How to Move an Electrical Outlet for Tile Backsplash

Installing a tile backsplash in your kitchen can really transform the look and feel of the space. However, you may run into some obstacles if you have electrical outlets located in the area where you plan to install the backsplash. Moving the outlets so they don’t interfere with your new backsplash is a project any homeowner can tackle with proper planning and safety precautions.

Steps to Move an Electrical Outlet for Tile Backsplash

Turn Off Power and Test

Before doing any electrical work, it’s crucial to shut off power to the outlet you’ll be moving. Locate the circuit breaker box and turn off the breaker controlling that outlet. Use a non-contact voltage tester on the outlet to double-check that power is off.

Remove the Outlet Cover

With the power off, you can now remove the cover plate screws and outlet cover to access the electrical box.

Disconnect Wires

There will likely be multiple wires connected to the outlet, including hot wires, a neutral wire, ground wire, and possibly some jumper wires. Carefully disconnect each wire one at a time. Be sure to note where each wire was originally connected.

Detach Box from Wall

The next step is to detach the electrical box from the wall. This usually involves removing a couple screws or nails that hold it in place. Support the box as you remove fasteners to prevent it from falling.

Cut Hole for New Box Location

Decide on the new location for your outlet keeping code requirements in mind. Cut a new hole in the wall to fit the electrical box. Make sure not to make the hole too big.

Install New Electrical Box

With the new hole cut, you can insert the electrical box and secure it with screws or nails. The box should sit flush with the wall surface.

Thread Wires into New Box

Carefully thread the electrical wires through the new hole into the relocated box. Pull enough wire to make connections.

Re-connect Wires

Refer to your original wire connections and re-connect each wire to its corresponding terminal in the new box. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Secure Wires and Install New Cover

Neatly tuck wires into the box and secure them with an electrical staple if needed. Screw on a new outlet cover plate and you’re all set!

Restore Power and Test Outlet

Head back to the breaker box and switch the breaker for the outlet back on to restore power. Use a circuit tester to confirm the outlet is wired correctly before using.

Important Tips for Moving an Outlet

  • Always turn power off at the breaker before starting any electrical project. Verify it’s off with a voltage tester.
  • Take pictures before disconnecting any wires to use as a reference for re-connecting.
  • Only move one outlet at a time to avoid mixing up wires.
  • Follow local building codes for outlet placement requirements. Minimum distances apply.
  • Hire an electrician if you don’t feel completely comfortable doing this yourself.
  • Make sure your new electrical box sits flush and is securely fastened.
  • Only connect wires to terminals they are labeled for – hot to hot, neutral to neutral, etc.
  • Don’t overfill the electrical box with excess wire length.
  • Consider upgrading to a tamper-resistant outlet if not already present.

FAQs About Moving an Outlet for Backsplash

What tools do I need to move an electrical outlet?

You’ll need basic hand tools like a screwdriver, wire strippers, drywall saw, utility knife, voltage tester, staple gun, and potentially a drill with wall bits. Always use appropriate PPE.

Can I just shut off the breaker or do I need to turn off power at the main?

Turning off just the individual breaker controlling that outlet is sufficient. No need to shut power off to the whole house.

How far can I move my outlet horizontally or vertically?

There are restrictions on how far you can relocate an outlet based on local building codes. In general, outlets can be moved vertically about 1 foot and horizontally up to 2 feet.

Can I install the new outlet box over drywall?

No, the box should be secured firmly to the wall stud or other solid structure behind the drywall. Patch holes as needed.

How do I disconnect the wires from the outlet?

Carefully detach each wire one at a time using needle nose pliers. Do not pull forcefully on the wires themselves or you may damage them.

Should I update the outlet while I have it moved?

It’s a great idea to upgrade to a GFCI outlet or tamper-resistant outlet for added safety if not already present. Just be sure to get an appropriate replacement.

What is the proper wire gauge for outlets?

The wire gauge depends on the outlet circuit but is commonly 14 gauge or 12 gauge for standard 15 and 20 amp household circuits.

Can I re-connect wires in any order?

No! Wires must go back exactly as they were connected originally to avoid hazards. Hot to hot, neutral to neutral, ground to ground, etc.


Moving an electrical outlet to accommodate a new backsplash tile installation is totally doable for any DIYer. Follow proper safety procedures and use caution when working with electrical wiring. Patience and care will result in a successful project with an outlet placed exactly where you need it. Hiring a professional electrician is recommended if you have any doubts about safely completing the outlet relocation. With some planning and attention to detail, you can move that outlet and get the backsplash of your dreams.