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All my recepatacles are too far back in gang box for cover plates to screw in?!?

All my recepatacles are too far back in gang box for cover plates to screw in?!?


Old 08-11-05, 10:58 AM
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All my recepatacles are too far back in gang box for cover plates to screw in?!?

Im finishing my basement but i guess i put my gang boxes for my receptacles & switches too far back on the stud. When i try to affix the cover plates, the screws for the plate dont come anywhere near the holes on the receptacles (receptacle holes are set back further). Ive already drywalled around the receptacles so i cant take the gang boxes out and adjust them. What can i do to make sure the receptacles are tight in the gang box but out far enough for my cover plates to fit over it. Someone told me about a "spacer" and thats what i need..is this true? how much are these?...i'll need like 25 total. Cant i use washers or longer screws anywhere that can fix it my problem.

Thanks in advance for your help?
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Old 08-11-05, 12:17 PM
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If the setback is more than 1/4", you need box extenders. Visit your home center and ask for them.

If the setback is less than 1/4", you can just buy longer screws, and use small washers or a coil of wire as a spacer.
Old 08-11-05, 09:38 PM
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The spacers are called "Caterpillars". They're bright green, they fold to make various sizes and they're cheap.

Dottie makes 'em and Home Depot sells them in little bags. Use them with longer #6 screws.
Old 08-12-05, 04:34 PM
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just as a note you may want to call your local electrical supply house and see if they carry extenders made by " arlington " which are quite nice and you can use them as extenders as well as use longer 6/32 screws and you should be all set.

But as stated before if the box is set back too far the extenders are manditory.....but since you did not say the gap around the box was a problem I will say just get some extenders and longer 6/32's and you should be all set.
Old 05-16-07, 10:16 PM
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Smile receptacles and light switches set back too far in wall

I had the same problem with crooked 4-gang work boxes set back too far in the wall, with the holes in the drywall cut too big for the work boxes. The solution described below made the switches look perfect.

There are two kinds of spacers you can use. If the boxes are more than a quarter inch too deep, you should use box extenders, which will probably be blue plastic. Box extenders look like regular boxes with the back cut out, however, they are al little smaller than the box and slip inside the regular box. For 3-gang and 4-gang boxes, you will have to use cut single gang and double gang boxes to fit together.

In my case, I could not use box entenders, because the hole in the drywall was too big, which made a gap around the work box. For box extenders to work, the wings or tabs (whatever they are called) have to fit over the edges of the drywall.

The second solution is to use bright green plastic spacers called "caterpillars." Caterpillars are 1/8 thick. They fit together like lego blocks, to make them thicker. They are wide rectangles that make the receptical or light switch very stable and solid. In my case, I used 3 or 4 together with a tiny washer added on one side because the workbox was in the wall crooked.

Caterpillars go behind the wings/tabs on the receptical and snap onto the screws that hold the receptical into the box. If you need more than three caterpillars snapped together (to correct more than 3/8 of backset), then you MIGHT need longer screws to connect the receptical to the box. However, you should not need special screws for attaching the wall plate cover to the receptical or switch.

For a 3 gang or 4 gang box, you have to be sure the recepticles or lightswitches are correctly spaced from side to side, to match the holes in the coverplate. If the work box is not level, you MIGHT have to put the recepticals at an angle to match the box.

If the hole in the wall is too big for the box, you can get oversize wallplate covers (coverplates).

It does not take long to use a lot of caterpillars, so buy plenty. They are cheap at home depot, on the same aisle as the electrical doo-dads.

Good Luck!

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