Solved! – What To Do With Outlets When Installing Backsplash?

When installing a backsplash, you may want to tile around a plug socket then extend the electrical outlets outwards so that the socket now sits and flushes with the new tiles. 

Ideally, you should extend the outlets from your wall to make it easy to install the tile correctly in place.

In this article, we tell you how to tile around a plug socket and extend the electrical outlets to install over the backsplash.

what to do with outlets when installing backsplash

Do You Have To Extend Outlets When Installing A Backsplash?

Yes, if not, the outlets will look out of place. The secret is not only to have a new wall but for your walls and outlets to blend and be in harmony.

When the backsplash is installed, the wall will grow a few millimeters and your sockets will look like they are in a hollow.

Having electric outlets that are not extended to flush with the new tiles will negatively affect the aesthetic appeal and the value of your home.

The backsplash will be perfect and all but there will be something just out of place.

And in any case, extending outlets to flush with the newly installed backsplash is not rocket science. It is something you can pull without any prior knowledge of electrical wiring.

Here are the things you will need;

  • Electrical plastic spacers are available in any hardware or electrical store near you.
  • Longer screw-in case the ones that came with the switch cannot reach the handy box
  • An electric drill.
  • Tester

Step One

Switch off the power from the main switch that feeds the electrical outlets you want to work on. This is always the first safety measure you need to do before messing around with power.

Using a tester, ensure that the outlet you want to extend has no power.

Step Two

Unscrew the two screws holding the socket in place using the drill. The electric wires behind it are always given an allowance for such situations where extensions are required.

Take one tile and place it on the wall at the edge of the outlet then gently pull the outlet out and place its mounting strap on top of the tile which will serve as the backsplash. 

This is to estimate and find out how many stacks of spacers will fill the gap between the backsplash and the electric box beneath.

Step Three

Compress the needed spacers together and cut the remaining spacers off then place the stacks of spacers behind the mounting strap aligning the screw holes on the strap, the spacers, and with the holes on the electrical box beneath.

Step Four

Place the screw in its place then screw it back though not tightly given that the other mounting strap is not yet fitted with spacers.

Step Five

Repeat the above procedure on the remaining mounting strap then tightly fasten the screw until it snugs in place.

Tighten the first screw until it snugs as well.

Step Six

Switch on the power and test the extended electric plug to ensure that it works.

Congratulations. Your project is complete.

Where Should Outlets Be Placed In Backsplash?

Place them low, and install the outlet strip horizontally. Like on the first or second layer of backsplash tiles. This is to allow it to blend with the tiles while hiding it behind appliances.

Electrical outlet placement can improve or ruin the backsplash installation and the general look of the entire kitchen.

This is because it is very possible to file backsplash tiles that were cut wrong around the edges of the socket during installation.

Another factor is that outlets placed in the middle or visible areas of the backsplash are hard to hide given that outlets cover plates do not come in a variety of colors that blend with a majority of backsplashes.

Placing them low as compared to the middle and horizontally as compared to vertically; makes the sockets blend with the flow of tiles because backsplash tiles are installed horizontally.

In addition, low and horizontal ensures that electrical appliances cords do not have to hang down from the wall but operate anonymously from behind the scenes. 

In the end, it makes a kitchen or bathroom organized and admirable.

As opposed to the above, some people place their outlets where the backsplash meets the wall cabinets. Well, it is a viable option, well hidden and installed to ensure that cords run down partially hidden behind the appliances.

The advantage of setting an outlet up in this manner is that sockets are kept away from accidents and incidents instigated by water and other liquid back-splashes.

How Do You Tile Around Plug Sockets?

Hold the tile against the wall and on top of the socket and mark the tile on both edges where it will be cut to create space for the socket to fit using a marker pen leaving a 2mm gap around the edges of the socket for grouting.

Tiling around a socket plug is not easy but doable.

Here is what you need;

  • Marker pen
  • Tile cutter
  • Square
  • Electric and manual tile cutter

Step One

First, extend the electric plug to flush with the new level of additional backsplash by following the step given above.

Step Two

The tile you backsplash the designated area starting from the bottom-up.

When you get to the place where the socket plug vertically falls into the line of the next set of tiles, take the tile that is supposed to go over the socket and place it as it should have been against the wall and on top of the socket.

Step Three

Using a marker pen, mark the tile where it meets the edge of the socket. Mark both sides ensuring that you reserve a 2 millimeter on both edges that will be sealed with grout.

Remove the tile then hold it on the wall beside the socket and again mark where the base of the socket meets the tile.

This will help you get the right measurement so that when the tile is cut, the useful tile will fit well on the space below the socket and envelope the socket as it is meant to.

Step Four

When that is done, place the marked tile on the floor and cut off the unwanted portion. To do that, use a square to draw horizontal and vertical straight lines against the marks made on the tile.

Let the lines cover the entire length and width to be able to get a 90-degree angle. You will get six portions from the tile

To avoid any confusion while cutting, mark the area that is supposed to be eliminated then wipe the lines on the area that’s not supposed to be cut out to remain with a

Step Five

Use an electrical cutter to cut it vertically and a manual cutter to cut it horizontally. Any rough edges can be streamlined using a nipper.

Fit the cut-out tile in its place then redo the process to get the tile piece that will fit the upper part of the socket by doing exactly what you did before.

Ensure that you use tile spacers to get the exact gap in between all your tiles.

Final Thoughts

Because the backsplash is not regarded only for its primary function but also as an aesthetic addition, it is important that the whole wall looks seamless and planned for.

Small details such as a socket plug peeping from the wall tend to break the continuity of the wall and scream imperfection.

Extend it to flush with the backsplash and install tiles neatly and perfectly around the socket. All problems solved.