Broken Outlet Box Screw Hole

Dear Mr. Electrician:  How do I fix a broken outlet box screw hole?

Answer:  To fix a broken outlet box screw hole I usually replace the electrical box with an old work plastic electrical box.  However other options have come out that changes the fixing method in some cases.  NOTE: Some links below go to applicable products on Amazon and EBay.

Below are photos and details of how I replaced an outlet box with a broken screw hole in a kitchen backsplash with ceramic tile.

BROKEN OUTLET BOX SCREW HOLE REPAIR

There is a product now available that would have made the replacement of the existing electrical box unnecessary.  I haven’t used it yet, but it seems to be an easy fix to a broken screw hole.  Take a look at the G-Clip for a simple plastic outlet box screw hole repair.

There are not a lot of options for repairing a broken screw hole on a plastic electrical box.  My standard choice was to replace the electrical box.  The G-Clip gives me an option to repair if possible.  Sometimes the electrical box is broken more than just the screw hole so it would need replacing.

REPLACE A BROKEN OUTLET BOX

Close shot of a broken screw hole on a plastic outlet box mounted in the wall
Close shot of a broken screw hole on a plastic outlet box mounted in the wall

The bottom screw hole on the above outlet box is clearly broken off.  Because of the way these plastic boxes are constructed there isn’t any material left behind to screw into.

I used a large flat head screwdriver to pry the outlet box away from the wall
I used a large flat head screwdriver to pry the outlet box away from the wall

I usually use a large old flat head screwdriver to pry outlet boxes away from the wall stud.  They tend to pop out easily.

Knipex high leverage diagonal pliers were used to cut the nails on the outlet box still in the wall
Knipex high leverage diagonal pliers were used to cut the nails on the outlet box still in the wall

I use my Knipex High Leverage Diagonal Pliers to cut the screws on the outlet box in the wall.

The old broken plastic outlet box has been completely removed
The old broken plastic outlet box has been completely removed

The existing opening in the wall was a little too small to remove the old broken outlet box so I just let it drop inside of the wall.

I used my RotoZip rotary tool with a tile cutting bit to enlarge the opening for the new outlet box in this tile back splash
I used my RotoZip rotary tool with a tile cutting bit to enlarge the opening for the new outlet box in this tile back splash

I used my RotoZip rotary power tool with a tile cutting bit to enlarge the outlet box opening enough for me to get the new outlet box in the wall.  It was made more difficult because the wood stud in the wall was a little twisted.  I had to make the opening in the tile larger than I normally would have so I could squeeze the new outlet box into the wall.

The existing outlet wires in the wall are ready for the new outlet box
The existing outlet wires in the wall are ready for the new outlet box

I put some electrical tape around the outer jacket of the cable in the wall because the wire clamps in the box would be pushing against the wires.

A newly installed plastic outlet box that replaced an outlet box with a broken screw hole

Above is the newly installed old work plastic outlet box that replaced an outlet box with a broken screw hole.  The new old work outlet box is installed with the existing wiring which is a little short.

The new outlet box with wire pigtails added to the existing spliced wires
The new outlet box with wire pigtails added to the existing spliced wires

I spliced the wires together by twisting them with my lineman pliers, and twisted pigtails on the ends.  A screwed-on wire connector finishes it.

New outlet box with wire pigtails ready to connect to a receptacle
New outlet box with wire pigtails ready to connect to a receptacle

I folded the wires into the back of the old work outlet box and trimmed back the pigtails for the new receptacle to be installed.

A GFCI outlet connected to wire pigtails in a newly installed outlet box
A GFCI outlet connected to wire pigtails in a newly installed outlet box

A new GFCI electrical receptacle attached to the pigtails.

A new GFCI outlet installed in a new outlet box
A new GFCI outlet installed in a new outlet box

The ears on the GFCI electrical receptacle have been cut off so that the receptacle fits nicely into the notch on the old work outlet box.

A new GFCI outlet and wall plate installed on a new plastic outlet box that replaced one with a broken screw
A new GFCI outlet and wall plate installed on a new plastic outlet box that replaced one with a broken screw

Click here to see more blog posts of mine about switches and outlet boxes.