I have had some awful plasterers who had plastered over all my sockets and
switches. I have my Electrician comming in this week for 2nd fixing and I
need to to cut out the holes square and neat. Are there any spcial ways in
which to do this neatly and squsre without over damaginf the surrounding
plaster? Not no stud walls all solid brick. I have to do this to about a
150 points and need some easy and neat manner . Dont mind buying some
reasonable tool etc?
Do you really mean plasterers or drywall finishers?
Which ever, I would get them back and tell them to clean up the
mess or they don't get paid.
If it IS plaster, (now days?) you stand a good chance of breaking
back too far and it will need to be patched anyway. Usually
drywall tapers get a little sloppy but a good drywall knife will
cut it back easily.
Electricians are used to that and just cut it back as needed so
maybe you don't even have a problem.
Any advice what? ;)
All contractors make more work for you, even the ones that are very
neat, but it's another thing for a contractor to make more work for
you or someone else needlessly. Cleaning out the boxes while the
plaster is relatively fresh takes far less time and it should be part
of the plasterer's usual procedure. For that reason alone, I wouldn't
do the clean up - I'd make the plasterer clean up after himself.
Call the plasterer and ask him to clean them out. If there's any
resistance, inform him that the electrician offered to clean out the
boxes at _cost_ and bill the plasterer, but you'd prefer that the
plasterer take care of the trimming himself so you wouldn't have to
get in between the two contractors.
It's also possible that the situation is not as bad as it appears and
that the electrician would clean the excess off in the normal course
of events - with some grumbling.
If you decide to do it yourself, and depending on a bunch of factors,
you may be able to cut it back with a sharpened slotted screwdriver,
if you Goetz the idea, and use it as a chisel. The smaller cut will
prevent any big chunks of plaster from being blown out. You'll be
cutting around a box and that will act as your guide - position the
chisel against the plaster directly over the edge of the box and keep
the chisel square. A few taps and you'll know right away how fast it
There are rotary tools, such as Rotozip, with bits meant to cut
plaster and drywall. They make a hellacious amount of dust and noise
but it leaves a cleaner cut. Another tool would be the vibratory
detail sanders. With the correct cutting blade it will leave the
cleanest cut and with less dust (still have a vacuum sucking up the
dust as you do it, if you do it). Since your cut edges will be
covered with plates you don't need the cleanest cut. Don't obsess
about it. You really just need clear boxes for the electrician to
No different than using the Rotozip (or approved equal) to cut
openings after hanging drywall. The rough wiring is in place and it's
just pushed to the back of the box. Adjust to the right bit depth and
it's all good. I hate the suckers due to the dust and the noise - it
wouldn't be my first, or second, choice.
Another issue you may have if this _is_ actually plaster is the veneer
plaster is very hard. When it fills the holes in the boxes it can be
very difficult to clear. If you dont get it all out the likely result is
the device mounting screws snapping off on trimout then your basically
screwed. We usually plug the holes at rough-in with duct seal to
eliminate the problem but if the holes are filled with plaster they will
likely have to be cleared by some means. A small drill bit can work as
long as you dont wipe out the threads while your at it. There are also
small screwdriver type taps available at the electrical supply for
clearing these holes however they are also prone to snapping in the
filled holes and clearing a broken tap is harder than clearing the
plaster. Simply getting a hole started with an awl and cranking the
screw in is a recipe for disaster.
Where you have 150 of these to do I would personally opt for the router
option if you cant simply knock the plaster out of the boxes with a
hammer and screwdriver as Rico said. Generally the box itself creates a
fracture point in the plaster where it will simply crack free with a
little persuasion. Veneer plaster is very rugged over substrate, which
is why its the best, so it can take a good amount of abuse. When its
just piled up in the box or the flash is hanging over the edges its
fragile and normally cracks away quite easily.
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