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Old 10-23-2008, 06:19 PM   #1
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Little square machine screw nuts


I did the wiring in my kitchen and tossed out the little square things. Now we just had 1/4" thick tiles put in and am realizing those little square things were probably to keep the outlets sticking out... am I right and is there any way to purchase these things separately????

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Old 10-23-2008, 06:35 PM   #2
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Little square machine screw nuts


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Originally Posted by pcampbell View Post
I did the wiring in my kitchen and tossed out the little square things. Now we just had 1/4" thick tiles put in and am realizing those little square things were probably to keep the outlets sticking out... am I right and is there any way to purchase these things separately????
I cannot picture what you are talking about.

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Old 10-23-2008, 06:50 PM   #3
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Little square machine screw nuts


He's talking about the little 1/4" squares of plastic that retain the mounting screws in receptacles and switches.

I've never seen them for sale by themselves. Get a plastic package of some sort or a plastic sour cream or butter tub and make some replacements out of it with a utility knife.

They aren't really for making the receptacles and switches stick out, they're for retaining the screws in the holes to make it easier to mount the devices in the electric boxes. If your boxes were set too deep and aren't pretty close to flush with the face of the wall then you'll need to use box extensions anyway, so working to replace the little square doohickeys might be fairly unnecessary. Your switches and receptacles must make solid contact with the face of the box or they'll only be supported by the cover plate and will wiggle around.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:03 PM   #4
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Little square machine screw nuts


How far out do you need? Look for box extenders.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:25 PM   #5
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Little square machine screw nuts


Hmmm OK. I guess that isn't what they are for.

How short can box extenders be? I only need 1/4".

If I don't use something behind there, then when I screw in the outlets and plug something in, they will recess back further than the wall plate. I.e. theres nothing for them to push against. The ears are not catching on the tiles.

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Old 10-23-2008, 07:48 PM   #6
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Little square machine screw nuts


I know HD has them in different thicknesses. They're plastic and cheap and a great idea that I wish I had thought of.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:02 PM   #7
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Little square machine screw nuts


Gardner Bender makes a spacer that will do what you need. I have gotten them from the electrical dept. at Home Depot. They come in a package of 20 or 25 for 5 or 6 dollars. They are about 3 inches long and are segmented so you can fold them over on themselves to get more thickness. Should be easy to see as they are fluorescent green. I keep them on my truck now do not think I could trim out a house without them. What did we use before we had these things??
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:11 PM   #8
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Little square machine screw nuts


If the gap 1/4" then you need box extenders. I think 1/8" is the max gap under code.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:41 AM   #9
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thanks i'll go get those.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:47 PM   #10
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Little square machine screw nuts


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If the gap 1/4" then you need box extenders. I think 1/8" is the max gap under code.
I thought it was up to 1/4" allowed by code?
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:49 PM   #11
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I thought it was up to 1/4" allowed by code?
Up to a 1/4" in a noncombustible wall surface. If the box is installed in a combustible wall it needs to be flush. Since the wall surface is tile, up to a 1/4" is fine.
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Old 10-24-2008, 02:54 PM   #12
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Little square machine screw nuts


Check this out



They make them in plastic too.
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Old 10-24-2008, 04:50 PM   #13
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Little square machine screw nuts


Nifty...Haven't ever seen a metal one like that. The plastic ones are sure gaining in popularity. Allied Molded has a pretty nice one that I'm seeing occasionally.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:25 PM   #14
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Nifty...Haven't ever seen a metal one like that. The plastic ones are sure gaining in popularity. Allied Molded has a pretty nice one that I'm seeing occasionally.
Is that the one with the screws inside and slides on a rail?
I just received my ECM and saw them advertised.

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