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Electrical box #5231421 10/05/19 07:39 PM
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supton Offline OP
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So I had a loose outlet in the kitchen. Removed the face plate, found that the box was stripped--someone in the past "repaired" it with hot glue and 3" oversized screws. Looking into it I found that most people recommended replacing the box with an "old work box". So I went that route and got a new GFCI and new box.

Ripped out the old box, got the one in, verified the wiring was correct. Started pushing the wiring in and pushed the box into the wall...

What's the best path here? Cut a big hole, get a regular box and secure it to the stud? then fix the sheetrock? Or cut a smaller piece of sheetrock around it? or is there yet some widget out there for goofups like me? The opening in the sheetrock was too large (I didn't cut it, it came that way).

[Linked Image]


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231426 10/05/19 07:44 PM
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sloinker Offline
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Remodel box and oversize face plate. Hopefully the hole isn't giant. Otherwise, cut the rock, screw down/hammer down the replacement box and repair, texture , paint the new repair. Just looked at the picture of your repair, there is a different style of remodel box that uses a spring steel instead of the ears. That may work. If not, cut the rock and do a proper repair.

Last edited by sloinker; 10/05/19 07:47 PM. Reason: Slipped in Mopar Juice

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Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231429 10/05/19 07:47 PM
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supton Offline OP
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I'm looking but isn't "remodel box" and "old work box" the same thing? Various links on google seem to be using the terms interchangeably.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231438 10/05/19 07:58 PM
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JC1 Offline
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You might need to use something like the metal piece here if you cannot screw the box into the stud since you don't want to rip out the Sheetrock.

Link to Metal attachment for Box


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Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231472 10/05/19 08:24 PM
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doitmyself Offline
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Could you use a box like this and only have to repair the small area where it mounts to the stud? ... https://www.homedepot.com/p/Carlon-...let-Box-with-Bracket-B118B-UPC/100404148
[Linked Image from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com]

Last edited by doitmyself; 10/05/19 08:29 PM.
Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231498 10/05/19 08:39 PM
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sloinker Offline
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Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231529 10/05/19 09:08 PM
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zzyzzx Offline
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I always fix the opening first. Or better yet, replace it with a double wide old work box, and cut out the extra drywall properly. Then you will end up with something like this, except with a GFCI on one side:



[Linked Image from inspectapedia.com]

Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231539 10/05/19 09:22 PM
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Fawteen Offline
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I wouldn't monkey with oversize plates or slapped together fixes. If it were mine I'd cut out a larger section of drywall (stud to stud), patch it in with a correct opening size, an old work box, float it out, paint it out and be done with it. Ya'll will spend more time with jerry rigged fixes than you will doing it right.

Simple fix-maybe an hour total time not counting the time it takes for the mud to dry. You can take a section of the drywall you cut out to any paint department or paint store, have it matched up, and touch up the area. My local PPG store does paint matches that are dead-on every time.

Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5231667 10/06/19 05:55 AM
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Delta Offline
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You might have to scope out several stores, but they make all different kinds of old work boxes so you should be able to find something a little bit bigger. I'd want a little bit bigger box because of the GFI anyways, but that's just me. Worse comes to worse you might have to just put a double gang box and have 2 outlets. You could patch the Sheetrock, but personally I hate doing that kind of work and will avoid it at all possible, lol.


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Re: Electrical box [Re: sloinker] #5233374 10/07/19 08:36 PM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by sloinker

Thanks, I think I will give that a shot.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5233386 10/07/19 08:50 PM
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P10crew Offline
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I once had a garage where the P.O. used some sort of junk nail on box’s. That same scenario happened a few times before I retrieved the box out of the wall, set it to the correct depth and reached in with a long driver on a drill and ran 2 screws into the stud right through the side of the box as far apart as I could get them. That fixed worked very well.

Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5233486 10/08/19 12:15 AM
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A_Spruce Offline
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First problem, you want the face of the box at or near the surface of the drywall so that it is supporting the outlet with the screws properly tightened. The box also has to be secured firmly so that it is taking the abuse of the outlet being used, not the screws and certainly not the drywall or cover plate.

With the box flush with the drywall, you can simply flat tape around the box. Fill the gap with drywall compound then apply either mesh or paper tape, paper tape will give you more support and do a better job of hiding the fill between the side of the box and the drywall hole.

Now, the difference between an "old work" and "new work" box is how it is attached. "New work" boxes will nail directly to the stud, while "old work" boxes are precisely cut into the drywall and have wings that flip out behind the drywall to hold it in place, also known as a "cut in box".


[Linked Image from images.homedepot-static.com]

The earlier suggestion of the new work box with the wing on the side to face nail to the stud will require the least amount of wall repair. If you go with a side nail box you would have to cut a much larger hole to be able to install it. FWIW, some will shortcut and try to screw the box to the stud from within the box, this is a BIG no-no, as you can contact those screws with the wiring and cause short or fire hazard. As you might guess, it is also against code to put screws inside the box like that.

As for how to patch the wall, the larger the patch, the more work it will be to blend it back into the wall as if it never existed, so I'd recommend trying to minimize the amount of patch work you have to do. You don't have to open an area from stud to stud to do this work, you can patch any size hole and never be near a stud, you simply use sticks of wood (1x2 works great) as a backer to support the patch. I can elaborate more on this if you'd like.


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Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5233605 10/08/19 07:22 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Yeah, I just noticed that the screw inside the box is a code no-no. I'm not sure why, it's a bit overkill if you ask me, but some things in the code are like that (and might possible exist not because "what if" but "it happened--and someone died"). I still like the idea of that box that sloinker founder, and will give that a shot. I hate working with drywall, I've yet to figure it out, and this is a wall which is very visible, so quite frankly I'd wind up finding a contractor to replace--or live with the box punched into the wall.

Also, I'm not sure if we're missing something here, but I used an old work box--and pushed it through the wall while pushing in the GFCI (trying to fold the wiring back into the box). The hole that had been cut into the drywall was too large for the ears on the old work box, not that it matters, when you push too hard you're going to break stuff.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5233718 10/08/19 10:07 AM
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A_Spruce Offline
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Originally Posted by supton

Also, I'm not sure if we're missing something here, but I used an old work box--and pushed it through the wall



Then you are relegated to installing a nail-on box and patching around it.

Drywall work isn't hard, it just takes practice. While you may not be able to get an exact match of the surrounding wall, you can usually get pretty darned close with a little time and effort. Here's a vid that you might find useful as well.
drywall patch around an outlet


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Re: Electrical box [Re: supton] #5233727 10/08/19 10:17 AM
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PimTac Offline
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“Yeah, I just noticed that the screw inside the box is a code no-no. I'm not sure why, it's a bit overkill if you ask me,”




If the screw head has any sharp edges on it it could cut into the wire insulation as you are stuffing the wire back into the box when reinstalling the fixture.

It might be rare to a homeowner but if you deal with this stuff long enough then you will see it.

Last edited by PimTac; 10/08/19 10:17 AM.

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