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I'm working on finishing our shed to create an office space, but I'm stumped on how to handle this wire. Whoever ran the electrical to out here fed it up from underneath the shed floor so that it runs right in front of the bottom wall studs.

I am putting up drywall, but can't do this section until I figure out how to secure the wire in a way that will keep it from being smashed between the stud and the drywall. I'm not comfortable with pulling it out from the bottom of the floor to feed it through elsewhere.

The attached pictures show the position of the wire and where I tried to carve a space in the studs for the wire to rest out of the way of the drywall. But the wire is so stiff, and it's far out enough from the studs that it won't lay flat in there. Any advice or ideals that are DIY friendly would be greatly appreciated! enter image description here

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  • Can you undo that wire from the outlet in the first picture (with the breaker for it off of course)? Oct 27, 2023 at 2:32
  • Turn off the circuit, verify it is off, photograph the wiring to the receptacle if you are unsure how to wire it back up, pull the wire, drill a new hole and reconnect.
    – matt.
    Oct 27, 2023 at 2:34
  • Is there a subpanel in or on the shed? Or is this an individual circuit run from the main building? Oct 27, 2023 at 2:35
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    Hammer and chisel. Some of the floor's got to go, and do a little better job on the notch.
    – Mazura
    Oct 27, 2023 at 3:35
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    Modern electronics use very little power. You can probably get away with an arbitrary quantity of modern electronics on a single circuit. But a space heater or AC can (and usually will) use up to the maximum power available on a single circuit, leaving you with zero left for anything else. (There are some asterisks in there, and a little slop... but the more you push it, the more critical it is that your brother's installation is perfectly code compliant, all screws torqued to manufacturer specs, etc. Which I wouldn't bet on.) Oct 27, 2023 at 21:51

2 Answers 2

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You're on the right track: the cable does need to be protected from physical damage, including damage of getting smashed by drywall, pierced by screws or nails, or collision by furniture or other things that might slide across the floor.

Laying the cable into a channel, with a "nail protection plate" placed over it for protection, is a valid strategy. But as you discovered the hole through the floor would have to be elongated so that the cable can lay into the channel without any hard bend or kink where it emerges from the floor.

A nail protection plate installed looks something like this: Image: Mike Holt forums

nail protection plate

The best solution, though, is to disconnect the cable, drill a new hole through the base plate of the wall, and route the cable through that hole. If the hole is at least 1.5" from an edge of the wood base plate then no nail protection plate is needed. Perhaps if you watch a few YouTube videos on "how to install an outlet" you'll gain the confidence to tackle this!

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  • Thank you! I hadn't thought of that. Putting a nail protection plate would definitely help to secure it in place and protect it. If I can figure out how to safely remove that little bit of flooring to push it flush into the channel I will definitely give that a shot. I'm fairly comfortable with wiring an outlet, but admittedly am trying to avoid having to go underneath the shed to pull out and then reinsert the wire. The bugs/spiders and mole that I'm pretty sure lives under there freak me out 😅
    – Bri S
    Oct 27, 2023 at 14:05
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Frame Challenge

finishing our shed to create an office space

From a very practical standpoint, you can't do that with one circuit. That leaves you with two options:

Work within the rules and add individual circuits of other types, including fixing up this cable.

You can only have one circuit of each "type" - so one 120V circuit (which you already have), one 240V circuit (which you could use for HVAC) and there are some ways you can add additional circuits. But it gets tricky. And messy. And extremely limiting.

Forget this circuit - remove it altogether. Add a much larger cable (or wires) and put in a subpanel.

If this were just "I want to do a little more in the shed than I was before" then making do with one circuit would probably work. Power a few tools while also having lights is quite doable, particularly since LED lights require very little power.

But you're not doing that. You're making an office. Which typically means:

  • One lighting circuit - so a problem with your receptacle circuit(s) doesn't turn out the lights.
  • One, preferably two, receptacle circuits. Particularly if you have a laser printer or other high current (even if relatively limited usage) devices. Even more so if you want a mini-fridge and a coffee maker.
  • One circuit, either 120V or 240V depending on your specific needs, for HVAC, typically a small mini-split heat pump.

You may have other needs as well, depending on how big the shed is and how you want to use it.

How do you do this? A subpanel. The basics are:

  • Conduit (buried 6" to 18" deep depending on type) + wires or direct burial cable (24" deep).
  • Cable or wires should be aluminum to save money. Exact size will depend on capacity needed, though oversizing is OK. Typical is to use 2/2/2/4 AWG aluminum for up to 90A, though if fed with a 60A or 70A breaker that's just fine.
  • A "main" panel. Why? Because it includes a disconnect (a subpanel doesn't, unless you use a locked-down backfed breaker for the incoming feed). At least 12 spaces, but more is better and doesn't cost much more. A 20 space panel is perfectly reasonable and 30 space won't cost much more.
  • GFCI on most circuits (depends on NEC version), either GFCI breakers or (generally much cheaper) deadfront or receptacle on 120V circuits.
  • Ground rods needed. Yes, even though you will also have a ground wire going back to the main panel (either in conduit or as part of the cable).
  • Get this thing permitted and inspected properly. You can, in many places, get away with little things without permit/inspections. Wiring up a shed can be a DIY project, but if you don't get it permitted then you could run into serious problems in the future.
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    I really appreciate all that info!
    – Bri S
    Oct 28, 2023 at 20:18

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