Making Decora Wall Plate Look Good

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by dlarrivee, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    I'm having a hard time making a certain 3-gang decora-style wall plate look good.

    I did 1-gfci outlet, and 1-standard 15amp. outlet and the face of each of those stands proud of their wall plate like I would expect, but not this 3-gang...

    Am I being too fussy? Is this common?

    [​IMG]
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    I expected the outline around the face of each switch as well as the outline around the buttons on the timer to be flush or proud of the face of the wall plate...

    Oh and for the record, the drywall cutout is not too big, all ears rest on the face of the drywall.

    [​IMG]
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
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    Fussy? Probably! You should be able to check, before actually installing the timer, how that particular device sits with the faceplate. It may not be designed for the look you are wanting.
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    Location:
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    Ditto .
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    If the device is too shallow, loosen the screws holding it to the box so the plate scews can pull it forward. You may have to remove the "mouse ears". They could be contacting the back of the plate, preventing the device from "poking" through like the others.
  5. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    This particular X-10 looking device has no mouse ears, and being it is not a receptacle with plugs being pushed into and pulled out of, loosening those screws a bit may work out fine, as the bezel of this switch assembly seems to be just as deep as the other 2 decora switches. Lets see if JW thinks that would be a code vilation or not. There are even little plastic/rubber spacers made to go behind the switch's mounting plate that slip over the screws going into the box
  6. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

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    I forgot to mention that I already put little washers made of 14 gauge ground wire behind the timer before I even took the first 3 photos.

    I thought if I made a precise cut (drywall) around the box, and the box was flush with the face of the drywall I wouldn't have problems like this.
  7. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    C'est la vie mon ami, or as in thse parts, Es la vida, amigo.

    If you just leave it as is, I have a strong feeling you won't even notice or think about it next week;)
  8. Chad Schloss

    Chad Schloss Member

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    Location:
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    leave the timer where it is, and adjust the other two. tighten the switches to the drywall a little more and or loosen up on the trim screws to make them all flush :)
  9. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Carolina
    Unless the drywall is as straight as glass this is going to happen from time to time. Wrapped studs or uneven mud during the finish can cause things to not be exact.

    What we don’t want to do is start putting things between the devices and wall that might come out causing things to be loose.

    When doing multigrain boxes we can expect then to not be exact for many reasons. The box being slightly out of kilter is another reason that things don’t line up exactly.

    If we use one device made by one manufacturer and another from someone else then this happens.

    Refer to Jimbo’s reply in post #2 for the best answer of this thread.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    throw the round head screws away and use flat head ones. The plate is probably hitting the screws rather than the device.
  11. chefwong

    chefwong New Member

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    Location:
    District of Columbia
    Gotta play around with the screws to the box. While the ears hit the wall, it creates tension - which affects how the body of the receptacle/switch sits. -- WHICH is also relative to playing around with how tight you are on the wallplate as well as how flat the wall is. The 3 combo affects it all.....

    The body style while is a *decora* style, the thinkness, etc is different itself....

    So either let it disappear over time as you forget, as the reveals will never be perfectly the same across all three...and a 3 gang pronounces that even more
  12. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

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    Los Angeles, CA USA
    We could call that solution #1, and I like it.

    Solution #2 is to find a different timer that sticks out a little more....

    Solution #3 is to absolutely get over it. I see enormous utility in that approach.
  13. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

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    Sorry, I was only looking for answers from electricians.
  14. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

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    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    OK.

    This electrician thinks that the equipment that you have there is not going to give you the result you want.

    Unless perhaps much more discrete screwheads on the timer allow it to get closer to the faceplate.

    I have a dial caliper. I could measure how much the switches extend from their yolk, likewise the timer.

    Or you could just take all three out, have no screws at all at the yolks, and use the face plate screws to determine that you have the devices fully up against the faceplate.

    If you did and the three still looked the same, you would know that you are up against it.

    You did ask if you were being finicky. I think you are getting very close to finicky. Possibly getting over it would be the path of wisdom.
  15. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,794
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    And you actually got answers from 3 believe it or not, and all three think you are being just a little too fussy here. Your post is more about aesthetics than electrical circuits or code, or how things work.

    I took a look at my 3 gang Decora setup, and its kind of like your situation, but it did not bother me or more importantly, my wife, who IS very fussy.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
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    In my "lifetime" I have done a LOT of electrical troubleshooting, many times FOR ELECTRICIANS, so I do not think a simple wall plate is outside my abilities.
  17. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

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    Canada
    Who else other than jw?

    Nobody said this was complicated, but if I wanted to just "forget about it", I wouldn't have created a thread...
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,062
    Location:
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    Apparently you are not willing to toss the round head screws/bolts. Are you afraid of offending them, or maybe they have compromising pictures of you and are using them for blackmailing.
  19. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    You asked in your first post if you were being too fussy. Lots of people seem to think that you are, or close to it.

    Your last photo looking down at the three items indicate that the switches protrude further from their straps than does the timer. I don't know what you expect.

    Try this, although it is certainly out of code: mount the timer directly to the face plate without mounting it to the box. Mount the face plate to the two switches. See if you like the results better? Find a way to ground the strap of the timer.

    And I agree with hj. One need not be a master electrician to work out that a face plate is as good as it is going to get.
  20. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

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    Not trying to offend you, "homeowner", your username just doesn't instill confidence.
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