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How To Extend An Outlet For Tile Or Wainscoting


I’ve been DIYing for 30 years now, and typically I’m astounded at how a lot I nonetheless don’t know. A few of these issues that I’m nonetheless studying appear so fundamental! For instance, yesterday I lastly realized learn how to prolong an outlet for tile or wainscoting utilizing the most secure, best, and quickest method I’ve ever carried out it.

So in the event you’ve ever carried out tile or wainscoting, you realize what I imply. You get your tile or wainscoting carried out, and your electrical outlet is ready again anyplace from 1/4-inch to three/4-inch as a result of that’s the place the unique field is. Then it’s important to discover a strategy to prolong the outlet in order that it sits in opposition to the brand new tile or wainscoting.

Up to now, I’ve at all times used these caterpillar spacer shims, that are small plastic items that snap collectively like Legos and wrap across the screws that maintain {the electrical} outlet within the field.

I can’t stand these issues. I can by no means get them to remain in place whereas screwing the outlet again on, and it takes me a number of makes an attempt to get them to remain. And so they simply appear flimsy. Plus, they’ll actually solely be used to increase an outlet to this point — perhaps 1/4-inch or just a little bit extra. But when I wanted the outlet introduced out greater than 1/4-inch, I wouldn’t actually need to use these. And the ultimate situation with these is that in the event you do need to convey the outlet out greater than 1/4-inch or so, then you’ve gotten the screws on both aspect of the outlet (the screws which can be truly conducting electrical energy) uncovered to constructing materials slightly than being safely tucked away inside {an electrical} field.

However I by no means knew I had different choices till this week. This week, after 30 years of DIYing, I found electrical field extenders! I imply…WHAT?! How on the planet have I gone this lengthy with out understanding about these? What number of tile backsplashes have I put in? What number of partitions have I coated with wainscoting? How did I not know these items existed?!

And they’re so unbelievably simple to make use of. No extra fumbling with tiny, flimsy Lego-like spacers. These field extenders are the one strategy to go!

The explanation I wanted one to start with is as a result of on one wall of the lavatory, the outlet field is true up in opposition to one of many wooden items of the wainscoting, and that’s with out the within trim (base cap) put in but. I hate the look of trim simply dead-ending into an outlet, so I made a decision so as to add trim across the outlet and convey the outlet out to the entrance of the trim. (I turned off the facility to this room earlier than beginning.)

So I acquired the trim items connected across the outlet, after which used a liberal quantity of wooden filler, as is my M.O. 😀 Whereas I used to be ready for that to dry, I screwed the outlet again into place in order that I might present you the issue (and hazard) that arises once you don’t use a field extender, or once you use the little caterpillar spacers. See the place the screws are on the perimeters of the outlet? These screws conduct electrical energy, they usually’re proper there subsequent to constructing materials. That may very well be a possible hazard.

So I unscrewed the outlet and sanded my wooden filler clean as soon as it was dry…

After which I used {an electrical} field extender, which appears like this…

It has sides, however no again…

That is the bundle for the one I used…

I like this fashion as a result of it’s fully variable, that means that it could prolong the field anyplace from 1/4-inch to 1.5 inches, and anyplace in between. There is this other style of box extender, however what I don’t like about these is that they arrive in particular sizes, usually 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch. But when the house in your wall isn’t precisely a type of measurements, you then run into different points.

To make use of this extender, I merely put the outlet by way of the again of the extender…

After which used the extra-long screws that got here with it, and put these screws by way of the outlet, by way of the field extender, and into the holes within the authentic electrical field. And now these electricity-conducting screws on the perimeters of the outlet are as soon as once more safely inside a field and never uncovered to constructing materials.

And the outlet cowl suits completely…

These are my favourite outlet covers. I like how modern they appear, they usually’re additionally paintable in order that they’ll mix proper into the wall.

I exploit them fairly often, however I particularly use them on areas the place I don’t need a obvious white rectangle calling consideration to itself, like on the tip of my kitchen peninsula. See it there on the tip?

They maintain paint very nicely. I painted that one after I painted the cupboards in April 2017, and I’ve by no means needed to do any paint retouching on it.

So on white partitions, cupboards, or trim, I don’t discover them completely essential. However on partitions, cupboard, or trim which can be any colour aside from white, the full-cover, paintable outlet covers are my customary go-to covers. I couldn’t think about having to take a look at a obvious white outlet on the tip of my teal kitchen peninsula.

Anyway, I’m 30 years into DIYing, and I’ve carried out my justifiable share of reworking in these years. And but, I’m nonetheless studying on a regular basis, and typically I’m nonetheless studying the fundamentals.



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