Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Replacing the Cover for an Outlet in Your Floor

Floor outlets are so convenient aren't they?

When positioned underneath a couch or side table, they keep your lamp and electronics cords discreetly out of sight. And, they prevent tripping hazards from running cords from side tables to wall outlets.

If they're not underneath furniture, you'll want to keep them covered when they're not in use.

Whether the power plug in your floor has a round, rectangle or square cover plate, you may find at some point that the cover needs to be replaced. Especially if you've decided to sell your home and want to get it Open House ready before your house goes on the market.

At Kyle Switch Plates, we get calls every week about buying just the cover for a floor box outlet.

The problem is, the manufacturers of outlets that go in the floor don't sell the covers separately. The little round caps that fit into the cover plates, are available for purchase if you need replacements.

(Be sure to note brand and size needed before purchasing caps.)

The cheapest way to get a replacement cover for a floor mounted receptacle...
(and this is only if you have a single Leviton brand receptacle - not a duplex outlet) 
...is to buy the Phone Jack Floor Box Kit, and just use the brass cover plate.

(To replace your outlet cover with a phone jack cover, you must ensure you have a single Leviton brand floor receptacle. We recommend double checking the measurements before purchasing.)

If you have to buy a whole new unit in order to just replace your missing or damaged cover, you may want to consider expanding your box to accommodate additional electrical plugs or add data jacks alongside the outlet.

For instance, if you currently have a single receptacle for only 1 plug, consider updating to a duplex receptacle that will allow 2 things to be plugged in. Or, if you already have a duplex outlet in your floor, see if you have room to expand to a larger box that has two outlets side by side, to accommodate 4 plugs at once.

Shop all floor box configurations at Kyle Switch Plates.

Floor box covers are also available in a satin nickel finish to go with gray flooring. (Covers not sold separately.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Covering a Single Switch in a Wide Box [2 Simple Solutions]

Sometimes a 2-gang electrical box (a box that's made to hold 2 switches or outlets) ends up with a single device.

Ripping out the double masonry box to replace it with a single handy box will result in a bigger hole in the wall and the need to replaster around it.

Save yourself the headache and cover your double wide box with 1 of 2 switch plates, which we'll show you below.


Double wide electrical box with only a single device (could be a switch, outlet or data plug):

Solution 1:

If you don't mind things being a little off-balance, you can easily cover this switch with a double cover plate that has a switch cutout on the left and no cutout on the right:

The benefit of this simple solution is that a single rocker single blank cover is available in a variety of finishes, so you can easily match the plate to the color scheme of your walls, trim or decor.

Solution 2:

If having the switch off to one side bugs you, here's another solution.

You can get this centered switch cover which screws into your device to hold it in the middle. Simply remove the device from it's position in the electrical box, and attach it to the cover using the screws provided with the plate.

The plate then screws into the 4 tabs in the electrical box (the 2 not being used on the right and the 2 that previously held the switch to the left).

This plate is only available in white, so we recommend this solution if you have white molding and trim and want to keep the look fresh, like in a kitchen or powder room.

Buy Covers for Single Switches in Double Boxes:

Use the links below to order covers for toggle and rocker switches or duplex outlets that are mounted solo in a double size box.

These plates work with 2-gang masonry boxes that have 4 slots for screws, like these here:

(For covering other styles of boxes, see our Centered Device Tutorial here).

For Rocker Switches / GFCI Outlets:

1-cutout-1-blank covers for rockers
centered cutout covers for rockers

For Toggle Switches:

1-toggle-opening-1-blank cover
centered toggle covers for wider boxes

For Duplex Outlets:

1-outlet-1-blank cover plate
centered duplex outlet covers

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Covering Switches When the Wall Cutout is Too Big

If too much sheetrock was cut out along your electrical box, you'll need an oversized switch plate to cover extra wall space around your switch or outlet.

Shop oversized light switch & outlet covers here.

Sometimes, your situation is unique, and a typical oversized cover won't fix your switchplate problem.

It's good to know that blank fillers and switch plate cutout converter inserts can help you create a custom solution to a tricky electrical cover plate problem.

Here, for example, is a setup with 4 toggle switches mounted horizontally along the wall, with extra space cut out on both sides:

A regular or even oversized 4-toggle cover plate will not cover the hole in the wall around these switches.

But, you can go up to a larger cover - an oversized 6-toggle plate, and then fill the first and last toggle opening with a blank toggle light switch filler:

Then, the entire wall cutout will be covered by the plate, and the extra toggle openings will be filled.

This is an easy custom solution to a problem the homeowner had been living with for years. All parts were simply ordered online at Kyle Switch Plates.

Have a tricky situation with an electrical cover that's causing an eye-sore in your home? Contact Kyle Switch Plates to work out a solution. It's probably easier than you think!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Switch Plates for Tile Backsplashes {with trimmed edge}

Updating your home is a fun way to personalize your living space. Adding a tile backsplash to a wet bar, installing board and batten to your walls, or upgrading your kitchen with marble counter tops are all popular ways to make your living space your own.

One issue that DIY homeowners often run into when doing projects like these, however, is that the newly installed tile or wainscot materials can leave little space for your light switch or outlet cover.

When Your Switch Plate Won't Fit

Here, an existing light switch and outlet were tiled around after granite was added to a wet bar countertop:

We've outline the area that the cover plate takes up around these electrical devices. As you can see, the trim around the tile eats into the space where the outlet cover needs to rest.

Note: There is some wiggle room with switches and outlets. Loosen the screws mounting the device into the electrical box and push as far as you can in the direction you need the devices to shift. Sometimes, that's all it takes to get a cover plate to fit into a tight spot.

In the situation shown here, shifting the devices as far to the right as possible wasn't enough.

But a 2nd solution is very simple - a cover plate with all of the openings shifted in one direction.

The {trimmed} left edge of this narrow plate allows it to fit:

Narrow Switch Plates Fit Tricky Tight Spaces

In some cases, you'll need a cover plate that has a single edge that is "trimmed" or narrower than a standard plate (as shown above). Other times, you may need an outlet cover that is narrow all around.

Find a variety of hard to find narrow cover plates at Kyle Switch Plates - where we specialize in switch plate solutions for DIY homeowners.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Buying the Correct Outlet Cover for Your Receptacle

The cover plate that is most commonly ordered incorrectly is the outlet cover.

The 2 most common types of outlets are:

Duplex outlets have two distinctive features:

  • Two oval plugs
  • Open screw hole in center (for attaching cover plate)

Block / GFCI:
Block outlets (often GFCI with the test/reset buttons in the center) are different from duplex receptacles:

  • Rectangular in shape
  • No center screw hole

You May Have Both

It's not uncommon for a home to have mixed outlets throughout - one room might have duplex outlets, while another room has block style receptacles. We've even seen homes where the two styles are present in a single room.

Save yourself the extra trip to the store (or extra shipping fees) - carefully assess each outlet you are purchasing new covers for. The easiest way to do this is to look for a center screw openings on the outlet itself.

More Outlet Types

The amperage (15A vs 20A) does not effect which type of cover your receptacle requires.

For outlets behind a TV or large piece of furniture, you can get outlets that come with cover plates and are recessed into the wall.

If you have round outlets or large amp ones (30A, 50A or 60A), you'll need another plate entirely.

For electrical outlets installed in floors, cover plates are not sold separately, so you'll need to replace the floor box unit entirely to get a new cover.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Replacing Your NuTone Door Bell Intercom Cover

If your home has an old door bell with a bulky NuTone intercom speaker, you no longer use it, and you don't want to look at it anymore, you're in the right place.

vintage door bell intercom speaker cover up

We received so many calls about covering up old NuTone door bell intercom speakers, Kyle created a custom cover plate as a solution.

Intercom covers are 7.5" x 5.5" with screw holes spaced 4.5" center-to-center. This is a custom measurement created to fit NuTone brand speakers (as shown in image above). They're made in the USA out of .050" thick aluminum, and have been a best seller since we introduced them last Fall.

Buy a blank cover plate for a vintage NuTone intercom here.

To remove an in-wall intercom speaker that has screws on the left and right sides, rather than positioned top-bottom as shown above, here is a blank intercom cover.

Measuring for Your Replacement Nutone Cover

First, remove your intercom cover from the wall.

Then, measure the width and length of the area that needs to be covered (including any damaged wall around the metal frame).

Finally, measure the distance of the screw holes. Note that the correct way to measure distance between screws is from the centers of the screw holes.

This particular intercom speaker needed a 7.5" H x 5.5" W cover with screws spaced 3.75" apart (center to center). That cover can be purchased here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Choosing Switch Plates for Dimmers by Type

You may have updated one of your light switches to a dimmer switch.

Or, you may already have a dimmer switch, but you need to replace the cover plate.

Either way, finding the right switch plate for a dimmer can be tricky. Use this guide to get the right plate for your switches.

Guide to Dimmer Light Switch Covers:

First, determine which type of dimmer you have:

Here are 4 types of dimmers, and each is shown here.

Identify Which Plate Opening You Need:

Once you have identified your dimmer's shape, you'll see which type of switch plate opening fits your dimmer:

Both toggle and rotary dimmers fit toggle switch plates.

Find the Right Combination Switch Plate:

Often times, a dimmer (or series of dimmers) sits alongside other types of light switches.

If that's the case, you will need to find a combination switch plate (a plate with more than 1 type of switch opening).

Converting a Switch Plate for a Dimmer

Here is an example of a 4-rocker plate that has 1 light switch, 2 rocker dimmers and 1 rotary dimmer:

You can see that the rotary dimmer opening is incorrect. In this case, a new combination switch plate can be purchased (in this case, a 1-toggle 3-rocker plate).

To keep the current plate, another solution is to convert the rocker opening with an insert. The rotary dimmer stem will fit through the small round hole in the center of this insert for a rocker plate opening.

Inserts sit underneath a switchplate to convert the opening. This is often the cheapest solution to fixing a tricky switch plate situation.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Metal Key & Mail Holder Switch Plate Hooks

Whether you live in an apartment, have little wall space, or simply don't want to damage your walls - switch plate hooks are the ideal solution for keeping track of car keys, outgoing mail and work ID badges.

Add a switch plate hook or two to the light switch right by your front door and you'll easily be able find your keys and remember to put your bills in the mailbox.

You can even create a cell-phone charging station by adding your mobile's charger to an outlet and resting your phone on a couple of wall place hooks.

Removable, damage-free mail and key holder hooks.

No drilling, hammering or hardware required.

Hooks are simple to install - just unscrew a bottom screw on your light switch cover, then attach the hook using the switchplate's screw.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Stainless Steel vs Nickel Plates - The Difference

Choosing coordinating granite, tile and paint colors is tricky. In fact, much tricker than I thought when I recently updated my builder-grade kitchen. Costly mistakes were made. *Sigh*

Finding the right updated light switches & cover plates is an unexpected part of most remodel projects. And it's something most homeowners only think of as an afterthought.

Getting a perfect match to your marble, tile, wallpaper or paint isn't likely. But there are lots of finishes to choose from, so with a little bit of effort, you can find switches, outlets and covers that blend with your fresh new color palette.

One of the most popular finishes for kitchens is stainless steel. Many customers want to coordinate with stainless steel fridges, ovens and other kitchen appliances.

We always recommend our residential grade stainless steel faceplates for rooms in which you're trying to match appliances with a satin stainless finish.

Stainless switch & outlet covers are neutral, and don't pull toward any particular color like nickel plates do. Here you can see that nickel switchplates have a yellow tone in comparison to stainless steel:

Note that you can't get actual light switches in stainless, but you can use white, gray, black, red or ivory switches with stainless plates.

A customer emailed us this week to share a picture of her white electrical devices with an oversized stainless steel plate on white mosaic tile:

Pretty fabulous, huh?

Shop stainless steel switch plates in every size and get $6.95 flat-rate shipping. And please send us pictures when you have them installed! 

We'd love to see how our plates have improved your living space.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mounting a Screwless Switch Plate - Your Step by Step Guide

My brother is a big of a freak about organization. In his kitchen, the cabinet doors and inlaid with glass, and as a result, all the china inside must be perfectly aligned at all times (this includes the patterns on the plates and bowls).

Another thing he's very particular about is the screws in the switch plates on his walls. All screws must match with the groove positioned horizontally.

Like this:

This, would drive him crazy:

Can you relate?

I have to admit, while I don't go around my house re-positioning my switchplate's screws, if I do remove and remount a plate (say, when painting a room), I also line up all the screws to match.

"Line Up the Switch Plate Screws" is a dangerous game to play, as you don't want to leave a screw too loose, but over tighten one and "snap!" - your plate cracks.

Alleviate all your switch plate woes with screwless covers. They're simple to mount, easy to clean and are a remarkable way to update the look of any room.

Screwless switch plates come with 2 plates - a mounting plate (or sub-plate) and the finishing screwless cover.

Here's How to Mount Your Screwless Lutron Switch Plate:

Step 1: Position the mounting plate on top of the devices in your electrical box.

Step 2: Screw mounting plate into the available screw holes in the devices using provided mounting screws.

Note that the screwless cover plate will snap into the slots in the mounting plate (highlighted in orange in the image below).

Step 3: Align cover plate over mounting plate and push until it fits securely into the mounting plate's slots/grooves.

That's it! Now enjoy your new, modern screwless wall plates.

Note: This guide shows a Lutron brand screwless rocker plate for 2 switches, but most screwless covers are mounted in a similar fashion.

Buy Lutron Screwless Wall Plates at Kyle Switch Plates.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Extend Your Switch Plate to Protect Your Wall or Cover Damage

The area around your switch plate may look a little worn - especially if you have wallpaper. Years of grappling in the dark for the switch can leave your wallpaper looking dirty and worn through.

Another issue that's very, very common is when a hole is cut in the drywall for a new electrical device, and the hole turns out too big. Whoops!

(I have this problem even in my own house - and no one is more aware of the need to avoid this issue than I!)

The good news is, there are 2 solutions, which I have detailed for you below, so keep reading!

How to Extend Your Outlet or Light Switch Plate to Cover More of Your Wall:

Option #1: Buy an Oversized Switch Plate

A standard cover plate (2.75" W x 4.5" H) is only slightly larger than your electrical box.

Bump up the size to cover more wall space. Larger plates still have the same size of opening for your switch or outlet, and the screw holes are spaced the same.

Larger plates can be found in these sizes:
3.5" W x 5.5" H
4.5" W x 6.375" H
5.5" W x 7.5" H

All three of the sizes listed here are very popular sellers for a single-gang plate (a plate covering only one device). You can also find oversized plates to cover up to 7 devices in a single electrical box.

Learn more about oversized plates & see all sizes & configurations at Kyle Switch Plates.

This is the simplest and best looking option to cover wall damage or a large cutout in the sheetrock:

Depending on the size of the plate and the shape of the opening (Decora rocker, toggle or duplex), oversized or "jumbo size" switchplates come in a variety of finishes, allowing you to cover more wall space without compromising aesthetics.

Option #2: Add a Switch Plate Expander

Another choice to cover wall damage surrounding a light switch is to simply add a flat expander plate underneath your current cover.

Expander plates are .03" thick, only available in white, and can be purchased in 4 sizes:
4" W x 6" H - for a 1-gang plate
6" W x 6" H - for a 1-gang plate
6" W x 6" H - for a 2-gang plate
6" W x 8" H - for a 3-gang plate

This flat plate could be painted, covered with wall paper or fabric, or left plain. If you have a specialized cover you don't want to replace, this is the only way to extend the coverage of your plate.

These are great for both residential and commercial use.

If you have a high-traffic area in your home, school, office, retail store, restaurant, museum, daycare center, gallery, studio, airport, hospital or hotel lobby, you can also prevent wall damage by installing a switch plate expander or oversized plate.