How to Extend an Electrical Outlet for a Backsplash


Adding a backsplash to your kitchen can give it a stylish, updated look. However, you may find that your existing electrical outlets are now partially blocked by the new backsplash. Extending your outlets so that they sit on top of the backsplash is an easy DIY project that doesn’t require replacing the entire outlet. With some simple tools and basic electrical knowledge, you can adjust your outlets to work with your new backsplash.

Things You’ll Need

  • Electrical tape
  • Wire strippers
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Drywall saw
  • Electrical box extender
  • Wire nuts

Turn Off Power and Remove Outlet Cover

The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off power to the outlet by flipping the appropriate breaker in your electrical panel. Verify power is off by plugging in a lamp or tester. Then, use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the outlet cover plate and set it aside.

Disconnect and Inspect Wires

You’ll see several wires attached to the outlet. Carefully disconnect them one by one and make note of where each one was connected. Often they are labeled with colored tape or letters indicating hot, neutral and ground wires. Inspect the condition of the wires to make sure the insulation is intact with no fraying or breaks. If there are any issues, it may require replacing the outlet or splicing new wire.

Remove Outlet from Electrical Box

With the wires disconnected, you can now unscrew and remove the outlet from the electrical box in the wall. The box likely has anchors holding it in place that you can detach with a slotted screwdriver. Carefully pull the box out from the wall while leaving the wires in place.

Cut Drywall for Box Extender

Now you can install the electrical box extender, which will allow the outlet box to sit flush with the front of the backsplash. Hold it in place and outline the cutout area on the drywall. Use a drywall saw to cut out the hole for the extender. Then feed wires through the extender and screw it into place on the existing box anchors.

Connect Wires to New Outlet

Attach the outlet to the extender box using screws. Refer to your original wiring and connect each wire to its corresponding terminal on the outlet. Connect hot to hot, neutral to neutral, and ground to ground. Cap all wires off with wire nuts and ensure secure connections.

Test and Install New Outlet

With all wires connected, carefully tuck them into the box extender, leaving room for the outlet. Screw the outlet into place. Turn the power back on and test with a circuit tester or lamp to verify proper wiring. Once you’ve confirmed it works and there are no issues, install the outlet cover plate.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Turn power off at the breaker box before starting any electrical work.
  • Only work on outlets you installed. Consult an electrician for pre-wired outlets.
  • Use caution not to overcut drywall when installing box extender.
  • Do not undersize electrical box extenders.
  • Replace outlet if wires are damaged or connections are loose.

Extending an outlet for a backsplash is well within the DIY realm. With the right materials and safety precautions, you can adjust your electrical to fit your updated space. Always turn power off and test wiring before completing the job. Take your time and follow electrical codes to ensure safe, professional results.

Frequently Asked Questions About Extending Electrical Outlets for Backsplashes

What type of electrical box extender should I use?

For a backsplash application, using an adjustable depth or remodeling electrical box extender is recommended. This style has brackets that allow the box to be positioned flush with the new finished surface.

Do I need a special outlet for a backsplash?

Regular standard duplex outlets will work for a backsplash installation as long as the box is properly extended. There are also splashproof outlets designed with a protective cover if outlets will be exposed and susceptible to moisture.

Can I do this project myself if I’m not highly experienced with electrical?

Extending an outlet is a straight-forward project that can definitely be DIYed. The most important things are to turn off power at the breaker, carefully disconnect and reconnect wires exactly as they were, and secure all connections.

What if my wires are too short after extending the outlet?

If your existing wires are not long enough, you may need to splice in some length. Use wire nuts to connect extra hot, neutral and ground wires to the ends of the existing ones coming out of the wall.

Should I get a permit for extending outlets?

Most likely no permit is needed for a simple outlet adjustment project. But do check with your local building codes to see if any electrical work, even small projects, requires a permit.

How do I ensure my outlet is grounded properly?

Make sure a ground wire is present in the electrical box and that it is securely connected to the ground terminal on the new outlet along with the ground wires from the hot and neutral cables.

Can I use the outlets while they are disconnected during this project?

It is never safe to use or plug in outlets while they are disconnected. Make sure to turn off the power at the breaker before starting and do not restore power until all wires are connected.


Adjusting electrical outlets to accommodate a new backsplash is a relatively quick and easy process. With proper safety precautions like turning off power and testing wires, even someone with limited DIY experience can tackle extending an outlet. The finished product will allow your new backsplash and outlets to coexist in stylish form and function.