Our Electrician Left All of The Screws in a Vertical Position in Our New Kitchen.

Friday 21st of May 2021

Our Electrician Left All of The Screws in a Vertical Position in Our New Kitchen.

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Electrician here. You are correct. Its a sign of craftsmanship. Since most people cant see whats behind the wall in terms of how meticulous some electricians are whether it be how they run their wires or how they support their wires while always making sure their work is up to code. At the end of the day it just shows the customer and other electricians that you take pride in your work and your craft- even if they dont see what goes on behind that wall at least they can look at the finish plate and say that guy cared Its funny and a bit nice knowing that somebody actually noticed it because 9 times out of 10 unless youre an electrician people tend to not notice something so small in detail! Kudos to OP. Edit: I didnt realize how much love my comment was going to get. Im trying to reply to everyone and Im sorry if I missed you!

Applies to any trade like that. My woodshop teacher in highschool taught us to line up screws like that, even if it's a Robertson or Phillips. He said that's one way to tell if a pro did the job vs a "handyman".

Was a electrician from 14-25. 13 years later I still do it when I do some side work. The guy I apprenticed for was super anal and would freak out if a screw was even a little crooked. Stuck with me even now.

What You Really Think

TIL! Thanks! Super interesting!

I used to work on a super-yacht many years ago and every screw aboard had to be aligned fore to aft.

Great, now I'm gonna start looking at faceplates everywhere I go and start judging people's homes over this. Thanks.

I was an electrical apprentice for a while, and one of the guys I worked under said electricians always put it vertical, because if a homeowner is fixing stuff they usually put it horizontal. It acts as an easy marker for if someone else has been messing around in the box. However, I'm pretty sure he was the only guys at the company who did it that way, so I'm not sure it's that great of an indicator.


I did low voltage electrical work (sound and video), and was taught by my bad ass mentor exactly this. And this guy was 100% the best installer I've seen, all his cat-5, ethernet and 16x2 cable management would be porn for r/oddlystatisfying. I think the weed before he'd get started helped.

My dad has been in the home improvement/construction business for nearly 40 years, and while he shares the same ideals, he's also told me he does this to show his customers "I care about the job I'm doing, down the smallest detail". If someone in your home takes the time to align the screws like this, then they're likely to care about other small details and be less likely to cut corners.

>up and down, or horizontal If only we had a word like horizontal to mean "up and down". LOL.

Not just electricians, either. My father called it "dressing your screws". He was raised by an old time wooden boat builder.

FIL is an electrician- every single faceplate screw in our house in vertical, either from all the work he's done in the house, or because he also trained his son in proper screw alignment. I like to mess with them by slightly turning the screws on the light switch plates.

Oh yeah... i'm a vertical screwer Bob.

I, not a professional by any means, always try to leave them horizontally.

Electrician here, looks like he takes pride in his work. Keep him around.

Plasterer (UK) here. I asked an electrician about this once and he told me that the screws should be vertical instead of horizontal so if any water lands on the socket/switch, it can then run downwards rather than resting in the horizontal screw slot and then finding it's way behind the front of the socket and into the backbox and into the electrics. Don't know if that's true but every time I have to put the sockets back on after plastering I make sure the screws are vertical!

We do this when we put the plates back on after painting rooms out as well.

Screw clocking also exists in machining, and wood working as well. It actually bugs me that they don't clock screws in $10k watches.

Bike mechanics will line up the labels on the tire with the valve stem of the inner tube. People will say it's to help find punctures but mostly its just showing off.

Like bicycle mechanics who take pride in their work will always mount a tire with the logo centered over the valve stem. Also makes it quicker to find the valve stem when working to fix a flat under pressure, like during a race.

I'm an electrician and my company does vertical screws so when we run service calls for warranty, we can tell if someone has taken the plate off and potentially voided the warranty. Not a guarantee, of course, as someone could realize we do that and then put the screws back in the same way. But most people dont notice and when I ask "so who's done work in here?" their story quickly changes. Edit because reading comprehension is hard: we dont void because the screws are misaligned, it's a clue that we should look for work we didn't do. It doesn't mean that will always be the case but often times it is. Why should I fix another companies mistakes on my own dime?

Lol that one troll suggesting Phillips head screws...

I personally put them horizontally but I always make them consistent on the job.

I do this and I'm but a handyman. But it makes me happy to know this is how others do it.

Always did it because I'm OCD, didn't realize it was a thing normal people do.

You inspired me to take a walk around my apartment thinking there's no way my jerk landlord hored an electrician who took enough pride in their work to do this. Turns out, all of the plate screws in my kitchen are dead vertical, and all the ones in my bedroom are nearly perfectly horizontal. Go figure.

Husband is a g.c. and he does this.

Checked some outlets around my shitty apartment. Yup, none of them are in the same direction. Hahahaha.

How ironic that my apartment was clearly not built with quality in mind and all the screws are slightly slanted in different directions. It's like they tried and failed which feels about right.

I always heard they do horizontal so they don't catch the eye as well.

It goes across many trades, consistency is key. The trades do the same damn thing over and over, so it can be easy to get sloppy.

Looks around at wall plates. Looks at lights that don't work. That adds up.

I miss the 2005-internet.

Was electricians apprentice about 10 years ago, this is the first thing he told me to do. He said if we don't take pride in what we do, nobody will and this is how we do it.

Yup. Always vertical or horizontal. Its a easy way to see quality of work when looking at buying or renting a place.

Aye my brother in law is a spark and does the same thing.

Yet they installed the actual outlets upside down.

Going to check out my kitchen in a few days when i head back home. Thanks for this.

I do this too and I'm not an electrician, so I assume it's more a sign of OCD in my case lol.

I always do it. If there's wood, the screws go in the direction of the grain. I'm not an electrician or joiner or anything. I just remembered my dad talking about my papa doing it, and he was a master at working with timber.

Its is and i do that all the time. It make me feel happy and proud.

Its also a way to show that it was tampered with, or something is not right.

Electrician here: my boss always told me the origin of vertical screws was in submarine manufacturing where knowing how tight the fasteners was pretty important. Could just be an urban legend.

A friend of mine is a general contractor and this is preferred method of trying out sub contractors.

Weird. I just generally learned to make and screw like that finger tight. So using your fingers to twist until it breaks a ultra-light, finger-tip grip. Makes it secure and easy to remove.

Can confirm, used to do electrical work and this is common in the trade.

We always tried on home exteriors but you can win them all lol.

Im a painter and was always taught to put the screws back in like that after taking the plates off. Its always stuck with me.

Nice to know. makes me happy for some reason.

It shows attention to detail.

My understanding was to reduce dust buildup in the screw slot.

Im in electrician school right now, our wiring prof literally incorporated having all the screws be vertical into grading our labs. He mentioned a story where a customer called them back out SPECIFICALLY TO TURN ALL THE SCREWS VERTICAL. He said its a big thing, weird Im seeing it again here.

This is true. I learned this from my first mentor. He was well into his 50s and incredibly humble and passionate. He taught me plenty about how beautiful creating something can be. Especially homes. Have a nice day, everyone.

Can confirm, we used to do this when i worked as an electrician.

Just commenting to say that as a part time painter for the past 40 years, Ive done this every single time I put a cover plate back on after painting a room (1000s of times). OCD I guess. ***nulb.

To achieve proper torque on any fastener, you crank it until you hear a crack, then back off 1/4 turn edit: I accidentally a word.

Ahh, a person of culture.

Sound like the guys on my job.

Are you my apprentice?

Cracking the plates all vertically? It's fine then.

Plus, it's aesthetically pleasing. I just looked in my kitchen. 11/12 are straight up and down. Edit: Now 12/12.

I would have to disagree. If you look at the faces of the outlets, they are all not flush with the faceplate and many are rotated.

Plus I heard that they do this in case moisture gets in the screw head and you only get one brown streak underneath the screw, if they left it vertical you would get two brown streaks coming out of the screw head. So that's why they do that.

LOL one painter we hired didn't even remove the covers and painted right over them!

Also a painter. We had a new painter a few years ago who decided to go ahead and put all the faceplates back on without being asked to do so. I told him that he would unfortunately have to go back around the huge home and make sure the screws were all adjusted to be vertical. He said 'Why would anyone give a shit about that?' We let him go shortly after.

My dad just told us that it looks better and I agreed so I still do it even today.

That's the reason I was given.

Out of all the places in my home to catch dust, a screw on a wall plate is one of the last places I would care about. I also align screws, but I do it horizontally, I like the look a bit better. But again, not something anyone would ever notice.

Hey i also did wiring with my dad! Hed bring me to job sites, hand me the tools and put me to work. Although hed never tell me if he turned the power off or not which was always a bit exciting..

Ok this made me check all the ones in my apartment and I am happy to report they are all vertical.

Not unlike what some band (Van Halen?) used to do in their contractsiders regarding having M&Ms in the green room but with one color removed... If the venue didnt get that right it was likely that they missed other things related to the safety of the crew and band.

Oh yeah, they liked to be handled by a professional.

It should be installed the other way around, but people like that surprised face recept.

American sockets freak me out. They look so shocked.

Hope you do well!

You're Awesome!

I was taught a couple of important things 1) make your screw heads go the same way 2) always ask "who the fuck did *this*" when going to fix some shit show electrical work.

I leave mine horizontal is that bad?

>A quick walk through of a house can tell how professional or cheap your electrician was As someone that just replaced all the outlets in my master bedroom yesterday I have an appreciation for those that do this shit right. Unfortunately if the guy installing the wall box and the guy installing the wiring and the guy installing the outlets are all different people... interesting things are revealed when you take the old outlet off to replace it.

Is there a way to do this (starting alignment when you put the screw in) so that they're also all equally snug? Or is it just trial and error?

Heres a question: I notice that the plugs themselves are not totally flat facing. Theyre kind of off to an angle on some of them. Ive changed a lot of my own plugs and this is one thing I always try to get right. To make the plugs be flat and not pushed in more or less on either side. Is that a thing you think about or am I nuts?

My first thought seeing this picture as a DIYer was that's a lot of GFCIs for one room - aren't you not supposed to put more than one of those on a circuit? Is it likely one kitchen has three different circuits with outlets?

More likely you're just being screwy.


> Except horizontal. This is the way.

Lol do you guys have a handshake or something to let the other electricians know which way you lean lol.

As an electrician, that really bothers me. Always up and down.

I saw, too, and assumed its a remod of a very old bldg.

I didn't, but secretly I would have lol. Don't tell them!

Yes, all US outlets looks something like this. Thats also a very common type of light switch, though there are others, called Decora.

You can just gently screw them in until you feel a little bit of resistance and then finish turning until the screw is oriented the way you want it. The screws on the face plate are only for holding the face plate on. The actual sockets are screwed into the box separately.

> I wish they were as detailed oriented with the crooked outlets. This. I can't believe all the people claiming to be electricians talking about how the screws are a sign of a good job, while totally ignoring how bad the outlets actually look.

That's the carpenter's fault Edit: no, it wasnt.

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