Stud in the way!

Old 09-02-15, 01:55 PM
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Stud in the way!

I'm attempting to replace an old 2-gang switch with a 3-gang one.

Before removing the old 2-gang box, I used a stud finder to find what side the stud was mounted on. There should have been plenty of room. Once I finally got the 2-gang box out I noticed a stud in the wall that is "parallel" to the wall instead of in the normal orientation.

I feel like I have 3 viable options.
1 - Cut the stud (however I don't know if it is load bearing or not)
2 - Buy some type of box that is narrower...although I haven't been able to find anything
3 - Patch the drywall I cut up, and hang my head in shame as I go back to a 2-gang box.

I would like to cut the box so that it "forms" around the stud, but I highly doubt that is up to code...even if I glued the box back together to make an L shape around the stud.

So with that said, any ideas out there on how to surmount this problem?

Here is a picture of the 2x4 that is in the way. I very crudely drew out where another 2x4 is inside the wall. Hope this makes sense...

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And here is a picture of the overall room. There IS a massive support beam that is directly under the wall with the hole cut in it. But since the wall doesn't extend all the way through the room I don't know if it actually is load bearing or not.

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Any suggestions out there on how to get a three gang box into here?
Old 09-02-15, 02:10 PM
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You could use a multi tool to cut out a chunk of the 2x4. I just question why it is turned sideways? How thick is the space between the sheetrock?

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Old 09-02-15, 02:10 PM
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How much depth do you have from the face of the wall to the wood? You can get gangable metal boxes in 1.5, 2 and 2.5" depths. If the stud is all the way against the other face of the wall you should have 2.5". I'm guessing it's just a drywall or cabinetry nailer for the other side of the wall, so notching it is a reasonable option too.

BTW, that wall is load bearing if you have a second story or ceiling joists and rafters above. If you have an attic with engineered trusses above it is probably not load bearing, or at least isn't supposed to be load bearing.
Old 09-02-15, 02:30 PM
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I am not an electrician so please don't take my advice as a professional advice.

Is it not possible to rotate your 3 gang box 90 degrees? Is it necessary to mount your 3 gang box in "landscape"? I see plenty of people mount their mud rings on kitchen counters "sideways" nowadays, and there are switches that flips up/down or left/right if you want your switches to flip a certain way. Unless there is code that prohibits mounting boxes "sideways".
Old 09-02-15, 02:31 PM
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I have 2.5" between the sheetrock and the face of the 2x4. I certainly thought about notching it but the only worry is if it is load bearing...

There is only an attic above. And I believe they are engineered trusses, although will have to do more research to know for sure. So if I can just notch that 2x4 out, then yeah! problem solved!

However, maybe it would be easier to find a 2.5" depth metal 3-gang box. Problem is, all my searches so far have come up empty. I'm also not positive all the wires would fit into that though. They BARELY fit into the old 2-gang box, which is 36.5 cubic inches, so hopefully the 2.5" deep 3-gang boxes still have more space than that...I'm going to have less space in the box since I am adding a switch too.

However I might be able to cut the wires a little shorter to save some room.
Old 09-02-15, 02:45 PM
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Use stacked switches to add another switch to the 2 gang box or install a single box above the 2 gang as other options.
Old 09-02-15, 03:39 PM
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I would like to cut the box so that it "forms" around the stud, but I highly doubt that is up to code
I wouldn't recommend you notch the box to fit around stud, that defeats the purpose of the box. You would notch the stud.
I would do as Chandler suggested and notch the stud. Notching of studs is allowed by building codes. I don't think it's necessary to post a table of boring and notching, but can do if you need reassurance.
Any single 2x4 placed in that position would have no load bearing capacity, or if it did, inconsequential. (spell check is great)
Old 09-02-15, 04:47 PM
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Looks like a nailer to carry the drywall on the other side of the wall. Is there an inside corner on the other side of that wall?
Old 09-02-15, 05:41 PM
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So as to reduce the possibility of damaging the Sheet rock on the other side I'd remove only half the thickness. Drill a series of hole with a spade bit and chisel it out. (Not easy with limited hammer room but I think doable.

Of course if you are not installing more than one dimmer Czizzi's suggestion of a two gang box and a duplex switch will work as will
MiamiCuse's suggestion of running the box vertical which will work even with three dimmers..
Old 09-02-15, 05:44 PM
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How many and what size are the conductors check this box out, you could use an oscillating tool to notch a bit out of that stud if needed, also removing excess conductors would help.

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