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outlets/switches not flush w/ drywall ...

Posted by pauleyc (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 30, 07 at 9:02

I thought I posted this last night, but can't for the life of me find it, so here it is again ...

What do you do if an outlet/switch box is not flush with the drywall? In some cases we are talking 1/8 to maybe 1/4 inch. This was done some time ago, so no 'fire the electrician comments' .. I don't even know who did it, so I just need to address it.

Is it ok to just loosen the screws on the outlet and pull it flush w/ the outlet cover or should I try to put those plastic shims everywhere? I know drywall is flamable (nor conductive), but I don't know the correct/approved fix.

Thanks, Chad


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: outlets/switches not flush w/ drywall ...

Use the shims, otherwise the plug will be too wobbly.


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RE: outlets/switches not flush w/ drywall ...

although this is not to code since the "spacers" I use are not UL listed for the purpose but I prefer it to the plastic shims.

I take some romex. Strip is all out (to bare copper). find a long scewdriver. It needs to be phillips and about 1/4 inch diameter.hold the end of the wire near the handle and wrap the wire around the screwdriver. You now have a collapsed spring made with copper wire. Now you can cut the spring the the length you need and install on the device screws and install the device.

My favorite is a small pnuematic hose that HVAC guys use in some commercial installations. I cut it long and let it compress as I am installing. Don't need to be as accurate with the length as you do with the copper coil spacer.

as wianno posted, if you do not support the recep, it will wobble. As well as you plug something into it, it is very possible you can break fhe plate.

You can get away without shims on a switch generally. The plate will hold it in place.


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RE: outlets/switches not flush w/ drywall ...

Are the boxes proud of the wall or recessed behind the face of the wall?
Drywall is NOT considered flammable and the front edge of the box may be up to 1/4 inch behind the face of the drywall.
The plaster ears on the receptacle or switch should rest on the drywall when the mnounting screws are snugged up. Every thing should be pretty solid at that point.
For any boxes more than 1/4 inch behind the face of the wall the spacers are required to bring the front edge of the box within the 1/4 inch rule. They are perfectly acceptabl;e for this use, and are used when another layer of drywall or finish is applied to bring the box back into depth compliance.
If the boxes are proud of the surface the only fix is to cut them loose and attach them at the correct depth, or try abnd find a cover plate with enough depth to cover the gap. Not many are available.


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RE: outlets/switches not flush w/ drywall ...

they are not proud, but recessed. I will pick up some shims and go that route depending on the set back.

Thanks again! Chad


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RE: outlets/switches not flush w/ drywall ...

1/8 to 1/4 in within code.


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