Step 6: Install the new electrical box

installing the box
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Hold the new, two-gang electrical box close to the hole you cut in the backsplash wall.

Feed the end of the existing cable — the one that was attached to the receptacle — into the two-gang box.

Then pull the end of the cable coming from the light fixture into the box also. Next, push the box into the hole and press it tightly against the wall.

Note that the box has two screws, one in each diagonal corner. As you begin to tighten the screws, the box's plastic fins will flip up behind the drywall.

Continue to tighten the screws until you feel the fins pull tight against the rear of the drywall, locking the box in place.

Tip: Before sliding the two-gang box in the wall, test it to make sure the fins pop up.
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    Tools List

    • flat prybar
      Flat pry bar,
      to remove the old electrical box
    • Phillips screwdriver
      Phillips and slotted screwdrivers
    • drywall saw
      Drywall saw,
      to cut the hold for a new electrical box
    • spade bit
      1/2-inch spade bit,
      to bore a hole in the wall for a new cable
    • wire strippers
      Wire strippers,
      to remove insulation from wires
    • lineman's pliers
      Lineman's pliers,
      to cut and twist together wires
    • drill
      Drill/driver,
      to drive screws and bore holes

    Shopping List

    1. Light fixture Undercabinet lights are available in fluorescent, halogen, and xenon models. We chose low-voltage halogen for its bright white light (see "10: Choosing the Light"). Measure upper wall cabinets to determine what length fixtures to buy—23 inches and 47 inches are typical sizes. You can gang them together for long runs.

    2. Dimmer switch needs to be compatible with the light fixture you choose.

    3. GFCI receptacle Once installed, this outlet’s ground-fault circuit interrupter will shut off instantaneously if you receive a jolt.

    4. Two-gang, old-work electrical box This larger box replaces the existing single-gang receptacle box in the backsplash wall. An "old work" box is for remodeling—its "fins" unfold behind the drywall to lock it in place.

    5. Two-gang wall plate

    6. 12/2 NM (nonmetallic) electrical cable plastic-sheathed cable often referred to as Romex, a trade name. The 12/2 designation refers to its two 12-gauge copper wires—a neutral and a hot. It also holds a bare ground wire. You’ll need 6 feet of cable, including loose wires you’ll cut from this for Step #6.

    7. Ground pigtail connector; cable connector; wire connectors

    8. Wood or plastic cable protector may be required by some municipalities to protect exposed cable. Make from wood or buy as "nonmetallic raceway" in 5-foot lengths.