The plaster ears on old work metal receptacle boxes (see example) each have two holes on the face of them. Is it ok to put screws through these holes to secure the box to baseboard?

In this particular case, I'm replacing an old receptacle and box that's located on the baseboard. The hole for the receptacle box is sized such that the box itself fits through cleanly, but not the plaster ears, which lie flat against the baseboard. I can use a set of those thin metal switch box supports (see example), but it seems the easiest and most secure thing to do would be just to drive 4 screws through the holes in the plaster ears into the baseboard. Is that allowed?

Thanks for your help!

* Image added* (note that I would snap the removable ears off the receptacle so that they don't block the holes on the receptacle box's plaster ears)

enter image description here

  • Can you post a photo of your situation? Nov 6, 2016 at 21:08
  • Image added to original post.
    – PhilPDX
    Nov 6, 2016 at 22:03
  • What model box are you putting here? Nov 6, 2016 at 22:11
  • "2-1/2 in. Deep Gangable Switch Box with 1/2 in. KO's and Plaster Ears"
    – PhilPDX
    Nov 7, 2016 at 1:33
  • 1
    Ok. In any case, every steel old work box with plaster ears that I can find has the same two holes in each plaster ear. I guess another way of asking the question would be, do those two holes have any purpose? Are they intended as screw-holes, or do they have some other function?
    – PhilPDX
    Nov 7, 2016 at 1:50

1 Answer 1


The holes in the plaster ears of the box will take screws very well. That is what usually holds the box in place when it is mounted in a cabinet.

To allow the cover plate to set well, you could use 4 gauge screws or a larger diameter and countersink the holes in the mounting ears a bit to help let the receptacle set tight to the face of the box. You would do well to break off the ears on the receptacle at the score lines to help clear the screw heads too.

  • Great, thank you! After reading your reply, I did a quick image search for "cabinet electrical box" and was able to find this image, which shows what I was asking about: images.meredith.com/diy/images/2009/03/p_SCW_218_03.jpg. And yes, I'll snap the ears off the receptacle itself (along the score lines). Thanks again!
    – PhilPDX
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:54
  • (And P.S. - thank you for taking the time to answer what was probably a very, very basic question!)
    – PhilPDX
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:55

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