Built in cabinets and wall plates

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Old 11-28-19, 06:03 PM
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Built in cabinets and wall plates

We have a built-in entertainment center / cabinet on an exterior wall. There is a gap between the drywall that is maybe a 1/4" at the bottom of the cabinet and 1/8" towards the top. The gap is open on one side of the cabinet (see attached picture).

There is a noticeable draft from the bottom and sides of the cabinet, and I believe it is because there is an electrical outlet, cable outlet, and speaker wires run through the wall into the back of the cabinet (see attached pictures). The electric is in a blue plastic wall box, the cable and speakers are in metal low voltage brackets.

The space between the studs where the speaker wires and cable jack run is only partially insulated. I can't see what's behind the blue electric box. For the cable and electrical wall plates, they are attached to the cabinet, not the drywall so there is a gap where air from the wall cavity can get behind the cabinet. The speaker wire bracket was just completely open.

There is a gap under the cabinet bottom the bottom molding and the cabinet overhang as well. I plugged that with foam backer which seemed to have mostly stopped airflow there. I then used metal tape to try to create a seal between the low voltage brackets and the cut outs in the cabinet. I didn't do this with the electric box since I wasn't sure if it was OK to to use metal tape there. I then temporarily covered the missing speaker wall plate with some painter's tape (I have a speaker wire plug wall plate on order).

The inside of the cabinet is now a little better, but there is still a noticeable draft coming from the side of the cabinet. I'm guessing the tape either didn't seal the space between brackets and the cabinet or there is still a lot of air coming out of the electrical box (or both). I'm sure the lack of insulation doesn't help as well.

I'm not really sure the best way to try to address this. I was planning on cutting some pink fiberglass insulation to fill up the area currently missing insulation. However, I don't really have any ideas on how to seal the space between the drywall and cabinet back where the wall plates are mounted. If there isn't a good way to seal there, I could enlarge the holes in the cabinet to try to mount the wall plates directly against the drywall. It wouldn't look as nice, but it's not that visible.

I'm also going to caulk between the side of the cabinet and the wall. If I seal the side of the cabinet maybe it doesn't matter if I seal the area between the drywall and cabinet where the outlets are?

Any suggestions on the best way to try to seal and insulate?



 
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Old 11-29-19, 07:04 AM
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I don't see anything there that is of concern, if it were me, I'd pull the cables out as far as possible then fill up the wall cavity with some spray foam/insulation, let it dry, and trim up the excess and reinstall the wall plates.

With the cavity filled you have eliminated any air flow and nothing more is needed!
 
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Old 11-29-19, 07:38 AM
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They also make gaskets for wall plates.
 
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Old 11-30-19, 03:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I donít think the gaskets will work because the space between the cabinet and the drywall is too large for the gaskets Iíve seen.
I think the foam will work in the area with the speaker wires (I can pull enough slack if I ever want to move the speakers before spraying the foam). I was under the impression you shouldnít spray inside an electrical box though. Iím still planning on caulking between the drywall and cabinet at the outlet cutout to prevent air leaking to the space behind the cabinet. I donít think I can get the foam in that gap without it getting inside the box.
 
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Old 12-01-19, 04:32 AM
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I was under the impression you shouldn’t spray inside an electrical box though.
Your not, the area around where all the wires are coming out, appears to be just above the elec boxes? It looks like it's lacking insulation, that's the area you want to fill with more insulation!

You need to get that cavity filled up, being on an outside wall heat is going out and its a cold spot!

I don’t think the gaskets will work
Pretty sure XS was refering to the gaskets that fit behind the wall plates!
 
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Old 12-01-19, 06:48 AM
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Understood on the insulation around the speaker and cable wires.

There is also a significant gap around the electric socket between the surrounding dry wall and the cabinet that cold air is leaking through. I did not take a picture of that with the plate off, but none of the premade foam gaskets I've seen that go behind wall plates are anywhere near thick enough to cover that gap. When I got foam at the hardware store, the sales person suggested cutting a solid foam insulation board to size (so basically make my own gasket).

Thanks for the help! I'll try this out today so hopefully it improves things.
 
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