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I recently purchased a home and several of the wall cable covers are loose. The wall anchors are essentially just resting in the wall instead of anchoring the cover.

What would be the proper way to repair this?

I’ve attached a sample image as well.

example of loose wall cable cover

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  • those white anchors come in larger size
    – jsotola
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 23:58

3 Answers 3

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The proper way to fix this is to install it the way it should have been installed in the first place, with a box eliminator, a.k.a. low-voltage bracket:

metal bracket

There are many varieties. I usually use something similar to the above picture. You cut a hole with a drywall saw:

drywall saw

using the box eliminator as a template. You want a really snug fit. Then you put in the box eliminator and bend back the metal tabs inside the wall. Done well they are remarkably sturdy, but they usually have holes so you can get a screw in as well.

Then you mount your coax/ethernet/phone faceplate as if you were using a regular box - i.e., with regular screws, not any kind of anchor.

Note that you can only do this for low voltage connections - coaxial cable, ethernet network cables, phone wiring, etc. You can't use it for any regular AC (120V/240V) wiring. But you can use a full box (plastic or metal) for low voltage wiring. The only time I generally use full boxes is if they are already there from previous installations or in new construction if the contractor put in boxes instead of just cutting a small hole and poking a pull string through.

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    Voice of Experience: Make sure there are no studs or other obstructions behind the outline of that new box eliminator before you start using that drywall saw. If the saw hits something that keeps you from completing the hole, you'll have a lot of drywall patch work ahead of you.
    – JS.
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 1:53
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Warning - Dirty Hacks

A short term fix is to undo the metal screws holding the plastic threadded "screws" to the front plate. Then add some matches (sans heads) or toothpicks into the two screw-holes in the plasterboard and gently tighten the chunky nylon retainers into them, and then reassemble. It might work until the next time the cable is tugged, or it might never grab if the plasterboard holes are wallowed-out enough.

Second - use a suitable adhesive to stick the plate to the wall permanently. The next person will hate you for doing this. More so if you're the next person because it will rip the wall covering when removed by force.

Third option is to replace that yellowed and stained plate with a different design, that has screw holes in all four corners, and screw that into the wall with fresh screws. Should last a bit longer, but still not ideal.


The "proper" solution is to cut a hole in the wall and mount a mounting box behind, however it is very likely the original installer put this somewhere convenient and not next to a joist or dwang/nod.

I see another plate higher up, which might be mounted the same poor way. It may be worth attaching some form of wooden spreader plate to this area of the wall and re-attaching all the switch plates in a tidy and cohesive way. Sure it is more work now, but doing it right is its own reward.

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    The match/toothpick fix works great in wood (e.g., hinges on a doorjamb) because you can glue the matches/toothpicks to the surrounding wood. I can't see it working at all in drywall. Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 13:35
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    Another dirty hack is using woodfiller or construction glue to partially fill the hole (instead of gluing the plate to the wall itself) and push/screw both screws back in while still wet. Just don't try to remove the cap after that...
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 22:16
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    Replacing the drywall anchor with a molly bolt will be a lot easier and more reliable than toothpicks. The toothpicks won't work long in drywall.
    – JS.
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 1:55
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    Face plates with 4 screws must be a Kiwi thing. I don't think I've ever seen a (single-gang) face plate of any sort here in the States with 4 screws.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 26, 2022 at 15:34
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The other answers are probably better, but tiny toggle bolts are another option. I've done this in this same situation, and they were easier to find in the local hardware store than the accepted solution.

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