DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum (
-   Electrical (
-   -   How to rough wiring in this wall (

WillK 12-29-2010 01:07 PM

How to rough wiring in this wall
Okay, let me describe this interior wall in my kitchen where I am trying to rough in new wiring, please suggest what approach you feel would be best for routing wires through the wall. I don't want to go so far as gutting the whole wall, but for the most part I plan to cover it with a fiberglass panel for the backsplash or something along those lines.

From outside in, the wall has 2 layers of 1/2" drywall, 1 layer of lath and plaster (which was never painted), then 2x4 studs which are sideways. Beyond that is lath and plaster, then presumably at least 1 more layer of drywall, then the bedroom closets. These 2x4's are spaced 24". I believe this wall is non-loadbearing as it is parallel with the floor joists, the ceiling joists I couldn't say for sure because I think there's a layer of joists that's parallel under the floor above and a layer that's perpindicular.

Anyway, I was hoping to just notch the joists and put nailplates... I know this is a non-loadbearing wall, but can you notch a 1 1/2" thick board? And drilling a hole seems just as problematic, in addition to being less practical.

I have as much thickness in wall as I do in stud cavity, although this would make a lot of dust... Could I just notch the drywall at the studs and nailplate over that? Or make a big groove and put pvc conduit in?

Or should I just run in conduit on the other side in the closet?

joed 12-29-2010 02:10 PM

Come down from the top or up from the bottom. Don't try to run cable sideways

gregzoll 12-29-2010 05:56 PM

If you have the wall completely torn to the studs, you follow NEC and staple the wires appropriately, follow city codes, especially if in Chicago, by pulling correct permits, only using Conduit in the walls. If there is not conduit in the walls already, why would you put it in there? The steps are as follows, which should have happened before thinking about attacking the project: 1)Check with City hall for what permits are needed, 2) If Permits are needed, what licensed contractors are needed if homeowner is not allowed to perform the job, 3) Are there HOA rules that permit disposal of debris in a dumpster, 3) Rental of dumpster, purchasing of permits, equipment, wiring, etc.

I can tell you from doing my bath & kitchen, wiring alone for both together is around $500. Cost to rewire the house, including having a new meter can & main panel was around $1500-2000 (no exact, because done over time, and main, meter pan, rain head, drop was installed under contingency of closing on the house, paid in all by the seller). No permits are needed in my town, due to a homeowner can perform, while they reside in the home, following NEC & city codes.

WillK 12-29-2010 06:14 PM

I have a permit pulled, sideways wall studs were unexpected.

Above, there is hardwood floor.

Below, there are 2 layers of 2x6 layed flat on top of floor joists, over which is laid 2 layers of 3/4 plywood onto which 3/8" particleboard underlayment is placed onto which vinyl tile may be under the wall. Through all this, I need to drill up to hit a 1 1/2" target from a 18" deep crawlspace. No thanks.

gregzoll 12-29-2010 06:21 PM

Those would be "Fire Breaks". means that if you put a hole into them, you will have to use fire rated foam to plug the holes. As for drilling, you go down if you have the walls opened. Just remember that the windows are installed for the old Plaster Lathe, so you will have to place 1x4's on the walls horizontal to allow the 1/2" drywall to be flush with the windows. Look at it this way, it will be up to date with insulation, and up to date wiring with GCFI's and ACFI's.

WillK 12-29-2010 08:21 PM

Fire breaks are vertical?

I'm not openning the wall any more than needed to put boxes in. I'm not removing cabinets. As I said, this is an interior wall, with closets on the opposite side. It would be rather unusual to have a window in a kitchen so you could see into a closet.

I'm gathering not so many people have encountered the unusual construction techniques that were employed in this house over the course of the last 93 years.

WillK 12-29-2010 08:57 PM

2 Attachment(s)
In case there is still any confusion, I'm posting a picture showing the side of the kitchen in question overall and a closeup of the section I've openned to install a water supply line for the refrigerator icemaker. Openning this section is where I identified the odd construction.

I confirmed 24" spacing on these studs by finding the first stud, 24" from a corner, then measuring 16" and not hitting a stud, running a wire fishing tape in to feel when I hit a stud, finding another 6 or 7 inches, marking 24" from the first stud, drilling, sure enough - a stud.

The option to run conduit was to avoid dealing with going through these sideways studs... Did I cause confusion by describing a stud as sideways and it being misread as meaning horizontal? No, this is a vertical stud with the 4" dimension running the length of the wall. The house has issues, I know. I can't solve all of them at once, I'm picking my battles, this one can wait until I spend money on a decent kitchen rather than one that is up to code at minimal cost (I needed base cabinets on the other side, and to accomodate this I spent all of $260.)

Further info on this particular section:
This side will have the 2nd of 2 countertop circuits, consisting of a single outlet for the 3' of counter space.
A dedicated circuit for the microwave outlet is already in existance and is being left as is.
The gas range will have its own receptacle running of the GFCI for the countertop circuit.
The wire sticking out of the wall is the old range hood wire. This will be wire nutted and placed in a junction box which will be covered.
A new dedicated circuit will go in for the new range hood.
The refrigerator will have a new outlet on a new dedicated circuit.
On the opposite side of the kitchen, the first countertop circuit is already rough wired through old work boxes. 9' long counter, 4 outlets.
One old outlet on the opposite side is wirenutted and will be covered, the other was in a 3 gang box with a switch for the disposal and a light. The outlet was replaced with a blank GFCI, the disposal and light will remain on their existing circuit with the added GFCI protection. I think this circuit may end up being dedicated to these since I'm taking off the kitchen outlets and the utility room outlets and putting those on new circuits.
On the opposite wall, I'm also adding a new circuit for the dishwasher.

Anyway, the conduit would be on the opposite side of the wall. Inside the bedroom closets. I'm leaning towards this as my preferred option. I'm assuming there's no code issues since the bedroom has the surface mounted panel in it with conduit running cables to the floor, and this is one of the modifications done on the home that actually seems to have been professionally done. Some circuits definitely not, but the 100 amp main panel was definitely professional, and some circuits were definitely professionally done at the time. I have no doubt this was at a point in time where NM cable was standard yet GFCI was only required in the bathroom. Also some time after the kitchen was done because that was wired into knob and tube with polarity reversed.

And sorry if I was a little snarky... Today's been rough with the 4 and 5 year old home and misbehaving really badly. I only needed to get the icemaker line connected before I'd have been ready to call for my plumbing inspection, which I would've had done this morning, but the kids were not cooperating and as a result I missed my window to schedule the inspection this week and now I'll be back at work again next week and I'll have to take time off for the inspection.

gregzoll 12-29-2010 09:01 PM

Horizontal members between studs are "Fire Breaks". Studs are vertical members from floor to ceiling. Lathe is what holds the plaster on the wall, compared to nowday's it is Gypsum board. Personally, I would pull all of the Plaster Lathe off of the walls, so that wiring can be done, and outside walls can be insulated. Trying to do this in a older home with the possibility of Knob & Tube still in the walls, is a hassle, unless the K&T has been pulled out. Now, if the Knob & tube has been pulled, there are your holes for pulling the Romex for the wiring.

WillK 12-29-2010 09:26 PM

That's why I called them studs. These are not firebreaks. Vertical 2x4 boards oriented with the 2" dimension going with the thickness of the wall. Why there are 2 layers of drywall over lath and plaster, and why the lath and plaster was apparently never painted before drywall was put over it are interesting distractions from getting anything done. Yes, gutting the wall would be nice and maybe I will some day. We're living here now and the process of picking my battles means that one is not a battle I'm picking until long after more pressing issues like dangerous wiring, improperly installed insulation, non-existing ventilation, floors sagging due to cut joists (which ironically enough are next to joists that are sistered twice) and so on, if you get the picture.

I do know pretty well where there is and isn't knob and tube at this point. The first floor has been updated to the point that there are no knob and tube wires in the walls. There is knob and tube (much of which isn't attached to knobs or tubes) in the crawlspace to which newer wires have been spliced (mostly not in junction boxes, hence why I'm updating the kitchen). There was knob and tube active in the second floor, I have completely removed that and had as a goal by new years to finish the rough wiring done for that part of the permit. Yes, on AFCI. 3 circuits for the second floor: lighting, outlets, smoke detectors. 2nd floor = 2 bedrooms and 1 water closet. Yes, that's right, a 2x2 room with a toilet so lighting and exhaust fan only on the lighting circuit.

This kitchen is located in a part of the house which was added onto the original construction. When the house was originally wired with K&T, the addition wasn't even there. As far as I can tell, the addition may have gone on in the K&T era, but it did not receive any wiring until after the K&T era. In fact, it's likely that the house did not originally have a bathroom and the current location of the bathroom may have been the original location of the kitchen. Just a wild guess on that, although the kitchen was served by a clay pipe underground that attached to the main stack.

The wall cavity where I want to put the new countertop outlet doesn't have anything going into it. The wall cavity where the range outlet is to go is in the same boat.

Interior wall here so I'm not concerned with insulating it. The exterior walls in the kitchen turned out to have had the lath and plaster removed under the 2 layers of drywall. Which is odd since the L&P was left in on the exterior walls of the original part of the house (behind drywall) Exterior walls are for the most part balloon framed and absent of fireblocks. I intend to blow in cellulose from above in the sidewall attics before putting fireblocks across the top of the cavities, when I get to that which is down the list a bit.

gregzoll 12-29-2010 09:39 PM

Most likely, who ever owned the home before you, had placed the Drywall over the Plaster Lathe to hide the fact, that the Plaster was probably cracked, or falling out in places. As for two layers, they really were trying to spend more money in not knowing what they were doing, than doing it correctly. At least my house has Rock Lathe, and only the Bathroom has been updated with a complete gut job, with new Green Board & insulated the outside wall.

I am almost tempted to gut my Kitchen down to the bones this Spring, but have already spent time pulling new wiring for it, so I just may do 3/8" to cover the ceiling, since we took a wall down between the Kitchen & Dining, to open up that side of the house. Does make it look larger. I also got lucky, that I had BX, not K&T in my house, so updating the wiring to more modern standards has been a breeze, but even better, because it is a 1-story with basement. Pulled all the outlets into Junction Boxes in the basement, and then ran the feed to the Breaker panel. For the Kitchen GCFI I used a breaker, not a outlet feeding the other two, which would have used more wire. I did write up a plan, and used Excel to put down what circuits, and how many amps for that circuit, so that I could make a count of how many circuits I was dealing with. Wiring Plan, I used a copy of the cabinet plan, since it was in dimension of our Kitchen, and then drew out the circuits, so that I would get an idea how I was going to wire up lights and make notes.

WillK 12-29-2010 09:49 PM

The GFCI I put in on the disposal and light was mostly because I had a 3 gang box that I didn't have anything else to do with the 3rd spot, and which I didn't have a good way of covering, so it served the dual purpose of taking up an empty space and adding a safety feature (even if is one that really probably should never have occasion to be used... How does a light trip a GFCI? And the disposall, which my understanding doesn't require GFCI or does it... It's under the counter, although I could see a faucet leak potentially tripping a disposal on GFCI.)

Believe me, if time and money was no object, I'd tear out the wall, tear out the ceiling, tear out both floors, put in new properly sized joists running the same way as the floor joists in the rest of the house on top of beams I'm already adding, make this wall a proper load bearing 2x6 wall, increase the exterior cavitiy depth to 2x6 so I can insulate to R19, and maybe even try to come up with a way to make the bedroom bigger. This is a matter of balancing what I'd like to do with what is practical to do so I can get done what really needs to be done.

Previous owner bought the home in 1973, the kitchen was done in '81. What boggles my mind is why L&P is under the drywall and the L&P was never painted. That and the complete absence of support beams under the addition. It's all directly supported floor joists on cinder blocks. But this is about electrical, let's not get too far off subject because that's a whole other subject!

Saturday Cowboy 12-30-2010 04:26 PM

I have two recommendations on this. One If running down to crawlspace to make junctions. drill a 1/8 hole right up against the wall stick down a coat hanger wire, now you know where to drill.

My most likely method would be to remove a 6" square chunk of wallboard centered on very stud. make a shallow notch(1/2) install wire and nailplates and repair wall. remember that you must maintain 1 1/4" of lumber from wire to other side of wall.

WillK 12-30-2010 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by Saturday Cowboy (Post 559363)
I have two recommendations on this. One If running down to crawlspace to make junctions. drill a 1/8 hole right up against the wall stick down a coat hanger wire, now you know where to drill.

My most likely method would be to remove a 6" square chunk of wallboard centered on very stud. make a shallow notch(1/2) install wire and nailplates and repair wall. remember that you must maintain 1 1/4" of lumber from wire to other side of wall.

Dude, how did you know my studs are actually 1 3/4" thick? Until I put a tape measure to it, I expected it's either 1 1/2" like what you get now or it's 2".

Notching is probably the best solution, I just was unsure what my limits were and whether I'd be past them. I clearly wouldn't be able to notch 1/2" deep if the studs were 1 1/2" thick and still have 1 1/2" left. I only have 3 studs to notch to reach the furthest receptacle, so this really works well for me.

Speedy Petey 07-17-2012 07:07 PM

winb, a mod will be along shorty to put this in it's own thread where it belongs.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:35 AM.

vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1