How to Add an Outlet Extender
Today I am going to show you How to Add an Outlet Extender. On Monday I showed you how easy it is to install the Flow Wall panels. The only thing that will slow you down is if you run into a light switch or an outlet. But, that’s easily remedied by cutting a hole in the material.
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- Outlet extender box
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Flat head screwdriver
- 1/2″ spade bit
- Jigsaw or a hand saw
- Work surface
How to Add an Outlet Extender
Important: Start by turning off the power to the outlet you are working on and check the outlet for power. After you are certain the power is off, remove the face plate.
How do you know where to cut your hole? Do you eyeball it? Do you cross your fingers? I like to pucker up and kiss it for good luck! Just kidding, but I do grab my bright red lipstick tube.
Use the lipstick to draw around the edges of the outlets.
Then line up the wall panel and press it against the outlet.
When you remove the panel lipstick marks will be left where the outlet is. (Note: the Flow Wall has recessed areas, so only the top outlet shows.) Lay the outlet cover over the lipstick print and trace around the outside edge.
You’ll notice in the picture below that I drew a line slightly inside the tracing of the outlet cover. I use that line to cut on, so you won’t see the junction box hole after the face plate is replaced. Use a 1/2 inch (or larger) spade drill bit to cut holes into each corner of the tracing.
Insert the jigsaw inside one of the pre-drilled holes and start cutting around the rectangle.
Work your way around until you return to where you started. Now you have a hole for your outlet!
If you are more of a video learner, here is a video showing this technique on a piece of beadboard:
Check the fit against your wall. Perfecto!
But wait, it’s not perfect when you try to put the outlet face plate back on. When you add any depth to your walls (from tiling, wainscoting, wall treatments or a Flow Wall), you will likely need to extend your outlet box.
Remove the top and bottom screws from your outlet.
Gently, but firmly, pull the outlet outside of the junction box. Thread your outlet extender over the outlet and wires.
Press the extender into the box until it is flush with the “new” wall. The extender should fit into the original outlet box. If there is a gap between the two, you might need a deeper extender.
Replace the outlet using the longer screws that came with the outlet extender.
Screw the face plate back on and…DONE! That wasn’t too hard was it?!
Now you can continue adding the Flow Wall panels ;-).
Stay tuned for the final Laundry Room reveal. You don’t want to miss it!
Pin for later!
Hey Maggie I respectfully disagree. Measuring and marking is just one way to do this job and it works well for some people which is great for them. Other people, other ways, whatever works for the individual.
As a professional electrician, I agree with Ted. Learn your tools. I couldn’t imagine walking into someone’s home or business and using lipstick as my marker… I’d probably be thrown out for not being professional. Learning to read a tape measure takes 5 minutes!
Though Ted’s delivery could be more diplomatic, I agree 100%. My opinion as a construction professional is measuring is the best way to determine the location. Those who say they need to “find the measuring device”, or “it takes to long” are not really prepared to do the task at hand. Im all about DIY, but this “hack” is named appropriately and will only work in a few instances. Why not just learn to measure?
Helped me I’ve even tried carbon paper, for anyone old enough to remember that, and to find out about outlet extenders was amazing. Thanks, GI Joe
Yesterday’s news, but Ted Hurtz is the wrong kind of old school. Using a marker of any kind to translate location beats a story stick, and easily beats actual measurement (which introduces its own kind of noise). The lipstick is almost certainly better than the old-school way to do it which is pencil / lead. Could meet in the middle with a marking crayon since it’s cheaper, less messy.
That said, I couldn’t tell if the original outlet box was metal (50/50 from I can see in the photos). Pretty sure code says you can’t use a plastic extender if the original box was metal (must use metal).
Hi Tripp Nightly, yes you can use a plastic extender on a metal box provided it is the type where the screw go all the way through to and screw into the existing box.
If you wish to play it safe they do also make metal box extensions.
Does this also apply to boxes with two pronged outlets? I had read on a forum as I tried to research this topic that the metal box needed to be grounded. We have a 1959 ranch home and the metal box is smaller, and the outlet is a 2-prong, so I’m assuming it’s not grounded. I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this – I have the box extender but just want to make sure it’s safe!
Hi Jenni, If the outlet is only 2 prong, the outlet itself is not grounded and any thing you plug into it will not be either. this is fine for small items, such as lamps and small appliances. Meanwhile the box itself should still be grounded. With the age of your house, you more than likely have metal cased wire coming to the box, which will create the needed ground for the box. Your situation is fine unless you plan to convert the 2 prong to a three prong outlet then more steps may be needed. Otherwise any extension box that fits will.
I love the lipstick idea, too! BTW, I believe the rule “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”. It also applies to commenting on blogs and any social media for that matter. Life is too short to stay angry.
Awesome tutorial! Would the procedure be the same for a switch? I mean do you need to add an extender on a switch?
Keep ’em coming!
Thank you! We reached the outlets and weren’t exactly sure what to do. We were hoping a “junction box extender” existed but weren’t sure. This post clarified what we needed to know and how to do it.
Came here via Pinterest (again).
I’m just about to build in some bookcases I got on eBay from a renovating law firm. Trim, molding, etc. I was about to cut the outlet holes and thought, “there must be a better way!”
Given I don’t wear lipstick, which is great, I used toothpaste. I considered raspberry jam, but toothpaste was easier to get off.
Anyway, I love the outlet extender thing. I built floor to ceiling cabinetry in my MBR, but didn’t know about such a thing, so behind the scenes my outlets are ooo-gly. Good thing they’re behind.
Thanks, as always for your posts.
(That Ted above just needs a good, vigorous enema. He’ll be fine.)
Lipstick is an absolutely GENIUS idea. If you can come up with ways to do away with all measuring then Brittnay for President! Maybe Ted’s lipstick melted in the car and he’s in a bad mood? Poor fella.
LOL, thanks Nester.
or just maybe I support using tried and true approaches to things instead of promoting hack ideas with the hope that I look crafty.
Personally, I consider this trick a time saver and so does Danny Lipford: http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/cutting-drywall-around-outlet-boxes/
Ted, why even read this after seeing the picture? Does making rude comments make you feel like a man? I’m male and open to any ideas that can make a job easier. I learned a long time ago that there’s more then 1 right way to do just about everything. If it doesn’t work for you, move on. Don’t be rude.
Completely agree, perhaps toothpaste, a little dab will do it or other substances that will mark or indicate the real location without any sort of measuring device, tool, instrument; which can be guess work, play dough, some sort of substance that would leave an impression like felt or something soft like a sponge backed sanding pad…..get creative, open-minded…….
Wow sounds like Teddy boy is an angry girl hating troll! I’ve been doing wood work for years and personally love this idea!! Nice work
Lipstick? Seriously? Learn your tools. TAPE MEASURES were invented for a reason. Dumbest idea ive seen in a long time – and presented as if its some great approach. Also – invest in a nail gun. You dont use large screws to put up paneling or molding.
Your comment was rude and dumb in my opinion. First starters, it takes less time to use the lipstick trick then find my tape measure and take two measurements. Oh and don’t forget to measure twice cut once. Hopefully you’ll be able to remember both measurements by the time you pull your saw out. And go ahead and put up your FlowWall panels with dinky finish nails and ignore the instructions that were provided with the product. Then we’ll see how long your shelving and cabinets that hang on the “so called” moulding will stay hung. https://prettyhandygirl.com/laundry-room-reveal-and-flow-wall-giveaway/
I AGREE, Very RUDE! The Biggest help is “WHAT IF” makes your mind change tracks!
Ted, I learned this trick from Brittany last year, and I absolutely love it! She is amazing, and it sounds like you could use some of her advice!
no, I don’t need to learn this trick. I use actual measuring TOOLS. I know, I know, its not as “crafty” as using lipstick but guess what – its not as messy either. oh and its more accurate, repeatable and the method is actually used by PROFESSIONALS – a far cry from the hack approach represented here.
But hey – go ahead and use your makeup to do construction work. You can share the experience with your friends and use the word “amazing” in every other sentence.
There’s not use trying to teach a Professional anything, they already know it all. But, if you want to learn a new trick, turn to this professional, Danny Lipford: http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/cutting-drywall-around-outlet-boxes/
Typical fragile male ego at work.
I know this is an old thread, but I can’t believe this guy. I personally use a rotozip most of the time to cut out for electrical boxes. There are a few other options, but using a tape measure is always my last choice as it is the most difficult and least accurate in reality. Being a guy, I don’t have lipstick in my purse, but it looks like it might work better than chalk or grease pencil — not a bad idea at all!
fasted foolproof way for me is lipstick. Ted Hurtz you may need to get with the program!
This was great advice!! Thank you!