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Old 03-27-2008, 07:56 AM   #1
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basement wiring method


Okay, I was reading a thread on contractortalk.com about wiring methods in an unfinished basement where the OP was discussing using running boards for cables that were stapled to the bottom of the floor joists.

Instead of using 1X4 or whatever size UNDER the wire, would it be acceptable to take and run 2 lengths of 1X4 spaced about 24" apart, then staple all the cables next to each other in between the two 1X4s, then cover the entire run with 1/2" ply?

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Old 03-27-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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If it is an unfinished basement is there any reason why you would not drill holes in the joist and run the wires throuh the joists?

Do you plan on finishing the basement?


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Old 03-27-2008, 09:01 AM   #3
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Well, this is just one of those questions that I am curious about. I've always bored through the joists in the past, just wondering if it is acceptable to do it this way.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:03 AM   #4
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Instead of using 1X4 or whatever size UNDER the wire, would it be acceptable to take and run 2 lengths of 1X4 spaced about 24" apart, then staple all the cables next to each other in between the two 1X4s, then cover the entire run with 1/2" ply?
Andy, I believe the purpose of the running boards is so the cables are protected and not used like a clothesline hangar. Why are you considering the need to cover it over with 1/2" ply? If it is for looks then the cables will only be 1/2" from the outer surface and can be susceptible to nails or screws placed in the board. By the way, you can also disconnect the line and slip lengths of 1/2" EMT over sections that would be in need of coverage as long as it is only used as protection.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:20 AM   #5
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Andy, I believe the purpose of the running boards is so the cables are protected and not used like a clothesline hangar. Why are you considering the need to cover it over with 1/2" ply? If it is for looks then the cables will only be 1/2" from the outer surface and can be susceptible to nails or screws placed in the board. By the way, you can also disconnect the line and slip lengths of 1/2" EMT over sections that would be in need of coverage as long as it is only used as protection.
Well, let's put the scenerio into context.

Let's say this is new construction. House is 60X30. you have your main panel at one end of the house. Let's say you have a total of 20 circuits. For the sake of this, let's say that half of them go to one side, the other half to the other side.

if the house is 60' and you need to get to the other side with cables via boring holes... at the rate of 2 cables per hole (that's waht I prefer) you are talking about drilling about 60 holes, then another 30 or so for the cables going to the side of the house closer to the panel.

now, if you wanted to use regular running boards instead, you would probably need at least a 12" or wider board running 60' to the other end, plus another 12" or wider running halfway for the cables going to the side of the house closer to the panel which would be roughly 30'.


Instead, my thoughts were to make a "chase" type with 1X4 running the full 60'. At 24" gap between the 2 boards, that would give plenty of room to staple cables.

the ply covering them would just be for added protection.
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:46 AM   #6
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NEC requires that NM cables smaller than 6/2 or 8/3 be installed through bored holes or on running boards, when run at an angle to the joists in an unfinished basement.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:13 AM   #7
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Very seldom do I need to bore holes in the floor joists and hardly ever use runner boards. There are other routes available.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Very seldom do I need to bore holes in the floor joists and hardly ever use runner boards. There are other routes available.
Which would be.....?
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:22 AM   #9
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how about stackers on the bottom of the joist on an exterior wall... nice and clean simple and all in one spot.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:38 AM   #10
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Andy

In regards to your post. Your in kind of a gray area as to whether the 'chase' as you call it would be considered a finished covering. If the inspector did allow it and allowed the romex cables to span the joists in between the 1x4's as per code for a finished area you would have to maintain 1 1/2" clearance with the romex from the edge of the 1x4's.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:44 AM   #11
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basement wiring method


Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
NEC requires that NM cables smaller than 6/2 or 8/3 be installed through bored holes or on running boards, when run at an angle to the joists in an unfinished basement.
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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
Andy

In regards to your post. Your in kind of a gray area as to whether the 'chase' as you call it would be considered a finished covering. If the inspector did allow it and allowed the romex cables to span the joists in between the 1x4's as per code for a finished area you would have to maintain 1 1/2" clearance with the romex from the edge of the 1x4's.

Okay, these were the kind of answers I was looking for.

So, pretty much it can't be dont this way for 2 reasons:

The cables are not ON the running boards

the ply could be considered a "finished area" therefore requiring clearence from the finished edge of the 1X4 (which is only 3/4")



So, is boring through the joists the most common method? Anyone have any unusual ways of doing it?
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:08 AM   #12
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basement wiring method


Actually I have a typo should be 1 1/4".

This is what I'm talking about not that the 1 x4 is 3/4" in your case you have to picture a plywood covering over the cables. The finished covering hasn't been installed yet in the photo.

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Old 03-27-2008, 11:14 AM   #13
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Yes, first, the proper way of doing it is not to - plan your layout beforehand so you don't end up with 1/2 you homeruns on the far side of the panel.

Second, when you looking for ways to save a nickel on material, often the labor costs go up, except when you're not being paid for your labor. So the methods a contractor would use is to sacrafice a bit of material to save time - which is why a contractor will route homeruns over an attic instead of 60' across a basement ceiling. (Stapling up really sucks.) But this isn't apparent to someone who isn't contracting. Which leads me to:

Third, it's about time you admit you're a handyman, and every job you tackle you come here and ask exactly how to do it. Of course, everything you ask is pretexed with "I read somewhere that... or "I'm heloing my brother in law..." Bull$hit. Enough is enough Andy. Maybe you're getting over your head with the jobs you're taking.
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:18 AM   #14
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I just looked an my house (built in 70) has a mix of both. Many cables are along the edge of the basement near the rim joists(not necessarily on running boards), some are through the center areas in holes drilled through the joists. You certainly don't want to compromise the joist by having too many holes drilled either. With the smaller diameter of new cables (current 12/2 and 14/2 are much smaller than some old pieces I have of 12 and 14/2) you might be able to compromise and place 3 or so through a joist hole.

That is one particular benefit to I-beam type engineered joists-many have pre-stamped holes for easy removal.
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Old 03-27-2008, 02:20 PM   #15
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basement wiring method


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
Actually I have a typo should be 1 1/4".

This is what I'm talking about not that the 1 x4 is 3/4" in your case you have to picture a plywood covering over the cables. The finished covering hasn't been installed yet in the photo.

That is exactly what I was talking about.

Is that method acceptable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
Third, it's about time you admit you're a handyman, and every job you tackle you come here and ask exactly how to do it. Of course, everything you ask is pretexed with "I read somewhere that... or "I'm heloing my brother in law..." Bull$hit. Enough is enough Andy. Maybe you're getting over your head with the jobs you're taking.
I am a home owner, plain and simple. I have NEVER done electrical work for money, nor have I done it anywhere besides my own house, my brothers house, and the 3 houses my father in law, sister in law and brother in law have built.

The reason I am here is to learn as much as I can, and ask as many questions as I can about things that I don't know. I have never done anything that I didn't know how to do. I am very throurough with my research before attempting something. I have a brain that never stops thinking, kind of like a kid asking 20 questions. I love to learn, and will never stop taking it in.

I have never been "over my head". I don't think I should be chastised for asking questions!

I respect you. You are a professional. You know a hell of a lot more than me, which is why I assume you post here... to help people. That's why I am here... for the help.

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