Decora plates on tile walls

Strathead

Senior Member
I understand where you are coming from on this, but part of the problem is the decora device to begin with. Unless you are both there at the same time, I don't expect them to get the openings absolutely perfect for accommodating the trim screws of a decora style device. I have installed ceramic tile myself and that is not exactly an easy thing to do without the devices to check it out. At very least if you expect them to have it right for you you better let them know where there will be decora style devices, as they can do a good job on an install where there is no decora devices but it is a problem if you change to decora devices.

Do you expect drywallers or other other finishes to have same thing? Truth is they (usually) make a tight fit to the box also, it is just that the drywall has enough give to let you install the screws anyway. So I see it is that I have to install the offending problem more so than they do. If I have the box set so it will be ~ flush I won't ask for any more than don't block the box itself.
Really, when they make the effort, I am usually not going to be a monster, but regarding "decora" devices, the GFI is already a decora device. Over the years I have acquired and made many tools. It is not unreasonable to expect the Tile person to make a template that ensures a GFI will fit in the opening that they cut.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Really, when they make the effort, I am usually not going to be a monster, but regarding "decora" devices, the GFI is already a decora device. Over the years I have acquired and made many tools. It is not unreasonable to expect the Tile person to make a template that ensures a GFI will fit in the opening that they cut.
Unless they have tried to install several decora style devices they will never understand.

Put yourself in their shoes. They don't necessarily know which boxes will get a decora style device to start with. Also have you done anything that otherwise interferes even the slightest way with their work? Did you ever have a cable for an undercabinet light stuck in the wrong place and they assumed it was correct and tiled around it? Even if it was in the right place, they will usually leave a hole not much bigger than necessary to pass that cable through, what if you intended the cable connector for said light to penetrate the tile? Sounds like your problem more so than theirs, how are they to know what was needed?

In any case you need to communicate with them and surprisingly you may actually get what you want from them the first time, if you are civilized about it.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
Really, when they make the effort, I am usually not going to be a monster, but regarding "decora" devices, the GFI is already a decora device. Over the years I have acquired and made many tools. It is not unreasonable to expect the Tile person to make a template that ensures a GFI will fit in the opening that they cut.
I don't want the tile guy making room for decora plate screws. I would rather cut the screw and have a firm surface for the device yoke to sit on.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I don't want the tile guy making room for decora plate screws. I would rather cut the screw and have a firm surface for the device yoke to sit on.
That's exactly right, if they are trying to accommodate this for you they are much more likely to have their tile cutout max height required by the decora plate instead of going by the box and making a small slot wherever you need those screws to hit, then the device is floating instead of firmly sitting on the finish surface.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I recently bought a cheap little grinder bit that will fit in my drill to deal with this issue. Mostly I make the tile guys notch for the screws.
 

Strathead

Senior Member
Unless they have tried to install several decora style devices they will never understand.

Put yourself in their shoes. They don't necessarily know which boxes will get a decora style device to start with. Also have you done anything that otherwise interferes even the slightest way with their work? Did you ever have a cable for an undercabinet light stuck in the wrong place and they assumed it was correct and tiled around it? Even if it was in the right place, they will usually leave a hole not much bigger than necessary to pass that cable through, what if you intended the cable connector for said light to penetrate the tile? Sounds like your problem more so than theirs, how are they to know what was needed?

In any case you need to communicate with them and surprisingly you may actually get what you want from them the first time, if you are civilized about it.
First off, it is not just "Decora" as I implied it is every GFI in every bathroom, not just a once in a while type of deal. As I said, I am not a monster about it, but there is absolutely no reason why the tile guy can't get it right 8 times out of ten. Then iwire brings up the desire to have a flat spot. That assumes the tile guy will be even lazier and just cut a bigger hole, rather than a notch for the cover screws. I am sorry, but I actually expect the other trades to learn their craft just like I expect my guys to. I would never call them back if they cut out the proper shape and took the time to put a notch where the screw goes, but it was a little off. When they don't bother to put a notch at all, that means they don't know or they don't care. Either way I think it is worthwhile for them to have to come back and fix it. BTW, My Dad and both of my brothers were tile guys. They had enough pride in their work for GFI's to fit properly.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I think it is well beyond reasonable to expect a tile contractor to make each box cut out like a Swiss watch. Way to many variables in box and device types.

But to each their own for sure. :)
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
I always cut my screws using one of these and never have any issues.
Me too cut like a charm.
View attachment 9432
I've had problems with granite installers in the past, especially when I didn't use adjustable boxes. They always managed to infringe into the box space. On one occasion the granite guy was paid in CASH and left the job. When I arrived I wasn't able to install a GFI receptacle. In one instance I actually had to use my hack saw and shave 1/16 off each side of the GFI receptacle in order to get it into the space provided. Now I only use adjustable boxes and leave them outward adjusted about 1" so there's no question as to how the fit should be.
You did what!!!! Cut the outlet. You need to carry a dreamel or fein. I have no problem cutting the area. I do a better job than the tile guy or GC. Once saw a carpenter bounce a sawzall across a cabinet trying to cut in a box because he did not trust the EC. Made a mess.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
First off, it is not just "Decora" as I implied it is every GFI in every bathroom, not just a once in a while type of deal. As I said, I am not a monster about it, but there is absolutely no reason why the tile guy can't get it right 8 times out of ten. Then iwire brings up the desire to have a flat spot. That assumes the tile guy will be even lazier and just cut a bigger hole, rather than a notch for the cover screws. I am sorry, but I actually expect the other trades to learn their craft just like I expect my guys to. I would never call them back if they cut out the proper shape and took the time to put a notch where the screw goes, but it was a little off. When they don't bother to put a notch at all, that means they don't know or they don't care. Either way I think it is worthwhile for them to have to come back and fix it. BTW, My Dad and both of my brothers were tile guys. They had enough pride in their work for GFI's to fit properly.
GFCI and Decora are interchangeable terms in the context of what is needed from the wall preparation in this thread. I don't expect a tile guy to know which boxes will have a GFCI and which ones will not. I also don't expect them to know which ones will have other "decora" style devices. It is also possible we have no decora devices and use GFCI circuit breakers. If that is the case why should tile guy need to spend the time trimming his tile for decora wall plates??

Like I said earlier, if you are civilized about it and coordinate what you want from them before they are long gone, you can usually get exactly what you want, with little hassle for everyone involved. But if you drop the ball it isn't fair to blame them.
 

stickboy1375

Senior Member
Location
Litchfield, CT
I can't believe this thread is still going, i've been in the trade for a long time, never had a real issue with this, most i've encountered was just cutting the plate screws? not really a big deal.
 
i had this in a datacenter ... the owner was a real case of nuts.. he tiled the entire building including the IT room with the most expensive marble tile he could get his hands on. the wise guy that did the tile job tiled over all the boxes, the cheese hit the roof when i got there to re install the devices. after spending 2 hours rotoziping the holes in i was pissed and sore (the marble he used tended to explode when you took a drill to it ) out came the big ass hammer. i finished the wall i was on and the remaining 3 (840 box holes in all) in less than an hour and then billed them for the extra work
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
i had this in a datacenter ... the owner was a real case of nuts.. he tiled the entire building including the IT room with the most expensive marble tile he could get his hands on. the wise guy that did the tile job tiled over all the boxes, the cheese hit the roof when i got there to re install the devices. after spending 2 hours rotoziping the holes in i was pissed and sore (the marble he used tended to explode when you took a drill to it ) out came the big ass hammer. i finished the wall i was on and the remaining 3 (840 box holes in all) in less than an hour and then billed them for the extra work

840 box holes roto zip in a hour , in Marble.
Yea right. :happyno:
 

GerryB

Senior Member
I can't believe this thread is still going, i've been in the trade for a long time, never had a real issue with this, most i've encountered was just cutting the plate screws? not really a big deal.
:pI'm surprised my thread is still going too. I cut um, with the pliers, put a little pressure on them and they usually catch. (They are too short for the threader) The mounting screws for the device now that's a different story. A little trick on cutting screws with your pliers. If they are long enough cut them on an angle and they act like a self tapper.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
:pI'm surprised my thread is still going too. I cut um, with the pliers, put a little pressure on them and they usually catch. (They are too short for the threader)
I have never had any trouble cutting them with the screw cutter in a pair of stripper / crimpers.

 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Never measured, but I put a lot of decora plates on tile and have never had an issue cutting the screws.
Well I have never measured either but it has always been when trying to remove a real small amount from the screw when the cutter doesn't like to cooperate, then you turn the screw in a little farther so it will cut better and end up with a screw too short to work for the application.

How does trim plates with no screws in the face work for this? I can't recall ever using them so I'm not real certain just how they attach.
 
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