I want to relocate my attic scuttle hole to my hallway. However, there is a huge number of NM electric cables (I count 10) running next to this location, currently stapled to a major support beam about 4 feet above where a want to cut the scuttle hole. (See photo) proposed scuttle hole location

I understand that, per code, electrical wiring running on the face of attic joists or rafters within 6 feet of a scuttle hole must be protected. Any ideas for how I can protect these wires without rewiring my house, or feeding each individual wire through its own raceway?

This attic is not used for storage nor access to appliances, but I do plan to be up in it this year to add more light fixtures, vent fans, and insulation.

I'm a home owner who has done basic electric work, such as adding a new outlet or recessed light, but nothing more sophisticated.

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    While Ecnerwal's answer is correct (+1), those cables look to me more like phone, coaxial TV and network cables than AC power. In which case technically they don't require protection (there is potential for damage to the cables, but nobody would get zapped if that happened), though the answer is still valid in "how to protect the cables". Mar 5, 2023 at 20:35
  • I doubt that very much for the bottom 6, at least. For the top, perhaps and the next to the top, yes.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 5, 2023 at 20:50
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    Added a link (first result of an internet search, no affiliation) because I'd never heard the term "attic scuttle hole". I can't be alone in that...
    – FreeMan
    Mar 6, 2023 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


This is just basic carpentry (in service of electrical protection), not electrical work as such.

Essentially, support a board to protect the cables near the hole. Some small bits of lumber attached to the studs above and below the cables, and a board screwed to those (use screws so it can be removed if access is needed, without having to fight anything like nails or glue.)

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    If there are AC power cables there, would the inch and a half protection zone(for screws) come into play, or can you slap a 1x1 and some plywood over them?
    – crip659
    Mar 5, 2023 at 21:28

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