I need to re-wire my bathroom (I live in Oregon, USA), and for various reasons, it would be much easier to install raceway than to try and get everything wired through the walls/ceiling. Is raceway wiring in a bathroom allowed?

The raceway would only be about 10' length total, running from a double wall switch about 6' up to the ceiling and then down to a light and then another 3' over to a through-the-wall exhaust fan.

The electrical outlet will be GFCI, 20amp, on a totally different circuit running inside the wall. So that's not an issue.


2 Answers 2


There is nothing in the NEC that prohibits the installation of surface raceway (metal or nonmetallic) in even a damp or a wet location provided the conductors inside are rated for said damp or wet location.

That said, many AHJs do not consider the area outside of the shower zone to be a damp location to begin with. So, go ahead with the raceway -- just remember to use a wire (such as THWN) suitable for a damp or wet location when running wires inside the raceway.

  • I think 388.12 does have a specific restriction that form damp and wet locations. Dec 14, 2015 at 0:18
  • 1
    @batsplatsterson -- I'm looking at the 2014 NEC 388.12 and not seeing it... Dec 14, 2015 at 0:22

I believe that surface raceway is OK for dry locations (NEC 386.10 / 388.10), but not damp or wet locations (NEC 386.12 /388.12). In the bathroom, you couldn't run it in the shower / tub area.

There is a rule that lights within three feet of the shower / tub area have to be rated for damp locations, and if they're subject to shower spray, they have to be rated for wet locations.

edit: at ThreePhase's direction I see that the restriction in 386.12 / 388.12 is no longer there. A little googling and it looks like it was not in the 2002 code, then was in there for a couple cycles, now it's out again.

To be safe - I'd only use it where it's explicitly permitted.

  • Are areas more than 3 feet horizontally from shower/tub considered to be dry? All of the raceway would be at least 4 feet horizontally from the shower/tub. There would be occasional steam, of course, but I'd think the raceway would keep out any condensation.
    – PhilPDX
    Dec 14, 2015 at 0:31
  • I believe beyond the 3 foot zone it's considered a dry location. You might want to use THWN instead of THHN anyway. Dec 14, 2015 at 0:41
  • NEC 2014 410.10 (D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. No parts of cord-connected luminaires, chain-, cable-, or cord-suspended luminaires, lighting track, pendants, or ceiling-suspended (paddle) fans shall be located within a zone measured 900 mm (3 ft) horizontally and 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold. This zone is all encompassing and includes the space directly over the tub or shower stall... Nothing about fixtures being damp rated in this zone.
    – Tester101
    Dec 14, 2015 at 1:24
  • Reading further... NEC 2014 410.10(D) Bathtub and Shower Areas. ... Luminaires located within the actual outside dimension of the bathtub or shower to a height of 2.5 m (8 ft) vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower threshold shall be marked for damp locations, or marked for wet locations where subject to shower spray. So fixtures only have to be damp/wet rated it they are above the tub/shower.
    – Tester101
    Dec 14, 2015 at 1:25
  • And receptacles and switches are allowed in that zone... Dec 14, 2015 at 1:25

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