I'm trying to figure out how drywall is supposed to be cut out to go around preexisting electrical boxes that are attached with rigid metal conduit. The conduit is the ground path. My dilemma is if I disconnect the box from the conduit and then push the box through the front of the drywall I won't be able to access the back to reattach the conduit. If I put the drywall over the box I'm not sure how to get the "ears" through unless I make the cutout large enough, but then the ears won't have any material to since against.

I've attached an image that shows the box as well as how a box on a different wall that is already installed looks. The ears on the box are detachable, but I don't see how I could even access the screws to secure them after the drywall is placed over the box if I remove the ears first. The already installed box isn't shedding much light on how they did this, so any advice would be appreciated!

Box to put drywall over and currently installed box

  • 1
    Btw, that’s not “rigid” conduit... it’s EMT. Rigid is something else.
    – Tyson
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 16:57
  • Maybe if you remove the ears then put the screws in somewhat loose.Put the drywall on and cut slots into the holes for the screws so you can jut push the ears onto the screws, then rotate and pull the box out enough to be able to tighten the screws on the ears. Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 0:03
  • What is the box attached to now? Is it just hanging from the conduit?
    – gnicko
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


On the metal box remove the ears, put up the drywall, then pull the box out sightly past the wall and reattach the ears.

If, in addition to screws in the "ears", it is necessary to to provide additional clamping of the box on the inside of the drywall, assuming the bottom of the box has no cables or conduit in the way, use the flat metal folding clips to hold the box to the inside of the drywall. Raco old work box supports. One drawback to the use of these metal box supports is that the end folded inside the box can touch the hot screw contacts. So if they are used, a good practice is to use electrical tape around the receptacle to cover the screw contacts. I suppose one could instead put tape on the part of the box support that is folded inside the box on the hot side. In this case the metal receptacle box is apparently mounted horizontally so the receptacle could be placed with the hot side up and away from the folded support.

But a neater way to securely hold the box on the inside of the drywall would be to adhere wood strips (such as 1/4" or 1/2" thick plywood) on the insides of the drywall opposite the ears on the box. This would give something for screws in the holes in the ears to bite into. If non-combustible materials are required, then metal flashing could be cut and secured to the drywall before it is screwed place to the wall. Then drill through the holes in the ears through the drywall, and through the metal for screws to hold the ears.

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