Friday, May 25, 2018

Odd Sized Light Switch Plates & Outlet Cover Solutions

Chances are, you never paid much attention to your switch plates until you started a home renovation project. You may have painted a room, added wainscot, removed wall panelling, added an addition or fully gutted your living space.

One of the last things that go back up are your light switch and outlet covers. And it turns out, often times a standard cover is not what you need.

There are many sizes of wall plates, and I'm going to break them down below. Keep reading to find the right solution for you.

Find Odd Sized Light Switch & Outlet Covers

Standard Cover Plates

First, let's go over a standard size plate.

Standard wall plates are 4.5" high and vary in width based on how many devices they cover.

Single plates for 1 electrical device (known as 1-gang plates) are 2.75" wide and double covers for 2 devices (known as 2-gang plates) are 4-9/16".

1 gang: 4.5" H x 2.75" W

2 gang: 4.5" H x 4-9/16" W

Standard plates are both taller and wider than the electrical devices and the wall box in order to cover everything up (as well as some space around the electrical box for the dry-wall cutout).


If a little too much drywall was cut out around your electrical box, you may need to step up to a mid-size cover plate. Here are mid-size dimensions:

1 gang: 5-1/16" H x  3-1/4" W

2 gang: 5-1/16" H x 5-1/8" W

The orange area represents a standard plate size. You can see mid-sized covers are slightly larger all the way around.


Tall cover plates are same width as standard, but are 1/2" taller and have smooth rounded corners. Available only in white.

1 gang tall: 5" H x 2.75" W (same width as standard)

2 gang tall: 5" H x 4-9/16" W (same width as standard)

Tall Wide

Single gang tall plates also come in a wider size, adding an extra quarter inch of coverage to each side.

1 gang tall wide: 5" H x 3.5" W (only available in single-gang)

Get tall + wide covers in a variety of sizes & finishes by going "Oversized"...


Often times, if the hole in your sheetrock is too large, you'll need to step up to an oversized plate.

Jumbo or XL plates are available in lots of finishes. By going a little bigger than mid-size, you don't have to buy plain white plastic covers. You can choose from a variety of nice finishes to complete your home upgrade.

1 gang oversized: 5.5" H x 3.5" W

2 gang oversized: 5.5" H x 5.5" W

See how a larger cover fixes this eye sore:

Extra Large

For really big mistakes, Kyle Switch Plates also carries these extra large sizes:

1-gang XL: 6.38" H x 4.5" W  -or-  7.5" H x 5.5W

2-gang XL: 7.5" H x 5.5" W

You can find XL plates grouped among Kyle's other oversized large switch covers.

We also carry large cover plates for old speakers and doorbell intercoms - scroll down to the last section below "Doorbell / Intercom Speaker Covers".


If you have a special plate that doesn't come in larger sizes - say for an odd low voltage light switch or a plate in a specialty finish - you can place an expander underneath to extend wall coverage.

Kyle Switch Plates makes a variety of expander sizes for plates up to 5-gang.

1-gang expanders: 6" H x 4" W  -or-  6" H x 6" W

2-gang expanders: 6" H x 6" W

Expanders can also be used to protect the wall around a switch or outlet in a high-traffic area. They can help prevent wear-and-tear on a decorative surface such as wainscot or wallpaper.

Find all expander sizes among oversized wall plates here.


Narrow plates come in handy when you lack space around your switches or outlets.

If your switch is super close to cabinetry, wood trim or an adjacent wall, a narrow plate might be just what you need.

Narrow plates come in a variety of widths such as 1.5" W, 1.75" W, 2" W, 2.5" W & 2.5" for single plates.

Narrow plates are also perfect for slim spots such as on a door jamb (as shown here in a hotel room):

Shop all narrow cover plates here to see all sizes.

Offset/Short - with Beveled Edge

In order to still cover the whole electrical box & prevent the device straps from sticking out, short plates are actually the same size as standard plates. What makes them "short" is that the cutouts have been shifted closer to one edge.

Offset or short wall plates are perfect when a standard cover won't fit. This is usually due to wall tile that ends mid-way up the wall with the trim coming too close to the electrical box.

Offset/Short - Flat with No Edge Bevel

If you need a plate that really is shorter than a standard one, you can get short flat plates. The shortest size is 4" H.

It's important to note that 4-inch sized covers will not fully cover the electrical device's straps. And because there's no edge bevel, there may be a gap between the plate and the wall if the electrical box isn't sunken down into the wall.

Shifted Cutouts - Short or Narrow Edge

We refer to our plates with shifted openings as "short", "half short" and "half narrow".


When a wall box sticks out from the wall, you need deep switch plates to fill in that gap that exists between a standard sized cover and the wall.

A wall box will stick out if you remove tile or wall paneling that the box used to sit flush with.

Or, you may have a gap caused by a bulky electrical device that won't sit back properly in the electrical box.

A standard plate has a 5/32" edge bevel, which is designed to reach back and sit flush with a properly installed electrical box. Deep plates have a bevel twice that size, so they reach back to fix gaps like this.

Deep plates cover boxes that stick out 1/16" of an inch - a very small amount.

Your specific situation may require a plate that fills a larger gap - see all protruding electrical box solutions here.

Large Doorbell / Intercom Speaker Covers

If you plan to remove a Nutone doorbell and intercom speaker, you can cover up the large hole with a blank doorbell cover plate.

We offer a variety of sizes and screw spacing options - both with and without cutouts. These plates have been the perfect solution for customers with NuTone, TekTone, M&S and other brand doorbell systems.

Be sure to measure your box and determine the spacing between the screw holes where the new cover will mount.

These doorbell intercom speaker covers can also be drilled into and used to mount a video doorbell system such as a Ring smart doorbell.

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Shop all sizes and configuration at Kyle Switch Plates.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

How to Fix Gaps Behind Wall Plates

Fix those pesky gaps between switch plate covers and the wall.

It's frustrating to be thisclose to finishing a DIY home renovation project only to pop on your switch plates and discover a gap between them and the wall.

It can happen when your electrical box isn't flush with your wall surface (after removing old paneling or tile) or when a bulky electrical device won't sit all the way back in the box (like when upgrading from a duplex receptacle to a GFCI outlet).

See two examples here:


Finding the best solution depends on 2 things:

  1. SIZE of the gap behind your cover
  2. TYPE of cover (based on where the screw holes are positioned)
#1 - Measure Gap
Use a ruler to determine the size of the gap. This is easiest with a cover installed. But, you can also measure the distance from the wall to the top of the device's mounting screw.

#2 - Determine Type of Cover
Toggle switch covers, duplex outlet covers, rocker plates and blank plates mount in different spots. This will affect which solution is right for your particular situation.

Solutions below are broken up by these types of covers:
  1. strap mount - for rocker shaped devices
  2. device mount OR center mount - toggle and duplex have same solutions
  3. box mount - for empty boxes

Best Solutions for Gaps Behind Wall Plates:

Plates with "strap mount" screw spacing have screws spaced 3-13/16" apart.

Strap mount devices include:

  • Decora rocker switches
  • Rocker dimmers
  • Block outlets
  • GFCI outlets
  • Rocker-shaped inserts (like the cable jack shown far right above)


For very small gaps, you'll need to combine a couple items to get the perfect fit:

Since deep plates cover larger gaps than 1/16", you can use the spacer underneath your device to lift it up. This will create a 1/8" gap between your standard cover and the wall, which is the perfect fit for the deep cover.


You have two options for 1/8" gaps:


The three options for filling up .25" behind your cover plate are:


Fill this gap with:


For really large gaps:

For devices with screw holes in either of the above 2 positions (device mount like the toggle and round outlet or center mount like a duplex plug or horizontal toggle switch), see solutions below.

Plates with "device mount" screw spacing have screws spaced 2-3/8" apart.


Deep plates are the solution for a 1/6" gap. Shop:

With standard size covers, you can add 1/8" gap filler rings underneath to fix the problem.

Get sizes for 1-gang up to 5-gang covers:



Spaces of .75" can be filled 1 of 2 ways:


"Box mount" screw holes will be 3-9/32" apart.


If your electrical box is sticking out of the wall by only 1/16", a standard blank cover won't have a gap behind it.


If the box is sticking out of the wall by 1/8", a standard cover for empty boxes should still be fine.


Fix this gap with a deep blank cover.


The best solution for a half-inch gap is an extra deep blank electrical box cover.

DIY Solutions for Homeowners

As shown above, there are a variety of options for fixing light switches & electrical outlets that stick out.

Shop all deep covers to find the solution for you.

Just remember that sometimes a single plate will fix the issue, but other times you may have to stack 1 or more items to get the perfect depth filled.