My landlord is repairing a room in our home. He ripped out all the plaster and left just the lath boards. HE has "roughed in" using old-work drywall boxes. I don't know if he plans on screwing them to a stud when he is done. or cutting the drywall and locking down the tab.

I know NEC section 314.23(b)(1) states:

Nails and screws, where used as a fastening means, shall be attached by using brackets on the outside of the enclosure, or they shall pass through the interior within 6 mm (1/4 in.) of the back or ends of the enclosure.

Is this right? He had cut parts of the lath for running cables, so the wall is technically exposed in some parts.

  • 2
    The section of the NEC you quote doesn't require the use of nails or screws and doesn't forbid the use of old-work boxes. It doesn't seem applicable to this question unless you find that he is attaching boxes to studs through the wall of the box. If there isn't enough lathe removed to swing a hammer inside the wall cavity to install new work boxes I don't know what else you'd use but an old work box.
    – Paul
    Jul 9, 2014 at 16:22
  • @Paul Your comment sounds like an answer.
    – auujay
    Jul 9, 2014 at 16:39
  • @auujay It's not meant to be. I'm not a scholar of the NEC like others on DIY and I think the OP wants to know specifically if this is an NEC violation.
    – Paul
    Jul 9, 2014 at 17:07
  • He could remove more lath broads. There are also plenty of boxes that fasten to the stud with less room.
    – TheSavo
    Jul 9, 2014 at 17:20
  • I'm curious as to why this is a concern to you. Jul 9, 2014 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


There is nothing in the NEC that says you cannot use old work boxes. In some parts of the US and world there is a lot of plaster. When doing a couple of flips in France the past year we used a tool that basically cuts a one inch line in the plaster and run electric through said lines and put in old work boxes (designed for plaster).

The issue of how secure the boxes are is totally up to your local building inspector. If you in any way feel that they are not safe (not secured enough), call your city hall and ask to have the inspector come by.

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