Thursday, January 26, 2012

Switching Switchplates

We finally got around to fixing the outlets in the kitchen backsplash that we screwed up oh, about 10 months ago. Being tiling novices, John and I had no idea that you were supposed to bump out the outlets so that they would be flush with the tile and then put the plates on TOP of the tile. That would have been some good information prior to starting that project, right? Well, in case you've never tiled a backsplash before I'm telling you now, DO THAT FIRST! Not only does it look super crappy the other way:

                                                                     Case in point

Ignore the terrible picture and half empty (half full?) bottle of wine

But we could have save a lot of time trying to cut these tiny travertine squares to fit perfectly since they would have been hidden. And let's not forget how terribly it went the first time anyway. We have not tackled tiling since.

Anyway, it just so happens, Lowe's carries this handy dandy little product for you DIY fools like us. You accordion these little plastic doo-dads (technical term) and put them around the screws in each outlet. This pushes the plug or switch forward far enough so your plates can lie flat against the tile like they're supposed to, instead of being sunken within the tile.

Another word of warning. If you're going to get decorative stone plates (recommended!) you should buy them all at once because you'll probably stop making the ones that match the 2 you purchased 10 months ago, leaving you at a loss for the other 4 outlets. No matter. John broke one of the fancy plates that we had wedged in to begin with so we just bought all new ones to compliment the tile. See?

So now, finally, we don't think it looks like crap. What an accomplishment! Another word of warning. Before putting in those fancy accordion doo-dads, turn off all appropriate breakers. There's a chance that if your garbage disposal is a combination outlet and switch, it will have two separate breakers. John learned this the hard way in the form of a little shock therapy. Luckily all his faculties seem to be intact.

In other outlet news.....we are in the process of switching all toggle outlets to these fancy bar switches (Do these have a real name? If so, I don't know it) We also bought fancy plates for those too! More on that another time.
John deemed this switch relatively simple once he figured out what he was doing. It wasn't an expensive upgrade, about $2 per switch and the plates were $8-$10. I think it adds a little interest thoug.h And ta-da, my new year's resolution of completeing things on the house is set forth this month. Yahoo!

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