How to Install a Face Plate

Written by karen nehama
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How to Install a Face Plate
Double face plate (Light Switch and Outlet image by Towards Ithaca from

Face plates, also known as switch plates, surround electric outlets to protect the plug sockets from dirt and moisture, keeping the outlet safe to use. Face plates need to be removed for a variety of reasons: Repairs might be needed on the electric socket, the old face plate may need to be replaced or the face plate may need to be removed for painting a wall. Whatever the reason, installing a face plate requires only one tool.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Small flathead screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Turn off the electricity to the outlet where the face plate will be installed. Go to the fuse box and find what switch turns off the power to the outlet you will be working on. Turn off power to the entire house if you can't find the switch to the exact outlet. Although installing a face plate can be done without turning off the power, it is highly recommended the electricity is off before removing or installing a face plate to avoid the risk of electric shock.

  2. 2

    Align the face plate over the plug sockets, where they will fit into the holes on the face plate. Once the face plate is lined up with the plug sockets, the face plate should lie flush against the wall.

    How to Install a Face Plate
    Heavy-duty face plate (outlet image by Albert Lozano from
  3. 3

    Put the small screws that came with the face plate through the holes of the face plate. Hold the face plate against the wall, with the same hand holding a screw into a hole through the face plate.

  4. 4

    Use a small, flathead screwdriver to turn the small screw in through the face plate. Make sure the screw threads are entering the screw hole on the electric outlet.Take great care not to over-tighten the screw as you attach the face plate. The face plate could crack or bow if the screw is over-tightened.

    How to Install a Face Plate
    Use a small screwdriver (screwdriver image by Maciej Mamro from
  5. 5

    Use your screwdriver to sink the screws halfway in if the face plate has more than one screw. Finish the job by screwing all screws in completely, taking care to not over-tighten.

    How to Install a Face Plate
    Do not over-tighten screws. (worn light switch - off image by Five Arrows from

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