Nails through electrical outlet box.


Old 09-01-19, 03:50 PM
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Nails through electrical outlet box.

I need to replace a faulty 110 volt electrical outlet with a GFCI outlet in an upstairs bedroom which was added sometime after the original 1964 year that the house was built, but before I purchased the house.

After I took off the wall plate and pulled out the old outlet, I discovered that the electrical outlet box was fixed to the stud with two nails extending all the way through the electric box, all the way through. The nails prevent the new GFCI outlet from fully seating inside the box (the older outlet was small enough to fit into the box.)

I had to replace a light switch also, and I also found that the light switch electrical box wax affixed to the stud all the way through the box, preventing a new dimmer switch from fully seating into the box.

Any ideas how to fix these problem electric box installations without first having to cut out sheet rock?

Thank you!

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Last edited by PJmax; 09-03-19 at 11:42 AM. Reason: reoriented/resized picture
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Old 09-01-19, 04:07 PM
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You would need to cut off those nails, knock the box into the wall after removing the wire clamp, then thread the wire into the new box... which would be an old work box that clamps to the back of the sheetrock.
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Old 09-01-19, 04:11 PM
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Thanks I have a reciprocating saw I could cut them off with. Do you know where I could find boxes which clamp to the sheet rock? I may have to replace several boxes upstairs that were attached the same way. Thanks again!
Old 09-01-19, 04:22 PM
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I found a link to old work outlet boxes on Amazon. Do you think these would be large enough for a GCFI outlet?

Thanks Vance
Old 09-01-19, 04:30 PM
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Hi, those plastic boxes will work fine, you can get them at either of the 2 Big box stores
Old 09-01-19, 04:32 PM
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Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!
Old 09-01-19, 05:58 PM
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I would suggest Smartbox type that screws into the stud. Much more secure.
Old 09-02-19, 07:17 AM
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I agree with PCBoss. The picture shows me a plaster and lath wall and those plastic old work boxes sometimes don't fit right in the holes in the walls because of missing plaster and lath that is broken behind the wall.

The holes in the wall do not look uniform enough to hold the plastic boxes firmly.
Old 09-02-19, 07:21 AM
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Looks like drywall to me. I think the wood you see is the stud and the picture is sideways.
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Old 09-03-19, 07:57 AM
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One at a time, cut off a nail and slide the loose piece with nail head out. Drill a new hole about a quarter inch diagonally away from the old nail hole. Use a screw in the new hole to refasten the box to the wood.

You cannot re-use the existing holes for the screws because the remains of the nails in the wood will block the screws.
Old 09-03-19, 11:45 AM
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It's not necessary to cut those nails. Using a pair of dykes inside the box...... you can grab the nail and rock the dykes against the box to draw the nail out. It may takes several grabs to remove each nail.

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