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post #1 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,
I am going through now to try and apply the face plates to my outlets that were put in. I noticed that I have about 6 boxes that are protruding from the sheetrock by about 1/8 inch or so. When I try and apply a faceplate now i see that the faceplate does not sit against the wall due to this. Can I grind the plastic down on these boxes so that it sits flush with the sheetrock and get these face plates to look nice or do you have any other ideas?
Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 06:03 PM
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I've had some success in the past by placing a scrap of 2x4 over the box and giving it a whack.
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post #3 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 06:49 PM
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If you used plastic boxes, you could shave them flush to the wall surface, in doing so, you will violate the UL listing and as a result NEC 110.3b. That being said, yes it will work just fine (though you may need to use shorter 6x32s.)

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post #4 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.
I have tried that trick as well with limited luck this go around but unfortunately these are being stubborn and did not take to the 2x beating.

Does it make a difference if they were the deeper box as far as violating the ul rating?

Also, would one just use a grinder do you think to grind them down or would there be something better to limit dinging the walls around them up?
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post #5 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 07:29 PM
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I took a sawzall, wedged it between the edge of the box and stud then cut the 2 nails holding the box to the stud. After it's loose reposition it where you want it and use a couple of screws to secure it to the stud.
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olson2334 View Post

Does it make a difference if they were the deeper box as far as violating the ul rating?

It doesn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by olson2334 View Post

, would one just use a grinder do you think to grind them down or would there be something better to limit dinging the walls around them up?

One should make this decision based upon One's particular skill level with various tools. If it were me, I would use a rotozip. You might feel more comfortable with a grinder or dremel with cutoff wheel. Any number of tools are capable of getting the job done.

Remember to stuff the wires to the back of the box and to wedge a couple of layers of cardboard in front of them.

A little painters tape on the wall around the box will help prevent getting the wall soiled.

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post #7 of 29 Old 04-13-2009, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olson2334 View Post

Does it make a difference if they were the deeper box as far as violating the ul rating?

No - changing the dimensions invalidates the UL listing, as it is a field modification. However, the depth (volume) of the box is what determines how many wires and connections it can legally hold, per NEC. If you aren't at or near the limit, you won't really cause a problem by grinding it down. That said, the electrical inspector would be well within his rights to deny you the final permit based on that sort of "mod". You might be best served to let the boxes protrude a bit until after the inspector has signed off on the project.

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Also, would one just use a grinder do you think to grind them down or would there be something better to limit dinging the walls around them up?

Dremel or RotoZip.
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post #8 of 29 Old 04-14-2009, 10:21 AM
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I do not like the idea of whacking the box with a 2x4.

1. You could crack the brackets holding the nails or screws already in use to hold the box on the stud.

2. You could loosen the nails or screws holding the box on the stud and in the future someone tugging on a cord and plug might make the box come loose.

3. You could crumble the drywall where its nails or screws hold it to the stud (particularly if a seam is at the same stud the box is at.

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post #9 of 29 Old 04-14-2009, 11:25 AM
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Use some caulking to close the gap...much easier than all this mess.
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post #10 of 29 Old 04-14-2009, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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I figured I would try Steve's suggestion and cut the box with a sawzal and see how that goes. Will just have to be extra careful to not nick the wires behind there.
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-14-2009, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olson2334 View Post

I figured I would try Steve's suggestion and cut the box with a sawzal and see how that goes. Will just have to be extra careful to not nick the wires behind there.

Please, please, please - turn off the breaker feeding that box before you start with the sawzall...
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post #12 of 29 Old 04-14-2009, 03:31 PM
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Technically under UL/NEC rules, you can't modify any electrical devices. All units must be used only for the purpose's that it was designed and listed for.

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post #13 of 29 Old 04-15-2009, 07:05 AM
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He's not modifying an electrical device. A box holds no current. Nor is he using for any other purpose than originally intended.
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post #14 of 29 Old 04-15-2009, 09:44 AM
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If SpeedSkater's concern about modifying an electrical box then here's a solution...Cut the new work box out and replace it with an old work box.

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post #15 of 29 Old 04-15-2009, 11:33 AM
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Thats why I always buy the 4x4 boxes that sit flush with the studs and then buy either 1/4,1/2 or 5/8 offset brackets

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post #16 of 29 Old 04-15-2009, 12:27 PM
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Or use adjustable-depth boxen.

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post #17 of 29 Old 04-15-2009, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMF View Post

Or use adjustable-depth boxen.

I've seen these for one outlet, but where do you get them for multiple outlets?

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post #18 of 29 Old 04-16-2009, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
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I've seen these for one outlet, but where do you get them for multiple outlets?

they come in single or double.
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post #19 of 29 Old 04-16-2009, 06:11 AM
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I've never been able to find those yet - of course I can't seem to find the regular plastic boxes either...maybe they don't bring them to eastern Canada?
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post #20 of 29 Old 04-16-2009, 02:09 PM
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Try Arlington Electrical. Go to the "What's New" section they have single, double, 3 and 4 gang + the octogon shape for sconces. You have to e-mail them and ask for a distributor or store though.
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post #21 of 29 Old 04-16-2009, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdholmes View Post

He's not modifying an electrical device. A box holds no current. Nor is he using for any other purpose than originally intended.

Tell that to the inspector. The box is a UL listed product approved for certain uses in residential electrical applications, and cannot be modified without invalidating the listing. It doesn't matter that it seems to be "common sense".

You could make the same argument about ANY electrical equipment enclosure, and I guarantee you it won't fly.
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post #22 of 29 Old 04-17-2009, 08:59 AM
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post #23 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 01:18 AM
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Is there enough flex that you can you make the box flush by simply pushing on it without too much pressure? If so, pick up a set of metal old work box mounts:



You want the DS12A style. I have found them (not sure it was this exact brand) at Home Depot or Lowes but I had to hunt around the electrical section a bit. These are intended for old work metal boxes: the box has flanges that sit on the face of the drywall and these pull the box tight against the wall from the back side, clamping it in place. If however you use them on a new work box with no flanges, they have the effect of pulling the box into the wall to a set depth. Basically you can insert them into the wall, push the box flush by hand, bend the tabs, and they will keep the box from popping back out.

I have no idea if using these on a plastic box for this purpose is a code violation, but you don't have to modify the box to try it and you can take them back out if it becomes a concern.
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post #24 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dododge View Post

Is there enough flex that you can you make the box flush by simply pushing on it without too much pressure? If so, pick up a set of metal old work box mounts:



You want the DS12A style. I have found them (not sure it was this exact brand) at Home Depot or Lowes but I had to hunt around the electrical section a bit. These are intended for old work metal boxes: the box has flanges that sit on the face of the drywall and these pull the box tight against the wall from the back side, clamping it in place. If however you use them on a new work box with no flanges, they have the effect of pulling the box into the wall to a set depth. Basically you can insert them into the wall, push the box flush by hand, bend the tabs, and they will keep the box from popping back out.

I have no idea if using these on a plastic box for this purpose is a code violation, but you don't have to modify the box to try it and you can take them back out if it becomes a concern.


If he's replacing a plastic single gang box with a jem box, there will not be any drywall for the jem box ears to grab.

He could move the ears to the side position and madison hanger top and bottom, but then he will need to use an oversized coverplate to conceal the jem box ears.

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post #25 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
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If he's replacing a plastic single gang box with a jem box, there will not be any drywall for the jem box ears to grab.

I wasn't talking about replacing the box; but rather just using the hangers to push his existing plastic boxes flush with the wall surface. In this scenario there is no need for ears on the outside of the drywall because the box is already attached to the framing.
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post #26 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dododge View Post

I wasn't talking about replacing the box; but rather just using the hangers to push his existing plastic boxes flush with the wall surface. In this scenario there is no need for ears on the outside of the drywall because the box is already attached to the framing.

Gotcha, I misunderstood.

How would you go about bonding the madison hangers on a plastic box?

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post #27 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
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How would you go about bonding the madison hangers on a plastic box?

Why would you have to bond them? The force of the box against the back side of the wall (because it was mounted too far outward on the stud) should keep them in place. The only time I've ever encountered them in their original purpose, they weren't bonded to the metal box, either.
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post #28 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 05:03 PM
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They would need to be bonded because they are conductive, likely to become energized, and not grounded. You could likely have 120 volts wrapping around the face of the box and back behind the drywall unprotected. Shock hazard, arc fault, etc... In fact, if someone put a metal coverplate on an isolated ground duplex in this installation, the plate itself could easily become energized at 120volts and kill someone.

On a metal jem box, the hangers are electrically continuous with the metal jem box which is bonded to the equipment grounding conductor. So when a hot wire contacts them, the fault current travels through the madison hangers, then the box, then the equipment grounding conductor back to the bonded panel, turning off the breaker hopefully before any damage is done.

That being said, I very seriously doubt they are listed for use with plastic boxes just for the above reason.

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post #29 of 29 Old 04-19-2009, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbec View Post

They would need to be bonded because they are conductive, likely to become energized, and not grounded. You could likely have 120 volts wrapping around the face of the box and back behind the drywall unprotected.

Whoops, by "bonding" I was thinking physically rather than electrically.

I agree that the issue of them becoming energized is why this approach is probably out of code. I suppose you could solder/clamp/screw a grounding pigtail to one of the tabs, but that might raise even more eyebrows at inspection time.
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