How to Rough in Electrical Wiring

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The term "rough in" is used to describe the process in which electrical boxes and wiring are installed during construction of a home or other building. The term implies an unfinished job that is installed in a way to ease the installation of outlets, switches and light fixtures. The rough-in takes place before the drywall is secured to the studs. All cables are run from the panel box and secured in a way that meets the standards of the National Electric Code. Excess wire is left hanging from all electrical boxes to ensure that there is an adequate length of wire to connect all switches, receptacles and fixtures. Below you will find instructions on roughing in an electrical system.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire stripper/cutter
  • Cable ripper
  • Hammer
  • Wire staples
  • Electric drill
  • Three-quarter-inch spade drill bit
  • 12/3 ROMEX® cable
  • Screwdrivers (phillips and flat head)
  • Switch/outlet boxes
  • ROMEX® connectors
  • Measure and mark all receptacle box locations on the studs using a tape measure and a permanent marker so that the boxes will be 10 inches to 14 inches from the floor to the bottom of the box when mounted. Repeat the same procedure for all switch boxes with a measurement of 46 inches from the floor to the bottom of the box.

  • Nail the boxes to the studs so that the face of the box will be flush with the wall once it is mounted. Most electrical boxes have ribs that will allow you to mount the box so that it will already be positioned perfectly once the drywall is mounted.

  • Drill three-fourths-inch holes through the framing 8 inches above every box. Make sure that the holes are in the center of the studs.

  • Run cable from one box, through the holes in the studs and on to the next box and so on. Leave 8 inches of cable hanging from the inside of each box. If the receptacle boxes are in a series, which most are, cut the cable leaving 8 inches hanging from the box and run another piece of cable from the same box through the holes in the studs, and on to the next box. Continue running cable from box to box until you reach the panel box securing the cable to the studs (with staples) within 8 inches of every box and every 4 feet to 6 feet along studs.

  • Secure all incoming wires to the panel box using the proper connector. Leave 4 feet of cable dangling from the inside of the panel box.

  • Strip the white insulation off of the cables inside of all your switch and receptacle boxes using your cable Ripper. Now that all of your wiring is roughed in you can begin the wiring process by splicing all ground wires inside of your switch and receptacle boxes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to have your work inspected by a professional. Electrical wiring mistakes can be costly or fatal.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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