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I am currently in the process of rewiring my garage to add outlets (3 each side) down either side.

On the left side as you enter is a shared wall with the living room & stairs. It has a plywood panel so I am assuming this is a shear wall (I live in CA).

What are the options for routing the wiring in this wall? Normally I would just drill my hole in each stud and route the cables.

I don't think building codes allow me to touch this shear wall. I also don't particularly want to run conduit on the outside of the wall for this specific area.

I do have a crawl space under my house. I was thinking that maybe* I could route the cable under the house and back up once on the other side of the shear wall.

Any suggestions?

Ignore the wires, they only seem to go through the first stud and I think they are for the door bell.

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  • A few small holes shouldn't affect shear strength that much; I'd suggest checking that assumption with the local inspector's office. There's always surface-mounted conduit...
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 7:18
  • If that plywood is meant to provide shear strength, you would not want to cut a 4-gang opening in it. :) But I don't think you need to put any an outlet specifically in that part of the wall, right? Just a couple of holes in the studs to pass wires through?
    – jay613
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 15:43
  • Yeah exactly. How would I drill the holes in the studs without removing or cutting the ply panel?
    – Rob Fyffe
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 20:32

1 Answer 1

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It does appear to only be a shear wall. If it were paneled all the way down the wall, then it would be a fire wall, and you don't want to begin drilling holes in fire walls. If you're going to drill into the side of the stud, then cut in a box into the face of the shear wall, there shouldn't be a problem, as I've put hundreds of outlets and switches in shear walls.

If you simply want to route wires through the wall, and then what appears to be around a corner without removing the shear, you're going to have to go above or below. Romex is allowed in rafters, if it's an unfinished ceiling, in a garage. If that's the case, then you could drill a hole in the top plate, run the wire across the rafters, then back down into where you want to put the outlet.

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  • Not planning to put an outlet on the shear wall. I just want to route the wires behind it. How can I drill the holes in the studs without removing the panel?
    – Rob Fyffe
    Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 20:33
  • If you simply want to route wires through the wall, and then what appears to be around a corner without removing the shear, you're going to have to go above or below. Romex is allowed in rafters, if it's an unfinished ceiling, in a garage. If that's the case, then you could drill a hole in the top plate, run the wire across the rafters, then back down into where you want to put the outlet. Commented Mar 9, 2023 at 20:45

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