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Why You Should Be Using Outlet Boxes During Plumbing Rough-In

fixture boxes and bracket at rough-in

As tradespeople continue to navigate an ongoing labor shortage, innovative products and methods of installation become increasingly important to sustain them and their work.

Over the past decade or so, one such product that plumbing professionals have gravitated toward for new builds is outlet boxes. Also known as rough-in boxes or mounting boxes, the options run the gamut, from fixtures to washing machines to ice makers, and they offer a more efficient alternative to traditional rough-in plumbing methods for these kinds of installations.  

Explore the key reasons why outlet boxes are becoming the industry standard and how they can support your workflow, bottom line and craftsmanship. 

1. They’re Quicker to Install 

Contractors today are realizing outlet boxes help them complete stub-outs more easily and earlier in the building process. The design of the product enables this simplification, as it streamlines both pre-installation planning as well as the on-site work. In a tough labor market, that’s no small thing. 

Installation preparation 

When planning out the needs for a project, you often have to consider which parts and how many you need to order to complete the job. With old-school methods, whenever you had to install different water supply lines — such as those to washing machines and sinks — you had to collect several parts: brackets, clamps, caps, fixture stops, hammer arrestors, sanitary plates.  

Outlet boxes consolidate a lot of those different elements into one ready-to-go product, so you have to order fewer parts at the end of the day. This not only saves you time — it also saves you on material costs, as you can cut your SKU count almost in half. 

Installation completion 

Once you’re on the job site, outlet boxes continue to save you time. Traditional methods involve several time-consuming steps.  

Traditional rough-in process 

  1. Install bracketing.
  2. Installation, make or secure stub outs.
  3. Connect the stub out to the water supply.
  4. Test water supply.  

Traditional finishing process 

  1. Cut, clean and debur the stub-out.  
  2. Prepare for the supply stop by applying flux, tape, etc., and install escutcheons.  
  3. Attach the supply stop in the proper position.  
  4. Perform a final test. 
fixture cover rough-in

By contrast, with outlet boxes, the steps are simplified.  

Rough-in phase with outlet boxes 

  1. Attach the outlet box to a stud or bracket.  
  2. Next, connect the outlet box to the water supply.
  3. Conduct the water supply test.  
  4. Place protective cover over installation. HoldRite outlet boxes come with debris covers that you can quickly install without any tools to keep your rough-in work protected until the finish phase.  

Finishing phase with outlet boxes

Once finishing work like drywall and tiling is complete, you can simply remove the cover and replace it with an escutcheon or trim plate. 

Read more: Atlanta contractor uses fire-rated fixture boxes for cleaner installs

2. They’re Versatile 

Not only are outlet boxes faster to install, but they’re also easier to work with in different applications.  

HoldRite Outlet Box Infographic.

Tight spaces. In addition to consolidating multiple parts into a single SKU, outlet boxes are designed to be compact and take up less space so they’re easy to install and less intrusive.

Pipe types. You can also find options that work with multiple connection points. While some manufacturers use dedicated connections, HoldRite fixture and washing machine boxes have different tail pieces that are compatible with different pipe types and connection methods — such as PEX, copper and CPVC — using the same outlet box. Those tail pieces can often also have near 360-degree movement for installation in any orientation. 

washing machine box

Code compliance. Depending on the location of the job site and where in the building you’re installing a fixture or washing machine, you may need to meet some additional plumbing codes. HoldRite outlet boxes come in fire-rated options if you need to install one on a shared wall, and you can also get versions with and without hammer arrestors depending on code requirements in your area. 

3. They Provide Professional End Results

Aside from functionality, outlet boxes also take aesthetics into account so you can customize your end installation depending on the laundry or bathroom space.  

For instance, HoldRite washing machine boxes come with contoured, white, paintable trim cover, along with chrome valves for high-end results. For HoldRite fixture boxes, you can pick between chrome and white-trim escutcheons to match the overall appearance of the area. These finishes snap or thread into place, too, so there’s no need for adhesives or fasteners. 

chrome fixture

These outlet box options allow you to not only work faster, but also customize the installation so it blends well with the build’s overall design. This gives you time and cost savings along with professional results that you can be proud of. With this range of benefits, outlet boxes are a true asset for today’s contractors. 

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