I'm out in Chicago, and we are required to pipe in everything with conduit and use metal boxes.

For vertical 2 gang outlets, we use normally a 4 inch box with side mounting to a stud and two mud rings (one for each gang). Image attached.

enter image description here

I'm trying to figure out (without ripping apart my house), how all the outlets in my kitchen are horizontal as the mounting flanges I've seen on metal boxes are vertical.

I've used the "old work" boxes with drywall clips and ears to put in a switch or outlet (so you can mount them vertical or horizontal as needed), but when my house was roughed in all of the 1 gang outlets are horizontal.

What sort of metal box is used for rough in that is installed horizontally, like the pictured horizontal outlet?


  • Is the mud ring just flipped?
    – Leroy105
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 1:58
  • 1
    Those 4x4 boxes are symmetrical, they don't have a vertical or horizontal. All the mud rings have screw holes Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 5:06
  • A 2x4 between studs allows you to rotate the box shown. Easier if the wall is open.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 15:56
  • Is there a horizontal 'stud' (as Jon Custer suggests) - I've seen that used quite frequently to achieve this sort of thing.
    – MikeB
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 16:12
  • @MikeBrockington -- my Chicago electrician said usually these are vertical in Chicago just based on "how things are done" in our little universe. So the safe assumption is that it's vertical with a horizontal mud ring, but of course mileage could vary!
    – Leroy105
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Sideways mud rings

I'm fairly sure that what your installers did to get the horizontal receptacle effect was to take a 4S (4" square) box (or another square box) and then mount a matching 1-gang mud ring on the square box so the 1-gang opening in the mud ring is horizontal, not vertical.

enter image description here

  • I was thinking maybe the same thing! Meanwhile in the rest of the USA, plastic boxes and romex -- unions out in Chicago.... huge pain to do anything electrical.
    – Leroy105
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 2:02
  • 1
    @Leroy105 -- well, the initial rough-in's a lot of pipe bending, but think on the bright side, you can swap wires out pretty freely once that pipework's all done :) Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 2:09
  • 3
    Should be easy enough to pull out the outlet and peek into the box to see if this was how it was done.
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 5:00
  • 1
    My electrician who is from Chicago, confirmed same thing -- all 4 inch boxes in the house, vertically mounted, and then mud ring one way or the other. So yes, we're gonna flip some mud rings and run some whips into the cabinets!
    – Leroy105
    Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 16:59
  • 1
    @Leroy105 They make the mud rings in a variety of heights. I'd aim for flush or no more than 1/16" proud, because if you can get hard flush bottomed-out clean metal-metal contact between receptacle yoke and mud ring, you don't need a ground wire. Commented Sep 21, 2020 at 18:31

You could just add a double outlet box but right side up. Just cut that dry wal out. The double box should cover the hole.

  • This won't work for the OP -- they'd have some weird issues with KOs not quite matching up and so on... Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 4:08

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