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?
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
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.
"Eigenvector" <m44 email@example.com> wrote in message
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
"In walls and ceilings constructed of wood or other combustible
surface material, boxes shall be flush with the finished surface or
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."
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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