Electrical box question

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68bucks

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So I built an out building and I finished the electrical and I'll be starting the insulation and wall covering soon. I have a problem/question that has popped up. I used standard stud mounted metal boxes for the everything. They are screwed to the studs and have small tabs that more or less set the position of the box on the stud in relation to the depth. Well the material I plan to put on the wall is 3/4" thick and the boxes are basically made for 1/2" material so my boxes will be roughly 1/4" short of flush to the finished surface. I can shim out the duplexes and switches with spacers I suppose but I was wondering if there is a better solution available. Has anyone had experience with this sort of an issue? Is there something better on the market to make up that gap?
 

bud16415

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If you haven’t closed it in yet I would move the boxes out. Some have that tab you are talking about on a screw and slot setup and you can adjust that dimension. If you don’t have that type you can pull the screws and reset the boxes.


They do sell box extenders but I don’t know if they make a ¼ inch one. Most are ½ I think. I have put one or two washers under the screw to straighten up a box that was set a little wrong, but a quarter inch is quite a bit to shim. The little Mickey Mouse ears on each end of the switch or outlet snap off and can be used as a spacer.
 

afjes_2016

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I agree with Bud. Since you have the walls open still it is best to adjust the boxes now to the proper depth for your planned wall covering. The time you spend on it now will probably be less than trying to trim-out etc each of the boxes after you put up the wall covering.
 

68bucks

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Here's the problem. These boxes don't really allow themselves to be just moved further out. That would be easy. The way they're built they have little tabs that wrap around the stud just a little and the bracket is nearly flush to the edge of the stud. The bracket is spot welded to the box, so no adjustments there.
20190710_105042.jpg
 

bud16415

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Here's the problem. These boxes don't really allow themselves to be just moved further out. That would be easy. The way they're built they have little tabs that wrap around the stud just a little and the bracket is nearly flush to the edge of the stud. The bracket is spot welded to the box, so no adjustments there.
View attachment 22234

I have never used this type but it looks like what you need.


https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-an-electrical-box-extender-1152426

https://www.cableorganizer.com/arlington-industries/recessed-electric-box-extender.html
 

JoeD

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I would switch to a different type of box that allows the proper mounting. There is no reason to use box extenders when you know the proper depth to set the boxes.
 

bud16415

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@JoeD


It seems correct to use a box up front that can be located to suit the finished wall surface. In the OPs case he got ahead of himself and has the job done at this point and likely the labor and the cost of replacing all the boxes outweighs the simplicity of the extenders.
 

68bucks

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When I started the electrical I wasn't sure what I wanted on the walls. Kicked around a bunch of ideas. Well my neighbor has a barn falling down so I can get all the old barn siding I want for nothing and I think it would look pretty cool. But, as I mentioned it's 3/4" thick, hence my delema. I really don't like the idea of replacing all the boxes. Not the cost of the boxes as much as it would be a lot of work. When I bought the boxes I looked and they were all set up for more or less a 1/2" thick wall covering.
 

bud16415

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When I started the electrical I wasn't sure what I wanted on the walls. Kicked around a bunch of ideas. Well my neighbor has a barn falling down so I can get all the old barn siding I want for nothing and I think it would look pretty cool. But, as I mentioned it's 3/4" thick, hence my delema. I really don't like the idea of replacing all the boxes. Not the cost of the boxes as much as it would be a lot of work. When I bought the boxes I looked and they were all set up for more or less a 1/2" thick wall covering.
I would give the plastic extenders a try. Pretty sure the box stores sell them and if you only need .25" I think the screws that come on the switches and outlets will be long enough. You will still get your safety ground to the box thru the screws and the plastic liner wont hurt a thing. Everything will be to code.

The free barn wood sounds cool. Free is always good. :D
 

Michael Armstrong

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I'd bite the bullet and move the boxes, unless you've stapled the cables really tight. Shouldn't be that much work to pry the tabs up flush with the strap, unscrew them, and move them forward. For 1/4", you can probably re-use the same screw holes in the strap.
 

bud16415

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I'd bite the bullet and move the boxes, unless you've stapled the cables really tight. Shouldn't be that much work to pry the tabs up flush with the strap, unscrew them, and move them forward. For 1/4", you can probably re-use the same screw holes in the strap.
From his picture the problem with moving them ¼ inch is the bar will be sticking out past the studs. It looks like he could gain an eight inch but would still need to cut off those locator hooks. He could router a slot in the back of his barn wood but that would be more messing around.
 

Johnboy555

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Thanks Bud! These extenders are just the things I wish I knew about years ago . I have run into deep boxes where there is little to support the switch/outlet. With the tabs on the extenders this would really solve the problem. I've used the little plastic spacers but they are such a PIA I hate them.
I love the idea of these. Thanks for posting the link .
 

JoeD

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Could you have a the barn boards planed thinner. If you only plane one side it won't affect the look.
 

bud16415

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If you have your own planer and willing to risk chipping a blade it could be a good idea to freshen up the outside surface. Taking a quarter inch off would require quite a few passes.


I have in the past asked people with commercial planers if they would do a job like this and no one would touch used wood for the high risk of hitting a nail or staple. I once had a 4’x8’x 2.5” thick redwood drawing board and I found a lumber yard with a 4’ planer and the guy said he would do it if I put up front 10 grand to cover removal sharpening and or replacing the blades. I went home and did it with a belt sander.


Some places now have metal sensors but with old barn wood you would be digging stuff out quite often.
 

havasu

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Geez, break the tabs off, then screw it to the wall 1/4" farther out.
 

68bucks

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I can cut the tabs off easy enough but that whole bracket would be beyond the stud if I move it out a 1/4". I'd have to trim that too, a non-starter, would take forever. I could gain an 1/8" maybe.
 

Michael Armstrong

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I can cut the tabs off easy enough but that whole bracket would be beyond the stud if I move it out a 1/4". I'd have to trim that too, a non-starter, would take forever. I could gain an 1/8" maybe.
If you've got a small circular saw, you could cut a 1/4"-deep kerf in the back of the boards adjacent to the boxes to fit over the box brackets - one quick cut per box, and you've already (presumably) marked the board for the box opening, so it'd be pretty quick. Here's one for about $40 at the orange big box store:
upload_2019-7-12_12-6-29.png
 

bud16415

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An old timer used to tell me when I was a kid, “There is more than one way to skin an armadillo”.


For $1.46 per box and with no changes to what you have done so far and about 2 seconds of additional work, I know how I would skin him. :D
 
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