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Old 10-24-2010, 04:41 PM   #1
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plastic or metal boxes


I'm redoing all the electrical in my house and now deciding on plastic or metal, Is there any benefit to using plastic over metal boxes other than cost?

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Old 10-24-2010, 04:58 PM   #2
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plastic or metal boxes


Is there a cost benefit for plastic?

Personally, since I do commercial electrical work, I highly prefer steel but either is fine if installed properly.

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Old 10-24-2010, 05:24 PM   #3
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plastic or metal boxes


This could be a huge argument. Ground up or down? Backstab or don't backstab? Pigtail or run thru the device? And finally- plastic or metal boxes?

IMO, and it's just that, plastic is better. It's cheaper and safer, IMO. You loose any risk of arcing to the box.

I do commercial and industrial as my profession, but when I do residential, including my own house, I always use plastic.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:28 PM   #4
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When using NM cable, in my professional opinion there is absolutely no reason to use metal boxes.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:52 PM   #5
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plastic or metal boxes


Usually metallic for heavy ceiling fixtures otherwise plastic.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:58 PM   #6
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plastic or metal boxes


Just got back from HD.
I gotta say, the plastic boxes are flimsy to say the least. When actually plugging something into the receptacle that has a plastic box behind it, are you able to tell that it's plastic? It seems like there may be a bit of flex.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:01 PM   #7
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plastic or metal boxes


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
Just got back from HD.
I gotta say, the plastic boxes are flimsy to say the least. When actually plugging something into the receptacle that has a plastic box behind it, are you able to tell that it's plastic?
Not if it is properly installed.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:02 PM   #8
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plastic or metal boxes


A circuit cannot be shorted out if a loose terminal or bare conductor happens rest on the side of the plastic box.

Not so with a metal box, which is required to be grounded.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:33 PM   #9
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Are there better plastic boxes sold at other retailers or are they all pretty much the same as HD?
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:24 PM   #10
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plastic or metal boxes


Carlon has a line of boxes called Super Blue that are more rigid than the standard Carlon box.
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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plastic or metal boxes


I use plastic
There are heavier duty plastic boxes at HD too
But I bought a complete box of 100 plastic boxes
If I needed more then 60 (I think) it was less $$ then buying a few at a time
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Old 10-24-2010, 07:26 PM   #12
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plastic or metal boxes


I was going to post exactly this. HD and Lowes are not the end-all places to buy this stuff.
I will say though, the heavier blue boxes that they sell are not at all that bad, albeit pretty expensive.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:17 PM   #13
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Thanks, I'll go back and take another look or check another store.
Couple questions about the plastic boxes...
Are the adjustable boxes any good?
It looks like there isn't a clamp in some of the plastic boxes. How do you clamp the wire to the box?
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:24 PM   #14
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Single gang boxes require the cables to be stapled within 12" of the box. Multigang boxes have integral cable clamps.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:44 PM   #15
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plastic or metal boxes


I use metal just because it's much easier to find. The only plastic boxes I see at the hardware store are the outside ones that have screw on conduit fittings.

I've never worked with plastic boxes, so can't say if I like em better or not. Metal seems more "rugged" though.

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