Move Electrical Outlet Box when installing Ceramic Backsplash?

Hi all,
Do I need to move the electrical outlet box to account for the thickness of tiles or is it safe just to use longer screws for the outlet and face plate?
Thanks,
Larry
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There are adapters you can buy that add up to about an inch worth of depth to a box. Cheap too. Ask for a "box extender".
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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thickness of

face
There are also adjustable boxes available so you can set them flush after finishing the tile....
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Thanks, Rick and Chris. I did not know about these.
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If it's an existing box, and you're simply tiling around it, you'll find a box extender by far the easiest and cheapest solution.
Easier than changing an outlet. A lot nicer than having to pull the old box out.
Unscrew the outlet from the existing box, fish the outlet (without removing the wires on it) thru the extender (be careful not to slash the wires), screw the outlet back in. Done.
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Great advice everyone. Thanks. I'm off to Home Depot!
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There is one thing that you are neglecting that may lead to electrocution or fire, serious issues, and that is this: You clearly are rooting for some wussie figure skaters calling themselves a team up in the Montreal area. That will never do. Now, support a solid bunch like Sakic & Co. and your electrical woes will disappear forever. Just some friendly advice.
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On Wed, 07 Dec 2005 18:48:18 -0700, chocolatemalt

Good grief, just use longer screws, unless you use tile thicker than 1/2inch. Just be sure to leave enough tile there so the outlet sits against it rather than sinking into the hole. There are millions of outlets like that, and some of those add on boxes do nothing but add another piece of tin that can short out the wires. Ceramic tile is a great insulator anyhow. Just be careful you dont get wet grout on the hot outlet screws or you'll hear some sizzling. (I've done it).
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The local home despot store has extender rings made of plastic. They come in various depths and you could certainly stack them. These combined with longer screws are probably your best bet. Laying the tile OVER the edge of the recessed box is a bad idea. For one it'll make it the cuts more work as you'll have to notch for the screws. But more importantly it'll make replacing the box impossible. While it's unlikely a box would fail it's possible one might need to be removed to facilitate fixing or adding wiring at a later time. No sense doing a half-ass job with tile over the box when simple extenders can be used to do it right. That and it'll follow code.
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Quite funny your solid bunch has less points in more games in a weaker conference than Montreal.
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Probably true, yet I stand by my original assertions. :) Of course we always have a soft spot for the Habs since thence came Roy, who we are missing today sorely.
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Chris Lewis ( snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com) said...

Typical wall tile only adds 1/4" to 3/8" thickness, which is quite a bit less than typical box extenders.
If that is the case, just tile around the opening (with the outlets either removed or hanging -- power off!), using a tile nipper to create the little half-circles to accomodate where the outlet screws are located at the top and bottom of the box opening.
When the outlet is reinstalled, the tile will provide sufficient support for the "ears" of the outlet and you will likely find that the screws that came with the outlet are long enough even with the extra thickness of the tile. If they are a bit short, you can easily find longer 6-32 screws.
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Heh. In this particular case, it's more a matter of taste ;-)
Canadian electrical code sez you cannot have flammable materials exposed to the inside of the box. Which means, for example, if this is in wood panelling[+], you must use a box extender, you cannot expose the edge of the panelling to the interior of the box.
Ceramic tile, of course, is non-flammable. So, provided that none of the rest of the exposed edge is flammable, you don't need an extender.
But I don't like it ;-) Potentially sharp edges, more finicky cutting, higher dust incursion etc.
A few days ago I installed beadboard strips in a bathroom. Real wood. Box extender mandatory.
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You could use a box extender - they come in quite a few sizes and depths, up to 1 1/4 inch extension, I think. When I tiled my backsplash, I removed the original sheetrock at one point, so I just re-set the boxes so they protruded a bit more beyon the stud edges, and then added the extenders so that the front was just shy of the final tile surface. Make sure it is a bit shy, vs flush or protruding, as you will get a better fit of the electric wall plates. While I was at it, I trued the boxes with a small level. Once you have tile on there, its squareness and sharp right angles make a just slightly askew switch plate really crooked looking.....
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Where can I buy these box extenders? Does Home Depot or Lowe's carry them?
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Yes, or any electrical supply

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