In a 1960's home I replaced a circuit that had old, ungrounded wire
with 12/2 NM cable, and phished it up through the wood floors into the
existing handyboxes. All went well so far.
Unfortunately the old handy boxes aren't big enough to hold both the
incoming 12/2, and outgoing 12/2, not to mention the grounds that are
going to be connected.
So now I need to remove the older, smaller handyboxes and while I
managed the wiring part without damaging anything, I don't know how to
remove the existing handy-boxes to be able to install remodel boxes
without creating a mess. Is there a method that will allow the least
breakage of the drywall so that I can patch it up easily?
Excellent info - I did, in fact, find your earlier post by Googling.
The older boxes aren't 2 1/2" deep actually - they're pretty shallow.
It's a metal box, approx 12 cu in.
[To Mark: local inspector has already said the boxes are too shallow and
must be replaced if I want to use 12/2]
After some careful use of a drywall saw around the existing box in the
wall, I found that it's held to stud by long nails that go right through
the metal box, with the nails partly visible on the inside. I didn't
see (feel) any brackets holding it to the stud.
So now I'm thinking of getting a Reciprocating saw to cut the nails on
the stud-side and hopefully the box will just come right out of the wall.
Yes, I found rushing it even a little bit causes drywall damage! I do
plan on using the plastic boxes, but didn't think about oversize cover
plates. Will keep that in mind.
Those nails going through the box are probably the only means of support.
They may be #8's or 16's. The screwdriver prying method may work. If you
use the reciprocating saw, use it on low speed and get a long (10" or 12")
hacksaw blade made for it. You don't want that saw banging into the
I dont know the depth of your boxes but if they are the standard
variety of older box, I can connect 4 wires plus grounds in them.
Connect the grounds first and cram them tight against the rear of thr
box. Use the smallest wirenuts you can buy (and fit).
Then install the outlets and carefully bend the wires along side of
You could also buy wiremold extension boxes. Your outlets will stick
out of the wall about an inch, but that sure beats ripping walls
apart. They provide lots of extra room since the outlet itself will
be in the extension box, leaving the original box for the wires.
Do you reacll or HAVE another handybox similar to what you installed ? The
metal ones have a flange that can be adjusted backward intil the box can be
pulled out w/o any damage. Some of the blue plastic ones have two corner
tabs that flip up/out within the wall to secure the box. If you can figure
out where the "tabs" are, you can cut thru the drywall with something like a
sharp screwdriver so the tabs can be eased thru and out of the wall. You can
use some "mud" and f'glass drywall tape to fix the cuts once you get the box
out and then slide the new (deep) ones in.
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