How To Repair the wall around an 
electrical switch or electrical outlet box.

April 24th, 2014

The Problem -

Broken or missing plaster around an electrical switch or outlet is not only dangerous, it's costly as well. Broken plaster in this area allows drafts through your home, leaking heat or air conditioning 24/7 in addition to replacing broken outlets and switches and covers plates.

The Traditional Solution -

And this is just a weak patch...... is to just take some tape, put it along the broken edge, plaster it up and and move on. The problem with this solution is that it is only a thin brittle "eggshell patch". NOT a repair. With normal use,  the plaster will soon break again. There is even a paper patch that you can buy for this use. And the buildup and feathering out of plaster just makes it even worse.

Covering the devise with Blue tape or even Duct tape doesn't eliminate the possibility of Terminal contact with the wet stuff and metal knives. And getting shocked! Plus, on the job, that just takes too much time.

The Repair would require replacing the drywall in that area. First, be sure to turn off the power.Next, cut the hole bigger to "square it up". Then install backing wood of some kind. Normally a piece of furring strip or wood scrap. Screw that into place. Now, screw your drywall patch piece into place. Then add tape and feather out 2 or 3 layers of drywall joint compound, sand, paint and finally put it all back together. Oh, did you remember to turn off the power before you started? You are finally done and it looks Great! Good job.

My Better Solution -

As a house painter, I just knew there had to be a better way. The old way just takes too much time and hassle. What about sticking cardboard in the electrical box. No, the drying of the plaster could make it wet and contact the terminals. So, I thought, what if I cut a paint stick and shove it into the gap between the electrical box and the side of the device (switch or outlet). I cut the paint stick into a very wide "T". The narrower of the "T" fits into the electrical box while the rest covers the side terminals of the device. Wow, it worked. I could now repair the plaster all the way to the electrical box without as much worry as before. Doing it this way, I didn't get shocked or ruin any plaster knives. But, the idea still needed to be better......

My Best Solution -

Then upon asking my Wonderful Wife, Roseanne, and my other best friend, Hugh Imhof for help....... Together, we invented and perfected The Outlet Plastering Safety Shield! The OPSS, as we call it, is a three sided shock proof cover that protects the face and sides of the device all the way to the electrical box itself. It eliminates the possibility of terminal contact with wet plaster or plaster knives. I plaster only to the original surface. No Buildup. No Feathering out. No Humps. Much less material and sanding. And, I can use the switches and outlets during the repair. Of course if you are not absolutely sure about the wiring, turn the power off before starting. But, normally you don't have to.

Since then, I have used The OPSS every time when dealing with this Switch or Outlet Problem. And, every time I get perfect repairs all the way to the electrical box. And there are other uses as well.

I hope this was helpful,

Paul S. Zemit, Owner at Decor By Paul                                                                                           Inventor, The Outlet Plastering Safety Shield

1529 West Pratt Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60626

Email:                          Phone: 773-842-3931

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