Straight and level outlet boxes


One thing that I encountered when refinishing my basement was that I had a real difficult time getting the outlet boxes level and straight. In my naive mind I presumed it was pretty simple - attach box to stud and screw it in. I think the reason why I assumed that would be enough is because I assumed that the stud would be straight and level - not twisted and knarled like some are.
So when installing an outlet box, is it common for people to plane the 2x4, shim the box, or is there something basic I'm not doing that eliminates the need to do all that?
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Where the mounting screws go through a plug or switch, the hole is oblong instead of being the same size as the screw, so there is a little adjustment there.Unless your boxes are way off, it should be enough to get the device straight. Good luck Larry
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Shim or bend the box ( if its metal) a little bit to get it straight. Note that it doesn't need to be perfect, just close, since the cover plate will sit on the wall, not the box, and any little error won't be noticeable.
--

Mike S.

"Eigenvector" <m44 snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
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On Wed, 10 Jan 2007 16:56:13 -0800, "Eigenvector"

Bend the mounting brackets to get the box in-plane, and just don't quite butt it up against the studwall to get it level. If the studs are too twisted for that to work, you're going to have a fun time getting the sheetrock on.
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On Wed, 10 Jan 2007 16:56:13 -0800, "Eigenvector"

Snap a level chalk line across the wall and set all the boxes to the line. Use the boxes that attach to the face of the stud, not the side. Then you can align them before you screw them down. These come with a 1/2" offset back from the face of the box for drywall.
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Eigenvector wrote:

They don't have to be exactly straight and level. Nailed directly to a stud should be good enough. The outlets or switches are held by two screws so you can move them around quite a bit, the covers are held by one screw so they will be straight with the outlets or switches. If you need more adjustment than that, maybe you need better studs or you are doing something really wrong.
The only problem most people have is getting the box at the correct depth compared to the surface f the wall, but that isn't hard if you have measured correctly and made a simple jig.
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So long as the box doesn't stick beyond the dry wall the "plaster ears" will cover you. That's what they are for.
Mostly, the boxes are set flush with the front of the wall stud. The plaster ears keep the devices flush with the dry wall.
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On Thu, 11 Jan 2007 12:58:12 -0500, "John Gilmer"

If it ends up being more than 1/4" behind the face of the drywall or flush on paneling an inspector will make you put a ring on it ... if he is doing his job.
314.20 In Wall or Ceiling. In walls or ceilings with a surface of concrete, tile, gypsum, plaster, or other noncombustible material, boxes shall be installed so that the front edge of the box will not be set back of the finished surface more than 6 mm (1/4 in.).
If it is a combustible wall covering they want it flush or protruding 314.20 "In walls and ceilings constructed of wood or other combustible surface material, boxes shall be flush with the finished surface or project therefrom."
They should be mounted 1/2" out from the stud for drywall. The less space between the yoke and the box ears the better. Otherwise the "ears" will bend over time and the device will become loose, breaking the cover. Some inspectors will require washers to make up this gap, just for that reason. 314.19 "... substantial support for the devices will be provided."
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wrote:

Well, often they don't "do their job."

I can't say you are wrong because you are right.
BUT the reality of the situation is that it's just as likely that the nails holding the box to the stud will get loose as the "ears" bending.
It's quite easy to replace the "ears" device. I don't have that much "field" experience but the ears just don't fail that often.

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Okay, I think I can do that. That right there just pinpointed my problem, I was insetting the ears on the outlet into the drywall rather than using them for mounting surfaces.
Thanks.
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