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#44335 - 11/01/04 07:39 PM Hack Job, Part II
Dave55 Offline

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
I usually have a pretty good imagination and think of creative ways to fix unusual problems, but today I felt like a hack.

I'm replacing outlets and switches all around and in the kitchen is a rework/gem box. When I pull off the cover, the outlet falls into the wall bacuse the hole was cut too big in the plaster (Hack Job, PartI).

I'm staring at this hole like an idiot wondering what to do. I settled on a deep rework/gem box with a monster chunk of duct seal (yes, duct seal) on it's back. I caught the bottom edge of the hole & squished the duct seal against the back plaster wall until the box was flush. Then I put in the metal things that keep it from pulling out of the wall (the sides were tight). Then I caulked the top/excess hole with silicone, my favorite adhesive.

I think it'll work, but any ideas about how a real electrician could have done it. Now it's a kitchen wall with wallpaper, so I'm sure Grandma doesn't want me to cut out a huge chunk of plaster to mount a bracket box.

I have some more issues with Hack Job, Part I, but I'll get into that in the Photos Submitted section.


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#44336 - 11/01/04 08:12 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
twh Offline

Registered: 03/11/04
Posts: 898
Loc: Regina, Sask.
A real electrician would use a wad of electrical tape instead of duct seal. Screwing plywood to the back of the box might be better. If you're really unlucky, you might be able to knock the plaster off the other side of the wall.

I'm not a fan of silicone. I need to use plaster so I can take several tries to get it smooth and still wash it off my hands.

#44337 - 11/01/04 08:48 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
frank Offline

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 361
Loc: windsor ontario canada
Plywood cut the width of the hole slide up behind the drywall a few inches with a couple of drywall screws.Adjust the plaster ears add a stainless steel face plate and your good to go.The screws may be visible even with an over sized face plate so a finger full of mud helps.

#44338 - 11/01/04 09:33 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
John Steinke Offline

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 509
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
Last year I had a job that included re-wiring a receptacle in a masonry wall. Due to chronic water seepage from the shower on the other side of the wall, the brick was soft and crumbly. I anchored the replacement box with expanding foam. It worked well.

#44339 - 11/02/04 06:29 AM Re: Hack Job, Part II
earlydean Offline

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
Those "metal things that keep the box from pulling out of the wall" are called "sheet metal box supports" or more commonly "steam boats" or "battleships" because of their shape.
The NEC in 314.23(C) requires enclosures (boxes) mounted in a finished surface to be rigidly secured therto by clamps, anchors, or fittings identified for the application. Sounds like what you did was secure the box as best as you could. You used an identified fitting (the steamboats) and additional methods to help make it secure. We would all do the same. Bottom line: it is much better than when you started, so it is an improvement. You are not a hack, rather an innovator trying to achieve code compliance in an adverse situation.
I would have used joint finishing compound and taping paper if the wall wasn't yet painted, and caulking otherwise. It needs to be closed up (NEC 314.21) to within 1/8 inch from the edge of the box to the gypsum wallboard.

#44340 - 11/02/04 12:36 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
NJ Wireman Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 179
Loc: New Jersey (South Jersey)
Here in jersey their madison bars!

#44341 - 11/02/04 01:04 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II

Eeeerrrrrr.....F-straps,Madison clips Colorado

#44342 - 11/02/04 08:23 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
Active 1 Offline

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 684
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
We call em madisen clips here. There is also those jem boxes with the sides that expand out. I don't have a name but don't likethem because you only can use them once. I have used construction adhesive on brick to hold in a box.

It does not work if the hole is too big on the ear ends. I knew some guys that would cut the drywall papper so the jem box ears would sit more flush in the wall. The problem was whe something was pluged in too hard the wall would bust in because the paper is what holds the drywall together. Then it was a mess.

I got to say I hate wood lath plaster walls.


#44343 - 11/05/04 08:57 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
Dave55 Offline

Registered: 05/08/04
Posts: 666
Loc: Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA
Thanks Guys!

Maybe a real EC would have used Duct Tape instead of duct seal. I like the term "steamboats". They look like steamboats and if I play with them I'll remember that name.

"An inovator"...LOL...Thanks earlydean! I would have patched it except for the wallpaper.

If you want to see some pictures of this project look at "This Old House" and "What's it WORTH?" in the Photos Submitted section.


#44344 - 11/06/04 06:56 PM Re: Hack Job, Part II
Obsaleet Offline

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 361
Loc: Pa
Why not use a plastic old work box they a little bit bigger the the metal gem box. I am not a big fan of these and only use them for situations such as this, or to get more cubic inches.
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