How to Raise Electrical Outlets for Backsplash

Installing a backsplash in your kitchen often requires adjusting the height of your electrical outlets so they remain accessible. Raising electrical outlets is a project any homeowner can tackle with proper planning and attention to safety. Follow this step-by-step guide to successfully raise outlets for your new backsplash.

Assess the Existing Outlets

Before starting any work, assess the location, number, and type of electrical outlets that need to be moved.

  • Make note of which outlets are switched and which are constant power. This will be important when reconnecting them later.
  • Determine if the existing electrical boxes allow slack in the wiring to raise them up. If not, the boxes may need to be replaced with deeper, more spacious boxes.
  • Decide if you want to raise the outlets the full height of the backsplash or just partially. Raising them the full height keeps them seamlessly lined up with the new backsplash.

Turn Off Power and Remove Cover Plates

Safety should always come first when working with electrical wiring.

  • Locate the circuit breaker connected to the kitchen outlets and switch it to the OFF position. Use a contact voltage tester to confirm power is off.
  • Remove the cover plates from each outlet you plan to raise using a screwdriver. Place the screws somewhere safe so you can easily find them later.

Disconnect and Remove the Existing Outlets

With the power safely off, you can now disconnect and remove the outlets.

  • Remove the screws holding each outlet in place. Carefully pull the outlet out from the electrical box while loosening the wires.
  • Label the wires or take photos so you remember how to reconnect them properly later. The hot wires are typically black or red, neutral wires are white, and ground wires are bare copper or green.
  • After disconnecting the wires, fully remove the outlets from the boxes.

Raise the Electrical Boxes

Now you’re ready to raise the electrical boxes up to the desired height.

  • Remove the screws anchoring the electrical box to the wall stud and pull the box out. Be careful not to damage the drywall.
  • Determine how much higher the box needs to be raised to line up with the backsplash. Mark this height on the wall stud.
  • Reposition and reattach each electrical box using drywall screws at the marked height. Make sure boxes are level and secured.

Extend the Wire Lengths

In most cases, the existing wires will be too short after raising the outlets. You’ll need to extend them.

  • Carefully strip back about 1/2 inch of insulation from each wire end, using wire strippers.
  • Splice lengths of identical gauge THHN wire onto each existing wire, matching colors. Use proper sized wire nuts for a tight connection.
  • Wrap all splices with electrical tape for a waterproof, protective connection.

Reinstall the Outlets and Cover Plates

You’re almost done! Now to reconnect the outlets and finish up.

  • Reinstall each outlet into its electrical box, matching wires to the proper screw terminals. Refer to your labels or photos.
  • Secure the outlets flush to the boxes using the long screws. Make sure no wires are pinched.
  • With outlets secure, turn the power back on at the circuit breaker. Use a voltage tester to confirm outlets are live.
  • Attach the cover plates and screws, making sure gaps are minimized.
  • Test each outlet to ensure proper function. Plug in lamps or appliances to check switched vs constant power.

And that’s it! The outlets are now raised and positioned perfectly for the new backsplash installation. Always hire an electrician for any steps you are uncomfortable tackling. Take proper safety precautions when working with electrical wiring.

Frequently Asked Questions About Raising Electrical Outlets

How much height should outlets be raised for a backsplash?

Most standard backsplashes are 4 inches tall. Therefore, raise outlets by a comparable height, usually 3 to 4 inches above their original position. Adjust to your specific backsplash height.

Do I need to replace the electrical boxes when raising outlets?

If there is enough wire length in the existing boxes, you potentially can reuse them. But older or smaller boxes often need to be replaced with more spacious, recessed boxes to accommodate raised wire lengths.

Can I raise outlets on my own without an electrician?

Many handy homeowners are able to safely raise outlets on their own. The key is turning off power at the breaker and taking precautions when working with electrical wiring. Consult an electrician if you have any doubts.

Should GFCI outlets be raised behind a backsplash?

Yes, any outlets being covered by a backsplash, including GFCI outlets, should be raised so they are fully accessible. Make sure to connect the wires properly when reinstalling GFCI outlets.

How do I determine the right wire gauge when extending wires?

Use wiring that is identical gauge or slightly larger than the existing. Most branch circuit wiring is 14 or 12 AWG. Use wire nuts suitable for the gauge and number of conductors being connected.

Can I install the new backsplash before or after raising outlets?

It’s best to raise outlets prior to installing backsplash. Trying to adjust outlet height after setting tile is much harder. Plan outlet height to match your backsplash design.

Should I also raise surrounding switches or other wall fixtures?

For a seamless look, consider raising additional switches, thermostats, or other wall fixtures so they align with the new backsplash height.


Although it requires attention to detail, raising electrical outlets in order to install a backsplash is a manageable project for a knowledgeable DIYer. Advance planning and turning off power are crucial first steps. With some basic electrical skills and proper materials, you can raise outlets to the perfect height for your backsplash installation. Take things slowly and reach out to a professional if needed. But you may be surprised at how simple raising outlets can be.