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(UK) We have an ugly fuse box and electricity meter in our hall we want to box in. It's on the wall as you enter, the wall that separates mine and my neighbour's terraced houses. They're 1950 ex council, if that makes any odds!

We've built a wooden frame and want to attach it to the wall to cover the boxes (it'll have a hinged access door). But how do we avoid drilling through wires? We have a stud finder with wire locator but I tested it on a wooden door yesterday and it detected electricity (ha!) so I don't trust it!

There's so many wires running out and on and I'm terrified of hitting one. Any thoughts?

  • Perhaps there are alternatives to penetrating the wall. You could use a construction adhesive to fasten it to the wall. – Alaska Man Oct 3 '20 at 18:05
  • Is the surface you are attaching this to thick enough to use screws that don't penetrate though to the back side? – jwh20 Oct 3 '20 at 20:01
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A trick I use when I'm unsure of any obstructions behind a wall is to drill a very small pilot hole that just makes it thru the wall surface. Then I take some sturdy metal wire, insulated electrical conductor or a coat hanger and bend one end into an arc. Now feed that bent end into the hole and twist the coat hanger around to see if it hits anything. You will easily be able to tell if there are any obstructions. I love this method because it will help inform you of any wiring, plumbing, studs or other obstructions. I made a quick image to help explain it better.

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Is the wall drywall or plaster? You could try using plastic wall anchors and mounting the box to those, which would prevent you needing to drill deep into the wall.

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    I'm not sure I've ever seen a drywall anchor that was short enough to not penetrate all the way through the drywall. Even really thick drywall is only 5/8" (~13-14mm) and that's a pretty short screw to be supporting much weight. – FreeMan Oct 8 '20 at 14:33
  • I have some that are 3/4". The tip is round and it's made of plastic, so even with 1/4" going into the wall I think it's unlikely that anything is damaged. Typically they are used for hanging lighter objects, but you can split the load up among multiple anchors. – ed729 Oct 8 '20 at 18:28

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