A wall plate cover or light switch cover is the external plate or covering on an electrical light switch. These light switch plates screw into the switches and protect the wiring behind the plate from being touched. Only the toggle switch protrudes to turn the light on and off. Wall plates may be made from metal, such as brass or stainless steel, or they may be plastic or even wood. Common types of wall plates include:
The covers for electrical receptacles or outlets may also be referred to as wall plates. The most common type is a wall plate with two openings to expose the plugs in a duplex outlet.
A blank wall plate or blank light switch cover easily removes safety concerns from unused outlets, without having to remove the outlet box completely. This type of wall plate fastens directly to the frame of the outlet box or electrical receptacle. It covers the hole in the wall and eliminates the need for costly drywall patching while still preserving the wall’s integrity.
Both plastic and metal switch plate covers can be painted to match the wall or to match the outlets. However, you should never paint a wall plate cover when it is mounted in place. Otherwise, you risk electrical shock and getting paint into the outlet. Turn off the power to the outlet first, remove the paint cover, and paint it on a flat surface. Allow ample time for the paint to dry before reattaching the plate cover.
A safe plate wall plate (also called a child-proof wall plate cover) is an easy and decorative way to add extra protection for children who might accidentally tamper with electrical outlets. These types of wall plates have a protective cover that instantly falls into place when you remove a plug from an outlet or fold down over the light switch when you turn the lights on or off.
A gang is a grouped set of switches, sockets, connectors, or other electrical or mechanical devices. However, a gang does not always refer to the number of openings in a wall plate. A wall plate, for example, can hold two duplex receptacles and be categorized as a two-gang, even though it has four outlets for plugging in devices.
Most wall plates are made from plastic or metal.
Plastic wall plates are often white or off-white, in shades like ivory or light almond. Common types of plastic wall plates include:
Metal wall plates are often stainless steel, brass, or copper:
Most single-gang or 1-toggle wall plates fit into one of three standardized sizes:
The openings in the wall plate may be different sizes depending on whether they accommodate dimmers, toggles, or rocker switches.
The dimensions of a wall plate will depend on the number of switches and whether the plate is standard, midsize, or jumbo. Wall plates can be:
For spaces that need many different lighting configurations, such as a theater, you may see a custom wall plate with more than four switches. Single-, two-, and three-gang wall plates are the most common options in residential settings.
While midsize and jumbo sizes are also available, the dimensions for standard wall plates are:
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