At the top of a 14' wall in a private residential (non commercial) work shop, I'd like to run about 100' of surface mount raceway, with THHN conductors inside of it. I plan to use 4"x4" raceway, for about 10-15 conductors (Despite being relatively large, it fits the space perfectly). I've read code saying you can put conductors in a raceway, but nothing that specifies any physical properties of that raceway. Can I use relatively lightweight PVC raceways with removable covers, similar to what I'd use for data cabling? (As seen in the picture) If not, what defines acceptable raceway?

Additionally, my plan is to knock out holes, and connect to the solid non-removable surface of the raceway using rigid conduit, for load center connections, surface mount outlets, etc. (In the same way I'd connect to any junction box). Is that acceptable?

Because of the out of the way location of the raceway I'm not worried about it being physically damaged, but I want to make sure the lightweight PVC raceway is acceptable from a code perspective.

California, USA Solid wall raceway Thanks.

  • Usually the rules on conductor derating make running separate conduits with fewer wires in them far more attractive than one giant raceway with conductors that have to be much larger than would otherwise be required. See diy.stackexchange.com/q/67116/18078 and diy.stackexchange.com/a/197478/18078 for insight.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 10:58
  • 1
    Also, if you use non-metallic raceway and metallic conduit, you need to bond every individual piece of conduit to ground. If you use continuous metallic conduit/junction boxes, they already are.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 11:28
  • As ecnerwal notes metallic wire ways can be used as the ground, this is true, but having to derate the wire with more than 3 current carrying conductors is a bigger negative in my opinion 4 ccc requires 80% , 7-9 requires 70% with all those derates now larger cables are needed and usually wither larger cables comes larger conduit. 30 current carrying 20% fill and no derating is required. 378.22 for the code reference for those that don’t do this often at 14’ the wire way is protected by height so it then is similar to any other non metallic method.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 14:00
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    I think a raceway is a good idea. I used Wiremold series 4000 raceway for my shop and mounted it about 4' from the floor. Often in a shop you get new equipment, move stuff around, get rid of stuff. Having all the electrical in a raceway (terminated right into a 200 amp panel) makes it super easy to change circuits, add circuits. etc. It's also a very "clean" look, not a bunch of EMT and fixture boxes all over the place. Commented Aug 12, 2020 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


I use raceway quite often. With a 20% max fill and no need to derate if your current carrying conductors are less than 30 total it is easier to lay cables in than pull in some cases and no derate is the big advantage.

For exterior raceway it will need to be listed for sunlight or UV protected I have used pvc in the past but most of my work is heavy industrial where metal is needed to protect from impacts. Metal holds up better better but in your case a plastic wire way makes sense to me.

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