Within about five minutes of looking at the brand new drywall in my basement I had a mild freak out attack.
The drywall guys didn't do anything wrong. They had dry walled the wall exactly as I had framed it.
This problem was that I had set the blue electrical box to deep in the stud.
So when I went to install an outlet switch or a plug it was not flush with the drywall.
In some cases they were so far back I couldn't even screw on a cover plate. I really had a minor freak out down in the basement.
Despite my drunken tirade the problem did not go away. I determined that my only solution was to cut away some of the drywall, rip out the electrical box and then re-install it closer to the front of the stud.
I had about 15 different light switches or plugs that would need an adjustment of some type. This was going to take all weekend!
But then it hit me. Like Gallagher's sledge-hammer to a watermelon.
All I need to do is "extend" the electrical box. The wiring itself had plenty of length. The box can stay right where it is, I just need to extend it a bit so I can securely install the switches and plugs!
Off to Home Depot
I walked all the way back to the electrical section. Ever notice how the electrical section is usually way in the back? What's up with that? I searched all over but didn’t see anything.
Now, as a man, and a strong smart one at that, I do NOT like to ask for help. In almost all circumstances I would rather get kicked in the head by a horse.
But… it was either ask for help or spend the weekend ripping out drywall and re-installing electrical boxes. So I flagged down an orange apron.
There they were. Just simple little plastic frames. Various sizes and colors (why different colors...no freakin' clue). Problem solved!
Extra Long Cover Plate Screws
Oh, don't forget to buy extra long cover screws, one to two inches should do it.
Or, if you can, just do a better job of getting the depth of the box right in the first place.
Just keep in mind though, it's easy to extend a box, nearly impossible to make it shorter. So error on the side of caution.
Whether it's a box for light switches or plugs each one has a depth gauge mark on it. You just need to follow that gauge as best you can.
Not sure which boxes to buy? Check out the post on electrical boxes.
My 2 OCD Quirks
So my two OCD moments are....
1. light switches that don't have the proper reveal depth.
2. non-uniform cover screws.
I just can't help myself. If I have a coin in my pocket and I walk past a light cover with mis-aligned screws, I have to stop a fix it.
The reveal edge on the switch can be a bit harder to fix. Sometimes you can tighten the cover down far enough to bend the metal a bit (always get metal switch plates, plastic is for suckers!).
Other times, it's to deep and you have to install an extender to fix it (turn of the power first!!!)
Just remember this post and go solve your problem for about .83 cents.
Cheers - Jason
Extend Your Learning (see what I did there):
- Here's a great article by Pretty Handy Girl, showing how to install an extension
- Some great books on wiring, how to wire your basement.
- Head back to the basement wiring page for more