Repairing large/variable (dry)wall gaps around an in-wall ElectricalPanel cabinet?

Help Support House Repair Talk:

ftldiy

New Member
Joined
May 13, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
5
Location
Florida
Hi all,

I recently moved into a new place. Took the Electrical Panel cover off, and the immediate surround around it basically crumbled to pieces.

The previous owner, &/or their electrician, had done a sloppy job on the install, leaving large, uneven gaps around the panel enclosure.
Then they filled it with balls of masking tape and spackle. Seriously ... :-(

Anyway, I got rid of the most questionable stuff, and this is what I'm looking at now:

panel.jpg

I want to repair/fill the wall gaps to the outside edges of the panel.

If the gaps were small & uniform, I'd likely stuff some ClosedCall Backing rod, seal with an acrylic caulk, then fill in to wall edges with drywall compound.

With THAT^^ -- an uneven mess, with the largest gaps top & left @ ~ 1 1/8" -- I'm not sure what the right approach is here.

Should I first somehow 'plug' those large gaps with cut-to-fit pieces of plywood or drywall? Then rod+caulk+compound after?
Or get very large backing rod? Perhaps OpenCell (compressible) so as to better handle the variations? (not sure if acrylic caulk + open cell rod is an OK combo ...)
Or, some other approach? E.g., cutting out a larger, clean square hole, then measuring and fitting a cockeyed drywall frame to fit the hold, and the edges of the cabinet ...

Would appreciate any advice on doing this right, getting to a sealed surround, and clean paintable edges!

Thanks,

Rob
 
Last edited:

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
2,017
Reaction score
817
Location
Cary NC
Are the gaps visible with the cover on? You could start with great stuff foam and then use drywall mud to make it even with the wall and accept paint. Maybe even go with the red/orange firestop Great Stuff.
 

ftldiy

New Member
Joined
May 13, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
5
Location
Florida
Yes, they are. That's the reason I'm looking to ultimately get to a paintable surface.

And, though I'm certainly no electrician, I've been told --- per electrical code -- the gaps should be <= 1/8".

It's already a bit of a kludge, as the electrical panel's not mounted level into the wall. @ bottom, the panel face is right behind the drywall, ~ 1/2" from surface. At top, it's almosts flush with the outside wall.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
2,017
Reaction score
817
Location
Cary NC
Some, if not all panels, the panel that covers the side of the box/breakers is adjustable in or out to allow the main cover to be flush with the wall surface. If you shoot some expanding foam between the box and the drywall you can fill the gap. Let it cure, trim is as needed to get it slightly below the wall surface. Then use some drywall compound to give you a nice smooth, paintable surface.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,857
Reaction score
2,667
Location
Erie, PA
I would make a picture frame out of thin plastic, metal or wood and sandwich it between with a couple screws to hold it. Paint to match the wall.
 

kok328

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
3,230
Reaction score
383
Hi all,

I recently moved into a new place. Took the Electrical Panel cover off, and the immediate surround around it basically crumbled to pieces.

The previous owner, &/or their electrician, had done a sloppy job on the install, leaving large, uneven gaps around the panel enclosure.
Then they filled it with balls of masking tape and spackle. Seriously ... :-(

Anyway, I got rid of the most questionable stuff, and this is what I'm looking at now:

View attachment 27915

I want to repair/fill the wall gaps to the outside edges of the panel.

If the gaps were small & uniform, I'd likely stuff some ClosedCall Backing rod, seal with an acrylic caulk, then fill in to wall edges with drywall compound.

With THAT^^ -- an uneven mess, with the largest gaps top & left @ ~ 1 1/8" -- I'm not sure what the right approach is here.

Should I first somehow 'plug' those large gaps with cut-to-fit pieces of plywood or drywall? Then rod+caulk+compound after?
Or get very large backing rod? Perhaps OpenCell (compressible) so as to better handle the variations? (not sure if acrylic caulk + open cell rod is an OK combo ...)
Or, some other approach? E.g., cutting out a larger, clean square hole, then measuring and fitting a cockeyed drywall frame to fit the hold, and the edges of the cabinet ...

Would appreciate any advice on doing this right, getting to a sealed surround, and clean paintable edges!

Thanks,

Rob
Put the cover back on and trim it out with window moulding ?
 

mabloodhound

Restoration & Renovations
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Messages
385
Reaction score
158
This area doesn't get any abuse and is very stable so there is no need for plywood backing, etc. Just fill the void with expandable spray foam and as Sparky said, trim it below the surface and use drywall mud to get your finished surface, then paint it,
 

ekrig

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2020
Messages
98
Reaction score
78
Location
NJ
I recently had to fix a similar issue around my panel. I simply applied mud directly until it closed the gap so that it wouldn't show with the front cover on. In your case, you might have to do it 2 or even 3 times to close a bit at a time, but using hot mud you can do that in a couple of hours, maybe with time left for a coat of primer...
 

Eddie_T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2015
Messages
1,609
Reaction score
1,097
Since we are offering up options · · · I have added thin strip(s) of wood behind larger holes using tacky glue and a string,wire or finger to pull it tight against the back of the existing drywall. For a large hole I would fill with a scrap of drywall glued in pace before using mud or spackle.
 

ftldiy

New Member
Joined
May 13, 2022
Messages
3
Reaction score
5
Location
Florida
Thanks for all the various ideas!

After a bit of trial-n-error with trying/failing to get furring strips behind the wall to attach a frame to, I instead went with:

1) backed the gaps with 'cradles' of strong-adhesive, mesh fiberglass tape
2) filled the mesh cradles with GoodStuff Gaps-n-Cracks ('Red') foam
3) trimmed back the expanded, dried foam below the surface, and a bit concave
4) filled with premix drywall mud, in 2 applications, building up to just a smidgen under the surface
5) applied fiberglass tape on the now-flat surface, and applied a thin mud seal coat
6) sanded, primed & painted

quite strong/solid, and takes care of my gaps. doesn't look awful either:
2.jpg
 

Latest posts

Top