Electrical outlet/box change with granite backsplash

jb1176September 11, 2007

When 3 cm (1 1/4") granite is used for a kitchen backsplash, how is the adjustment made for the electrical outlets to bring them out far enough from their normal location against the wall board so that they will be flush with the granite surface? Are longer screws used or is there a modification to the outlet box that one installs?

Is this a DIY project?

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davidandkasie

use a box extender. all teh box stores carry them. you mount the box to the stud the same as if drywall were going up. after the granite is cut for it, measure and get the proper extender.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 4:58PM
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jb1176

davidandkasie,
I guess I wan't clear in my question. We are in a remodel and the granite is going up over the drywall, so not only is there the drywall thickness, but also the granite thickness to deal with. Are box extenders still what I should look for?
Thanks for your help! I'm hoping this is a DIY for me although I know nothing about wiring other than to turn the power off!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 5:12PM
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ventupete

Yes, that's what davidandkasie was talking about. The box extender just screws into the old box after the granite is on, thereby extending the surface out to the front of the granite. It's definitely a DIY project with a caveat - TURN THE POWER TO THE OUTLET OFF BEFORE you work on it. If you are unsure which circuit breaker it's connected to, plug a lamp into it and when the lamp goes out you know you have the right one (plug the lamp into both sockets of the outlet to make sure). Then unscrew the top and bottom screws on the actual outlet before the granite goes on, pull it out a bit and wrap a piece of electrical tape completely around the sides so that it covers the screws you will see there. This protects you and the installers against a shock since you will probably want to turn the power back on before the granite goes in. After the granite is installed, slip the extender over the outlet and screw it into the box. Then screw the outlet onto the extender with the same two screws, then the switchplate goes on. Get a 1" (or 1 1/4" if available) extender. It's okay if the extender is a little short of the surface, but obviously it's not okay if it extends past the granite.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 7:16PM
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brickeyee

The extender need to be no less than 1/4 inch behind the surface for granite since it is not a flammable surface.
The box can be above the surface as high as yo want, but it can start to look bad after about 1/8 inch depending on the cover plates you use.
Box extensions are what you need if you are laying granite over the surface.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 8:59PM
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jb1176

Wow! Thanks for the detailed message. I've got it clear now. I think I can do this without too much trouble and without having to pay for an electrician to do it for me and pay big bucks. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 9:28PM
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sherrirb

What do you do for double boxes? I can only find the extenders for single boxes and my wires are not long enought to move the boxes out, at least not with sheathing on them. thanks

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 12:46PM
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brickeyee

"What do you do for double boxes?"

Go to an electrical supply house.

The big box stores only carry a small fraction of what is available based.

They want sales volume and do not stock less commonly needed items.
Make sure the granite fabricator cuts the opening large enough to fit the extenders (and of course in the location needed).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 1:30PM
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sofaspud

Sherri, not a pro, but know a good amount about basic wiring. Based on your description that your wire has sheathing on it, I'm betting the outlet isn't using pigtails. You will have to create them to extend you wires. You didn't say what type of wiring you have, so I won't get into detail about it until you post back. Maybe by then some of the pros here will chime in and help as well.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 5:15PM
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brickeyee

"Based on your description that your wire has sheathing on it, I'm betting the outlet isn't using pigtails. You will have to create them to extend you wires. "

There is supposed to be 6 inches of wire in the box from each cable.
An inch+ of granite should not result in conductors to short to reach the device.

I guess an AHJ could fail the job based on the conductors being to short to extend the required distance from the box after adding the extensions, but have not seen one squawk that.

I have seen them squawk the box extensions being missing.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 8:25AM
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woodbutcher_ca

Hi,I like the idea of using a lamp to check power. I did that a lot when I was young. As I got older I got wiser (not smarter) I now use a radio and turn it up, saves me running back and forth.
Good Luck Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:58PM
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