The tile we chose for our kitchen redesign is long and narrow (3" x 9") with a raised oval design. This image isn't the same brand as ours (We purchased Portfolio) but this is almost identical.
Oval Tile

Electrical is currently roughed in and the boxes protrude slightly. I have a couple of questions. I need to schedule the electricians to come back and finish the work. I assume this would normally be done after the tile work, correct?

It's already been 8 weeks and we want electric in to hook up our appliances and get back to some degree of normalcy. If we had electric finished before the tile are we making a poor choice? I'm not certain how the tile will work with switch plates? Do we cut the tile to the edge of the plates and use spacers to get them close to flush or do we cut to the box and let the switch plate sit on the raised surface?

Any directional information/opinions appreciated.

  • I did a search and notice a question about a rock/pebble backsplash and using calk to fill the gaps between the switch plate and the tile. I'm hoping that isn't the best answer.
    – CraigPDX
    Jun 25 '14 at 23:12
  • really like the tiles too
    – DMoore
    Jun 26 '14 at 1:17

Generally finish material runs just short of the edge of the box. There are box extenders to bring the box level with the surface of the finish material.

Cut tile edges are almost always a bit rough. To have them as a visible edge is problematic. Plates overlapping tile edges is almost always better.


When doing stone or a weird pattern tile like you have I use gaskets. The picture below shows how they work. You can get them at HomeDepot but I don't like those. They sell really nice ones at my local supply store and have a few with the gasket built into the plate. This allows you to get the plate tight without pressuring the tile. All of the gaskets I have seen are UL rated so they are safe (don't make your own).

enter image description here


Watch out if you are going to use Decora (the big flat switches or square outlets [like what the GFCIs you should be installing look like]) as the screws holding the cover plate on extend about a 1\4in above and below the box, depending on orientation. Professional electricians should be able to deal with it, but I hate those little screws so I notch the tile where they poke through with a rotozip. Sounds like your doing the tile work, just get it done like they said, tile up to the box. Express your concern to the electrician when he comes and let him worry about making it look pretty. You could look for the deepest plastic cover plate you can find and then whittle away the high spots. I would probably just use some of the tile grout if it looked bad. The deviation on that tile doesn't look too bad, but there will be a gap. You won't like it for the first five minutes and then never notice it again.


We installed glass tiles in our kitchen last weekend, and used these spacers. The ones I picked up were black in color, if that makes any difference. Each provides around 1/8" of spacing, and you can add as many as you like to bring your outlet flush with tiled surface.

With the adhesive mat + glass tiles we used, I had to use 3 spacers per screw. You may need to use longer outlet screws if your tile's thicker.

Disclaimer: I don't have a particular brand preference, nor is any product endorsement to be assumed.

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