I understand that NM cable can be run along and through floor joists in unfinished areas of basements. However, can the NM cable then be installed in a box mounted on the joist, perhaps for a light fixture or an overhead receptacle? Similar to the photo.enter image description here

Edit: Thanks for the answers so far! Specifically, I am asking with regard to code requirements that NM cable be protected. In the situation shown in the photo, is the NM cable sufficiently protected to meet basic code requirements or is EMT conduit required?

Edit: The location would be Joliet, Illinois, United States. According to the city website, the city uses NEC 2014. The area will be an unfinished utility area that is adjacent to and on the same branch circuit as a finished hallway and bathroom except the GFCI receptacle.

  • 1
    This is a question about specific electrical code. Please include the city, state, and country in question, as well as the use of the space in question.
    – Valkor
    Aug 6, 2019 at 23:34
  • 1
    Does Joliet follow the same Code rules as the rest of Cook County, IL? Aug 7, 2019 at 2:58
  • 1
    No, Joliet is not in Cook County and does not follow the same code as Cook County or Chicago.
    – Tony
    Aug 7, 2019 at 5:31

2 Answers 2


You can definitely use joists to support light and switch boxes. You just need to think it out and know what type of fixture is going up there. Recessed lighting needs a little more planning as they are usually installed between joists. Happy wiring.


Yes NM cable can be used to power outlets and lights in dry areas. In damp or wet areas, or if outdoors or exposed to weather or buried you would have to use cable like UF-B and outdoor, weatherproof boxes.

In your photo, if the box (and cable) is next to a pipe with water under pressure, you might consider it a damp or wet area based on the possibility of a leak.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.