I'm redoing lights in our kitchen and have to splice some lines. I have read numerous threads that all say you cannot bury the junction box in the drywall, it has to be accessible. The recessed lights I'm putting in all have a junction box attached to them, and will end up 'buried' behind drywall so only the opening for the light is exposed. Here is a picture of the recessed housing.

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Once drywall is installed, the connections for the light will be inaccessible, much in the way a junction box with splices in it would be hidden behind drywall. Why is this considered acceptable when a box with splices in it is not acceptable to be buried behind the drywall?

The only thing I can think of is that you would be certain where the junction was. If ability to locate the box is the only reason it's ok, what if I as the owner retain information about where the buried box is? I realize some day we may sell the house, or I might die and the house will go to someone else who doesn't know the boxes location... is that the only concern?

4 Answers 4


If you search this on the internet you will find the fixture can be disassembled and the j-box can be accessed through the hole that the fixture is in. Therefore the joints are still accessible. Like here.

If you bury a box under drywall it does not meet the definition of accessible according the Code since you would have to remove a portion of the building to access it.

  • I searched far and wide trying to see if I could find info on this before asking, but I didn't know the right phrases to use. You are right, that link basically sums it up.
    – Fuzz Evans
    Mar 7, 2016 at 0:57
  • 2
    You are right. Google doesn't help much when you don't know what you're looking for.
    – ArchonOSX
    Mar 7, 2016 at 1:45
  • +1 Google doesn't help much. It does collect all the data on your searches, errant or not, and uses it to market things to you and supply it to third party's.
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 19, 2021 at 21:11

The light will be exactly where it's at later down the road in the future and in plain sight.

Hiding a junction box will only lead to problems for anyone involved. If anything goes wrong or you decide to try something and you have to rip it up to get at, you won't want to hide it again. It's a real pain trying to find the things, safely getting to them without damaging the wires, and especially finding them if you don't even suspect there being one.

My old house has both hidden boxes and powered knob and tube connections that were reused, thanks to the last owner on his 'full rewiring of the house'. Knob and tube wiring doesn't use boxes at all, but also splices just about anywhere they wanted to. It's terrible to troubleshoot.

Best practice, if you don't want to see junction boxes, is to avoid using them by planning out the connections.

  • 1
    The can is removable to access the junction box. Mar 6, 2016 at 19:46
  • @SpeedyPetey Yes, and...? What are you trying to say?
    – TFK
    Mar 6, 2016 at 19:50
  • 1
    TFK, it seems you are saying the opposite, that the boxes will be buried. Mar 6, 2016 at 22:09
  • @SpeedyPetey No, I'm referring to just a typical junction box as was his question. He asked why a regular junction box can't be hidden behind a wall too.
    – TFK
    Mar 6, 2016 at 22:23
  • 1
    Actually he seems to know that a box can't be buried, and is asking why the ones on the light are OK. Either way, do me a favor and edit your answer so I can remove my -1. Mar 6, 2016 at 22:25

The fixture you show has an accessible junction box. First, remove the three sheet metal screws inside the can at the edge. Push the can up into the space. Then there is a spring tab you can reach on the junction box. You can see one of the two tabs in the phot in this post. The other side of the junction box will have the same setup. In your case, the spring tab is on the top. Other fixtures have the spring release on the side of the junction box. For your benefit and those in the future, keep the leads long so that you can pull the wires below the ceiling if you ever have to work on it.

I removed a soffit to change to pendant lights. The feed to the location was routed from another ceiling can, so I accessed the wiring through the can opening as described.


You are correct with the fixture in the ceiling you know there is at least 1 junction in the box of the fixture. If a box was behind the Sheetrock and a connection failed it takes a very expensive tool to find where the break in the wire is and not all electricians have them.

  • 2
    The can is removable to access the junction box. Mar 6, 2016 at 19:46

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