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I wanted install a new door to the bathroom in a first floor (115-year-old) apartment and when I opened up the wall, I discovered a couple of cables that were in the way. Coincidentally, the location I wanted to install the new door was already framed for a door.

In the attached photo, the two cables are connected to a switch in the adjacent bedroom. I was thinking of leaving the cables in their current location and stapling them to one side of the 2x4 and then installing the door, being careful not to hit the wires with screws when I install the door frame. Because I don’t have much experience with this topic, I was hoping for some feedback to see if this is a bad idea.

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  • Asking for feedback and "is this a good idea" is explicitly asking for opinions, which are off-topic (see the tour and the help center). If you'd edit this question to ask something on-topic, like "does this meet code" or "can I work on this without an electrician or contractor" - those are questions we can help answer, if you also add your location. Feb 8 at 18:56

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Leaving the cables exposed between the rough opening (the 2x4s) and the door frame might work OK for you when you install the door, but if anyone else comes along (including future you) and makes any modifications, they'll have a significant chance of hitting that cable, shorting it out and tripping a breaker at best, and possibly electrocuting themselves if they're holding a screw or nail that shorts it.

All in all, a bad idea.

Instead, put a box on one side of the opening, terminating the existing wire there. Install a new piece of wire (joined to the existing wiring) running it up and over the rough opening, going down into the existing switch in the other room.

This extra box will have to remain exposed with a blank cover plate, or, you could put an outlet there because nobody ever said "I've got too darn many outlets in this room!". Somebody might ask, "Why is this outlet so high on the wall?", but they'll happily use it anyway.

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You're already doing a bunch of wall surface repair. Just cut into the wall surface behind the electrical box and reroute the cable. Alternatively, buy 6 ft of L3/4x3/4x1/8 steel angle and install that over the wire for protection. With both toes bearing against the wall, the steel angle's heel sticks about an extra 1/32" beyond 0.5". For 1/16" and thicker steel angle, this solution conforms with the electrical code.

Your suggested hack is out of conformance with the electrical code. Wires within 1-1/4" of the finish surface require metal protection of 1/16" or better thickness. Based on probabilities with thousands of screws installed all over the place, enforcing the rule is wise. Even if there's only a 1:50 per-stud chance of hitting a wire with a drywall screw, for a house with 200 studs, the probability of hitting a cable becomes 1-(1-1/50)200 = 98%.

Even if the hinges for your door are not on the side with the cable, there's still the door casing fasteners to worry about. For a length of wire running vertically there's about a 0.5" wide cable and a 3" wide window for fastener locations. With one or two fastener groups located at the wire's elevation, those are bad odds.

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  • I followed the advice from freeman and popham and rerouted the cables away from the door. It wasn’t as hard as I thought and now it’s one last thing to worry about. Thx again for the feedback.
    – Michael
    Feb 13 at 18:52

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