I am restoring a 200 year old stone farm house.
I'm at the electrical stage now.
I have the panel installed. Now I need to start running romex to
various locations in the cellar for the first and second floors.
The joists are a minimum of 6X8
The center beam is 14X14
Can I put the boxes on the bottom of the joists...or on the sides?
How do I run the wires? I know(now) I can't go from joist to joist
because of the "do not hang" clause.
And these joists are oak which makes drilling a real chore
I'm at a loss as to how to do this.
Can anyone suggest a DIY wiring book?
I may need a refresher.
Library or home store should have a book. It may be possible, (I don't know
the exact code) to run a couple of furring strips and run the wire between
them. You may want to talk to the inspector first to be sure he will
approve what you want to do.
What kind of boxes are we speaking of? Outlets or junction boxes?
As for running the wiring, having done old houses in the past, two
basic choices (with innumerable variations, of course)...
First, I'm assuming this is going to be unfinished space in the
basement/cellar. If so, the simplest yet neatest way is typically to
run conduit below the joist beams in cases like this that are large-
dimension members. You can probably get by with the furring strip
hiding/protecting the cable route, but it isn't as nice-looking imo,
although a little cheaper and less labor.
Alternatively, even though drilling in oak is somewhat of a bother,
typically there aren't that many members as compared to conventional
construction so while each hole may be more of an effort, there really
aren't that many necessary to be drilled. Obviously here ymmv... :)
If you choose this route in the end, get a good quality heavy-duty
drill and some also high quality ship augur bits and I think you'll
find the holes go much more simply than you think they will
(particularly if you've just been using cheap spade bits or something
similar). I would expect spacing in your case to not be an issue so
doubt the need for a right-angle drill although, of course, you
undoubtedly before getting done will find a use for a new tool... :)
Some of the decision in my case has always had something to do with
the actual nature of the original construction, too. If it's "just a
house" and while it's post and beam and of some vintage, drilling and
such doesn't seem much sacrilige. If, otoh, it's a really unique
structure of some historic value and the beams are hand-hewn w/ nice
scarf joints, wooden pegs and wedges, etc., etc., it seems like a real
shame to go making all sorts of holes and stuff willy-nilly. In that
case, I tend to try to do what is least invasive despite it probably
being more expensive and time-consuming.
My barn would have lots of stainless steel T8 fluorescent shop
Therefore, I would run some 2x4 to hang the lights on and on those
2x4s running between joists would be my conduit or whatever I use for
the rest of the building.
You're in big trouble already. They didn't have an electric 200 years
ago. (I would think you would know that.)
But if you insist on having electricity, maybe you could take a look
at how other houses of the era, or even later, did it. I would think
even houses open to the public, open as museums, would let you look in
the basement if you asked nicely and said why. And they would all
meet code, I would think. Private home owners too would be happy to
show off the work they had done, or even paid to have donek, and would
probably answre truthfully if you asked if everything was to code. If
you had a particular question, some would probably just say "the code
may have changed", or "I relied on the electrician" rather than admit
they know something is done wrong.
Bring pictures of your house, with your family standing in front,
although I don't think code inspectors have to go to this amount of
trouble if they want to inspect.
Assuming you have permits your best bet is to just call the electrical
inspector and talk to them and find out specifically what they will approve.
Just because somebody on alt.home.repair says you can do it or even if the
NEC says you can doesn't mean you don't have some local code that says you
can't. You will be less likely to get slack with electrical than in other
The best way is to drill a hole in the middle of the joists. It's
easy using an electricians bit. You can install a strip of wood onto
the joists and fasten the wire there (doesn't look as good but this is
done.) You can read the NEC, not easy reading though.
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