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edlank 03-09-2009 06:49 PM

Hole in sheathing under vinyl siding at outside outlet
I noticed that an electrical outlet on the outside wall of my house is well sealed to the siding with caulk, but the outlet (with vinyl siding) float and can be push/pulled 1/2" each way. I was prepared to put the retaining strips in the hole beside the outlet box and bend over the tabs to prevent the box from being pulled out. After removing the outlet, I saw that the metal box is screwed to the siding, and nothing else. I removed the box, and found that the particle board sheathing has been bashed in rather than cut. The crater is about 6" in diameter. There was a vacated wasp nest in there, and the insulation is compressed against the drywall also. I am guessing the builder forgot to install this outlet and retrofitted it with a hammer. All the other outside outlets feel secure, so for now I assume they were installed correctly.

I want to repair this, and get the outlet secured to something solid. I also want to get a better vapor and insulation seal at this site. It is a great source of air infiltration. I assume I should open the wall from the inside and put a piece of plywood over the sheathing hole larger than the hole and fill in the missing particle board with a custom piece. Then I will cut a rectangle for the outlet box and screw the box to this reinforced sheathing. Is this necessary or advisable? I think I can do this without removing any siding, because I am concerned about cracking it if I remove any. It will probably need a 10x10" wallboard hole, I think, and that is not very appealing, either. Is this what I should do?

glennjanie 03-09-2009 09:00 PM

Welcome EdLank:
I have 4 outdoor outlets that were pulled out of the original wall and moved to match the center of the vinyl sheet for appearance.
It may take both hands to plug in or unplug a cord but I don't think it is a problem you need to deal with. Does the siding not have the fan-fold insulation behind it? That would take care of the air infiltration.

jdougn 03-10-2009 07:32 AM

Welcome Edlank,

Glenn gives good advice. I'd be inclined to just let it ride too. You may want to use some canned expanding foam, Great Stuff is one brand, and foam the hole inside the wall. Expanding foam would keep out air, insects, and moisture. The foam will stick to most anything it touches so protect the siding and your clothes.
hth, Doug

handyguys 03-11-2009 12:55 PM

Additionally - That expanding foam, if you let it fill behind the jbox, will help hold it in place.

What an elegant, all be it a little half assed, solution. Sure, the proper thing would be to pull off all the siding, replace the damaged sheeting and put everything back.

One trip to the store, a $6 can of foam and 5 minutes and you are done! Great suggestion.

edlank 07-10-2011 07:48 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I could not settle for the foam solution alone. The first picture is what I found after taking off one piece of siding. It shows how well someone's hammer works. The sheathing had vapor barrier on the inside (?) but a gaping hole at this outlet. A wasp had built a nest within the wall.

With a piece of 1 by 8 behind the hole, I filled in with wood pieces and build it up and sealed it flush. This should decrease the air infiltration into the wall.

BrianKiernan 08-02-2011 03:08 PM

Nice repair ;)

What do you call an electricians keyhole saw?

A hammer :D

edlank 08-17-2011 09:05 AM

For these electricians, that is right. A few seconds of cutting would have saved me hours, and avoided the horrible air infiltration this house had before I got back to fixing this.

Since then, I have worked on other outlets that were secured to the OSB, but were in the middle of very oversized holes.

What is the usual way of securing electrical devices to a structure with vinyl siding to avoid deforming the siding as the device is tightened? I used small wood strips under the siding at the box to keep the siding at its natural standoff height.

Is the vapor barrier on the inside of the OSB ever appropriate?

TxBuilder 08-17-2011 10:40 AM

Looks much better. Thats what I was going to suggest you do.

nealtw 08-17-2011 01:03 PM

I would bet it the the siding people that didn't want to take the time to put in the box extender to bring it out to fit their plug cover.

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