Installing Cut-In Boxes

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated July 3, 2017)

Have you ever found yourself in need of a new outlet, light switch, or some other kind of electrical box? This is a common enough problem to find yourself faced with, particularly when you are installing a new ceiling fan, or other kind of light system. Luckily, installing cut-in boxes is a fairly simple procedure. Cut-in boxes (also known as remodeling boxes) are the type of electrical boxes that you use when you are working with an already finished wall. Usually, the biggest problem that you are faced with when doing this kind of work is that different methods are used for installation depending on the type of cut-in box. Here are a few of the more common types of cut-in boxes that you can use, and how to install them.

Before beginning this project though, keep in mind that you should always turn off the power to the wall that you will be working on. The best way that you can do this is by shutting off the power at the circuit breaker box. Just remember to leave a note saying to leave the power off, incase anyone comes along while you are working. This will help reduce, or even eliminate, the possibility of accidents.

  • Cut a hole. Regardless of what kind of cut-in box you install, you will need to first cut a hole into the wall. Mark the location that you want your cut-in box installed in by using a pencil. After you have chosen a spot, double check to make sure that there are no studs in the way. Either make a template of your cut-in box (made from cardboard) or the actual cut-in box up to the mark on the wall. Trace the outline of the box using a pencil, and then begin to cut the hole. You can cut this hole one of three ways. These methods are either by using a drywall saw, a spiral cutting tool, or even using a saber saw. Spiral cutting tools are perfect for working on plaster and lathe walls, since it will not loosen the plaster or the lathe.
  • Spring flanged boxes. Before installing this box, test to make sure that the flanges will spring out from the box when they are pressed down. If they do, go ahead and press the flanges against the box, and place the box into the hole. Push back on the box until the flanges are free to come out. When they do, begin to tighten the center screw until the box cannot be easily moved.
  • Side clamped boxes. Once you have placed the box into the hole, begin tightening the screws on its side. As you tighten each of the screws, a flange will begin to extend from the side of the box, holding it in place. Continue tightening the screws until you cannot easily move the box any more.
  • Mounting brackets. Typically the only cut-in box that will require mounting brackets are the ones that have plaster ears. Place this box into the hole, and then slip a bracket in behind it on each side. Once both brackets are in place, pull them towards you gently but firmly until it is tightly in place. Now, push the box itself against the wall, and fold the tabs into the box. Use some pliers to help tighten the tabs.
  • Fold-out ears. Boxes that have fold-out ears are perfect for ceilings. These boxes usually have some type of plastic ears that will fold out behind the drywall to help hold it in place. Push the box into the hole, and then begin turning the screws clockwise. Continue to turn the screws until you cannot turn them anymore, since this will signify that the ears have fully extended.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Is an Extended Warranty Worth It?

Whenever someone purchases a new or used vehicle, the salesperson will typically ask if you want an extended warranty. But is ...

Discover More

Getting Cough Syrup Out of Clothes

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to get cough syrup stains out of clothes? Whether it's from your child accidentally ...

Discover More

Understanding a Car Dealer's Invoice Price

While many people may not believe it, understanding a car dealer's invoice price can be a very helpful thing. In fact, by ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Changing an Electrical Outlet

Even outlets wear out eventually. Learn how to replace an aging or damaged outlet yourself for a safer, more convenient, and ...

Discover More

Solar Lights for Exterior Accents

If you've been contemplating accenting your yard with lighting, you may want to consider using solar lighting. Easy to ...

Discover More

Selecting a Low Voltage Lighting System

Just because you want some lighting outside doesn't mean that you have to be using a whole lot of energy to do it. One of the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 + 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)