Solutions for Obstructed Switch Plate Covers
Learn how to measure your space and adjust devices to best fit short wall plates.
Adjusting Your Devices
For safety, shut off power to any electrical devices you plan to adjust.
Note: The screw hole for mounting electrical devices is larger than the screw's body to allow the device to be shifted side to side or up and down.
If you're having trouble getting your switches to mount in the electrical box due to an obstruction on the top or bottom, try shifting them away from the obstruction.
Device may be shifted up and down in the electrical box by loosening the screws.
CAUTION: Do not touch screws on the sides of your electrical devices if the power has not been turned off at the breaker or you will get shocked.
Loosen these screws to move the devices away from the obstruction. This will help create room for the cover plate.
*Note that for rocker devices (like the switches shown), you'll remove these mounting screws entirely. Then use the included switch plate screws to mount both the plate & the switches into the electrical box all at once.
If the devices have been painted over, you may have to pry them away from the wall carefully. Try to avoid ripping up the drywall with the device. Use a box cutter to help separate the device from the wall.
How Short Plates Are Different
The overall dimensions of our short plates are standard size, but the cutouts are shifted toward one edge (top or bottom, depending on how you orient the plate).
Image: Back side of a switch & plate.
Standard switch covers extend beyond the device.
This is why your plate won't fit if you've run wall tile or installed cabinetry too close to your electrical switches or outlets.
Our short plates go right up to the edge of the device on either the top or the bottom, rather than extending beyond.
This allows you to install a cover in a tight spot where a standard one won't fit.
How to Measure & Install Shorter Plates
As mentioned above, our short cover plates reach the edge of the device, rather than extending beyond it as a standard plate does.
If you have enough room for your device to clear the obstruction, you should have enough room for a short cover.
If you have bent or snapped off any part of the metal device straps, you'll need to measure to see if a short cover will fit.
To measure your space, first locate the spot on your device where the cover plate will be installed (see arrows).
For toggle switches, find the cover plate screw holes above and below the switch.
For duplex outlets & horizontal toggles, the hole is in the center.
For rocker switches & GFCI outlets, standard plates screw into the very top and bottom (marked with the red X's). Short rocker plates are different and mount through the device's mounting screw holes. You will need to remove these screws to install a short rocker plate.
Measure from the obstruction to the center of the screw hole where the plate will be mounted.
Then, check the dimensions of the short plate that you need.
Look for the measurement from the screw hole to the edge of the shortest side of the cover.
- Short rocker covers: 7/16"
- Short toggle covers: 27/32"
- Short duplex covers: 2"
Compare the plate's dimensions with the measurement you took for your device.
Our short 2-rocker cover plate was the perfect solution for this homeowner's predicament.
The cover reaches the bottom edges of the devices, stopping just short of the thick tile ledge.
Notice that the cover plate's cutouts are shifted downward - there is very little room between the bottom screws and the plate's edge, but extra room at the top of the wall plate.
The plate may be rotated so that the short edge is at the top if your obstacle is above your switches rather than below.
Shop shorter sized switch plates to find the cover you need.
Once you select a plate, you'll find additional images & info regarding each plate's specific dimensions.
Plates may be rotated - if your switch plate is being obstructed on the top edge instead of the bottom, simply rotate the plate so that the short side is on top.
For plates that won't fit because of a blocked side, shop narrow switch plates & outlet cover solutions.