretty sure that I could technically allow non-metallic boxes to stick out 1/4" on non-fire rated walls, but that's ugly; the spot I cut out is perfect so if it's possible to salvage, that would be optimal.



If it's a non-loadbearing wall, you can safely drill 1/4 inch deeper into the stud and then chisel out in-between.

Pancake boxes are already at a minimum size for connections, a 3/8 box couldn't be rated for connections by the NEC. Each connection needs 2 cubic inches of volume ( 1 cu-in per wire), so the 4inch diameter by 1/2 inch pancake box is rated at 6 cu-in, just enough for one 14/2 wire. 12/2 or a splice would not be permitted in that box.

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The base of your lighting sconce will almost certainly fit flush against the sheetrock, over the top of the pancake box even if you mounted the pancake box directly on the surface of the sheetrock.

I doubt there is any need to notch the stud in order to set the box deeper.

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  • The pancake box sticks out a 1/4" from the sheet rock, you think the base would sit flush against the sheetrock even with that much of a protrusion? Haven't received the sconce yet, so can't line it up yet. – justinw Aug 23 '15 at 14:47
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    @Quoid The bases of most light fixtures will. They all have to accomodate being screwed down to a standard-sized box, so you know they're bigger than the box, and virtually all of them are cup shaped. When was that last time you saw a light fixture with a completely flat base? ;-) – Craig Aug 23 '15 at 15:28
  • @Quoid although, see this answer and comments for some information about wire fill and the possibility that you might need an extension on that box. – Craig Aug 23 '15 at 21:07
  • thanks for the follow-ups; you make great points. The box I have is 8 cu in - which I thought was the min. box fill for two 14/2 wires – justinw Aug 23 '15 at 21:58

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