How to Extend Outlets When Installing Backsplash

Installing a beautiful new backsplash can update the look of your kitchen. However, this project often requires extending existing electrical outlets to accommodate the extra thickness of the backsplash tile. With proper planning and safe electrical procedures, you can upgrade your outlets properly. This ensures your new backsplash and outlets work together for an eye-catching, functional result.

Gather Materials Needed for Outlet Extensions

Extending outlets for backsplash installation requires careful planning and the right materials. Here is what you need:

  • Tile backsplash and related installation supplies
  • Electrical tape
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire nuts
  • Screwdrivers
  • Drywall screws
  • Electrical box extenders or spacers
  • New wall plates sized for the thicker backsplash

Ensure all materials meet local electrical and building codes. Having everything assembled beforehand ensures safety and makes the project go smoothly.

Turn Off Power at the Breaker

Before modifying any electrical wiring, you must shut off power to the outlet circuit at the main breaker panel. Using a non-contact voltage tester, double check the outlet to confirm power is off. Attempting electrical work with the power still live risks electrocution.

Remove the Existing Outlet Cover Plate

With the power disabled, remove the screws holding the existing outlet cover plate in place. Pull the cover plate away and set it aside. This exposes the outlet for extension.

Detach and Extend Existing Electrical Box

The existing electrical box housing the outlet needs to be moved outward to match the new backsplash depth. Carefully detach it from the wall without damaging the interior wires. Attach a box extender accessory to push the box out to the required distance.

Adjust and Extend the Electrical Wires

You will likely need to elongate the interior outlet wires to accommodate the new extended electrical box position. Use wire strippers to access fresh copper wire. Follow electrical codes for safely joining wires of proper gauge using wire nuts.

Secure the Extended Electrical Box

With wires extended, position the electrical box correctly on the wall surface to match the backsplash depth. Drill new holes and insert drywall screws to securely fasten.

Install New Cover Plate

Install a new, deeper wall plate designed for the thicker backsplash. This covers the extended electrical box cleanly. With the outlet extended, tile installation can proceed.

Restore Power and Test

Once the backsplash is installed, carefully restore power at the breaker. Use a voltage tester and lamp to verify proper function of the extended outlet before using.

Extending electrical outlets is crucial for allowing backsplash installation while preserving outlet placement. With the right materials and safe electrical practices, the process can be completed smoothly by knowledgeable DIYers. The finished result is an attractive backsplash complemented by properly positioned outlets.

Frequently Asked Questions About Extending Outlets for Backsplash

Many questions come up when installing backsplash and extending outlets. Here are some key examples:

How much should I extend the outlets?

Extend outlet boxes outward to match the thickness of the backsplash tile and adhesive mortar you will install. Add a small buffer distance as well.

Can I put the tile over the existing outlet box?

No, extending the box is required. Tile over the original box risks cracks and damage. The box needs to be flush with the new tile surface.

What if my wires aren’t long enough?

Use wire nuts to safely join additional length to the existing wires, following electrical codes for your local area. Use proper wire gauge and connections.

Is it okay to splice wires in the outlet box?

Yes, it is generally permitted to splice wires properly within the electrical box. But limit splices, and use covered connectors to prevent exposed wires.

Do I need a professional electrician for this?

If comfortable with basic electrical, a knowledgeable DIYer can usually extend outlets to accommodate backsplash tile. But always exercise caution and call a pro if unsure.

How do I match the right wall plate size?

Measure from the tile surface to find the ideal overall depth. Search for a wall plate designed specifically for about that added thickness.

Should GFCI outlets be extended too?

Yes, any and all outlets covered by the new backsplash tiles should be extended to preserve their placement and function.


Upgrading your kitchen with backsplash tile requires adjusting outlets so they remain easily usable. With safe electrical practices and the right materials, you can extend boxes outward to match the new surface. Planning each step carefully ensures attractive results. The finished look combines beautiful new backsplash tile with outlets positioned just where needed.