There is a 2-gang outlet/electrical box that holds plugs rather well (hair dryer, vacuum, etc). That is usually great, however when pulling the plug from the socket, the whole electrical box gets pulled and bends slightly. It always bends back after the plug is removed, though I worry that one day it will not!

Luckily, the other side of the wall is in a basement utility room and thus exposed. It can be seen that the box is mounted with 1 screw and 1 nail, driven into a block of wood that extends from the wall stud. Since the box is only mounted on one side, it bends on the said side when pulled, especially when pulled from the GFCI outlet (the right side of the last photo below, opposite of the screw+nail). I don't see how to secure it on the other side though.

  1. How can the box be more properly secured?

  2. Is a bit of bend typical? The box only has one mounting side, so I assume that one side is usually enough. Still, the physics of it makes me think there should be mounting options on both sides.

electrical box back

electrical box back 2

Electrical box front

  • 1
    While you have the box open you might want to flip over the left hand duplex receptacle. Normal residential installation normally has the ground on the bottom and the hot on the right. (For some reason hospitals have it opposite.) Sep 17, 2018 at 23:22
  • @JimStewart - I actually prefer to have both. It allows for better options with orientating things I plug in.
    – Bort
    Sep 17, 2018 at 23:31
  • Actually, it doesn't matter - but I prefer pin up, because the ground pin is less likely to get broken off.
    – tahwos
    Sep 17, 2018 at 23:42
  • There are endless debates over whether ground should be at top or bottom. I haven't been convinced by any of the arguments offered; I just go with the conventional "startled face" orientation for consistency.
    – keshlam
    Feb 9, 2023 at 15:42

5 Answers 5



Try using this - I think it is called barrington bars or something. (Also known as "box fitting accessory", "Old work device support" sold by Steel City, or "GRIP-LOK" sold by RACO.

They cost around $1 and work well for old work. No need to redo the box. The bars are slid in between the wall and the box, then the tabs are bent around and inside the box. This holds the box in place.

  • How does that work? I couldn't find anything under that name.
    – Bort
    Sep 22, 2018 at 16:01
  • Lowe’s or HD have them - so that is actually 2 pcs - one for each side (or not) looks like a F with top when detached. You insert the thick part behind the wall and then fold the thinner parts inside the device box. The closer you
    – ecco88
    Sep 22, 2018 at 19:36
  • I just found these for $0.75 at a big home improvement store. They worked perfectly!
    – Bort
    Nov 3, 2018 at 0:42
  • Those things are frequently called "battleships" by old electricians.
    – kreemoweet
    Feb 9, 2023 at 19:58

Since the box is so far off the stud, my suggestion is to take that existing box off and put an old work double gang in. It secures to the drywall and should fit easily since the stud is far away.

Trying to nail the box in further is pointless since the drywall is up.

  • +1 All good answers, but an old work box would be the quickest/easiest.
    – tahwos
    Sep 17, 2018 at 23:35

The box should be tight to the stud. You could add a thicker block and securely nail it to the stud. A better method would add a 2x4 between studs snug to the back of the box and add a couple of wood screws to anchor the box to the new 2x4. I would use screws to anchor the 2x4 because if you hammer it may damage your sheetrock. This type of box normally has only 2 nails but is tight to the stud.


You might also try a metal box support such as this: enter image description here

The one shown is a Caddy TSGB16. I don't think you can buy it at a big box or hardware store but an electrical wholesaler will have a similar one, or maybe you can find a nice guy electrician that will just give you one.

Good luck


Since you have access to the back side you can reinforce the attachment of the box. The box should have been up against the structural member and not with the space.

On the side next to the stud you could insert a piece of wood between the box and the structure to take up the space to support the box. On the side away from the stud you could use an improvised support from a piece of wood. In both cases you could secure the box with one screw through the inside through the side of the box and into the pieces of wood. I would use an 8" long piece of 2x4 on the outside of the box. Press this against the box and then use drywall 3 or 4 screws to secure the 2x4 to the back side of the drywall. Then use one screw to hold the box to this 2x4.

Or you could use the special metal clamps designed for this purpose to secure the box to the back side of the drywall. This prevents the box from moving out when a plug is removed. The face plate should prevent the box from moving inward when a plug is inserted.

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