Trufig Oulet Review: Design, Installation, & Issues
Understanding Trufig Outlets: Design, Installation, and Issues
After the success of our post on Bocci Outlets, we decided to undertake a similar investigation of another equally-interesting luxury outlet product: the Trufig Mounting System for Wiring Devices (AKA Trufig Outlets). Similar to Bocci, we have a lot of respect for Trufig - and not just because of their outlets. They've developed an entire catalogue of products to help designers integrate switches, keypads, outlets, and home automation devices. In this post, we'll focus mainly on Trufig's Mounting Platform for outlets, starting with a basic overview of product's design and then diving into its installation process. Lastly, we'll cover some issues that users have with Trufig products.
Mounting Platform: The mounting platform is composed of heavy-duty gypsum board, and is available in a variety of thicknesses to match the board thickness of the adjacent wall. The gypsum board is oversized to accommodate different stud spacings and is designed to be cut on site to span neatly between studs. The mounting platform features an integrated junction box for installing components and is marked with clear center lines to aid with centering multiple devices during the rough-in phase. Note that the kit photographed in our review is designed for a stone installation, which is why the box is protrudes from the adjacent surface of the gypsum. This is to accommodate the added thickness of the stone on top of the gypsum wall.
Leviton Decora Outlet: Although not included in the Trufig Outlet Kit, the Leviton Decora Outlet acts as the functional receptacle for the installation. Similarly, when utilizing Trufig for switches or keypads, the functional electrical component is not provided by Trufig, but is specified to match the equipment throughout the home. For all intents and purposes, one can understand the Trufig system as an alternate faceplate and junction box for these standard electrical components.
Trim Component: The trim component holds the electrical device, centering it accurately within the Mounting Platform, and providing depth adjustability. This is one of the most important pieces of the Trufig kit, as it allows the installation to be tuned on site to match perfectly with the finish adjacent the outet.
Attachment of the Trufig Trim Component to the Leviton Outlet & installation of the assembly into the Mounting Platform
Fascia: When complete, the Fascia is all one sees of the entire Trufig assembly. To avoid any exposed hardware and allow the outlet and box to be serviceable, the fascia attaches via four rare-earth magnets - one on each corner. Cleverly, these magnets link directly to the leveling screws in the trim component, ensuring perfect alignment between the holes on the fascia and the holes of the outlet below. The plastic in the center of the Fascia is very thin, allowing users users to still make a secure connection with the outlet below. As shown above, the Fascia is paint-able to match the adjacent wall color, or can be faux-painted to match stone or wood finishes.
Each of the Trufig Parts Fits Together to Create a Super Minimal Installation
Now that we've explained the different components of the Trufig Outlet assembly, we can get more specific about its installation. Below, we've broken down the Trufig Outlet installation process into a series of step-by-step images.
Step1: Install Trufig Mounting Platform and Integrated Box onto Studs. Center and Cut Platform as Required.
Step 2: Install Adjacent Drywall Flush with Trufig Mounting Platform.
Step 3: Tape All Seams, and Reinforce Opening Around Trufig Outlet Box.
Step 4: Utilize Trufig Skim-Coat Cover to Cap Box During Wall Finishing.
Step 5: Remove Trufig Skim Coat Cover After Sanding.
Step 6: Install Trufig Outlet Paint Cap.
Step 7: Paint and Remove Trufig Outlet Paint Cap.
Step 8: Install Leviton Receptacle and Trufig Trim Component, Make Electrical Connections.
Step 9: Install Pre-Painted Trufig Outlet Fascia - Level as Required
Your Trufig Outlet Installation is Complete!
As you can see, Trufig outlets are much more involved than your average wall outlet, and just as with Bocci, this extra complexity adds cost. Each installation requires the work of multiple trades, meaning more time spent coordinating and managing in addition to the installation. No question that the receptacles are incredibly minimal, but you really do pay for it!
Trufig Outlets (and much of their catalogue in general) are incredibly well designed products. As shown above, the system has a ton of features to help builders get precision alignment and perfectly flush installations - allowing outlets and switches to almost vanish. However, this doesn't mean the system is without issue, and we wanted to take a moment to highlight two problems that we've come across through our experience and research on the product.
Magnetized Connection Can Create Issues with Metallic Dust
Admittedly, this issue sounds completely crazy - until you experience it first hand. As we've seen, the Trufig fascia is held in place with four rare-earth magnets. These magnets are super powerful, and their effect extends beyond connecting the fascia to the mounting platform's integrated box: often they'll attract metallic dust which will accumulate on the fascia over each magnet. This is obviously an issue for installations closer to the floor (ie baseboard outlets), but can also be problematic for keypads, touch-pads, or switches. Super fine metallic dust can circulate in the air of most homes, which will inevitably find its way to the Trufig magnets.
Image of Trufig Mounted Keypad and Touch-Pad with Metallic Dust Accumulating on the Concealed Magnets.
Closeup of Metallic Dust Stains on Trufig Touch-pad and Keypad
This metallic dust can really become obnoxious with Trufig mounted devices, and to complicate matters further the metallic dust is often abrasive - resulting in scratches in the paint or plastic when the dust is wiped away. Although it sounds obscure, this metallic dust can really become a headache with Trufig outlets!
I'm sure you all knew this one was coming (especially if you'd read our Case Study or Bocci Outlet Review) but in our opinion this is the biggest downside of the Trufig catalogue. It's true that some projects are more cost-sensitive than others, and that for some projects design is the number one priority. In terms of a disappearing outlet perfectly camouflaged into stone wood paneling - Trufig is 100% the way to go. However for most projects, Trufig outlets are completely out of the question. Have a look at the breakdown of cost per outlet below, taken from the Trufig price list.
|Gypsum Mounting Platform
|Universal Trim Component
$207 per outlet - and that's just for the hardware. Not to mention that one would need to order specialty equipment like this through a distributor, who will often add an additional markup on top. And that's all before install! Installing these bad boys is no joke and involves constant coordination with multiple trades. It's difficult to quantify the exact cost to install, but with all things considered these will easily be over $500 a piece in most places.
There's no question that Trufig Outlets add an incredible level of sleekness and sophistication to a space. They give designs a wonderful sense of calm, and let the users focus entirely on the space, the light, the art, and the furnishings. Used in tandem with their other products for touch-pads and keypads, all of the standard wall-junk really begins to fade away. Unfortunately, the product is just far too expensive for use on the majority of homes.
Yet, one need not sacrifice design due to expense! By using FLUSHTEK and moving your outlets to the baseboard, you can maintain the focus on the design without sending your budget through the roof. The FLUSHTEK system is significantly less complicated to install, and works well with a variety of project types. Just have a look at our Testimonials Page to see for yourself - the FLUSHTEK System Pack works for contractors, handymen, woodworkers, and Do-it-Yourselfers. Check out the our How it Works Page to see just how easy integrated outlets can be!