I have an electrical box that was metal and i want to add another switch. I pulled out the old box and want to replace it. There was no ground to the box, and the wires do not have a ground, so I was going to use a plastic box. The only problem is the remodel box sticks out an extra inch because the stud isn't a normal 2x4. If I use an electrical box like this, can I just nail the front piece to the stud, or do I have to drive in the two long nails to the side of the stud?


  • You realize this is a new work box for application in modern standard framing and modern standard drywall. It is also very flimsy. The purpose of its design is to allow "electricians" to install it very quickly at high production rate. Since installing 50 of these before lunch is not a priority for you, I would stick with metal. Safer, and easier to retrofit grounds for when you choose to do that. (It is possible to retrofit just a ground wire, and is easy if you have access to the wall insides.) Mar 15, 2018 at 18:29
  • Have you looked for a shallow old-work box? The have wings that turn and grab onto the drywall. Shallow boxes will also be slightly bigger to one side. If the wall is open, then you just need to nail the new-work box in, again look for a shallow mount. You might be limited to switch space. lowes.com/pd/…
    – Jeff Cates
    Mar 15, 2018 at 18:32
  • 1
    Was there BX, armored cable, or metal conduit going to the old metal box? If yes, that was the grounding.
    – freshop
    Mar 15, 2018 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


If the box is not required to hold the weight of a light fixture it need only be securely fastened.

For example, you can get a 3-gang "old work" box designed to be attached only to the drywall. Which one you pick can have more to do with what cable is coming into the box: NM vs metal jacketed.

It sounds like you have access to the stud since you have removed the old box and expanded the drywall. The box you picked happens to nail to a stud rather far back. But there are other options. It may be difficult to reach the mounting points of a metallic switch box but you can nail into the stud with a metallic masonry box instead.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.