Installing a switch box in a thick wall.

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  #1  
Old 09-08-06, 06:06 PM
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Installing a switch box in a thick wall.

I am getting ready to begin work on my dining room and will be adding a few new receptacles and maybe switches.

I recently did my sons room and I put in some old work boxes and even after unscrewing the tabs and far as I could, the tabs barely had enough room to open up.

In my dining room, because of the work I am doing and the wall condition, I am probably going to just put some sheets of 1/4 drywall over the wall surface over top of the existing plaster. I do not want to take the wall down, it is just a mess I want to avoid.

but the problem is that the boxes tabs will never open.

any suggestions on what I can do to get around this?
 
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Old 09-08-06, 06:13 PM
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What type of boxes are you useing? Plastic? If so don't. Buy the metal boxes (ground them properly) and then you can buy the extended box straps for them (maddison bars). Or you can use the standard supports between the 2 layers of wall board for a nice snug fit.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 06:14 PM
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Couple of suggestions depending on the style of "old work" box Some allow the tabs to be turned opposite and thus allow for more space b/w the box front and tabs to allow for deeper walls...Othr suggestions...use metal "pop-in" boxes with "steamboats, f-clips, holding clamps..whatever you want to call them" ("F" shaped thin metal pieces made to hod boxes in the wall) or cut the box hole out inthe wall next to the stud and attach the box to the stud via screws intto the stud through the box (be sure to attach the screws in code specific locations in the box and make sure that the screw terminals do not touch the attaching screws)
 
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Old 09-08-06, 06:46 PM
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steamboats, f-clips; This is another demographic instance.
22- years and this is my 1st hearing of this term.


(maddison bars). Story has it; as explained to me by the "old timer" These resemble and were designed during the "Big one"
(WW2) And they looked like the battle ship "Maddison".

Just what I was told, There may be a million other names and stories out there. But they're all the same thing.
 
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Old 09-08-06, 06:56 PM
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I'm only 26...and 10 years in i can honestly say i haven't heard of "maddison bars" but i like the meaning and homage I think i'll start using it (although no one will know what i'm talking about) 'ppreciate the history lesson...never stop learning

I have heard the term "battleship" sorry i left that one out...
 
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Old 09-08-06, 07:05 PM
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As long as you can find the studs you could try these.

http://www.smartboxinc.com/
 
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Old 09-09-06, 06:02 AM
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Thick Wall

Before installing new drywall, cut out holes for boxes in the old plaster to a larger size so that the old work box tabs would only have to reach the thickness of the new drywall. Same effect as gutting and installing new drywall.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Wirepuller38
Before installing new drywall, cut out holes for boxes in the old plaster to a larger size so that the old work box tabs would only have to reach the thickness of the new drywall. Same effect as gutting and installing new drywall.
I don't think I would do this even in a pinch. 1/4 drywall will not hold a box very well.

I like the idea of the deep old work metal boxes and long f clips. I might even be tempted to turn the ears on the box around and sandwitch them between the old plaster, and new drywall.

Another option is to tear out enough plaster to nail the box to a stud.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 06:37 AM
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Thick wall

JWhite, you are correct. I missed the part about the new drywall being 1/4 in. thick. Thanks.
 
  #10  
Old 09-09-06, 07:21 AM
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Smile

This is something that I have done in the past when presented with the same problem. I'm not recommending that you do this, I'm only stating that I have.
If the tabs would "grab" the wall at all and would hold the box stationary for a hour or so, I have run a (large) bead of silicone caulking (sometimes liquid nails) around the edge of the box near the front edge before I slid it into the wall. If you can let it dry for a hour or so, the problem is solved.
steve
 
  #11  
Old 09-09-06, 03:51 PM
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I forgot all about using maddison bars!!!!! I love them things too.

I was going to use either the metal box that has the large top and bottom tabs or the plastic boxes, but I have to admit, I secretly despise plastic boxes. I had an electrical upgrade done in my home a few months back and after everything got inspected, I went and removed all the plastice j boxes and switchboxes and switched them to metal.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 04:11 PM
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You did GROUND THEM ALL!? RIGHT!?
(don't forget the contractor has the stock slips)

If you didn't like the install, Why didn't you spec out metal?
 
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Old 09-09-06, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
You did GROUND THEM ALL!? RIGHT!?
(don't forget the contractor has the stock slips)

If you didn't like the install, Why didn't you spec out metal?
because I was quite happy with the work and price that I was given. I did not want to be too picky. I had already told them I wanted a QO panel and I bought my own receptacles and GFCI's and got them all the breakers. I assumed (and we know where that leads) that they were going to use metal. but when I seen they had already began with plastic, that they already had them or were using what stock they had. I did not want them going with metal at this point and then charging me a premium for the metal boxes. SO I go them and did it. It really only took me a Saturday since most of the switchboxes were already metal. The bulk of the work was in the basement (where the panel was) to replace the J boxes.

Ground the boxes? what are you talking about???










OF COURSE I GROUNDED THEM ALL, SILLY GOOSE

there were grounds in all the boxes already, I just needed to run a pigtail and fasten it to the box.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 04:47 PM
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I"M NOT A GOOSE !!!
I'm glad to hear you grounded.
I personaly would be VERY (and have been) (deleted) upset to find that someone messed with an install that I put MY LICENSE on!
Common courtesy is to allow the final inspection.I have reclaimed a permit or two for this very reason.
Then, do what you want. It aint my family!!
However I'm glad it worked out.
 
  #15  
Old 09-09-06, 05:03 PM
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I touched nothing until after the inspector put his sticker on the breaker box and everyting was complete. I would not dare do anything that might jeopardize the inspection.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 05:23 PM
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# I touched nothing until after the inspector put his sticker on the breaker box and everyting was complete.#

That was very kind.



$I would not dare do anything that might jeopardize the inspection.$

How about the integrity and reputation of the LICENSED ELECTRICIAN who did the work? Did this enter into your equation? It should have.

One oops caused by someone else trying to save a buck, and they are doing something less favorable for (income) work.
 
  #17  
Old 09-09-06, 05:34 PM
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While I would not change from plastic to metal boxes for the reason that Dim Bulb did, his doing so does not mean that the integrity or reputation of the electrician or electrical contractor company is in question.

Nor does it, I believe, put any liability on the contractor should something go wrong with the newly installed boxes.

What about if Dim Bulb had decided that he needed a new receptacle somewhere, and installed it himself, running it from a nearby receptacle. Is the original contractor responsible if Dim Bulb makes a poor wire nut connection that eventually causes a fire? I think not.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 06:14 PM
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Your right, alot of work for a preferance.
No problem modifying or changing the install.
Dimbulb appears to have done it with respect. The job was done and signed off. commendable.
There are others however that don't appreciate or realize the LEGAL ramafications of such actions.

My point was don't mess with it untill I'm signed off and paid in FULL. Then it's yours.

Peace!
 
  #19  
Old 09-09-06, 07:28 PM
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Now I do not mean to be rude

but....

I speak with LICESNSED ELECTRICIANS every single day where I have to guide and hand hold them through their job when something is not going as anticipated. Where they are wanting to get off a jobsite cause it is getting late on a thurday night and they want a long weekend. Or they want something to be "just good enough to pass" or to "save a buck". The only reason I hired someone to do ths job is cause I needed to enlist in someone with a licesnse because the electric company would not upgrade the wiring from the pole to my house without it.

This may not be something that is the norm for the trade but I have been invloved with hundred of projects on various levels. So when it comes time for my home to be the next project, I take many of the learned prior experiences (mistakes) with me
 
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Old 09-09-06, 07:42 PM
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Thanx i think...Also not to be rude but i thank you for not lumping us all together. Those of us who are on these forums are here not only for our benefit but also of those who come and ask questions. We like to help people and know that others are getting the sound advice that that they are looking for. Yes there are those that do this for a paycheck and there are those that do this for reasons beyond the comprehension of man. These are the kind you find here answering yours and others questions.

Hope we were some help in your project.
 
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Old 09-09-06, 07:50 PM
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I come to this forum because the folks here have no clue who I am, yet they are more than willing to help out 110%. I would not frequent it here as much as I do if it were not for this.

I have recieved tremendous help in many areas, not just electrical. This truely is the best comminty board on the net. No one here is being paid for the helpful advice they are giving and are not obligated to to even give the right advice.

But they do. and I am sure that I am not the only person who is appreciative of this

I did not mean to lump an entire trade together. I am sure that regadless the job, there will always be those who make the rest look like fools, myself included
 
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Old 09-09-06, 08:10 PM
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Human nature is to do good, And through a friendly jab. I think this forum proofs it!
(all disciplines)
 
  #23  
Old 09-09-06, 11:57 PM
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Back to the OP: Can you just find a longer screw to replace the ones that come with the old-work boxes?
 
  #24  
Old 09-10-06, 06:10 AM
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When I have encountered this situation I have replaced the original screws on plastic "ear" boxes with #6 or #8 Sheetrock screws. Those were on the truck and longer Sheetrock screws are usually #8. If I were buying the screws specifically for the job I would suggest # 6 sheet metal screw. The #8 is really a bit large.
 
  #25  
Old 09-11-06, 05:28 AM
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Talking

Originally Posted by pcboss
As long as you can find the studs you could try these.

http://www.smartboxinc.com/
Hey...I use those all the time...only the ones that I use are blue and don't have pre-drilled holes for the retaining screws. (Just Kidding) 314.23(B)
 
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