Installing Remodeling Boxes

 

Replacing a Receptacle

 

Remodeling boxes, also called old-work boxes, are electrical boxes designed to be installed after drywall has been hung. For example, you would install a remodeling box if you need an additional outlet for a home office or theater.

 

In contrast to new-work boxes, which are screwed to the wall studs before drywall is hung, old-work boxes hang on the drywall with clamps built in to the box.

 

Installing a remodeling box is something you can easily do with just a few tools. This project guide will walk you step-by-step through the process of installing a plastic remodeling box in drywall for a new outlet, including running wiring from an existing outlet to power the new one.

 

Preparation

 

• Determine the location for your box. It should not be on or adjacent to a stud or joist. A convenient way to
  install a new outlet is in the same bay, or between the same studs, as an existing outlet on the opposite side 
  of the same wall.
• Measure for the wiring you will need, and then buy an extra foot.
• Check with local building inspectors before doing any electrical work to ensure compliance with local codes.
 

Safety

 

• Hire an electrician to install remodeling boxes and run new cable if you are not comfortable with wiring 
  projects.

• Ensure that the receptacle/switch added will not overload your existing circuit. Always know what other
  devices are on the circuit to ensure you are safely installing your new remodeling box.
• Turn off the electricity at the circuit breaker to the outlet you will draw power from for your new outlet. Use a 
  voltage tester to confirm the power is off at the outlet.

 

Savings

 

• Save money by doing this straightforward project yourself, rather than hiring an electrician.


WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:

TOOLS:

MATERIALS:


Step 1: Turn off the Electricity

Turn off the Electricity 1.  Turn off the power at the breaker panel to the outlet from which you will draw
     power.  
 
2.  Use a voltage tester to ensure power is off at the outlet. 
  

Step 2: Mark for the Box

Mark for the Box

1.  Hold the remodeling box up to the wall in the location where it will be installed.  
 
2.  Use a stud finder to ensure you don’t install a remodeling box adjacent to a 
     stud or pipes. 
 
3.  Trace around the box with a pencil to mark the area to be cut.

  

Step 3: Cut the Drywall 

Cut the Drywall

1.  Use a utility knife to score the drywall paper along the outline of the box.  
 
2.  Use the drywall knife to carefully cut out the hole. Go slowly to ensure you don’t 
     cut any wires behind the wall.  
 
3.  Push the remodeling box into the hole for a test fit. It should fit snugly, but you 
     shouldn’t have to force it.

  

Step 4: Loosen the Old Outlet

Loosen the Old Outlet 1.  Using a voltage tester, ensure the power is off at the electrical outlet from which
     you will draw power.  
 
2.  Unscrew the faceplate from the old outlet. 
 
3.  Pull the outlet away from the box.
  

Step 5: Feed the Cable to the Old Box

Feed the Cable to the Old Box

1.  Use a screwdriver to knock a hole in the back of the old outlet box, at one of the 
     knockouts.  
 
2.  Feed the wiring through the hole in the box and out the other side of the wall.

  

Step 6: Connect the Wires in the Old Box

Connect the Wires in the Old Box

1.  Use the wire strippers to strip 5/8 in. of insulation off each end of each wire.  
 
2.  Using new wire nuts, connect the wires from the cable to the existing wiring.
     Connect white to white, black to black, and ground to ground.

  

Step 7: Mount the Remodeling Box

Mount the Remodeling Box

1.  Pull the new cable through the hole in the wall where the new outlet will be located.
 

2.  Strip about 10 in. of sheathing off the cable.  
 
3.  Insert the wires through the hole in the back of the remodeling box.
 
4.  Insert the box into the hole.
 
5.  Screw down the clamping tabs carefully until the box is tight against the wall.

  

Step 8: Wire the New Outlet

Wire the New Outlet

Attach the wires to the new outlet, connecting:
 

           • The white, or neutral wire, to a silver terminal screw,
           • The black, or hot wire, to a brass terminal screw and
           • The bare copper wire to the green grounding screw.  

  

Step 9: Install the New Outlet

Install the New Outlet

1.  Screw the new outlet into the box.  
 
2.  Attach the faceplate.  
 
3.  Turn the power back on and test the new outlet.