Electrical Outlet Installation / Correction

OK, I’m remodeling part of my house.

I pulled down old paneling, and installed dry wall. The electrical recep boxes weren’t moved out to accomodate the new thickness of the walls.

What are my options? I don’t want ‘wiggley’ light switches and outlets if I just don’t screw them in all the way. It would seem I need to move the outlet box out to be flush with the drywall.

Anyone else experienced this? What did you do about this?


How much difference in thickness between the paneling and the drywall? I’ve seen outlet box extenders for sale in electrical supply houses but they were like 1/2" deep and that might be too much.

I’m at work now, so I’m not sure. I’ll have to go home for lunch and measure.

I figure the old paneling was 1/4" thick, and the new drywall is probably 1/2" thick. But I’m fairly certain the existing box is more than 1/4" recessed.


I’m going to have to see if I can find some of these perhaps…


David Simmons is right – they sell extenders of varying thicknesses that correspond to the various thicknesses of drywall. They have screw holes that mate with the existing box, so you screw the extenders on, then screw the outlet or switch to the extender. Unfortunately, I’m blanking on the name – plaster something? But even the big box stores sell them, and if you can’t find them, describing your situation to the helpful store employees should produce them.

I know that you can buy receptacles with (for lack of a better word) ears on them, they look something like this. I had a similar situation in a bathroom remodel I did. When I screwed the receptacles in the ears came to rest on top the drywall thereby supporting it. Worked out great! Although I’m sure that is not what they where meant for, or are they :confused:

You can also buy some insulated rubber spacers that fit around the screws. I forget exactly what they’re called, but you can find them at Home Depot. They actually look a bit like Lego blocks and you can stack multiple ones together to get the right thickness.


I think the extenders that you are looking for are called “mud rings”.

You should check the electrical code for your area to make sure that you don’t violate some rule by (for example) using a non-conductive ring on a metal box or some such. When I rewired my garage I bought a “Code Check” guide at the local hardware store, on the advice of the city inspector. It’s a flip chart showing most of the common calculations, rules and other things that you need to know. Well worth the $10 I spent.