How To Move An Outlet Up Existing Drywall

Posted on: 15 May 2017

If you install a new device like a wall-mounted television, or overhead light, you may find the cord doesn't reach the intended outlet. It is possible to move an outlet up the drywall without needing advanced electrical skills. Here are tips to move outlets up existing drywall

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • Phillips or flat-blade screwdriver
  • non-contact voltage meter
  • side-cutting pliers
  • pencil
  • stud finder
  • wire strippers
  • wire connectors
  • drywall saw or keyhole saw
  • 14-gauge electrical cable (optional)
  • blank electrical plate  

Shut off the current to the outlet you want to move from the breaker box. If you are unsure of what breaker controls the outlet, plug in a device, and flip each breaker until there is no power. Unplug the device, and test the outlet with a non-contact voltage meter. 

Mark the New Location

Use the screwdriver to unfasten the screws on the old outlet cover, and set the screws aside. Detach the screws on the outlet box and wires. Disconnect the wires from the plug, remove the plug, and set it aside.

Use the stud finder to locate studs, if needed. In most cases, you only need to place the new outlet directly above the old one, so you won't have to locate studs. Hold the new plate on the desired spot, and trace around it.

Install the New Outlet

Cut the shape with a keyhole saw or drywall saw. Reach inside the hole of the old outlet, and pull the cable up until it reaches the new location.

Trim the existing cable until six inches shows from the wall, then strip two inches of insulation from the cable end. Strip an inch of insulation from the black and white wires. Don't strip green or copper grounding wires.

If the wire isn't long enough, you will need to add a new cable. Strip about an inch of insulation from the new cable wires, and attach it to the existing cable. Twist the black wires together on the tow cables, then the white wires with the pliers, and add a wire connector.

Form a hook on the end of the second cable or existing cable with the pliers, and connect the wires to the outlet. Slightly loosen the screw terminals on the outlet. 

Attach the black wire to the brass screw, attach the white wire to the silver screw. Connect the green or copper grounding wire to the copper or green screw, tighten all connections, and add a wire connector. Push the wires and outlet into the hole, and connect the cover plate.

Patch the hole in the old outlet location. Restore power, and test the outlet. If you don't trust your skill, or the outlet fails, contact an electrician like RDS Electric.