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Unread 01-13-2008, 07:42 PM   #1
coffeecup44
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Question Tile under switch plates/outlets help please

Hi,
I decided to put ceramic tile on my long backsplash
and have encountered the area of switchs and outlets.
I need to know how to "pull out" the inner electrical parts so
they are flush with the tiles.
I have 4 of them to work with.
I am a senior and cannot afford to call an electrician.
I think I can do it, if I had proper instructions.
Do I need to turn off the main electric?
My biggest fear is getting electrocuted!!
Please advise......greatly appreciated!
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Unread 01-13-2008, 07:57 PM   #2
Saldibs
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You don't need to pull the box out, leave them alone. Get longer screws and make sure that the tile goes under the ears of the outlet so when you screw them back in the tile will support the outlet or switch.
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:02 PM   #3
ckl111
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Yes, you should turn off the power at the main panel.

Use a lamp or radio to make sure you turned off the proper circuit breaker/fuse before you start unscrewing the switches/outlets if the panel is not properly marked.

After you have turned the power off, you can remove the cover plate and then remove the screws at the top and bottom of each switch or outlet. You can then pull the switches/outlets out so that you can tile behind them.

As Sal mentioned, you will most likely need longer screws to replace the original ones. You can get them from the local hardware store. I usually get 2" - (8/32) machine screws. 2" is probably longer than you need but at least you won't have to go back if the screws are too short.
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:03 PM   #4
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Safety First
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:04 PM   #5
ceramictec
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I think he is talking about the 2 eyelets, ears or whatever they are called that mounts to the top of the tile.
you just undo the screws and use longer ones like Sal said
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:10 PM   #6
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You could leave the power on. Nothing like a jolt to let you know you're still alive.
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:18 PM   #7
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Installing a back splash is electrifying
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Unread 01-13-2008, 08:31 PM   #8
esobocinski
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Coffee, are your electrical boxes metal or plastic? Just curious. They make box extenders for both types that slip into the gap, if you're really worried about them. Technically, you're supposed to use them if you have more than 1/4" from the tile surface to the box. I'm normally a stickler for following code, but in this case I really don't think there's any point. I actually consider the flimsy metal extenders to be dangerous.

The only real worry is if your screws are so long that your outlet flops all over the place. If your current boxes are close to the surface that you're about to tile over, then I agree with the masses that all you really want to do is to use longer screws. An extra 3/8" to 3/4" of wall thickness (depending on tile type) isn't going to make anything bad.

Beyond that, you don't really need to know anything about electrical. Switch off breakers and test each outlet with a reliable lamp. If they're all off, you're safe. If you're feeling paranoid, there's no reason why you can't wrap the outlet sides and its screws with electrical tape or a 3/4" strip of duct/duck tape (which turns out to be a decent electrical insulator).
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Unread 01-13-2008, 10:05 PM   #9
coffeecup44
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Smile Thank you for all the advice!

Thanks to all for the excellent advice!
I am not afraid to attempt it now.
Good idea to check each outlet with a radio first.
Eric, I have the metal ones and I will take your advice as well.
I sincerely appreciate the quick responses and expert help as
well as the great websites given to help me learn the "right" way.
Have a great evening all and best wishes!
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Unread 01-14-2008, 05:30 AM   #10
Rd Tile
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The screw size is 6/32.
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Unread 01-14-2008, 06:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Thanks to all for the excellent advice!
I am not afraid to attempt it now.

BZZZZZZZT!
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Unread 01-14-2008, 06:29 AM   #12
ckl111
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Quote:
The screw size is 6/32.
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Yer right, thanks for the correction...
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