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Confused about rules for running Romex through attic rafters

Confused about rules for running Romex through attic rafters

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  #1  
Old 01-26-14, 01:48 PM
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Confused about rules for running Romex through attic rafters

Hi all

I have to run some Romex in my attic. I did a lot of reading about it, but am confused about the BEST way to do it.

My attic is "non accessible", so I know for a fact that I must protect the Romex with guard strips or bore holes (1.25" from the face of the joists) when running perpendicular to the joists, and when I run parallel I must staple the Romex to the face of the joists. I also know that I only have to do this 6' within the scuttle hole, and past 6' I can run it however I want.

However, what I am confused about is the rules for running Romex across/through the RAFTERS of the attic. My home has rafters (not trusses), and I figured it would perhaps be easier to just run the Romex through or stapled across the rafters. From everything I read, this is acceptable to do, but there does not seem to be much information about this. Could someone please tell me if this is acceptable?

Furthermore, if this is allowed, how would I protect the Romex if the Romex "shoots up" from the ceiling joists to the rafters (within an area 6' of the scuttle hole)?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-14, 02:00 PM
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Also I should clarify the reason why I think it would be easier running the Romex across the rafters instead of the joists is because I would not have to deal with the insulation that is present. Some areas of the floor are also finished which again would complicate the situation.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 02:28 PM
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If you can run it across by stapling it to the rafters, you can avoid the insulation thing. If the attic is inaccessible, you have less a worry about protecting the wires than you would if it were a storage area. Do not drill them through the joists or rafters. Wasted time. Run the cables that exit the lower areas parallel to the ceiling joists until they come to a reasonable distance from the rafter, then run it perpendicular to wherever it needs to go.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

I suppose I forgot to mention that there are boxes of stuff stored in the attic for about a 4' radius around the scuttle hole. So although (from my understanding) the attic is considered "not accessible" by the NEC, it still is accessed and used for storage. This is important because one of the locations where I will be drilling down from in the attic (into the top plate of the wall below) is located where boxes are stored, and is only about 2' from the scuttle hole.

So would it be acceptable to drill through the top plate, drop the wire down, then staple it to the large side of the joist and have it run parallel to the joist until it reaches the rafters? Then could I staple it to the narrow side of a rafter and then have it run/stapled perpendicular to the rafters? I also want to point out that all of this would all be happening less than 6' from the scuttle hole.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 04:20 PM
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An attic with a scuttle hole is considered an accessible space. Within 6' of a scuttle hole the cables need to be protected from damage using running boards, or stapling the cable to follow the framing.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 04:20 PM
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Cables should be protected within six feet of the scuttle opening.

320.23 In Accessible Attics. Type AC cables in accessible
attics or roof spaces shall be installed as specified in
320.23(A) and (B).
(A) Where Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where
run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of
floor or floor joists across the face of rafters or studding, in
attics and roof spaces that are accessible, the cable shall be
protected by substantial guard strips that are at least as high
as the cable. Where this space is not accessible by permanent
stairs or ladders, protection shall only be required
within 1.8 m (6 ft) of the nearest edge of the scuttle hole or
attic entrance.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 04:28 PM
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So even if I were to staple the cable to the rafters, because it would be less than 6' from the hole, it would still require running boards, correct?

If that is the case, in my situation it seems like it would just be easier to drill through the joists (when running perpendicular) and run the romex that way. Even guard strips on the joists seems like it would be more work than just boring holes.
 
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Old 01-26-14, 04:56 PM
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More information is always better for us to give advice. By saying it was basically inaccessible, then saying you store stuff up there, gave the incorrect light on the subject. What the others have said. Sometimes really shallow rooflines, although "accessible" by fire departments are not practical, but the cabling must be protected. Often running the rafters is a good option. Floor troughs is far better and easier than drilling holes.
 
  #9  
Old 01-26-14, 05:39 PM
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I apologize for not giving enough information off the bat. I thought that the NEC referred to attics as either "accessible" (meaning permanent readily accessible stairs/ladder/etc.) or "not accessible" (meaning you have to get your own ladder to get up there), and this is what I meant by "not accessible". I should have made this distinction right from the original post.

If I do staple the romex to the rafters, because the rafters at any point are within 7' of the floor, it would require guard strips until 6' from the scuttle hole. I just have two final questions regarding this.

1) Instead of using guard strips across the rafters, would sleeving the romex in 1/2 EMT (until it is 6' past the scuttle hole) work? I would then use one of the fittings in the attached pictures where the romex exits the EMT (and if one is better than the other, I would appreciate. it if you could inform me).

2) The transition from romex to EMT would happen in the joist cavity, correct? (I might be over analyzing this)

Thanks everyone once again!
 
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  #10  
Old 01-26-14, 05:50 PM
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You won't run romex in EMT, or any conduit. Why not just run the cables along the inside of the ceiling joists below the surface until they emerge at least 6' from the scuttle? Running parallel to the joists. I feel you are fighting us on this, even though the consensus leans toward a safe resolution, without a lot of trouble.
 
  #11  
Old 01-26-14, 06:29 PM
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I wasn't trying to be difficult. I will just drill the joists and staple as stated. I wanted to explore all my options and just get feedback as maybe there was something or way that I was missing. I also know emt is normally not ran in conduit, but I do know that you can sleeve it for protection, and just wanted feedback on that.

But I do appreciate yours and everyone else's help. Thanks again.
 
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