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  1. #1
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    Default Cable Staple question

    Hi,

    I recently had framing put in a wall for new sconces. From the attached photos,
    can you tell me if a cable staple is needed? If so, what is the safest kind and way
    to put one in?

    Also, is some kind of a plate needed toward the bottom of the first picture?

    A handyman mentioned these things to me, and I wanted to confirm with you guys!

    Thanks.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Lisa, I'm sure others can give you exact code citations. If I recall correctly, the wire should be attached to the framing within 12 inches of the boxes, unless there are clamps at the boxes. In the photo showing the box for a sconce it looks like a plastic grommet at the box, and not a clamp. Electrical staples have a flat head so that they are less likely to damage the wire. These are a standard item. As for a metal plate, a nail plate is required if the wire is closer than 1-1/4" from the face of the stud (and not a bad idea even if not required).


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Your handyman is correct to criticize that work. The cable should have had more slack so that it could be stapled to the stud near the top and again about 8" above the hole. Metal plates are available at the big box stores. Yes have him put one in.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Thanks, Mark! So are you saying that with a plastic grommet, I don't need a cable staple?
    And are plastic grommets acceptable to use?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Your handyman is correct to criticize that work. The cable should have had more slack so that it could be stapled to the stud near the top and again about 8" above the hole. Metal plates are available at the big box stores. Yes have him put one in.
    John -- thanks. A top-rated electrician did this work. Do I need a different, longer cable
    to fix the problem?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    ... the wire should be attached to the framing within 12 inches of the boxes, unless there are clamps at the boxes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Austin View Post
    Thanks, Mark! So are you saying that with a plastic grommet, I don't need a cable staple?
    The wire is required to be secured (staple is one method) within 12 inches of the box ... clamp or no clamp in the box (and those plastic pieces are the "clamps" as the boxes are supposed to have a strain-relief at the box ... those plastic ones shown aren't too bad, but some of the plastic boxes have built-in strain-relief tabs which are, at best, useless, and at worst, less than useless - if that is possible).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    John -- thanks. A top-rated electrician did this work. Do I need a different, longer cable
    to fix the problem?
    A longer piece would make the job better. If I was the authority, I would fail that work but the only thing that matters for you is if the authority where you are accepts the work of the licensed electrician.

    I doubt if anything bad will happen if the wiring is left as is. Cables installed after the original build are quite often left without staples or nail plates.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 10-28-2014 at 09:36 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    A longer piece would make the job better. If I was the authority, I would fail that work but the only thing that matters for you is if the authority where you are accepts the work of the licensed electrician.

    I doubt if anything bad will happen if the wiring is left as is. Cables installed after the original build are quite often left without staples or nail plates.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks very much, Jerry and John! I greatly appreciate your comments.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Your handyman is correct to criticize that work. The cable should have had more slack so that it could be stapled to the stud near the top and again about 8" above the hole. Metal plates are available at the big box stores. Yes have him put one in.
    As others have said, the vertical cable should be attached to the side of the stud. However, most of the time when installing a new receptacle or switch to an existing circuit, the cable is often 'fished' from an existing power source to the new outlet between the studs, if possible, and behind the wall surface. Consequently the cable remains loose and unseen. Millions of homes have cable run in this manner without adversity. A metal plate should be installed over the hole in the stud where the cable passes through to prevent inadvertent nailing into the cable.

    The larger issue, to me anyway, is patching the hole without studs or nailing strip on which to attach the new drywall or plaster board (I see button board on the back side of the wall, which appears to have a plaster finish). The existing hole will either have to be made larger on both sides, exposing half of the stud on each side as a nailing surface or additional studs installed for the same purpose.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    While "fishing" a cable through the wall is allowed, this cable was not fished through the wall and thus needs to be installed properly, including being secured within 12" of the box.

    That said, nothing says or implies that the cable needs to be secured to the stud, only to the structure, so install a piece of blocking (it will be needed anyway for repairing the hole made in the wall) and secure the cable to that blocking ... which will now be within 12" of the box.

    Those walls are rock lath, which serves as the scratch coat for the plaster, the brown coat is applied to the rock lath and keys itself to the paper finish on the rock lath board and into those holes (which provide a better mechanical attachment than just the paper surface), then a thin top coat of plaster is applied.

    A repair which looks like the original when all is said and done is to use blue board (plaster board) of a thickness which will make the finished surfaces match (rock lath is, as I recall, 3/8" thick, so installing 1/2" plaster board and one coat plaster for the finish should allow the finished surface of the repaired area to align with the existing finish surface, and you will still have your "plaster" wall look and feel.

    The holes in the studs where the cable goes through look pretty much centered, in which case a nail protector plate would not be required (still a good idea, just not required). Nail plates are not "required" unless the hole is such that it allows the cable to be within 1-1/4" of the surface of the stud - drill too big of a hold and the solution is to secure the cable centered in the 2x4 stud to provide the required 1-1/4" clearance to both sides of the stud. 1-1/4" plus 1-1/4" is 2-1/2", which leaves space for a maximum 1" hole or a 3/4" hole slightly off center ... but that is just code requirements which few pay attention to.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    As others have said, the vertical cable should be attached to the side of the stud. However, most of the time when installing a new receptacle or switch to an existing circuit, the cable is often 'fished' from an existing power source to the new outlet between the studs, if possible, and behind the wall surface. Consequently the cable remains loose and unseen. Millions of homes have cable run in this manner without adversity. A metal plate should be installed over the hole in the stud where the cable passes through to prevent inadvertent nailing into the cable.

    The larger issue, to me anyway, is patching the hole without studs or nailing strip on which to attach the new drywall or plaster board (I see button board on the back side of the wall, which appears to have a plaster finish). The existing hole will either have to be made larger on both sides, exposing half of the stud on each side as a nailing surface or additional studs installed for the same purpose.
    Thank you, Ian! I think my handyman is aware of what he needs to do to patch the hole.
    I obviously want to get the electrical work done right before I even think about finishing the wall!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    While "fishing" a cable through the wall is allowed, this cable was not fished through the wall and thus needs to be installed properly, including being secured within 12" of the box.

    That said, nothing says or implies that the cable needs to be secured to the stud, only to the structure, so install a piece of blocking (it will be needed anyway for repairing the hole made in the wall) and secure the cable to that blocking ... which will now be within 12" of the box.

    Those walls are rock lath, which serves as the scratch coat for the plaster, the brown coat is applied to the rock lath and keys itself to the paper finish on the rock lath board and into those holes (which provide a better mechanical attachment than just the paper surface), then a thin top coat of plaster is applied.

    A repair which looks like the original when all is said and done is to use blue board (plaster board) of a thickness which will make the finished surfaces match (rock lath is, as I recall, 3/8" thick, so installing 1/2" plaster board and one coat plaster for the finish should allow the finished surface of the repaired area to align with the existing finish surface, and you will still have your "plaster" wall look and feel.

    The holes in the studs where the cable goes through look pretty much centered, in which case a nail protector plate would not be required (still a good idea, just not required). Nail plates are not "required" unless the hole is such that it allows the cable to be within 1-1/4" of the surface of the stud - drill too big of a hold and the solution is to secure the cable centered in the 2x4 stud to provide the required 1-1/4" clearance to both sides of the stud. 1-1/4" plus 1-1/4" is 2-1/2", which leaves space for a maximum 1" hole or a 3/4" hole slightly off center ... but that is just code requirements which few pay attention to.
    Thanks so much, Jerry, for your very helpful information. I'm so impressed by the wealth of knowledge on this board!!!


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    I thought using a box connector clamp took the place of the 12 inch requirement. From a practical standpoint that provides strain relief and non-exposed wiring otherwise cannot be disturbed. If the wire was fished then I assume this would be true?

    p.s. I hate the way the NEC is written.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I thought using a box connector clamp took the place of the 12 inch requirement. From a practical standpoint that provides strain relief and non-exposed wiring otherwise cannot be disturbed. If the wire was fished then I assume this would be true?

    p.s. I hate the way the NEC is written.
    The securing (supporting and securing) is required for all but one exception:
    - 334.30 Securing and Supporting
    - - (B) Unsupported Cables. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be permitted to be unsupported where the cable
    - - - (1) Is fished between access points through concealed spaces in finished buildings or structures and supporting is impractical.
    - - - (2) Is not more than 1.4 n (4-1/2 ft) from the last point of connection to a luminaire or other piece of electrical equipment and the cable and the point of connection are within an accessible ceiling.

    Even wiring devices without a separate box and which incorporate an integral clamp are required to have the NM cable supported and secured within 12" of the wall opening, and there is also required to be at least a 12" loop of cable within the wall to allow removing the wiring device without a separate box ... let's see - the cable is required to be supported and secured "within" 12" of the opening - and - there is required to be "at least" a 12" loop of cable - that leaves how much flexibility in locating the support and securing point ...

    As you said ...

    p.s. I hate the way the NEC is written.
    As Dr Spock would say about that NEC wording: "Illogical."

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 10-29-2014 at 10:24 AM. Reason: "is snot" church to "is not" - extra "s" in there
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    I thought using a box connector clamp took the place of the 12 inch requirement. From a practical standpoint that provides strain relief and non-exposed wiring otherwise cannot be disturbed. If the wire was fished then I assume this would be true?

    p.s. I hate the way the NEC is written.
    Maybe you are thinking of single gang NM boxes.

    It's within 8" when using NM cable and you DO NOT secure to the box, but it's only on single gang NM boxes. It goes back to 12" when secured to the box.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The securing (supporting and securing) is required for all but one exception:
    - 334.30 Securing and Supporting
    - - (B) Unsupported Cables. Nonmetallic-sheathed cable shall be permitted to be unsupported where the cable
    - - - (1) Is fished between access points through concealed spaces in finished buildings or structures and supporting is impractical.
    - - - (2) Is not more than 1.4 n (4-1/2 ft) from the last point of connection to a luminaire or other piece of electrical equipment and the cable and the point of connection are within an accessible ceiling.

    Even wiring devices without a separate box and which incorporate an integral clamp are required to have the NM cable supported and secured within 12" of the wall opening, and there is also required to be at least a 12" loop of cable within the wall to allow removing the wiring device without a separate box ... let's see - the cable is required to be supported and secured "within" 12" of the opening - and - there is required to be "at least" a 12" loop of cable - that leaves how much flexibility in locating the support and securing point ...

    As you said ...



    As Dr Spock would say about that NEC wording: "Illogical."
    Jerry
    Wouldn't 334.30 (B) be TWO exceptions (1) and (2)? Otherwise, applying both requirements together would not make sense and have very limited application.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    Jerry
    Wouldn't 334.30 (B) be TWO exceptions (1) and (2)? Otherwise, applying both requirements together would not make sense and have very limited application.
    Ian,

    Yes, that is two exceptions - I was thinking that there is one exception which applied to the question of fished cable, but, yes, there are two exceptions.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Reinmiller View Post
    p.s. I hate the way the NEC is written.
    Mark, you still have a few days till 11/7. . . gripe away, sure, but also submit Public Input so the next edition is written better.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    I emailed the following to my electrician: "...The wire should be secured – but it’s too short and too tight to be stapled to within a foot of the box as it is supposed to be."

    His response was the following:

    "The reason we didn’t strap it within the box is you had no structural members to strap it to, there’s nothing wrong with the installation we did; we could have someone put a 2x4 up there and strap it to that, but there’s nothing unsafe about the wiring we did."

    I'm in California, if that makes any difference. Your comments would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks again.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    At least your electrician offered the proper code method - take him up on it.

    The code does not say to secure and support it if it is easy to do - the code says to do it.

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  19. #19
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    Smile Re: Cable Staple question

    Hi Lisa:
    When your doing work like adding an outlet or light fixture and it requires running wire in an existing wall or ceiling, there is nothing that requires the wall covering be removed. An outlet could be added to a wall by fishing a wire through from an existing point of power to the new outlet. In this instance securing the wire is not possible but acceptable. When wall covering such as drywall or plaster/lath is removed exposing the framing or wall studs, the wiring must be installed per new construction code. In your case the wire must be secured within 12 inches of the box. Since the wall is open, provision for securing the wire can and must be done.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Mike,
    You hit it on the nose....


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Lisa,
    1) Who cut open the wall?
    2) Was it cut open before or after the wire was run?
    3) Was the wall removed all at one time or in segments over time?
    4) Who installed the wall box?
    5) Who ran the wire?


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Thank you, Jerry! Mike, thank you for your very helpful input as well. This forum makes
    it so much easier for me to deal with my electrician!

    Gary:
    1) A general contractor opened the wall when he removed two recessed
    medicine cabinets. My intention was to remove the light fixture above the
    mirror, and install new sconces instead.
    2) The electrician ran the wire after the wall was cut open.
    3 The wall was all removed on the same day.
    4) The electrician installed the wall boxes – there are two, intended for new sconces.
    5) The electrician ran the wire.

    Since I only posted photos of the right side of the mirror, here are pictures of the left side too. I can’t get back far enough to get it all in one pic.

    The weird thing is that the electrical company’s owner came over and looked at the open walls. At that time, we discussed the need for more structural support. I purchased four 2x4’s for the job in case they were needed (he wasn’t sure they would even be necessary).

    When the worker he sent over arrived, he hadn’t heard anything about adding wood. He called the owner, who told him he’d forgotten that we'd talked about that. The worker did add some support – but I wonder why he didn't add enough!

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Austin View Post
    Thank you, Jerry! Mike, thank you for your very helpful input as well. This forum makes
    it so much easier for me to deal with my electrician!

    Gary:
    1) A general contractor opened the wall when he removed two recessed
    medicine cabinets. My intention was to remove the light fixture above the
    mirror, and install new sconces instead.
    2) The electrician ran the wire after the wall was cut open.
    3 The wall was all removed on the same day.
    4) The electrician installed the wall boxes – there are two, intended for new sconces.
    5) The electrician ran the wire.

    Since I only posted photos of the right side of the mirror, here are pictures of the left side too. I can’t get back far enough to get it all in one pic.

    The weird thing is that the electrical company’s owner came over and looked at the open walls. At that time, we discussed the need for more structural support. I purchased four 2x4’s for the job in case they were needed (he wasn’t sure they would even be necessary).

    When the worker he sent over arrived, he hadn’t heard anything about adding wood. He called the owner, who told him he’d forgotten that we'd talked about that. The worker did add some support – but I wonder why he didn't add enough!


    I'm assuming the worker is the electrician. The electrician is responsible for doing his job correctly. This includes using the proper materials, mounting the box correctly, securing the wiring, and basically doing what the National Electrical Code requires. Any other support such as what's needed to close the wall would be up to your drywall installer, carpenter, or who ever is going to finish the job. If the electrical box is secured tight enough to hold the sconce and the wiring is installed and secured per electrical code, there isn't much you can do. Unfortunately there isn't a code for workmanship. I don't know what other arrangements you made with his boss to complete the job.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    After looking at the photos on my computer instead of my phone forget about what I said below:

    You current photo shows (looking at it on my phone) the box on top of the end of a 2x4. That may be okay, but anchoring anything into the end grain of a stud has limited anchor holding strength - through the side is MUCH stronger.
    Oh crap! I thought I was adding the above and instead I somehow deleted what I had said before - Oh Crap!

    Oh well ... not that important anyway ...

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 11-05-2014 at 07:17 AM.
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Thanks again Mike and Jerry! Yes, the worker is the electrician. I’m a little confused;
    is the wiring installed and secured per electrical code? My handyman is ready to finish the job – but are the cable staple and metal plate usually done by the electrician who does the wiring? In other words – am I justified in asking the electrician to do anything more on this job at this point? Our arrangement was just that he make it possible for me to have sconces. He’s coming back to hook them up after the handyman closes up the walls.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Austin View Post
    is the wiring installed and secured per electrical code?
    Not if still as installed in your first two photos.

    My handyman is ready to finish the job – but are the cable staple and metal plate usually done by the electrician who does the wiring?
    It is the electrician's responsibility to secure and support his wiring as required by code.

    In other words – am I justified in asking the electrician to do anything more on this job at this point?
    Yes, and in one of your posts you said the electrician offered to correct it.

    Our arrangement was just that he make it possible for me to have sconces.
    That would include installing to code whatever he installed - including the required securing and supporting of the NM cable.

    He’s coming back to hook them up after the handyman closes up the walls.
    Will be a bit hard for him to secure and support the cable then ... ... but if he wants to wait and try to do it then ... ... that'll be something to watch and see done.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Cable Staple question

    I just wanted to let you all know that the electrician came back and did the work
    correctly. I was smart enough to have my handyman here at the same time to supervise.

    Thank you again for your valuable help!


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