My basement is currently unfinished but within the next few months we plan on finishing half of it as living space. Before the framing and drywall goes up I want to run a conduit between the unfinished side of the basement ceiling and the 1st floor outside wall. It would not carry 120VAC, strictly low-voltage wiring like network and audio cables. My plan was to use 1" Carlon Schedule 40 PVC (1" EMT conduit if I have to) have it travel from the unfinished side of the basement, across the ceiling of the finished side of the basement (above the ceiling obviously), pass through the 1st floor bottom sole plate and extend about 8 inches or so up into the 1st floor wall.

I would run all of my data and audio cables through this conduit along with a pull string for future cable runs. I would seal around the outside of the conduit with 3M fire barrier caulk where it passes through the bottom sole plate to fill the gaps. The end of the conduit that is inside the 1st floor wall would be unsealed since I won't be able to get to it and future cable runs would need to exit out of it. If necessary to pass code I can seal the opposite end of the conduit (the end on the unfinished side of the basement) with the 3M fire barrier caulk, sealing around the cabling as well.

Is this setup permissible from a code standpoint?

Would I be violating the requirement of sealing air gaps between floors even though one end of the conduit is sealed and one isn't?

As far as I know this isn't a "fire barrier" situation like going through my garage walls would be.

  • What country are you in? State? Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 20:34
  • You may have fire blocks at several points you would have to drill through.If you have central heat/ air you may be able to slide the pipe outside the duct workup the wall.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 22:54
  • I am in NJ, USA. Meant to include that bit of info but forgot.
    – forcedfx
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 11:03
  • What you're calling a "sill plate" is actually a "bottom wall plate", or maybe a "sole plate". The sill plate is what the joists rest on, atop the foundation.
    – isherwood
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


Yes. Your plans meet code for fire protection. The low voltage wires you mention do not require placement within conduit (but I think it's a very good idea for future use/change).

Both the IRC and UBC requires one to "seal gaps around ducts, wires, and pipes at floor and ceiling level penetrations [between floors]." 602.8 "06 IRC"; 708.2.1 "97 UBC".

The type of duct, wires, and pipes used are irrelevant in regards to fire protection.


Air sealing involves sealing around conduit, not the conduit itself. No, there's no apparent fire barrier concern here.

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