How to Install an Electrical Box at the Depth of Drywall in Framing

Take this important electrical step before putting up your drywall. You'll thank yourself later!

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Project Overview
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Skill Level: Kid-friendly

Wiring installation is easier before the walls and ceilings get covered with drywall or plaster. Installing electrical boxes the depth of drywall while studs and joists are exposed is a handy and simple solution for homeowners.

To do this on your own, buy switch and receptacle boxes that meet local codes and are large enough for the wires they hold. It's easy to underestimate, so buy extra supplies. At the same time you install boxes, attach fans, lights, or other fixtures that need to be hardwired.

Local codes specify where cable should run and at what height to place receptacles and switch boxes. Check codes before you begin.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver


  • New-work electrical boxes
  • 1 1/4-inch wood screws


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    Measure Height

    Receptacle boxes typically sit 12 inches up from the floor. Measure with a tape measure or set your hammer upright on the floor and rest the box on top.

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    Position Box

    The front edge of the box must be flush with the finished wall surface, usually 1/2-inch-thick drywall. Some boxes have depth gauges. You can use a scrap of drywall to position the box.

    Related: How to Install an Electrical Box in a Finished Wall

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    Attach to Stud or Joist

    Drive the box's nails into the stud or joist. If the box attaches with a flange, drive screws or nails to anchor the box.

    Project tip: If desired, use a mud ring to attach the box. Adapter rings, also called mud rings, are typically 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch thick. Choose a ring that matches the thickness of the drywall or paneling you install. Attach the box flush with the front edge of the framing member, then add the ring.

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