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I am tiling a backsplash in the kitchen and there's an unsightly phone jack that I will never use. Is it advisable cut the wire, remove the box and patch over it? That's a stud behind the gap between the two electrical boxes.

phone jack

  • Can I assume you are in North America from the RJ-11 phone jack and NEMA 5 outlet depicted in the photo? – ThreePhaseEel Jan 16 '16 at 19:32
  • Yes I am in Canada. – Dave Jan 16 '16 at 20:17
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Yes, if the wire is out of service, remove the plastic panel, secure the wire with insulation tape and put your tile over it.

"Out of service" not connected to the main telephone system!

If it connected, but you have other PSTN jacks in the house, cut the wire ONE by ONE with insulated wire cutters!. Then insulate each wire with tape and finally the entire wire.

You will also need to remove the socket on the right, and then replace it when you done tiling, as the mounts need to sit ONTOP of the tile, and the plastic cover will hide the mounts nice and flush.

You could also leave a nice message for somebody in the telephone box, when they take the tiles down in 25 years, that it was a telephone wire.. or where you buried your gold treasure. Heheheh

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  • Okay I will figure out if it is out of service then cut accordingly. Once that's done though you think I can just tile over it without removing the box and patching with a piece of drywall? – Dave Jan 16 '16 at 19:28
  • Yea mate, done it tons of times. Unless that metal box is loose and easy to remove. You just put tile adhesive around the opening, plop your tile on it and viola. Nobody will know and it wont cause the tile to be "less" stuck the wall. Even is its the edge of two tiles, you just fill the gap with that white stuff (forgot the name now) – Piotr Kula Jan 16 '16 at 19:31
  • The tiles are 1/2'' wide and stuck on a sheet, mosaic style. So they'd have some support from the back but would have quite a few edges that are over top of the hole. – Dave Jan 16 '16 at 19:41
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    Thank you for the input I will give it a try and let you know how it goes. – Dave Jan 17 '16 at 17:39
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    I didn't end up filling the hole with anything. The mesh sheet provided enough back support and I made sure that any tile overlapping the hole had plenty of surface area on the wall to keep it on there. Very happy with how it turned out. – Dave Jan 26 '16 at 21:50
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I've been laying tile every day for over 20 years. These other folks are making too much of this. Doesn't matter if phone line works or not. Seal it up in the wall. If using 12" x 12" or larger tile just tile over the hole. If you need it patched do it the quick & easy way. Use Hardie backer mesh tape to cover hole then spread thinset over it. Next day your good to go. Its a decorative backsplash not something that needs structional integrity. Hope that helps! K.I.S.S. 'keep it simple, stupid' motto to work by... & the best is 'Be smarter than what your working with!' David Brannon - The Texas Tile Guy

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Bandage the insulated tips with duct tape if using electrical tape as heat over time will loosen the tape, and you don't want a short on your phone line. The bandaging might be overkill but it's safer.

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