Subway tile outlet covers?

marysdottirMarch 18, 2014

I am wondering if anyone knows of a subway tile manufacturer who makes outlet covers in the same size and glaze as their tiles. We are part way through our first (and hopefully our last!) kitchen remodel and have decided on a white subway backsplash. Having read a number of threads here about outlet covers and switch plates that mar the clean lines of a beautifully tiled backsplash, I decided I wanted my outlet covers mounted horizontally and inside my tiles. I was sure it would be simple to do because subway tile backsplashes are everywhere - it must be the most commonly used backsplash material and I can't be the only person who wants to hide my outlets inside my tiles.

I started looking at tile manufacturers and none of them seem to be making outlet covers to match their ceramic tile though many do make them to match their stone tiles. I decided to try ready made ceramic covers. Since so many companies make ceramic outlet and switchplate covers, I assumed someone would make them in a 3" X 6" size. I was wrong. No one that I could find does that. There was a 2012 thread on the Kitchen Forum that referred to Columbia Gorge Stoneworks as a place who would make a custom outlet cover using my own tiles. When I looked at their web page, I saw that each outlet cover would set me back about 55.00 plus shipping plus the cost of the tiles. Their work looks stunningly beautiful but I simply can't justify spending that much on my outlet covers.

I thought about using my dremel to try and hollow out the back of a subway tile and then cut holes for the outlets but that probably wouldn't be to code and I'm sure I'd waste tons of time and tiles and probably not be happy with the result.

Has anyone heard of any tile manufacturer who makes a subway tile outlet cover? Or anyone got any other ideas?

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A designer suggested to me to faux finish the plastic covers to match my marble backsplash, but I haven't installed the backsplash yet. I might do that.

Another thread from a long time ago I remember someone said they were able to line up where the outlets would be so that they were exactly where a subway tile would have been, meaning that the subway tile didn't have to be cut to fit around the outlet cover. I think they said this took a lot of math to figure out exactly where to tell the electrician to put the wires, and they convinced the electrician to leave some wiggle-room somehow so that tiny adjustments could be made during the tiling process. I might not be remembering it right, but I think that was the jist of it.

They were still using the plastic covers but I think the strategic placement probably made them pretty unnoticeable.

Several weeks ago I was in a tile store and noticed actual marble outlet covers; I didn't notice if they had tile ones. I bought one of the marble ones and brought it home to see if it would hold up under regular use. I installed it and it broke very quickly because of plugging and unplugging things.

You can also do under cabinet plug strips, I have one long run of counter and backsplash where I used those and I have some outlets in the backsplash elsewhere.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 10:22AM
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Subway Ceramics does.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elements Plates

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 2:14PM
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Amyinaustin, thanks for the link to Subway Ceramics. I've emailed them to see if their switchplates and outlet covers are the same size as their subway tiles. That would be ideal. The other tile companies I've seen that make switchplate covers don't make them 3" X 6". They all still seem to use the 2 3/4" X 4 1/2" standard size.

Strayer, I hadn't thought about the possibility of breakage after installation; I was too fixated on how many I would break trying to carve them myself! We thought about the plug strips but heard a rumour from my son who is training to be an electrician that they aren't to code here. That seems odd but we don't like the dangling cords anyway so decided it wasn't the look we wanted in our sort of retro/vintage kitchen. I read some of the threads you mentioned and my poor husband is right now doing those math calculations to place the electrical boxes for the outlets at just the right height for a row of tiles. The problem comes in trying to line up studs to attach the boxes with where the tiles start and stop in a row. This may be more a job for a master electrician and a master tilesetter to work on together instead of my very capable but self taught husband.

This may be one of those ideas that looks so nice when someone else does it, but is totally impractical in my life.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Let us know how it ends up working out for you. I am always interested in how people handle this issue.

For us we put the outlets kind of low and horizontal in the places when I knew we'd have things plugged in a lot such as the coffee maker and my Sonos speaker. Then on the other side there's an area where we'd probably only plug things in when having big getherings such as chafing dishes and such like that. We used plug strips there so that the majority of the time the backsplash can be shown off without any interruptions.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:17PM
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They are standard sized but I have seen ceramic plates at rejuvenation.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:41PM
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