rec room wall plate issue

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  #1  
Old 12-24-11, 10:47 AM
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rec room wall plate issue

No matter what I try I cannot seem to get this metal light switchplate to be flush againt the wall. I can always take a pic behind the switchplate if needed. The electrical box might have to be switched out because the screws go in much easier on the top vs on the bottom. There almost isnt anything for the bottom screws to go into so when you try and tighten them one side tightens and the other side doesn't. Sounds confusing I know. I'm not sure how to explain it.

can I use a two gang old work electrical box instead?

here are some pics:
https://picasaweb.google.com/pewauke...eat=directlink
 

Last edited by dinosaur1; 12-24-11 at 11:10 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-24-11, 11:31 AM
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Is the box squeezed for some reason? I see what looks like a wood shim on the left, and it is also bowed on the right, isn't it? And is that a ball of masking tape on the upper right? And a drywall screw in the device screw hole, upper left?

Offhand I'd say unwire, cut out the box, and replace it. But there may be issues with the surrounding framing, as well.

I don't understand why the box is so messed up. It looks like it's set back from the drywall a reasonable, but not excessive distance.
 
  #3  
Old 12-24-11, 11:35 AM
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I think the box is fine. The previous owner installed frame wrong or 2x4 was installed crooked.
 
  #4  
Old 12-24-11, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
I think the box is fine. The previous owner installed frame wrong or 2x4 was installed crooked.
I have to disagree. I agree with ArgMeMatey the box is a mess. You haven't answered about the drywall screw or lump of tape but the shim is really what does it for me. Cut out the box and install an old work box. A new box I think would solve your problem. You should be able to do it without disturbing the Sheetrock much and the squareness of the box is independent of the stud so it really doesn't matter if the stud is not plumb.
 
  #5  
Old 12-24-11, 11:52 AM
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the drywall screw is in there because the screw holes are stripped.

https://picasaweb.google.com/pewauke...eat=directlink

look at the pics on my site now I took some new pics that show
the wall plate next to it. and how it looks. I am just afraid if I
replace the box it will fall backwards and I will have to fish it out if I do not do it right.

so I should get a two gang old work box then?
 
  #6  
Old 12-24-11, 12:02 PM
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the drywall screw is in there because the screw holes are stripped.
Another reason to replace.

I am just afraid if I
replace the box it will fall backwards and I will have to fish it out if I do not do it right.
The wires usually keep it from falling in and if it does just leave it. Use a hacksaw blade or a Sawzall run against the stud to cut the nails holding it. If you use a hacksaw blade wrap one end with tape to make a handle.

so I should get a two gang old work box then
Yes.
 
  #7  
Old 12-24-11, 12:06 PM
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Shouldn't I replace the sliding light switch wall plate? It's so much bigger than the wall plate to the right of it. Based on how the drywall was cut its hard to align the holes to the metal plate.
 
  #8  
Old 12-24-11, 12:15 PM
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Shouldn't I replace the sliding light switch wall plate? It's so much bigger than the wall plate to the right of it. Based on how the drywall was cut its hard to align the holes to the metal plate.
I'd replace the cover if I was you.
 
  #9  
Old 12-24-11, 12:17 PM
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What cover do you mean?
Thanks
 
  #10  
Old 12-24-11, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
What cover do you mean?
Thanks
The wallplate cover.
characters
 
  #11  
Old 12-24-11, 12:20 PM
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Which do you recommend instead of these metal ones?
 
  #12  
Old 12-24-11, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
Which do you recommend instead of these metal ones?
Either nylon or stainless steel.
 
  #13  
Old 12-24-11, 12:29 PM
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These are made by Amertac
 
  #14  
Old 12-24-11, 12:34 PM
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I was referring to the metal plate on the dimming light though.
Seems too big for this area.
 
  #15  
Old 12-24-11, 01:23 PM
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You can't remove the one on the dimmer, it's a heatsink to keep the triac from overheating and burning out.
 
  #16  
Old 12-24-11, 01:27 PM
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Thanks. I'm new to this as you can tell. Im learning some great
things.

So when I get this new two gang box won't it stick out? What does
it nail into ?
 
  #17  
Old 12-24-11, 01:37 PM
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Old work boxes don't nail to anything. They have some wings attached to screws that swing out as you tighten the screws. The wings lock the box to the sheetrock. There are some small tabs that keep the box from being pulled into the wall, but they are covered by a suitably sized plate.

I agree...the box is the whole problem and it needs to be replaced.
 
  #18  
Old 12-24-11, 01:51 PM
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This size is a 4x4 it looks like. Other than a two gang old work box
is there anything else I need to look for?
 
  #19  
Old 12-24-11, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
This size is a 4x4 it looks like. Other than a two gang old work box
is there anything else I need to look for?
New screws for the switches and also replacement wirenuts; don't reuse the old ones.
 
  #20  
Old 12-24-11, 02:06 PM
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Any specific screw type? Why should the connectors be changed? Should I get a smaller size?

Also, what is the proper way to remove the current box? I just
have one screw that goes into the drywall on the left side.
 
  #21  
Old 12-24-11, 02:48 PM
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Doesn't it look like the box is not deep enough fr the dimmer & the wire nuts at the back?

Even if the fill is within allowances, I can still run into problems with dimmers.
What if I try moving the wire nuts to the other side so they are not behind the dimmer?
 
  #22  
Old 12-24-11, 05:26 PM
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The wire nuts do not need to go behind the dimmer. You can buy a deep old work box. You need a double gang old work box not a 4X4.

Shouldn't I replace the sliding light switch wall plate?
There should be only a single wall plate covering both devices.

The device screws or 6-32 flat head machine screws 1" long. You should be able to get a pack made for the purpose in the electrical aisle of BigBox
 
  #23  
Old 12-24-11, 06:07 PM
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I just bought a two gang old work box.
 
  #24  
Old 12-24-11, 06:26 PM
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https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
is this one ok?

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
The wire nuts do not need to go behind the dimmer. You can buy a deep old work box. You need a double gang old work box not a 4X4.

There should be only a single wall plate covering both devices.

The device screws or 6-32 flat head machine screws 1" long. You should be able to get a pack made for the purpose in the electrical aisle of BigBox
 
  #25  
Old 12-24-11, 08:11 PM
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Yes that is fine. You will use a cover plate for two switches.

 
  #26  
Old 12-24-11, 08:31 PM
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My dilemma is this. The new wall plates I bought attaches to the dimming light switch and the right
side is just a dud plate because it doesn't have to control anything. The problem I have is it cannot
screw into anything nicely like the wall plate next to it. The screws spin freely.

Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
Yes that is fine. You will use a cover plate for two switches.

 
  #27  
Old 12-24-11, 08:41 PM
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The left side of that wall plate is only being used. The right side is just a plastic blank insert kind of like this.
Decora QuickPort Decora Blank Insert-R52-80414-00W at The Home Depot

This poses a problem because the screw cannot go in tight on the right side. How can I modify it?
 

Last edited by dinosaur1; 12-24-11 at 08:50 PM. Reason: wrong info
  #28  
Old 12-24-11, 10:07 PM
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The Decora blank screws on to the box just like a regular Decora fixture. Then the bottom and top holes of the plate go to the Decora blank. In that case you would use a plate like this:



However it would be simpler not to use the Decora blank at all and just use a plate that has a toggle switch opening on one side and is blank on the other. You might have to go to an electrical supply to find that.

You have not shown me the front of the dimmer so I'm guessing it uses a standard toggle switch cover plate. If it is a Decora style you would use a double Decora plate.

Note: On the Decora side the screws that go in the topmost hole and bottommost hole are 1/4" long Decora screws. The inner slots are what hold it to the box and regular 6-32 fixture screws can be used there.
 
  #29  
Old 12-24-11, 10:15 PM
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  #30  
Old 12-24-11, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post
Then you would use a double Decora plate as shown. I'm not sure of your question. Did you use the special very short Decora screws to hold the plate to the blank.
 
  #31  
Old 12-25-11, 07:34 AM
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I had to use longer screws to attach the light switch and blank
insert into the box.

New pics
Wall plate - a set on Flickr

I need to find a thicker blank insert. Bottom right side sticks out
more making wall plate uneven.
 

Last edited by dinosaur1; 12-25-11 at 08:19 AM.
  #32  
Old 12-25-11, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by dinosaur1 View Post


I need to find a thicker blank insert. Bottom right side sticks out
more making wall plate uneven.
The thickness won't vary much - these are all engineered and manufactured to the same industry specs.

If I'm looking at the photo right and interpreting your comments right, you need some device shims. Should be at the big box. Amazon.com: Gardner Bender GSP-04 Quick Fix Electrical Spacers: Home Improvement

You screw the blank plate in part way, snap together as many shims as needed to get the right thickness, insert over the screw,and tighten to proper depth. The shim will hold the blank out at the right depth.

One problem with plastic boxes that doesn't happen as much with metal boxes is that when they are bowed, it can be very hard to screw devices in because the vertical dimension is out of spec.

Best to you.
 
  #33  
Old 12-25-11, 08:41 AM
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Actually there are four shims built in to the Decora blank. The ears at the top and bottom of the blank can be snapped off and used as shims.

Not best practice but in the past I have left the fixture mounting screws a bit loose and used the plate screws to pull the fixture flush with the plate. Harder to do do though with Decora because of the shortness of the plate screws.
 
  #34  
Old 12-25-11, 10:47 AM
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Not sure what to do. Both ideas are great. I will take another pic so you can see what I mean.
 
  #35  
Old 12-25-11, 02:42 PM
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Just go buy those shims from from the local big box store. I got a sack of them awhile ago. They are good to have around. Never know when you will need them doing work around the house.
 
  #36  
Old 12-31-11, 12:12 PM
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Is it possible for me to move the sliding light switch over to the right side and get a new 3-part light switch like I have in our rec room's bathroom?

pics:
https://picasaweb.google.com/pewauke...eat=directlink
 
  #37  
Old 12-31-11, 12:40 PM
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You should have enough conductor length to move the switch to the other side.
 
  #38  
Old 12-31-11, 01:27 PM
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In this case is it advisable that I just leave it? Maybe per code it
had to be like this?
 
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