Don't Paint Receptacle Covers!

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

Don't paint receptacle covers!

It's simple.  The covers should be removed before the wall around a receptacle should be primed and painted.

Painting the cover and receptacle while on the wall is not a good thing to do for many reasons:

1.  The cover plate is essentially glued to the wall and the receptacle.  To remove it requires something sharp.  Damage can be done to the wall and/or receptacle.  And a slip could be made inserting that sharp object into the receptacle itself.  Damage is not only possible, but probable.

2.  The holes of the receptacle can be filled with paint.  I have seen them so filled you can hardly see that a receptacle is there.  In the case in this photo I was unable to insert my testing device to see how the receptacle worked. 

3.  But also, paint is latex, which IS NOT conductive.  When a plug is pushed into the receptacle paint can also be pushed inside.  The inside of the receptacle IS conductive.  When a non-conductive material is pushed against a conductive material resistance will happen.  Resistance causes heat.  Heat and electricity are not a good combination.  Yes, receptacle fires can occur.

4.  Once a color is on the wall, and if the cover plate and receptacle have already been painted, if the color of the wall is to be changed the temptation is to paint the receptacle again the new color!  That adds difficulty and potential danger, to difficulty and potential danger.

 My recommendation:  take a moment to remove the cover plates before painting.  Tell your painter to do the same.  When receptacles are painted such as the one in the photo it is ALWAYS best to remove and replace everything.  Be careful!  The difficulty and potential danger still exist!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Rainmaker
1,407,261
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

great suggestions! I know it is tempting to just push that plug in but you explain why that doesn't work! 

Nov 30, 2016 04:26 AM #1
Rainmaker
595,301
Norma J. Elkins
Elite Realty Group - Morristown, TN
Realtor - Elkins Home Selling Team

Great information...I am not a painter myself, but my husband always removes ours before painting.  Thanks for sharing these awesome reasons!

Nov 30, 2016 04:28 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

People will try to force a plug inside, Lise, which is NOT the thing to do!

Norma - that is the best practice!

Nov 30, 2016 04:31 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,112,585
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Oh my, this brings back memories of the time I was moving into a co-op I had just purchased. Every single cover was painted on, with multiple layers (years worth) of paint. I had to go around the house chipping paint off to remove those things and buy new. Luckily I didn't get hurt or start a fire, but it was not fun. 

Nov 30, 2016 04:59 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

My point exactly, Miss K!  And good for you for not getting shocked!

Hopefully your walls weren't too damaged in the process.

Nov 30, 2016 05:02 AM #5
Ambassador
1,610,839
Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

That is a definite fire hazard waiting to happen at this time.

Nov 30, 2016 05:08 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That is what I put on my inspection reports, Harry.  Along with the recommendation to have all the painted receptacles replaced.

Nov 30, 2016 05:12 AM #7
Rainmaker
2,480,289
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Good morning Jay. It pays to own a screwdriver if you are going to paint a wall. Enjoy your day!

Nov 30, 2016 05:12 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Wayne - I have these screwdrivers exactly for the purpose of removing screws like what hold cover plates on receptacles.

Nov 30, 2016 05:16 AM #9
Rainmaker
2,610,050
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

I never really, sadly, thought about this....good point, glad mine are not painted!

Nov 30, 2016 05:42 AM #10
Rainmaker
515,325
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

The height of laziness.... one tiny screw!

Nov 30, 2016 06:50 AM #11
Ambassador
2,478,787
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

It would be so much easier if the gallon of paint came with a screw driver and instructions on how to use it

Nov 30, 2016 07:32 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kristin - then you are ahead of the curve!

That is the sum of it Fred.  Too much work.  I have all the cover plates and screws in a small bucket in the basement bedroom I am finishing.  Paint to start soon!

Then they, and I mean "they," would not read the instructions, Ed.

Nov 30, 2016 08:39 AM #13
Rainer
240,081
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

Shortcuts like this usually lead to a repair effort which is more time consuming than if you had just done it right the first time!

Dec 01, 2016 08:36 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

All true Stephen.  Painting everything like this is silly and leads to so many possible problems.

Dec 02, 2016 04:08 AM #15
Ambassador
2,872,897
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

I always hate seeing this from the simple stand point that it means whoever did the paint job was just pure lazy.  But knowing it creates potential danger makes that laziness inexcusable.

Dec 09, 2016 08:47 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,743,594
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Lazy is as lazy does, Chris Ann.  And this guy was really, really lazy.

Dec 09, 2016 09:48 AM #17
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

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