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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    9

    Default Electrical box depth and codes

    I'm in the middle of tiling my backsplash and realize I'll need take some action to account for the additional depth of the electrical outlets and light switches. Apparently, when my house was built (mid 80s), the electrical boxes were installed flush with the wall studs and not protruding out 1/2" to account for the depth of the drywall. So the boxes are already recessed the depth of drywall and will have an additional 3/8" with the addition of the tile. So quite a gap from the box to the tile surface. I've seen the box extensions that are available, but the guy at the box store said they only fit inside of the "old work" style boxes and not boxes that were nailed in, which is what I have. Has anyone heard this before or had issues using the extensions on "new work" nailed boxes?
    Another alternative I've seen is the accordian style exenders (not sure the name) that you put between the switch/outlet and the original box, to sort of shim the outlet firmly to the box. I'm just curious if these satisfy the electical code. Is the requirement for box extensions to fill the gap around the outlet or to ensure the outlet is securely mounted? If the latter, then seems the shims would be a good option.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,418

    Default Re: Electrical box depth and codes

    The "spirit" of the code is that no flammable surfaces would be "visible" to the interior of the box. This is to protect from fire should there be arcing inside the electrical box. Gypsum is considered non-flammable; not sure how the paper facing is treated by the code.

    I believe the code does allow for some variation in the box not being flush with the surface, but I don't remember how much it is. I would think the extensions should be fine, since the nail-on boxes tend to be larger than old-work boxes. It seems like I've seen plastic extensions sized for nail-on boxes in the local Home Despot, but I haven't really paid attention since I haven't ever needed one.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Electrical box depth and codes

    I have successfully used extensions on boxes that were not "old work" boxes a while back. If I remember correctly, in some cases I trimmed the depth of the extension to match the gap I needed to make up. I have also used the plastic washers when the gap was not large enough to necessitate the box extensions.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Electrical box depth and codes

    If the box is mounted with nails trough the side of the box, you can pull the nails and slid the box out flush and renail.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: Electrical box depth and codes

    How about a deeper "mud ring" Get one to make up the difference of the surfacing material your applying and the face of the box. Patch wall to within 1/8" then tile.

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