I need to add a pair of receptacles along an unfinished, insulated, exterior basement wall. I want the easiest method possible. I have no plans to finish the basement. I need each receptacle to be on its own circuit breaker. I do not want to remove the vapor barrier/insulation and drill through all the 1.5X2.5" studs. The floor joists run perpendicular to the wall. Does this require the wire be run by conduit along the top of wall and then down studs to a box attached to face of stud ? Or is there another way that would meet code ? enter image description here enter image description here

  • Where are you tapping power for these receptacles at? Jul 27, 2019 at 22:00
  • The electrical panel is on the same wall. Im gonna try to add couple pictures.
    – tradefox
    Jul 27, 2019 at 22:26
  • Why do they need to be integral to the wall? Cant you just run two extension cords along the bottom of the wall? That would be easy.
    – Willk
    Jul 28, 2019 at 2:55
  • In the picture, that yellow cord is an extension cord I've run down the wall by the ceiling. I'm powering a treadmill, aquarium and other things at the other end of the basement. Running it all off of an extension cord, attached to the receptacle by my electrical panel, isn't cutting it anymore.
    – tradefox
    Jul 28, 2019 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


I would run your cable through the floor joists, drilling per the manufacturer's allowed schedule. To get there, simply lay the cable on the face of that stud alongside the panel (or another block set over the wall framing) and staple it in place. You're allowed to have cable mounted on a surface like that if it's not likely to be damaged.

I'd then drill through the top plate (or simply drop the cable behind it), and feed it forward at the box location.

Cut your poly carefully for the box location, slightly smaller than necessary, and feel through the insulation for the cable. Should be easy.


I think the easiest solution is to cut the vapor barrier in the section(s) the outlets will be located in. Cut along the studs. The install outlets/wiring between stud/insulation. Then, simply cut a new vapor barrier section, tape to seal. You don't need to take the entire vapor barrier down (unless you don't trust the tape seal--which if true, I also presume you'd want to replace the entire vapor barrier?)

You may not plan to finish the basement, but the next owner may. Having receptacles flush with the studs will make it easy--if/when that time ever comes.

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