I recently replaced an electrical receptacle. It was old and the device box was also recessed. So, I added the 1-Gang Outlet Box Spacer Extenders from Home Depot. Now, the receptacle is held tightly in place by the device box rather than against the drywall with a space in between. However, this has revealed that the device box was not mountedparallel with the drywall and the receptacle appears crooked (see photo below). I was thinking of shimming the device box on the side connected to the stud but that would only increase the angle. Does anyone have any suggestions for fixing this angle so that the receptacle and the drywall are parallel?

enter image description here

  • 2
    please include a picture with the cover removed
    – jsotola
    Feb 13, 2020 at 18:08
  • Can do - I won't be able to take a photo till this weekend but I will as soon as possible and I'll post it here.
    – cpuga001
    Feb 13, 2020 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


I find that i can usually manipulate them into alignment.

The tabs on the outlet that the screws go through attaching the outlet to the box are made of somewhat malleable metal.

Turn the breaker off to the circuit so there is not ANY power to the box. You should use a non-contact voltage tester to insure that there is no power in the box to any wires.

Take off the cover plate. I can usually just grab the outlet with my fingers, i reach in as far as i can and try to push the back of the outlet to one side or the other.

In your case you would push the back left side to the right.

Sometimes they are stubborn and do not move easily or i can not get a good finger hold so i carefully use a pair of adjustable pliers or a small pry bar to push the back to the side. ( remember the power should be OFF ) Be careful to not crush/crack the outlet.

It may take little fiddling but you can straighten it out.

  • An old electricians trick is to try and adjust it by using a pair of channel locks and gently turning the receptacle until it is aligned. The trick is not to squeeze so tightly you either break the receptacle or leave teeth marks. Feb 14, 2020 at 14:14

At a certain big box home store with blue and white trim, they have a "Silver Steel Wall Plate Spacers" that look like this:

enter image description here

These are purpose made for what you are trying to do. The description reads

Innovative design helps repair electrical outlets that are too far recessed into the wall. Works with all switches, receptacle, and GFCIs. Installs quickly and easily, bringing devices up to level.

  • Thanks for the quick response Jamie M.! I'm a little nervous about using spacers that seat on the drywall itself because the receptacle is one of those tamper resistant receptacles mandated by the NEC and it's really difficult to insert and remove plugs. So, I'm a little worry the drywall won't hold up to the wear and tear.
    – cpuga001
    Feb 13, 2020 at 18:24
  • I'm not sure how the drywall will hold up, but the spacer does cover quite a bit of surface, which should help with that. Consider that a normal plug just has those small tabs at the top and bottom that contact the drywall.
    – Jamie M
    Feb 13, 2020 at 18:49
  • 2
    @cpuga001 drywall is rreasonably strong in compression. Feb 13, 2020 at 21:00
  • The drywall will be totally fine- unless it's been compromised/broken by the installer. Tap it lightly with a pencil (without the faceplate). It should sound the same all around the box, and the pitch should change up towards where the stud is that the box is anchored to. As for the tamper resistant being hard- you need to modify how you insert the plug. Slowly insert, wiggle towards the neutral, and push it the rest of the way in. It takes some getting used to and I still swear at them every day.
    – J.Hirsch
    Feb 14, 2020 at 14:00

i find that is often the result of the wires not having a proper z bend in them and are pushing the socket out on one side. The screws aren't able to counter the strength of the solid copper. bend the wires to hold the socket straight and all should fix itself.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know how best to contribute here. Feb 15, 2020 at 21:25

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