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How to Install an Electrical Outlet in a Plaster Wall

Damon Koch

Installing an electrical outlet in a plaster wall involves cutting a hole in the plaster, installing a box onto a stud and installing the outlet. This assumes that the electrical wiring is in place where the outlet is being installed. The job can be accomplished with the use of the correct tools and with a little electrical knowledge. Even the inexperienced should be able to complete the task in about an hour.

Install an Electrical Outlet in a Plaster Wall
  1. Ensure that the circuit breaker is off that supplies electrical current to the room in which the outlet is being installed.

  2. Use a stud finder to locate the closest stud to the desired location for the outlet. Follow the directions for the use of the particular stud finder you are using.

  3. Mark the edge of the stud with a pencil. Mark the stud at the desired height for the location of the outlet. Place another mark the approximate length of the electrical box below the first mark.

  4. Place a mark the width of the box next to each of the other marks. This will mark the four corners of the box.

  5. Drill a hole into the plaster on each of the marks using an electric drill with a 1-inch bit. Use a drywall saw to cut out the plaster using the holes as a guide. When you are finished, you should have a hole in the plaster the approximate size of the box with the stud along the left-hand side.

  6. Fit the electrical box into the hole after feeding the electrical wires through one of the holes in the back of the box. You may have to use a utility knife to shave off a little more plaster to make the box fit correctly. Use a hammer to secure the box to the stud with the nails provided in the box.

  7. Cut the wires with wire cutters if they are longer than 8 inches. Use wire strippers to strip off about 2 inches of the insulation from the end of each wire. There are three wires total.

  8. Wrap the end of the black wire around the brass colored screw on the outlet and tighten the screw with a screwdriver. Wrap the white wire around the silver screw and tighten it. The bare wire is the ground and should be wrapped around the green screw on the outlet.

  9. Push any excess wire into the box and screw the outlet to the box with the screws provided with the outlet. Fasten the cover plate with the screw provided and turn on the circuit breaker.