The insanity of outdoor lighting “standards”

Maybe I’m missing the boat here. We want to install outdoor lighting fixtures. Of course these installations need to be waterproof – at least between the base plate of the fixture and the junction box.

Can anybody tell me why it is that you can only buy 4 inch outdoor junction boxes, yet nearly everybody and his dog makes their fixtures with a 5 inch or greater base plate?

It seems the only fixtures I can get that will mate up with the junction box and be guaranteed to pass electrical code inspection are ones that are designed for use in or around barns or industrial areas. This is fine if that is the look you are going for. Unfortunately that look does not at all complement our vision for our back patio.

I *could* buy the larger light fixture and silicone the hell out of the back so it would certainly be watertight, but that seems ridiculous and may or may not pass inspection.

Both my contractor and my electrician have lamented the silliness of it all. Apparently, if anybody could make 5 inch outdoor junction boxes they’d make a fortune as this is a common issue.

Does anybody know more about this where they could offer some sage advice?

Call me frustrated


2 thoughts on “The insanity of outdoor lighting “standards””

  1. I’m sure you’ve looked online for 5 in boxes – couldn’t find any? Seems they do exist but I’m not sure exactly what you are looking for. Seems so strange that no-one has tackled this problem.

    What do the contractor and electrician do normally? Fudge it?

  2. @Laura – The issue comes up in outdoor applications where you need to mount the light on a surface where the box cannot be recessed. In my case I have 2 inch wide supports on which I need to mount my lights. I think any other situation, such as a wall, you’re fine by recessing the junction box and mounting the light fixture over this. Then the > 4 inch base plate hides any unsightliness around the box.
    It seems my need is so niche it’s not worth anybody’s effort to address it. We’ve elected to simply cap the junction boxes and we’ll see if we can find some lights some time in the future. I’d rather have no lights than ones that I don’t like.

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