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An electrician has installed a dry lining box for a cat6 network terminal. These boxes are supposed to have a metal insert inside each of the yellow parts, which accepts the type of screw that is standard for attaching UK electrical switches, sockets etc. Unfortunately, both of these metal inserts are missing, so there is no obvious way to attach the faceplate.

Appleby dry lining box

I don't want to replace the entire box as the plasterboard has already been tiled.

What alternative methods could be used to attach the faceplate securely?

Somebody asked about removing the yellow inserts from these boxes on Screwfix, and Appleby responded that "in design principle and as a general rule these [yellow parts] should never be removed as the lugs themselves cannot be replaced." I hope somebody here can be more helpful than this.

Again, this is being used for networking -- not mains -- so electrical safety is not a serious concern.

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There are lots of easy ways to do this.

Very popular old method, toothpicks. Insert a couple toothpicks in those holes and snap them off flush. If you don't have toothpicks, just shave a few chips off a pencil or something.

Steel wool - pack the holes with steel wool, the screws will hold well enough for light non critical duty.

Drill the hole out so that a small concrete or drywall anchor will fit in there.

Use a larger screw, enlarge the holes on the faceplate if necessary.

You get the idea, just get creative, just about anything will work if you let it.

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The yellow lugs might not be officially removable.

In practice they are.

Whether you will be able to get the existing ones out, and replacement ones in, without causing damage to the rest of the box in situ (causing the mechanism to become inoperable) I woudln't like to say... but you have nothing to lose by trying.

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I have made, in the past, some small angled brackets - threaded for the "normal" face plate screws and then screwed them to the sides of the box, you would have to remove or flatten the yellow bits.

The brackets were mounted sufficiently far back and I kept the standard screws so anyone loosing one in the future would be able to replace it.

  • The plastic sides of these boxes are so flimsy that I think this would be risky with this exact type of box, but with others I'm sure this would work. – Dan Feb 8 '20 at 12:50
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Wax the screws, fill the holes with a fairly stiff epoxy putty, tape the faceplate to the wall and screw the waxed screws into the epoxy putty (unset) and then wait for it to set. Wait longer than the minimum time (or just have everything with the wiring/jacks ready to go when you do this so you are in no hurry to remove the screws.)

Alternatively, fill, let set, drill and tap. More tools needed.

  • Unfortunately the yellow parts move around quite a lot (they are designed to slide back and forward so that when gripped by the screws they apply pressure to the plasterboard from behind) and the screws are flat-ended (not self-tapping) so I am concerned that with your first method the screws will push the yellow parts back and be difficult to get the screws to bed properly in the putty. I think I might try your second method with wood screws. You would recommend epoxy as the best material to fill the holes with and drill/screw into? – Dan Feb 7 '20 at 18:07
  • @dan Use some of the epoxy to fasten the yellow things to the side of the box so they do not move around. Epoxy in the holes, let set and drill pilot holes in the epoxy of the holes for the waxed screws. – Alaska Man Feb 7 '20 at 18:13
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bust the box out and fit an old-work box.

or seeing as the box is not needed for safety, cut a square of plywood the same size as the opening and put holes for the two mounting screws along one diagonal, cut a round hole in the middle of the square to accomodate the network jack.

then put drywall or panel adhesive on the four corners of the square, pass it through the hole and rotate it 45 degrees, pull it into place and clamp it using the screws until the glue sets.

  • FYI, "This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content." Would you add a sentence or two? – Daniel Griscom Feb 8 '20 at 10:57
  • Seems clear and succinct - why do you need to waste words saying the same thing? – Solar Mike Feb 8 '20 at 17:16
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    We don't have "old-work boxes" in the UK. Although I suspect you mean a plasterboard-mounting box, which is what's already there. Any replacement has to be small enough to fit through the tiles. – Owain Feb 8 '20 at 18:04

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