No boxes behind electrical outlets

We've discovered that part of our 30+ year old house has no boxes behind the electrical outlets. The switches and outlets are just held in position by the stiffness of the wires. Is there a straightforward way to add boxes "after the fact" without tearing out wallboard? Thanks for your suggestions.
/Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
/Bob wrote:

Sure. Home Depot has a selection of blue boxes that have ears that turn out behind the wall when you tighten the screws.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stubby wrote:

We had plaster walls and added many new outlets. I used metal boxes with plaster ears on them [top and bottom]. I just screwed them through the lathe and they held just fine.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
/Bob wrote:

Yes, but the other question you should be asking is: "What *else* did they do??"
Color me suspicious...
Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Speedy Jim wrote:

Or "What else did they NOT do?"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim hit the nail. A 30 year old house is NOT old. Codes when that house were built were good. You didn't say where this house is, city or rural.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net says...

Sure, they are available at any home center. Just look for boxes labelled "old work" as opposed to "new work". Since the wires are no doubt pretty short, you will need to completely remove the springy 'clamps' on the plastic boxes. Just bend them out and twist them off so you can easily shove the wires through as the box goes into the hole in the drywall.
-- Dennis
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 02 Aug 2006 08:39:54 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@SPAMwowway.com (DT) wrote:

DT is talking about the all-pastic clamps that are meant to hold the electric cable in place where it goes into the box. Not the metal arms that rotate out and then clamp down as the screws in the box, where the arms pivot, are tightened.
I only say this because I didn't understand at first.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm not sure how building inspectors are where you live, but where I live (in Westchester County, NY), they do everything by the book. Around here, something like this would be evidence of unlicensed electrical work - possibly done by a previous owner with no electrical training. Even if you are not worried about the effects of improperly done electrical work (fire, shock), you still need to be worried about what will happen when you try to sell the house. Banks are constantly getting more and more picky. Whereas a few years ago, a bank might only have been concerned about the buyer's credit rating and whether the house was in a flood zone, they now investigate whether there is any evidence of work done without a permit - even decades ago. If they see something like this, they'll refuse to approve a mortgage until everything is approved by the building/electrical inspector. The inspector is likely to tell you to remove all the sheetrock in suspect areas so he/she can do a full inspection. Sometimes, if it looks like a reasonably professional job, you might be able to get a local electrician to certify it and then the building inspector will approve. But if there are no boxes, this is a sign that there was work done by someone who was unqualified. In addition to the headaches you might have when you try to sell the house, you might also run into problems if you decide to have some renovations done (with proper permits) and in the course of that work, this old work is discovered.
I would recommend trying to find an electrician who is a friend (or friend of a friend, etc.) or someone reasonably qualified with electrical work, have them take a look at it in an unofficial capacity, and see what they have to say about it. No one here has seen the work, nor do they know how code enforcement is done in your town - and you don't really know anything about their qualifications.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good friends had a house fire with little insurance. Fire was caused by cat knocking over a lamp:(
Anyhow during Demo found previous owner was HORRIBLE electrician!
Including 2 lengths of romex tied together in a knot with no box hanging inside a wall:(
They ended up rewiring the entire home........
Bad work with ZIP common sense is way too common..........
Lots of other problems the electrical system was a complete waste.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

imho:
I can't see what you actually have, but from what you asked. You can get electrical boxes that can be used after finish is installed. They go by names like: Old-work boxes, remodel boxes, etc.
Some have wings that hold the box against the finished surface. You will find these in big package stores. Some have internal screwss that attach to studs, like the "one-box".
Before you start, I would first have you whole how checked by a qualified electrician. if the previous work was done without boxes, you might have other underlying problems.
Good luck,
tom @ www.BlankHelp.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.