My contractor's worker (son) cutout the drywall from around the outlet ears on my receptacles in each room. Apparently, he didn't know what he was doing... Now my outlets are loose in the wall. If I tighten them up they fall far behind the plates on the wall and are not flush. Its unsightly not to mention an big gap between the plate and the outlet...

Are there any brackets I can use to flush the outlets?

  • Why did they cut around the receptacle? Were they installing new drywall? – tahwos Nov 23 '16 at 23:01

The cut outs should have been filled with mud. large spaces around the box would not meet building code requirements. The contractor should be repairing the problem.

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  • Yep, contractor's mistake should be rectified by the contractor at the contractor's expense. – AndyT Nov 23 '16 at 12:43

They make device leveling plates for exactly the need you describe.

While I've only linked one, and it's a popular brand (Caddy/Erico), there are others on the market.

enter image description here

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  • Are these loose junction boxes attached to studs or are they one of the kinds which clamp to the drywall? If the latter are you saying that the boxes no longer clamp to the drywall because the rectangular openings in the drywall are too large for the flanges or tabs to grip? Or are you saying that the boxes are solid but are recessed behind the surface of the drywall so the receptacle is loose when it is attached to the cover plate? – Jim Stewart Nov 22 '16 at 22:48
  • @JimStewart The first line of the OPs question says the drywall is cut too big for the ears on the outlet..... – Tyson Nov 22 '16 at 22:51
  • OK, just confirming. So the tabs or metal clamps which grip the back surface of the drywall are engaging the drywall, but the ears are not engaging the front surface. So a stacked pair of the metal leveling plates (to give a complete ring) might be sufficient to clamp both the box and the receptacle to the front surface of the drywall as the device receptacle is screwed in? Then would an over-sized receptacle cover be required? – Jim Stewart Nov 22 '16 at 23:28
  • If the tabs are not securely engaging the back surface of the drywall, there is another type of sheet metal clamp which is inserted between the box and the drywall and which has ears which clamp to the back surface of the drywall and other tabs which fold into the box. This keeps the box from pulling out when a plug is pulled out. A good cover, combined with the rings pictured above, would keep the box from moving inward when a plug is inserted. – Jim Stewart Nov 22 '16 at 23:35
  • This is the kind of sheet metal clamp I'm referring to joneakes.com/learning-curve/…. – Jim Stewart Nov 22 '16 at 23:50

There are two fairly simply ways you can go here.

  1. Purchase some small washers and stack them in appropriate quantities behind the outlet, around the screws.

  2. Leave the outlet loose so that it fits the plate well. Inject a gob of pure silicone behind the ears and around the screws. Install the plates, check position and adjust if needed, and discontinue use of the outlets for 24 hours while the silicone sets.

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  • Most of the outlets in our house are recessed 1/4 " to 1/2" too deep. The boxes were nailed flush with the studs rather than projecting 1/2" so they would be flush with the drywall. So the receptacles were springy when inserting and pulling out plugs. I got plastic spacers in a strip which one tears off at the right length and folds to give the right spacing. They fit around the two screws which hold the receptacles to the box, but one doesn't have to completely remove the screws to fit the spacer. – Jim Stewart Nov 22 '16 at 23:11

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