Wall plates are often called decorative but they serve a practical function as well, which is to keep wires safely out of reach. Louie Lighting provides a huge selection colors and wall plate types to choose from that will complement the décor of any room. Read on to discover how to choose the right type of wall plate for your application.
Before purchasing a wallplate, consider the following:
• How many gangs and/or combination plates are needed?
• The kind of style (traditional, decorative) or color you prefer
• Size of the wall plate
Wall plates come in a range of configurations. These different designs coordinate with various types of outlets, switches, and/or data jacks.
The most common outlet type is the "duplex" outlet plate for two or three pronged plugs. This is the one that resembles a surprised face. The other most common plate is the "toggle" light plate for the typical light switch. There are also rocker plates for their corresponding switches (usually used in 2, 3 or 4 way switch applications) coax plates, phone jack plates, blank plates to cover empty electrical boxes, and many more.
Some outlet or wall jack designs do not need an additional wallplate. This is because they may be manufactured as a single unit, or the device could require specialty plate. As an example for many electronic dimmers, the cover plate is part of the switch housing.
What is a Gang?
Each side-by-side portion in an electrical box is called a "gang". A 3-gang switch plate has openings for three side-by-side switches. However, 2-gang duplex outlet plate accommodates two side-by-side duplex receptacles, though it really has four openings. A standard household outlet is a single-gang or 2-gang, duplex receptacle. Multiple gangs are usually seen only in commercial applications.
Plates With Combinations
Combination Plates are used when your electrical box has more than one type of switch, outlet, or wall jack. A common combination wall plate will have an opening for one duplex outlet and a single "toggle" light switch. (You probably have one of these in your kitchen) There are combination plates for all manner of light and outlet types, including those with multiple switches and data lines.
Screwless Wall Plates
In a traditional wall plate design, the plate is a single unit that attaches to the outlet, switch or jack with a matching screw. Those who don't want a visible screw on their plate will choose a hidden screw plate. A screwless plate comes in two pieces. Though you must still screw the wall plate adapter to the outlet, switch or jack, the plate then simply snaps onto the adapter
Be sure that you are ordering the right sized wall plate for your application. Measure the area to determine the height and width for your plate. It's important to know whether you will have enough room if larger plate is needed.