How to Install a Wall Box in Drywall

Written by robert ferguson
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Installing a wall electrical box in existing drywall requires using an "old work" or cut-box for the project. The plastic cut-in box attaches to the drywall by tightening screws connected to flaps, which crimp the back of the drywall, holding it in place. Common sizes of cut-in boxes are single gang, double gang and triple gang. This allows the box to accommodate applications from one to three switches or receptacles. This method is the easiest way to install additional switches or outlets in homes with existing drywall.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Keyhole saw
  • Phillips-head screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Check the desired location of the box using a stud finder. Cut-in boxes mount in the wall cavity between two wall studs. Place the box at least 1 inch away from any wall studs.

  2. 2

    Place the open end of the cut-in box against the wall in the desired location. Position the box so that it is straight and trace its outline onto the wall using a pencil. Do not trace the outline of the tabs located on the top and bottom of the box. These tabs must rest against the drywall to secure the box properly.

  3. 3

    Cut an opening in the wall using a keyhole saw. Be careful to avoid any electrical wires that may be located inside the wall.

  4. 4

    Insert the box into the opening until its mounting tabs are flush against the wall. Tighten the two screws located in the upper and bottom corners of the box to secure the mounting flaps to the back side of the drywall.

Tips and warnings

  • Insert any wiring into the box before installing it into the wall.
  • Use caution when working around electricity.

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