Light Switch Dilemma
lucky112
May 26, 2014 in Design Dilemma
My light switch is 2.25 inches from door frame and cannot be moved unless I want to spend about $350.00 for an electrician. I have 4 "trim everywhere else and this door is an entrance focal point. Any suggestions?
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PRO
ppf.
What is an electrician charging $350.00 for?
May 26, 2014 at 7:12PM   
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groveraxle
I agree. That is outrageous. If your walls are drywall, you could actually do it yourself. In fact, it's possible the whole box could just be moved. Look for a handyman with enough skill to move the switch and patch the hole left behind.
May 26, 2014 at 7:19PM     
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groveraxle
I tried to find a tutorial with pictures, but had no luck. This is a decent explanation: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/move-outlet-drywall-36487.html
May 26, 2014 at 7:25PM   
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PRO
Scott Design, Inc.
So many situations can exist in the wall...framing/pipes in the way, wiring too short to relocate box so need to use a junction box somewhere and pull from it to new location, more than one switch leg in the box, etc., etc. requiring time and time is money. Is there a room on the other side of the wall so you can reverse the electrical box assuming the clearance issue would have less impact on that side? Can you then devise a trim treatment with your casing to include enough space on it to mount the switch plate (done often when wainscoting interferes with outlets and switches).
May 26, 2014 at 7:38PM     
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lucky112
I have been told we need to replace the vapour barrier, find wires in attic, possible junction box because wires are too short and that would take a minimum of 5 to 8 hours at $65.00 per hour...is it worth it?
May 26, 2014 at 8:22PM   
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lucky112
Also, I did not mention that it is three switches, not just one.
May 26, 2014 at 8:36PM   
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PRO
Scott Design, Inc.
Maybe you can mount this stacking switch plate on your 4" trim with some trim modification and alignment considerations with the electrical box. Not sure how the end result will look, only you can be the judge of that. The black holes are shown only to illustrate the hole configurations. Your electrician will let you know if using this is possible.

http://www.kyleswitchplates.com/1-75-narrow-wall-switch-plates-for-three-despard-devices/
May 31, 2014 at 2:21PM   
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Fred S
Nice try Scott Design ;) but there are limits on how many wires you can put in a box. Those 3 switch single gang plates only work for things like a fan-light-nightlight bath fixture where there is only 4 wires and a ground running to a single fixture and another 2 wires for power coming into the box. Three seperate lights, probably all on 3-way switches won't pass inspection even if you could physically stuff all that into the box.
Usually, I can move a box 1.75", but not always. The trick is to move it just far enough that the switch plate sits tight against the outside of the casing so there is no drywall to patch.
May 31, 2014 at 5:14PM        Thanked by lucky112
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auntiebuzzybee
where do you want the switches moved to? another wall perhaps? are they reusing the switches you have? is this going to end up on another circuit? a couple of photos would be helpful to understand and assist. Regardless, Fred won't steer you wrong.
May 31, 2014 at 5:56PM      Thanked by lucky112
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lucky112
Thanks. Here is a photo. Electrician came out yesterday. There is a stud to the right of it and it would involve quite a bit of time to move, it can be done but would be costly.
June 3, 2014 at 4:44AM   
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groveraxle
Without looking behind the drywall, we don't even know which way the wires were pulled. It's entirely possible that they come from right to left through a hole in the stud and could just be pulled to the other side and the boxes rehung on the right side of the stud.
June 3, 2014 at 7:04AM     
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auntiebuzzybee
Have you had another electrician out to take a look and give you a quote???
June 3, 2014 at 9:44AM   
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PRO
Clear Lighting and Electrical Design
Fred is correct in stating that 1 to 2 inches are usually possible just by removing the staples from the wires. If there is a stud directly to the right it would have to be cut almost completely out and that's not good.

Changing the trim is the low cost way of making this work.
June 3, 2014 at 10:00AM   
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Fred S
I was afraid of this. The electrician, general contractor AND inspector have ALL let you down. The electrician cut out the King Stud instead of the stud to the right that is rarely even necessary for bearing as long as the green measurement is under 24", which it should be. The stud that is "in the way" could have easily been set 16" from the door, and is often only there to keep the siding straight. Building on 2' centers is an acceptable practice, and all materials except some siding are rated to span 24". The King Stud should NEVER be cut out like that! Tell your contractor you will pay the $10 to move the electrical box when they open up the wall to fix the king stud on the their dime. I have drawn the measurements that you 'should' have on your photo. I would call the inspector and ask them why they allowed the king stud to be cut out. The general contractor should have known what trim was to be used, and the electrician should have asked.
June 3, 2014 at 10:52AM     
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karemore55
Fred, Superb trouble shooting as usual. I'm so impressed!
June 3, 2014 at 10:58AM     
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Fred S
Thanks karemore :) They don't call the king stud a pawn stud for a reason. While the trimmer bears the vertical gravity load, the king stud takes care of the lateral, wind, and seismic loads. It is just as important as the trimmer, and WAY more important than that 'extra' stud right next to it.
June 3, 2014 at 11:12AM     
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PRO
ASVInteriors
For a moment there I though we were talking about King Prawns...
Good on you as always Fred S
June 3, 2014 at 11:14AM     
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auntiebuzzybee
Yay Fred! Dang you're good!
June 3, 2014 at 11:22AM     
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lucky112
I have another idea. An attached garage is on the other side of wall. Why can't a hole be cut there, pull the electrical thru and patch the hole on this side?
June 3, 2014 at 2:18PM   
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PRO
Clear Lighting and Electrical Design
Switches should be in the room where the light fixtures are located, IMO. Keep thinking and you may get lucky112 !!
June 3, 2014 at 2:27PM   
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auntiebuzzybee
Why not just tell them to fix their mistake and AND it better not show a patch. Period. THEY have a problem. Don't ket them push you around like that, dear. Nope. Work and money stops. Shoot, they've compromised your structure if I'm understanding this correctly.
June 3, 2014 at 2:38PM   
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auntiebuzzybee
Typical...they make a mistake, THEY "PROFESSIONALS" all three mess up and expect you to be ok with it OR pay (again) to have it done right. There's no other way for this to be fair or correct except that they fix it. I understand the answer to this. I hope you do.
June 3, 2014 at 2:43PM   
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Fred S
Is that a 2×4 or 2×6 wall? If there is a garage on the other side, I don't understand why it would not have been easier to move the stud on the right? Is that where the walls 'T'?
June 3, 2014 at 3:00PM   
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Fred S
Is one of those switches for the garage lights? What do they all do?
June 3, 2014 at 3:03PM   
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lucky112
This house is 40 years old and my electrician did not do this. The light switches are all for the garage interior and exterior light switches. The electrician will do what he can, he is just letting me know that it would be a bit of work. So actually, the switches are not in the room they were designed for.
June 3, 2014 at 3:11PM     
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lucky112
2 x 4 walls
June 3, 2014 at 3:11PM   
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Fred S
Then two outside and one inside or vise versa may be cheaper. It is possible that that could take care of any short wires if the garage side is above the current one.
June 3, 2014 at 4:31PM   
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lucky112
Thanks Fred S, I was thinking of moving all 3 but one or two would be sufficient.
June 3, 2014 at 4:35PM   
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Fred S
Two switches inside might mean no major patch as I explained being able to cover with the switch plate above. And one outside would leave room for wires to go around.....probably. The electrician probably gave you the worst case and the vapor barrier can be fixed with tape.
June 3, 2014 at 5:00PM      Thanked by lucky112
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