Article
It was during a lecture in the school auditorium where I came 
across my first floor box. I was bored to death and looking around for 
something to pass the time. When I glanced down, I noticed a brass 
device on the floor beneath me.<br><br>It had what looked like a round cover with a slot in the middle. Just perfect for sticking in a quarter and turning.<br><br>Sure enough, the lid came off and an electrical outlet appeared before my eyes.

Floor Boxes (and Floor Box Accessories)

Steve Maurer, IME
It was during a lecture in the school auditorium where I came across my first floor box. I was bored to death and looking around for something to pass the time. When I glanced down, I noticed a brass device on the floor beneath me.

It had what looked like a round cover with a slot in the middle. Just perfect for sticking in a quarter and turning.

Sure enough, the lid came off and an electrical outlet appeared before my eyes.

Perfect!

I plugged in my portable cassette tape player (yes … I'm THAT old), and jammed to my favorite Led Zeppelin album.

Stairway to Heaven turned out to be the down escalator to a poor grade in that class. But I survived and changed, and went on to improve my grades.

Music players eventually morphed into digital devices.

And since that time, floor boxes have also changed. Some of their improvements are quite interesting.

A box for any floor and almost any purpose
The box I encountered in the auditorium was in a concrete floor. There were electrical outlets in it and that was all.

That's still a common use for floor boxes. When pouring a new concrete floor, the box and conduit are roughed in first, adjusted for the depth of the pour.

Most are PVC or heavy-duty plastic, often with leveling screws that set the box level with the floor surface and allow concrete to flow beneath the enclosure.

The covers are still metallic, often constructed of brass or a nickel-plated brass. Plastic covers allow you to match the décor of your carpeting and room furnishings.

Many concrete boxes are still round, but they're also available in rectangular shapes. Not only that, but you can get rectangular boxes in gangable configurations that let you join up to three of them in concrete installations.

Of course, floor boxes are available for wooden floors, too. These can be installed during construction, or retrofitted after the floor's been down a while. Most have an EMT box for installing with conduit or flex (commercial), or Romex connectors (home use).

Now, the portable cassette player has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur. Floor boxes can be outfitted to keep up with modern technology, though.

Dividers split the box into high voltage and low voltage compartments. That means you can plug your computer into both 120 VAC and ethernet from the same box.

If you use projectors and other audio/visual equipment, the box can be split between voltage and A/V connections. USB receptacles can be added as well.

Threaded covers are still widely used. But "trapdoor" covers expose one outlet or all of them, depending on your needs.

And I saw another cover that interested me … a pop up cover that was connected to the receptacle housing. This places the outlets in an angled position instead of on the horizontal, face-up plane.

I'm seriously considering adding some floor boxes to my own homestead. Might be useful when the son comes over to update his PlayStation (we have faster Internet). And it might keep me from tripping over all those cords he uses.

Now … where did I put that old cassette player?
Photo courtesy of Arlington Industries
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