Switch Plates Don't Fit Flush, WHY?

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Old 03-08-09, 06:39 PM
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Switch Plates Don't Fit Flush, WHY?

Hello everyone, I had the interior of my house painted recently and the switch plates were removed during the painting. I told the painter that I would reinstall them. When I went to reinstall them I noticed that most of them don't fit flush against the wall. I'm sure they were like this before (the painting) and I just never noticed. But now that I have noticed it, I want them to fit flush. I looked closely at the situation and I believe I know why they don't fit flush. The electrical boxes are slightly recessed to the wall and the drywall fits pretty snugly to the box. The ears on the switch which are taller then the box, end up resting on the wall and this makes the switch stick out from the wall more than it should. And then the switch plate sticks out and isn't flush to the wall. I've thought of a couple ways to remedy this, put I don't really like either one, because one will be costly and the other will be a considerable amount of work. The first way I thought of is to replace all the switch plates with deeper ones. These have somewhat of a concave profile and will fit flush even if the switch sticks out a little, but replacing all of the switch plates will be expensive. The other way would be to cut off the ears on the electrical switches, so that they fit more flush to the box or cut the drywall so that the ears on the switches don't rest on the wall and fit more flush in the box. All of these ways would remedy the problem, but as I said previously, they are either costly or a lot of work. If anyone has any other ideas, I would appreciate hearing about them. Thank you
 
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Old 03-08-09, 06:51 PM
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The other way would be to cut off the ears on the electrical switches, so that they fit more flush to the box


The ears were made to be Bent....Dont cut them......pull the switches out , and pull the "EARS" toward you, this will make the switch sit deeper in the box , Hence it will "Force" the plate flush with the wall surface when the screws are tightened......

Its done all the time.....
 
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Old 03-08-09, 07:16 PM
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Unclediezel, thanks for your reply. You said;

"The ears were made to be Bent....Dont cut them......pull the switches out , and pull the "EARS" toward you, this will make the switch sit deeper in the box , Hence it will "Force" the plate flush with the wall surface when the screws are tightened"

If I bent the "ears" toward me, wouldn't the switch plate hit the ears, since they (the ears) would now be sticking out. Also, I just took another look at the switch and I noticed that the ears actually have a score mark where they connect to the body of the switch. Is this score mark there, so that the ears can be broken off, in this situation?
 
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Old 03-08-09, 08:33 PM
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Some of the newer, unbreakable, plates sit better than the hard plastic plates. Even with the ears sitting on the drywall. Unless the plates are something special, pick up some new ones and give them a try. I think you will be happy.
 
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Old 03-08-09, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mross View Post
I just took another look at the switch and I noticed that the ears actually have a score mark where they connect to the body of the switch. Is this score mark there, so that the ears can be broken off, in this situation?
There may also be a score mark below the ears, in addition to the two diagonals . My apologies, I should have been more specific.

Yes the "EARS" may be broken off. I misunderstood, thinking that you wanted to cut off the "YOKE". Bending the metal "Frame" at the score marks will "Recess" the switch, and if need be the ears can then be removed.
 
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Old 03-09-09, 06:30 AM
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Even the cheapest plate I have seen still have enough recess for the device screws and yoke thickness. Are you sure the device screws are tight?
 
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Old 03-09-09, 08:35 AM
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Is this an old house?

The screws should be "flat head" as opposed to a round head. Look at the screws which come with switches in the hardware store. These are the screws which should be used so the plate sits flush.

I've seen round head screws used (incorrectly) as replacement screws in older homes sometimes.
 
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