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Thread: Making Decora Wall Plate Look Good

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Default Making Decora Wall Plate Look Good

    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?





    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.


  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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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. #3
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    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.
    Ditto .

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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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.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    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.
    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
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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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. #7
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    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.
    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
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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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. #9
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    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. #10
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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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.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member chefwong's Avatar
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    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. #12
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    throw the round head screws away and use flat head ones. The plate is probably hitting the screws rather than the device.
    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. #13
    DIY Senior Member dlarrivee's Avatar
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    Sorry, I was only looking for answers from electricians.

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    Sorry, I was only looking for answers from electricians.
    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. #15
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlarrivee View Post
    Sorry, I was only looking for answers from electricians.
    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.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

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