Granite Backsplash - Outlet Issues

murphysfNovember 18, 2012


I just had new countertops and backsplashes installed in my kitchen.

I did not change or add any outlets or light switches

The granite fabricator / installer cut the rectangle holes for the outlets and switches in the granite.

I have two issues I wanted to see if there is an easy fix for before I contact the granite fabricator / installer.

  1. On two of the cutouts the cutout is too low. When I screw in my light switch or ac receptacle the metal tabs or ears (not sure what they are called) keep pulling in past the granite as the granite was cut too low.

  2. Similar but slightly opposite to #1 above. I cannot screw my switch plates down all the way as the screws bottom out into the granite. These are the tiny screws that hold the switch plate. I believe the fabricator / installer will have to come back out and made a very small half circle cutout in the center of the top and bottom to allow for the switch plate screws to screw in.

Any ideas of how I can solve either of these problems without bothering the fabricator / installer?

See attached photo


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Here's what ours look like.

I'm not sure I understand your concerns entirely, but it seems like your outlet boxes may be set too deep compared to the granite front. When they are screwed all the way into the boxes they may be recessed too much below the granite surface which won't work with a wall plate on top of the granite. Some wall boxes have a depth adjustment.

With the box at the right depth, it shouldn't matter whether the ears rest on the granite or not.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 11:07PM
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I wonder if you can use an "Outlet Extender". It's a box that fits over your existing box and raises it making it flush with the surface of the wall. I haven't had the opportunity to use one yet so I can't tell you anything more than I know it exists. You might want to google outlet extender and see if you think it will work.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 11:36PM
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I think I may be missing something obvious, but in case I'm not.....

cloud_swift, I think that setup works for you because you have those really nice Columbia Gorge stone outlet covers that attach with magnets. (Which are wonderful, btw. I hope I can afford to get some made when all is said and done.) If you had used outlet plates instead I think their top screws would have run into the stone right behind those top screw holes.

In murphysf's case the covers need to attach with screws. For those Decora outlets there are 2 screws that go into the small threaded holes at the very top and bottom of each outlet -- the one in the middle between the two "ears" on each end. (I just noticed the red arrow pointing to it at the top of her photo). In that photo, the topmost screw won't work because it will run into the granite right behind the threaded hole.

I see three options there:
- A magnetically-attached outlet cover, if those can be bought and not just custom made.
- The option you mentioned: some sort of cutout or drill hole to make room for that screw.
- Use a really short screw there. Just long enough to engage the threads, but not long enough to go into the stone. It would probably take some fussy trial and error with a grinder.

For the bottom, if jerzeegirl's "outlet extender" idea doesn't work you could try just putting a small scrap of stone, wood, or whatever behind the bottom set of "ears" to hold it the right distance out from whatever is behind the stone.

Laura, insomniacal and long-winded

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 4:06AM
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Laura, I think you are right after re-reading the OP's post

Drilling out a bit more of the granite, very short screws or screw-less switchplates seem like the only alternatives that will work.

Hmm, I don't think we told our stone fabricator that we were going to be using screw-less switchplates. IIRC, we made that decision when we were ordering the custom plates after the granite installation was complete. We couldn't order before then because we needed the remnants from the stone to send to Columbia Gorge. It seems we could have had the same issue.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:56AM
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