Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Updating Your Old Doorbell to Ring 2 - DIY Solutions

Updating your old doorbell & intercom speaker to a modern Ring 2 video doorbell system can be tricky since the Ring 2 is smaller than your old one.

What do you do about that large hole by your front door when you remove the old Nutone or TekTone doorbell intercom?

Buy a blank vintage doorbell cover that's large enough to cover your old speaker and screws directly into the old box. Then, mount the new doorbell right to the blank cover

See blank doorbell intercom covers here.

The aluminum doorbell cover plates can easily be drilled into, so you can mount your Ring 2 doorbell right to the cover.

Below, an old doorbell and intercom speaker was removed and the large hole was covered with this blank aluminum plate. The homeowner drilled holes into the cover to mount the Ring 2 doorbell and camera directly to the plate.

There are a variety of old doorbell styles and sizes, as shown here:

Follow these tips to determine the correct plate to convert your old doorbell to a new video doorbell:

Remove the Old Speaker
Turn off power to the doorbell.
Unscrew the speaker and remove any wiring that's attached.

Measure the Box
Measure the outside dimensions of the box as well as the distance between the screw holes where the old speaker was attached.

Note: screw holes are measured from the center of one hole to the center of the opposite hole.

Find the Right Size Cover Plate
You'll need the outside dimensions as well as the screw spread.

Covers are available in 2 sizes:

  • 6.38" H x 4.5" W
  • 7.5" H x 5.5" W

If your box is recessed in brick or other siding, make sure there's clearance for the cover plate. You may need to order a smaller size and use weather stripping or a gasket under the cover.

Find the Right Screw Spacing
NuTone doorbells typically have one of 4 screw spreads:

  • 3.75" (center to center)
  • 4.5" (center to center)
  • 5.25" (center to center)
  • 6-5/8" (center to center)
Screw spacing of the new cover must align with the box that's currently there.

Find Your Plate

Once you have the correct cover to act as your back plate, follow the instructions included with your Ring 2 doorbell, modifying them as needed to mount the video doorbell to the aluminum cover.

Installing another video doorbell model besides the Ring 2? 

If your doorbell model sits back into the wall rather than sitting on the surface as demonstrated above, you'll need a different intercom cover with a cutout for the recessed part of the doorbell unit.

Learn how to find a cover for all video doorbell models here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fix Gap Behind Switch Plates & Outlet Covers

Have a gap between your switch plate and the wall?

If you've removed wall paneling, have an electrical box that sticks out from your wall, or if you've replaced an old outlet with a bulky new receptacle, you may have a gap that exists between the cover and wall.

There are 2 ways to fill a gap behind a cover plate.

  1. Get a cover with a deeper edge.
  2. Add a filler between the plate and the wall.

Options are detailed below for fixing gaps in 4 sizes:

  • 1/16"
  • 1/8" (there are 3 solutions for a 1/8" gap)
  • 1/4"
  • 1/2"

FIX A 1/16" GAP:

Certain Deep Plates - Toggle, Duplex, Horizontal Toggles, Combination

Recommended for 1/16" Gap

If you have a very slight gap of 1/16" behind a cover for toggles, duplex outlets or a combination of toggle and duplex/horizontal toggles, use deep plates with a 5/16" edge bevel.

FIX A 1/8" GAP:

Add a 1/8" Depth Ring Behind Cover Plate

Recommended for 1/8" Gap

If you have a gap that's 1/8" and you'd like to keep your current switch plate, you can get a gap filler to sit between your cover and the wall.

These depth rings fill a 1/8" gap nicely, and are simple to install. Sizes from 1-5 gangs, standard, oversized & specialty sizes.

Get them at Kyle Switch Plates - search "EXDR".

Place an Extender Ring Behind Wall Plate

Recommended for 1/8" Gap & Wall Damage

If there's any wall damage around the electrical box that isn't covered by your current switchplate, you can fix a 1/8" gap and expand the wall coverage with a depth extender ring.

Note these only come in white and will be visible behind a standard cover.

Get them at Kyle Switch Plates - search "OVC".

Get a Deep Cover Plate

Recommended for 1/8" Gap

If you aren't particularly attached to your old cover, you can simply toss it and
replace it with a deep plate.

Deep plates have a larger bevel on the edges, so they reach back around your electrical box to meet the wall.

Standard covers have a 5/32" bevel, while deep plates have twice as much bevel: 5/16".

Deep rocker plates will fix a 1/8" gap.

There are many sizes - shop deep plates here.

FIX A 1/4" GAP:

Electrical Box Extenders for 1/4" Gap

Recommended for 1/4" Gap

Plastic electrical box extenders sit underneath your switch plate and fill a gap of 1/4".

They are single-gang only (for 1 device) and come in white, ivory or brown.

If your issue isn't a protruding wall box, but instead a bulky device, these extenders will lift your device 3/4" forward & out of the electrical box.

Get them at Kyle Switch Plates - search "6197".

Deep Blank Plates for Empty Electrical Boxes

Recommended for 1/4" Gap

Cover .25" of an exposed electrical box that has no devices with a deep blank wall plate. Also available for empty double-gang boxes.

FIX A 1/2" GAP:

Buy an Extra Deep Cover

Recommended for 1/2" Gap

For electrical devices that really stick out from the wall, an extra deep wall plate will do the job.

These deepest covers fix a gap up to 1/2".

Finishes are limited (white & stainless steel only), but if you have to fill a gap that's nearly half an inch, this is your best bet.

Single-gang only. Get them at Kyle Switch Plates - search "DP" or "extra deep".


Spacers can be used to adjust your electrical devices.

Combine spacers with the solutions above if you're still having issues getting the right fit.

These little green rubbery things go underneath your switch or outlet (between the device and the electrical box) to lift devices up (in increments of 1/8").

If a deeper cover plate is too deep for your situation (resulting in sunken electrical devices that don't reach the cover plate snugly) simply stack as many spacers under the devices as necessary to pull them up where you need them.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

5 Simple Repairs to Get Your Home Holiday Ready

Is it just me or do we all have that one Facebook friend who posts countdowns to Christmas starting in July?

Many eye-rolls of mine can be attributed to these Christmas Countdown obsessed weirdos posters.

Nothing against Christmas, it's just that there's a time and place for Christmas, and for me, it doesn't even begin to begin until November 1st. Which, it just so happens, is today's date.

As the Winter season and all its festivities approach us, we get lured onto store aisles bursting with Christmas decor for the home. So enticing, isn't it? (Never mind the boxes and boxes of holiday decor already collecting dust in our attics.)

But, if you're prepping your home for party guests, you may want to start with some other fixes around your home. Have any DIY home improvement projects that are stuck at 90% done? I sure do!

  • That window sill repair that never got that last coat of paint.
  • The living room outlet we added that we cut too big a hole for.
  • Those loose switch plates in the kitchen backsplash tile.

I'll stop there. You get the picture.

Get Your Home Ready for Holiday Guests By Starting with Repairs

Want to know what keeps me from getting repairs done around my house? The hassle of not knowing how to fix the problem.

Here, I'll show you how to fix common electrical device & cover issues you may be having.

Issue: Too Big a Hole was Cut for a New Outlet

Fix: Oversized switch plates are made for this! They cover a larger portion of the wall around your switch or outlet, so too large of a hole in the drywall is no longer visible.

Get oversized wall plates here. Voila!

Issue: We added wainscot to our dining room and now the outlet sits too deep in the wall.

Fix: Pull the device forward with receptacle spacers (little rubber green thingies) that sit underneath the outlet. Stack as many as needed under your electrical device, then cover with your original cover plate.

Issue: Our switch plates are loose in our kitchen now that we added a tile backsplash above the granite countertops.

Fix: Loose plates (caused by switchplate screws that are too long) are the result of your tile installer not cutting enough space around your electrical boxes.

Get a bolt cutter and snip the screws down, or add spacers under your devices and cover with deeper bevel plates.

Issue: We removed all our wall plates to paint and can't find the dimmer knob.

Fix: Replacement dimmer knobs can be purchased online. Just be sure to get a good look at type of stem sticking out of the dimmer so you can be sure the new knob will fit.

In addition to replacement rotary knobs, you can get new oval knobs and split dimmer knobs.

Don't miss our decorative round dimmer knobs - great for dressing up your home for the holidays.

Issue: We removed an old doorbell and intercom speaker and need a way to cover the box.

Fix: Get blank covers for vintage doorbell systems after you've removed the outdated hardware.

We have a variety of sizes, so take measurements of yours (including the spacing between the screw holes for the cover to attach to the box) and contact us so we can set you up with the correct replacement.

Got any other issues pertaining to electrical components and their covers? Let us know so we can help you find a solution.

Now off to trim down some rocker switch plate screws.