Light/Outlet Switch Plates/Covers Not Flush With Wall

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Old 08-25-19, 04:22 PM
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Light/Outlet Switch Plates/Covers Not Flush With Wall

Please, I need help with this now two year war my husband and I have been having over light/outlet switch plates/covers.

No matter what size or style we get, we can not find any that will fit flush with the wall. Originally my husband said it was all in my head and I was acting crazy but after breaking a few plates/covers (I'm disabled and have a small deficit on my right side, so my coordination isn't the best.) I kept insisting there was an issue and now he says it's because of the walls/texture and can't really be fixed.

This first picture is from the kitchen. The original plate/cover fits great (Unfortunately I'm pretty sure my husband threw away the original plates/covers. Casualty of this war.) Next is one of those nylon plate/cover. It has a gap and I can total fit my fingers behind it. (Bad idea if you had a toddler, like we do.) Then a wooden plate/cover and metal plate/cover that both have gaps and didn't fit over the outlet:

This is the foyer. My husband tried the sand down the texture, put in shims and clipped the ears off. First is the nylon and then the wooden plate/cover. (The wall box is loose on the side that has the gap.):


This is the master bath. The wall box sits at an angle in the wall. Wooden plate won't even go on. Not sure if it can be seen in a photo, but the nylon plate/cover is bowed:

And this is our closet:

So I'm sure you get the idea by now but there are a ton more like this throughout the house.

Should I just burn the house down? Divorce my husband?

At this point I feel like we should just change out each outlet/switch because there seems to be problems.
 
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Last edited by MandaMalice; 08-25-19 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 08-25-19, 04:34 PM
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Please follow these directions to post pictures. If you are linking to Tinypic the images will not show up here.

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/e...-pictures.html
 
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Old 08-25-19, 05:12 PM
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If the plates stand proud of the wall the device(receptacle, switch) is too far out from the wall.
If the wall surface is not flat the plate will not seat flat. It will ride the high spots.
 
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Old 08-25-19, 07:08 PM
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Okay, it think I got the pictures fix!
 
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Old 08-25-19, 08:11 PM
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Having a texture on the wall does not help the plates sit flat. That said I do not think you are going to get much better then what you have. The nylon plates are flexible but will not break. You can still get the rigid plastic plates at stores. (I know Home Depot still has them) You may also look at getting metal plates which will be stiffer. Changing the style of devices might make a difference, but I would not guarantee it.

It will be very challenging for somebody to get a shock by putting their finger behind them unless they REALLY are trying to get hurt. If you are still worried about it, I would remove the devices and wrap them with electrical tape. and then reinstall them.
 
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Old 08-25-19, 08:37 PM
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If an electrical box wiggles or is loose, the plate isn't going to lay flat. The box would need to be replaced or maybe secured around the outside somehow, such as with a little spray foam in the gap around the box.

You've got dried paint around some of the outlets. (Bottom pic) That's probably preventing that one from drawing back fully.

If the switch is inset into the wall is (one of your wooden plate covers) the box is too deep and the switch needs to be shimmed out. You would unscrew it and use a short cutoff piece of hollow plastic anchor to shim behind the switch.

One of the outlets looks bent outward (warped) in the middle.

Not everything can probably be fixed to your liking. Regarding your "war" with your husband... if I could give you a bit of advice, you will catch more bees with honey.
 
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Old 08-26-19, 04:48 AM
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If the gap really bothers you, you could use a small amount of caulk around each one.
 
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Old 08-26-19, 07:09 AM
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Thank you for the replies!
Iím suspecting the boxes may be what is causing the problem. Like the loose one I mentioned above, the side that wonít lay flat, happens to be the side thatís loose.
Little more into: Iíve seen other things that have given me reasons to worry but he keeps insisting itís just a Ďcosmeticí issue. Many of the boxes sit in the wall at a angle, are loose, we have dead switches/outlets, the drywall bows around the outlets/switches and in just the foyer alone, seven switches and no outlets.
Itís madness. I had to label them when we first moved in.
Itís clearly not the texture because he sanded what little we had off one wall and the plate/cover still didnít lay flat. Iíve broken and ripped a few plates/cover off the wall due to the deficit on my right side, so they are sticking out enough to be a safety issue for myself. And besides, they are supposed to lay flush.
I want go room to room changing out the switches/outlets that we are having problems putting plates/covers on, to make sure everything it right with them and try to consolidate some of these switches. He is saying this is ridiculous (possibility considering just how many switches there are in this house) and would cost too much to hire someone to do it for us.
So I guess the bigger question is, Iím worry about nothing here or are the plates/covers not being flush a bigger issue?
 
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Old 08-26-19, 06:30 PM
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Iím worry about nothing here or are the plates/covers not being flush a bigger issue?
IMO you are worrying about nothing. It is only cosmetic. As a side note, my preferred brand of devices and plates is Pass Seymore Legrand. Their standard nylon/plastic plates always fit well.

If the plaster ears of the devices are touching the drywall/plaster then that is as good as it is going to get. Boxes being loose or crooked is not going to cause gaps between the wall and the plate. Device screw holes are purposely oval so the device can be adjusted straight even if the box is crooked. You can also fasten boxes using screws or F-straps.

I did notice that your one 2 gang switch box has the wrong screws installed on the yoke. The should be 6-32 pan head screws. Yours appear to be counter sink screws which might hold out the plate.
 
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Old 09-03-19, 05:40 AM
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Hi, is the side of the box that is sticking out the side that is nailed to the stud? If not installing a Madison bar may help to pull the box into the wall to make it flush.
wiremold makes extension rings that might also work.
https://www.amazon.com/Legrand-Wirem.../dp/B000NCTL6E
Geo
 
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