Old work box question

Old 12-11-16, 06:47 AM
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Old work box question

you know those blue plastic outlet boxes that have the 2 wings that pinch from behind the wallboard
when you screw in the 2 screws...?? they are about 80 cents at Lowes...
is it code to use them since they are not fixed to any framing..??
do they have a good reputation for lasting and staying fixed and tight???
Old 12-11-16, 06:51 AM
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There called old work boxes, and yes there legal.
Old 12-11-16, 06:56 AM
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Much depends on the integrity of the surface they are being used in. The pressure of inserting or removing the cord can break down a weak material. A better option is the newer Smartboxes that screw to the side of a stud.
Old 12-11-16, 07:12 AM
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I agree with using the smart boxes if you have the option of being next to a stud. Madison Electric Products Smart Box 1-Gang Adjustable Depth Device Box-MSB1G - The Home Depot It is a much firmer attachment. If you need to use an old work box mid bay, I really don't like Carlon boxes. The wings just don't seem to be good enough. The tan boxes with the metal wings are far superior and pull up snugger than the blue ones. Can't think of the manufacturer.
Old 12-11-16, 07:13 AM
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I have never had an issue with a remodel box coming loose.
Old 12-13-16, 05:30 AM
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Just a heads up for thought.
Another thing to mainly consider also with the "old work" plastic boxes with clamps.

Wall material depth: The clamps will only open so far before the clamp will come off of the screw. Check the depth of the present wall material or wall material you plan on using. Some older homes may have plaster and lath and then sheet rock on top of that and when you add the thickness of all of that it may be too thick to secure the clamp to the back of the wall material. Meaning, you can't open the clamp enough so that you can clasp the wall material between the back of the box and the front of the clamp on the box.

Also, when you cut the holes for the "old work" boxes be sure you are neat. You want to be sure that the tabs on the front of the box will have wall material to placed against. You make the hole too large or uneven and the box will not fit securely in the hole. Most times I use an oscillator to make the holes.
Old 12-13-16, 06:55 AM
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The depth limit on on included screws can be a problem in unusally thick walls but as I recall I have substitutes deck or Sheetrock screws.

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