how to fix an outlet box that sticks out

How to Fix an Outlet Box That Sticks Out – Try The Best DIY Steps

It is often quite frustrating when you have an outlet that sticks out, which makes all your plan for your beautiful home very unattractive. The dream of every homeowner is to have all sockets in place and properly fitted into the drywall. When this is not the case, then the steps to address the problem would be a priority. Hence, this article will discuss how to fix an outlet box that sticks out. You are advised to read along to learn remedies to a protruding electrical box.

Where an electrical box extends past drywall, it can cause 3 issues; 

  • One, a naked source of electricity could be dangerous as any contact with the wire could cause serious injury and/or death. That is, human contact could result in electrocution.
  • Two, it might be very difficult to plug things into an outlet if the box in protruding out of the wall. In such a case, the outlet box will be unstable to plug in your device plug. You will have to hold it down sometimes to get your plugs into it, which is not nice. You do not want to be doing that.
  • Three, where an outlet box is sticking out of the drywall than it should be, it can be easily knocked out of place or be open to damage.

When you have all these issues, you do not want to write them off. Therefore, you must address them.

What causes an outlet box to stick out?

There are so many reasons why a plastic electrical box sticks out too far. We discussed them in the highlights below:

Improperly fitted outlet

An outlet box that is improperly screwed down or with screws that do not fit the outlet is one cause of an outlet box that sticks out. This would most occur if you are the one fitting your outlet box yourself and have not followed instructions. You might have used the wrong screw at the wrong place and that is the reason your outlet box sticks out. This is one of the reasons cited by Black Lion. 

Wires not properly packed

When fitting an outlet box, it is customary to pack the wires in place properly so that it does not keep pushing the outlet box cover out of place. Where this is one of the reasons why your outlet sticks out, you recommend using tape to hold the wires in place properly.

Oversize outlet box

An outlet box should fit properly into the drywall opening. Where the outlet box does not fit the drywall opening, it is the reason for having your outlet box sticking out. DrywallTube have some good how to repair oversize hole around the drywall outlet box, which you can check out at your convenience. 

An outlet box should flush with the plate of the drywall. If you have an outlet not flush with the plate, then you might have to adjust it to make your electrical boxes flush with the drywall. According to Home Efficiency Guide, the outer edges of an outlet box should stick out not more than one-quarter inch (6 mm) from the surface of the drywall. They stated that the reason for this is not for beautifying sake, but to minimize the resulting risk caused by an outlet box that does not flush with the drywall surface.

How to fix an outlet box that sticks out?

This heading will give you a step-by-step guide on how to fix an outlet box that sticks out. But before that, there are essential tools you need to have to do the job. These are;

  • Screwdriver
  • Screw anchors
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Outlet box
  • Level
  • Tape measure

Step 1: Shutdown power supply

Your safety is paramount. And if you have chosen to fix an outlet box that sticks out by yourself, and decide not to involve a professional, it is strongly advised that you switch off all power supplies to the outlet box.

The reason is that human contact with a live wire is a life hazard. Thus, to avoid electrocution, you must turn off the power supply. This also applies if you are putting on safety gloves. You do not want to take unnecessary risks.

Step 2: Measure how far the outlet box sticks out

Once your power supply has been switched off, you want to measure the amount at which the outlet box sticks out. This will ensure you know the gap you are working with, and if you have to replace the outlet box, the measurement is necessary to choose the replacement outlet box that fits the drywall hole.

Step 3: Tighten the screws

Before getting a replacement outlet box, you should check and tighten the screw of the outlet box already in place, and see if tightening the screws stick back in place in the wall. Sometimes, it happens that the issue is not with the outlet box, but with a loose screw, and that is why the outlet box is sticking out of the wall. Thus, you want to be very sure the screws are not the problem before purchasing a new outlet box.

Step 4: Remove the old outlet box

If your outlet box is still sticking out after you have attempted to tighten the screw, then that is a sign that your outlet box needs a replacement. Though that does not condemn the outlet box, it may just mean that the outlet box does not just fill that drywall hole. You should keep it and try to use it in another hole.

Unscrew the old outlet box, and remove all the wirings connected to it. Remember not to dispose of it, as it might fit in another hole as said before now.

Step 5: Install ground screws

After removing the old outlet box, you are should install ground screws in the hole of your outlet box. You can use a measuring tape to gauge how deep the screws need to go.

Step 6: Attach wires to the outlet box

Attach wires to your outlet box electrical panel and pin them in place properly. At this juncture, you have to safely turn on the power supply to test if the outlet box connects well.

Step 7: Reattach the outlet box to the hole

The next step after you have confirmed that the wires are well connected and all is fine, switch off the power supply again. Then you should reattach your outlet box back in place and apply screws where necessary. Put your electrical box back in place. By this point, you would have successfully fixed your outlet box that sticks out. Thus, enjoy your new outlet box that flushes perfectly on your drywall.

How to fix an outlet box that sticks out: Tips

  • You are advised to replace your outlet box with a beveled outlet box. Drop By My House says it offers a thicker design than other outlet boxes available on the market. And that it is easily set up and flushes very well against the wall.
  • Adhere to all safety measures.
  • Call a professional if the work becomes too complex at any stage you get to.
  • Change your outlet box at the time of the day you have full concentration so you do not miss out on any instructions.
  • Shop for the right outlet box that fits well to your drywall hole. Remain that quality and buying that which fits is better than wasting money on aesthetic outlets box that does not fit and would end up sticking out.
  • Use the level to learn how flush your outlet box is to the drywall
  • The hammer and drill may be necessary to adjust the drywall hole and to knock the outlet box in place.

Frequently Asked Question

Do you fix the outlet box by yourself?

Yes, you can fix the outlet box yourself. However, we will advise you to have the requisite knowledge of outlet box fixing, and all safety precautions when dealing with electricity and electrical appliances. Since this is a life-threatening issue that if you do not take proper care of, might lead to irreparable damage, you are advised to call a professional.

What’s the minimum depth that an electrical box can recess?

The minimum depth that an electrical box can recess is one-quarter inch (¼). This is the measurement generally accepted as the minimum an electrical box can recess. And many electricians cited the reason for this is to ensure safety and minimize fire hazards.

Can you mount the electrical box between the studs?

Yes, electrical boxes usually can mount between studs, so they can be stable. This is done by using old-work outlet boxes between studs.


How to fix an outlet box that sticks out requires the right information so that you can justifiably address the problem. This article has identified why an outlet box will stick out of the wall, and when it does, how to fix it. A step-by-step guide was enumerated on how to fix an outlet box that sticks out, with tips for a successful fix. It recommends that you get all the required tools necessary for fixing an outlet box that sticks out and ensure you only attempt the fix when you are sure you can do it yourself. If you cannot, please dial in a professional electrician to help you out. It might cost you money, but it is worth your safety.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *