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Electrical Boxes with no Studs

Most electrical boxes are attached to a stud before the drywall is even installed.  When you add a new box to an old wall, we always try to put it in right next to a stud for solid attachment.  Specialized hardware does exist to allow putting an electrical outlet or switch absolutely anywhere without reference to a stud.

All these items are generally referred to as ReWork boxes -- boxes to be installed after the initial construction has passed.  Some people tell me thay have problems locating them, but I have found one or more of them at most renovation centres.  Looking at most of them on the store shelves you can be at a loss trying to understand how to make them work.  Here you see the details, on both sides of the wall.

When putting thick wall coverings over existing walls, like another layer of drywall or foam insulation, extender sleeves keep the wires properly protected without moving the existing box.

For still photos of all of this click here.


Learning Curve 62

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David Darwin on June 13, 2022 00:05

It's critical to flush your electrical boxes into the drywall to avoid defective electrical installations that can result in house fires, which cost billions of dollars in property damage and deaths each year.

David's site gives a good overview of the most common electrical boxes.

Ipwkego on January 20, 2021 16:37

Great video! Thank you for your time and clear instructions.

Alez Maldonado on October 11, 2020 23:49

Hello, I am having trouble trying to find out how to install my junction box in my home. It’s already built with no junction boxes and I can’t attach them to the stud since there is already a wall; would have to break my wall down just to reach the box inside of the wall to nail it to the stud. Need help, thanks.

Hello Alez,
If the outlet boxes shown in the video won't work for you can usually cut the wall open for an outlet box or junction box right up against a stud with enough loose to be able to get the wires in. Pull your wires and run them into the box, then slide that back into the wall. You can pull on the clamped wires to position the box and with an extension driver on your drill you should be able to get two screws through the side of the box and into the stud. You can't nail, but you can drive screws.

Paul on June 12, 2020 14:49

How do you go about reattaching an outlet box on the surface of a hollow vinyl clad gazebo wall. It has lossenwd up over the years and I wish to make it firm. There is nothing to catch the screws in the hollow wall.

Hi Paul,
You may need to literally pull it out of the wall pulling the wires forward. Remove the old box and run the wires into one of the boxes shown in this video and then insert the no-stud ReWork box back inside. If the vinyl is less than 1/2" thick you may need to tape some spacers either inside or outside so the gripping mechanisms can give you a firm hold, but that depends on which box you use.


David Drews on May 27, 2020 18:26

I love the videos and I have used those before for Cat-5 Cable & electrical outlets, however can those same boxes be used for light fixtures or should i use a Galvanized Steel New Work Deep Round Electrical Box attached to a brace between the studs? All those appear to be for ceiling fans.

Hello David,
It all depends on the weight of your light fixture. Most heavy ceiling light fixtures will specify reinforced electrical boxes. Light weight ones are no problem as long as you don't try to do chin-ups on the light fixture.

Devorah Garland on February 13, 2020 23:59

Thank you. I now know what to do depending on the box that I find in my store. My situation may be slightly different because I live in Canada.

Hi Devorah,
These videos were all made in Canada -- all locally available stuff.

Luis on January 06, 2020 13:37

Excellent video! Wish I knew these options two months ago when I shifted an outlet inches away from its stud before installing a kitchen backsplash.

Austin on June 04, 2019 17:31

That was a great video. Very helpful. Thank you

Gord Chiddicks on December 14, 2018 12:24

Great video! Covered every kind of rework box available. Clear, concise and well done!

Mart on December 02, 2017 12:00

Excellent video - clear and concise

Farhan Ahmed on November 21, 2017 11:16

Wonderful video very helpful, thanks

Jeff on November 11, 2017 11:39

Nicely done, well spoken, great views (both sides of wall)

Barry on October 20, 2017 11:39

Many,many thanks for this video. Easy to understand. Just what I needed to know.

DG on July 19, 2017 21:46

Very helpful. You might want to remind folks that if there is an electrical cable feed already snaked through the wall cavity, to pull from the wall cavity into the box and clamp it before you sock down the box to the wall opening.

Thierry on July 15, 2017 02:31

Thank you so much. This gave me all the answers I needed!!! I suggest you upload this on YouTube for easy access.

DB on June 17, 2017 22:16

Thank you for taking the time to record this information. Very helpful and will definitely be a solution. Thanks again!

sharon on February 26, 2017 12:07

Thank you. Very good video. Now I now my options.

Brian on February 04, 2017 14:28

Great video! Saved me a ton of time!

Angus Munroe on December 29, 2016 20:01

I found this to be a very useful video. Thanks very much for posting it.

Bartel Diks on July 04, 2016 11:48

Hi. I really like your video and tips on "Electrical Boxes with no Studs". Where can you get those cool junction box brackets that you demo'd. I can't see to find them online.

Hello Bartel,
Of all surprises, try the renovation centres.
--- Jon

Mark Romagna on April 21, 2016 21:02

where do I buy the special Hardware shown in twechnique #1. what are the metal tab plates called? thank you.

Hello Mark,
The "Box Hangers", made by Iberville in Canada, are available in all hardware stores in the electrical department.
--- Jon

Kevin on March 02, 2016 21:00

Where can I find the bracket in this demonstration with the foldable tabs to do this. I went my local HD and Lowes and they do not stock.

Here they are at Rona:

Adam on February 23, 2016 13:07

Excellent video. Thanks for the explanation. My wife will be thrilled that I'm replacing the box that has started coming away from the wall.

wil on December 04, 2015 04:00

Where can I find these boxes? Can't get them at Home Depot.

Hello Will,

Actually if you dig into the Home Depot website -- about page 10 of 30 pages of "electrical boxes", you will find a variety of "no stud" boxes. They are calling them boxes with "old work clips" or "plaster ears" -- their way of saying "no stud". Rona is the same story -- dig through the web.
-- Jon

Richard Tracer on November 10, 2015 16:05

I can't tell you how helpful this is. Thank you!


Burt on October 04, 2015 01:33

Hi Jon,
Thanks for the clear video.
FYI, in Canada, T&B makes the third box (at the 2.22 mark of the video) as Iberville BC777-LRB ( with "... pivoting ends for rework installation." The ends refer to the top and bottom of the box. You do not need to cut slots for the screws to make the box fit into the wall opening. If you look carefully the box ends are designed to pivot into the box. First remove the two non-metallic sheathed (NM) clamps; this allows the ends to pivot at the front edges into the box. The box can be slipped into a slightly smaller opening than you needed to cut. This will give you more “purchase” to the drywall after it is installed. The two ends, when fully pivoted, leave a small horizontal space between the ends at the middle of the box. Remove the appropriate knockout and bring the cable into the box. Once the cable is in the box, you can use this opening to secure a wire in the cable, part of the cable sheath or electrical tape around the cable from inside the box to inside the room. This helps you not lose the cable, especially if they come from below, while pushing the box into the wall opening. Now careful pivot the ends and tighten the four screws that clamp the box to the drywall (max. wall thickness of 1⅛”). Pull the required cable length into the box and reinstall both NM clamps to secure the cable. As an alternate to the NM clamps, you can use an appropriate cable connector and the ½” knockout at the back of the box to secure the cable.
Hope that helps, Burt

Mal on May 09, 2015 15:41

Thank Jon,

IR on May 07, 2015 23:02

This is great, exactly what I was looking for and very nicely explained.

Paul FIfe on March 12, 2015 12:28

It would really help if you actually gave us the name of the brackets/devices you used. I am trying to get some of those 2 piece tab brackets(first one in the video) and no one knows what I am talking about.

Hello Paul,
They are called "Box Hangers", made by Iberville in Canada. Take a photo of the video and show it to the store clerk. A picture is worth a thousand words. Actually most renovation centre clerks have no idea what those things are for or how to use them even though they are on most of the store shelves.
-- Jon

Melisa Pauley on February 22, 2015 19:01

How do I fix on what has been pulled out?

Hello Melisa,
If there is a lot of damage to the drywall, you may have to fix it first, then use the special boxes. See the video in this series on fixing large holes.
-- Jon

EZ on December 22, 2014 08:44

Thank you for the great video. Very informative and helpful for us DIY "weekend warriors" types. Off to the local hardware store for the necessary parts :-)

JSA on January 02, 2014 15:24

Excellent - much thanks for taking the time to do a nice explanatory video!

Jon on December 13, 2013 13:27

I believe that the only way to install a double gang box without a stud is with the fold back tabs you see in the photo above.

Average Jeaux on November 25, 2013 14:31

Thanks for this.

Hector on September 16, 2013 15:12

Great video! Question - do they make these types of boxes to accommodate 2 switches? I could find anything on some of the retailers sites.

Jon on March 22, 2013 12:57

Hello Bansi,

An ordinary light fixture that is not too heavy can be installed with these types of attachments. 

If it is a heavier ceiling light fixture then you need to go to the larger octogonal boxes and if it has a heavy glass covering you will need more support.  In this case, you can go between the studs using the same king of structural bracket that is made for holding ceiling fans.  This could also be used on a wall to hole a heavier fixture.   Follow this link for all the details.


bansi on February 03, 2013 20:31

Thank you it wiil be very usefull for me,but can you let me know for washroom wall,my house is three year old and there is no stud in centre to put new light fixture.Thanks

Rick on April 30, 2012 17:51

All these types work and the best tip was the 3rd demonstration. It will only work if you make slots in the drywall for the for screws, becuse it is such a tight fit. Also the spring loaded box, it not work very good to other wall thickness that is less than half inch drywall like panel board that is a quarter inch.

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