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A wall of a second-floor full bath (in TX) has the following outlets. enter image description here enter image description here The middle box is for a phone wire! I plan to remove this box. This box is nailed to a 2 by 4 above it that is running between the studs. There is also a slightly slanted 2 by 4 below the now-removed mini wall vanity/shelf. The shelf is to be placed back.

The double plug on the left is nailed to a stud to its left. The triple switch is nailed to a stud to its right. All incoming or outgoing wires are through the bottom of the boxes. The studs are about 14 inches apart.

The plug and switch are not level with each other. They are off by about 1/2 inch. Their boxes also are not flush with the drywall, they are inset too much and there is a gap between the face plate of the triple switch and the switches.

I am planning to replace the plug and switches but I want

(a) for them to be flush with the drywall

(b) for the plug and the triple switch to be level

What is the best way to achieve this?

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  • Are you ok with opening up the wall around and between the switch set and wall plug? – Jack Dec 26 '20 at 7:07
  • @Jack Yes, but the amount of slack in wires of plug might not be enough to move it to right and have a 4 gang. – Maesumi Dec 26 '20 at 7:17
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    True, but the only way to find out the safest way is to open up the wall, that way it can be seen if the wires are fed from the top, bottom or both. It also will allow the new box to be added after the others are removed IF the wires allow it. Yes it could be a mighty big "if". At the least they should be able to be set at level with each other, if not slightly closer, if that is preferred. – Jack Dec 26 '20 at 7:23
  • @Jack , So you suggest to remove a big rectangle of sheetrock, including all three outlets and a portion of studs to see the wiring, move what can be moved, and reposition, then nails the new sheetrock to the studs. – Maesumi Dec 26 '20 at 7:30
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    Removing some sheetrock would also allow removal of the phone outlet box and not need a cover plate. Also, the OP may need to "split the difference" by moving one box down 1/4" and the other up 1//4" depending upon how the cables are run. In any case, pulling off some sheetrock would simplify the job. – George Anderson Dec 26 '20 at 13:05
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  • Turn off the power at the breaker
  • Rip the wall open
  • Pull out the devices from the boxes and label the wires of the devices
  • Remove the devices
  • Unclamp the cables and pull them back
  • Pry off the boxes
  • Place new boxes
  • Insert and clamp the cables
  • Repair the wall
  • Replace the devices following the labels applied earlier
  • Turn breaker on and verify correct operation
  • Install cover plates

Note that a small drywall repair is typically at least as much work, if not more work, than a large drywall repair - A sheet is 4x8 feet, so feel free to go (up to) that large if it simplifies your re-wiring at all.

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  • All this presumes that there's enough cable in the wall to move the box the desired amount. One box (the outlets, for example) may need to move down to match the height of the other (the switches, for example) if there isn't enough room to move the switches up. Actually, I'd strongly recommend moving the outlet box, not the switch box, simply because there is less electrical work involved and, therefore, easier. – FreeMan Dec 26 '20 at 16:42
  • OP wants both boxes to move (out to face of wall) as well as to align them vertically. Given it's a matter of 1/4" per box if both move, it would be very surprising not to have enough wire to manage that; but if need be, a junction box is easily added. – Ecnerwal Dec 26 '20 at 22:02
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    "Replace the devices following the labels applied earlier" => throw away the receptacle that should be a GFCI, and put new $2 rocker switches while you're at it. – Mazura Dec 28 '20 at 0:57
  • is it ok to release some of the staples that hold the wires to the studs to make it easier to move the box to the middle of the area between the two studs. – Maesumi Dec 28 '20 at 15:31
  • If you do it without damaging the cables. – Ecnerwal Dec 28 '20 at 15:37

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