I have a row home (townhouse) which shares a common brick wall with the
neighboring house. The wall is coated with about 1/2" of mortar
followed by a skim coat of plaster and then 100 years of paint. I need
to install some outlets along the wall.
My plan was to trench out shallow trenches along the wall and into the
brick. I would install FMC (1/2") which would come almost to the
surface. I would then go back over with mortar, a skim coat of gypsum,
and paint. Larger holes would be knocked out for boxes (do I need to
use special in mortar boxes?).
Is there anything wrong with what I propose?
Example things that could be wrong (partial list)
a) Steel or Al FMC is not suitable.
b) The depth is not suitable.
c) I need to additionally derate the FMC and I don't know it.
d) I'm not allow to make holes in the fire wall big enough for the
Am I going about this properly? What other things do I need to
Thank you for your input,
PS: NO. I do not want to use surface mount if I can avoid it.
Thank you for your post but I still don't have enough information to
make a decision.
Don't mess with partition walls because it's a job you don't know how
to handle or don't mess with them because it's not allowed? I am not
looking for "another way" I am looking to attempt to perform the job in
the manner specified safely and to code (building, electrical, and
otherwise) if possible.
Hope to hear more,
Besides, do I recall that this was a condo? There
might be association requirements stating that you're
not to touch that wall. That hurdle out of the way,
any insurance or bank problems with it? THEN, I'd go
to your local code enforcement and ask there. The best
you could get here is experience, good as it may be,
but NOT for your particular locale. NEC applies of
course, but many local codes go beyond that.
JMO, but I think you need those items crossed off
before you go too much further with the rest of the
plan; they could make it all a minor or major detail.
It is not a condo. It is a single family home. I own the houses on
both sides of this house. There is not a bank problem because there is
no mortgage on either home. There is no insurance problem because I
don't carry insurance on the home (I am not required to and I don't).
Yes, I do have an umbrella policy for my business.
Hope this helps,
Both. You almost certainly aren't allowed to mess with it,
and that wall is not just a fire-barrier, it's part of the
structure of the building that's designed to reduce noise,
and resist vertical, earthquake, and wind loads. If you're
having to ask about it here, you don't know enough about
what it's doing and what effect your modifications will have
on the various roles that wall is expected to play.
And for certain, nobody out on the internet is in a position
to make a better guess.
If the first idea that's in your head is wedged so firmly that
you can't get it out, then hire a professional to do the evaluation
an subsequent work. Otherwise, let go of that idea, and come up
with a new one, because hacking into the partition-wall with a
masonry saw on your own hook is in no way a good idea.
Why are you so sure that I am not allowed to mess with it? If the
firewall is 10" thick and I make a 2 inch deep trough and later fill it
in with mortar (and some outlet box holes) it won't change the
structural integrity. It won't make it so the neighbors can hear
through the wall. It won't change the fire rating to less than two
sheets of 5/8" drywall which is used for partition walls between houses
I have seen in the past. In short, I know it is probably safe. I am
wondering about the code issues. Just because something is safe
doesn't mean it complies with code. Of course local code could say
ANYTHING but I am not asking if this violates local codes that no one
here could know about. I am asking if it violates national codes or if
(for some reason I cannot think of) there is in fact a safety concern.
Why are you so sure everyone on the Internet is dumb and cannot provide
helpful advice? Why can't I tackle a project that I don't already know
how to complete before I start? Plenty of people complete projects
safely that they knew very little about before they started.
Update on materials used:
I have found some PVC coated MC suitable for direct burial in concrete
which has a smaller OD than 1/2" FMC so I have switched to using PVC
coated MC with concrete tight connectors.
Hope this helps,
When I ask a building inspector they generally just tell me a specific
way to do it. The way "suggested" by the inspector way might not be
the best way for my situation, might cost extra, might be extra work,
might reduce the overall quality of the job but after they tell me "do
it like this" then I am stuck. For instance, the inspector could say
"why don't you just put up furring strips" and then, even if there were
many other "legal" "better" options I would appear to be arguing with
him to do otherwise. I want to come to the building inspector with a
sound, code complete plan which works and doesn't have holes. The
inspector will then approve my plan or site the local code I am
violating and I will modify accordingly.
The only people I ever criticize here are naysayers. If I say, "How do
I do XYZ" and someone says "Call a pro." or "You can't." but doesn't
explain to give further depth of understanding then yes, I might
criticize them. If someone says "you're too dumb to do that job" or
"no one that uses the Internet could ever help" then I will definitely
say something in response. I have successfully completed every job I
have ever asked about on alt.home.repair. So yes, I probably can and
will do that job. I might change my plans or methods based on input
from alt.home.repair and elsewhere -- but the job is going to get done.
(PS: I am very happy to know that I can't do XYZ if someone says why.
I am especially happy to know if they site specifically why and give a
reference. If someone JUST says "you can't" for all I know they are
wrong and my knowledge of the situation has not been increased.)
There are many people on alt.home.repair who I have found to be very
very helpful. A Mr. Miller and several others come to mind (don't want
to list because I am sure I will leave someone good out). Some people
are also hit and miss. I enjoy reading their thoughts even if I don't
always agree with them. It is nice to get a second opinion. It is
even nice to have a better understanding of common misconceptions.
Hope this helps,
You don't know what you are doing. You don't know the local code. You
won't hire a pro. You want free advice from people who may have little to no
knowledge of your particular job, the local building code, et c. And you
accuse the voice of sanity of being a naysayer.
You say "Use conduit" but there is no additional information as to why.
Is there something wrong with PVC coated MC? The MC is MUCH easier to
use than anything else because I only have to go as deep as the brick
for most of the run. I will try to post some photos in the next couple
one wonders why you brought the question to usenet to begin with.
from what i can see all you've done is berate people giving you answers as
best they can,
except for the one person who gave you an answer in line with your original
why even ask if you have the answers?
If you're not burrying the cable 1.5" deep into the wall, you want
metal between it (the cable) and the wall surface, so not using
metal conduit means having to trench deeper than you otherwise would.
I believe he means a 1/16" metal plate is required by 300.4(E) if the
cable is not at least 1 1/4 inches below the surface of a trench? If
this is what he means then I have already stated why I thought 300.4(E)
didn't apply and he is invited to reply further (perferably in that
sub-thread) if he thinks it does and can state why. If he is not
referring to 300.4(E) then what rule does he mean?
I find it very interesting that wdeans has stopped quoting people and
just posts unattributed responses. It kind of fits in with the talking
and not listening mentality, which is apparently how he wants to
approach his building inspector. Anyone care to guess how your
friendly neighborhood building inspector will react to such an
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