A portion of our house sits on unfinished 36" crawl space. I need to run some electrical cable (NM/Romex, 14/2) through the middle of the crawl space, perpendicular to the joists. I could drill holes through all 14 joists, or... can I just staple the cable to the 6x6 beam that runs down the center of the crawl space, perpendicular to the joists, right where I want the cable to go? This seems like the 1) easiest and 2) most secure way of doing things. I know the code allows me to use a running board instead of holes in the joists, but it would be great if I can just use the center beam as a pre-installed (and very, very secure) running board.

  • Clarification: I think what I'm asking is addressed in NEC 334.15 Exposed Work: "(C) In Unfinished Basements and Crawl Spaces. Where cable is run at angles with joists in unfinished basements and crawl spaces, it shall be permissible to secure cables not smaller than two 6 AWG or three 8 AWG conductors directly to the lower edges of the joists. Smaller cables shall be run either through bored holes in joists or on running boards. "
    – PhilPDX
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


You may secure wiring to framing in an exposed manner when it's not subject to damage. If this isn't a high-traffic location, it'll be just fine to do as you describe. Just do yourself and others the service of keeping it nice and neat. Plan ahead for parallel, flat rows of cable.

  • Thanks for the reply. Do you know if that's in the NEC anywhere? 334.15 seems to require a running board, but maybe there's a more general rule that I'm missing. In any case, it's not a major problem since it's only 1 or 2 cables, and it'll be easy to fix if the inspector requires me to.
    – PhilPDX
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 18:01

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