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How to Run Wire or Cable Inside a Stud Wall

Any remodeling work you tackle on your electrical system will involve routing wire to new lights, switches, outlets and other wiring accessories. Follow these steps to conceal wires within stud walls.

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Step-By-Step Instructions For:

If your rooms have wood-framed stud partition walls, you may be able to hide the wires within the wall. How easy this is depends on where you want to install the wiring accessory, and on whether there are horizontal braces or blanket insulation in the way. To gain access to the cavity you will have to drill a hole through the head or sole plates at the top or bottom of the wall framework.

Running Wire in an Existing Stud Wall

Locate the wall position and lift floorboards or remove insulation to reveal the ceiling. Drill a 1/2-inch hole through the head plate (Image 1).

Feed the wire down through the hole and into the wall cavity (Image 2). It will drop freely if there is no blocking or insulation inside the wall.

Cut a hole in the wall at the new accessory position. Fish out the wire (Image 3), feed it into a clip-in mounting box, and fit this into the hole.

Running Wire in a New Stud Wall

Clad one side of the wall. Drill a 1/2-inch hole through the head or sole plate and draw in the wire from above or below (Image 1).

Drill 1/2-inch holes through the studs and thread the wire through until you reach the position of the new wiring accessory (Image 2).

Drywall the other side of the wall. Then mark and cut a hole for the new clip-in electrical box and draw the wire out through the hole (Image 3).

Wiring Codes

If you want to avoid tearing up a wall you can run wires inside baseboards or special housings, if you follow local codes. These may include:

  • Cables must be protected within six feet of openings with guards at least the same height as the cable.

  • Low-voltage wires can run behind baseboards.

  • Cables need to be at least 1-1/4 inch from the edge of studs and have protection from any potential nailing.

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