Running Wires in a plaster house


Old 05-01-08, 01:21 AM
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Arrow Running Wires in a plaster house

Any suggestions out there on how to run new electrical wires to update & ground my electrial boxes so that 3 prong electric cords with fit? I have plaster walls and would like have the electric updated without spending tons of money....Do it your-selfers, HELP!
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Old 05-01-08, 05:05 AM
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Running wires in plaster walls is no different from any other wall covering. You sometimes have to make holes at wall tops or in ceilings, depends on how good you are at pulling wires. How old is the house?? Pre 1945-1950, will likely need all new wiring. Many areas had ground wires after that, but they were not the same as current wiring(smaller grounds, different connecting methods). Acceptable, but not like new.

Upgrading wiring in a prewar house may not be inexpensive, but how much does it cost to rebuild after a fire??
Old 05-01-08, 06:26 AM
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Since running a ground wire is just as hard as rewiring you may be better of to rewire, even if done selectively just where you need the grounded receptacles. You get the advantage of more circuits too.

You may have balloon framing behind the plaster that could make it easier to rewire.

What are you using that needs grounded receptacles? This is an option available besides rewiring.
Old 05-01-08, 08:42 AM
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I rewired the first floor of my 1926 bungalow over the course of about a year. It is more or less balloon-framed. All horizontal wiring was done under the attic floorboards before finishing and insulating up there, and through the unfinished basement. I used about 800' of Greenfield filled with THHN and 10-20' of BX with metal boxes.

In most cases I reused the old metal boxes by drilling out the hex nuts on the old BX cables, pushing the BX out of the way, tapping a 10-32 hole for a ground screw, and then fishing in new Greenfield from the basement or attic. In the attic the work was done at the same time as rough-in to finish that space, so junction boxes up there also serve as device boxes for the finished attic.

In the cases where box size was too small, or I was adding a box, that was actually easier. Cutting out old boxes was a cinch with a sawzall as long as you know which side is attached to the stud.

The only specialty tools I used were a steel fish tape with a 12" springy Greenlee end, a Craftsman inspection mirror, a stud finder, and a Streamlight SL-20 flashlight. Otherwise all my fishing was done with a nut on a string, coathangers, run -of-the-mill tools such as a sawzall and a drill with bit extensions.

Although I cannot stand sitting on a boat or shore with a rod and reel, this is the kind of fishing I love. It's painstaking and time consuming. If you are in a hurry or don't enjoy this type of work, hire a pro.

I used Greenfield because I like the flexibility of being able to add switch loops or whatever, and in fact I have done that in three places where we added ceiling fans that we did not originally plan with lights.
Old 05-01-08, 05:24 PM
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they useally are not too hard to run the new wires in the lath et plaster walls but however keep in your mind some home did have either draft or firestop about halfway up the wall if you run into them just drill pretty big size hole then you can able snake the wire in other wise you can punch a hole where the fire stop loacted.

as far as other members mentioned here most of the older plaster et lath wall useally are ballon framed it should be pretty straight foward task. just take your time.


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