How to Successfully Move Electrical Boxes

Updated: Jul. 07, 2023

Extension rings will do the trick.

FH02NOV_MOVELE_01-2Family Handyman
Electrical boxes must be flush with the wall surface, which can present problems when you add wainscoting or paneling. The easiest fix is usually a metal or plastic extension ring.

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Moving an outlet: Bring the outlet flush with the wall

Extension ring

Wrap electrical tape around the outlet to guard against accidental short circuits. Fit the extension ring around the outlet, then screw it in. Learn how to use an electrical box extender.

Adding wood wainscoting or paneling? Remember that electrical boxes need to be flush with the wall. You can move the boxes out, but you’d have to cut the wall open. It’s easier to use a plastic or steel extension ring. They’re available up to 1-1/4 in. deep.

To install an extension ring, first turn off the power to the receptacle at the main panel, then remove the cover plate and unscrew the receptacle from the box. Pull the receptacle away from the box (don’t disconnect the wires). If you’re using a steel ring, press a grounding clip onto it and connect a 6-in. grounding wire. Connect the other end to the ground pigtail. Fasten the receptacle back to the box using the longer screws that come with the extension ring.


Turn off power to the outlet at the breaker box before opening the outlet, then test the wires with a voltage tester.

Required Tools for this moving an outlet project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Non-contact voltage tester

Required Materials for this moving an outlet project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Extension ring