Direct bury wiring or pvc conduit


Old 01-28-16, 10:19 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 43
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Direct bury wiring or pvc conduit

I plan to run wiring to my shed. Pretty simple, just need a light bulb, a socket inside, and a socket outside. Exterior socket will be for several strands street/party lights. I may occasionally run my compressor or hand saw too.

I have many questions to figure this out, but foremost, what type of wire should I go with?

I see the direct bury stuff, and looks cheaper and easier. However, the pvc conduit seems more secure, but then I'll have to deal with different wires in the pipe.

I am tempted to go with the direct bury, I feel I never dig 18" in the earth, so why not go with that?

The run is significant also. The electrical panel to the shed is a straight line, about 75-100'.

Opinions? What would you do, what is best, and why?
Old 01-28-16, 10:29 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,742
Received 1,318 Votes on 1,218 Posts
I try to always use conduit. Dig once and never again.

With conduit you can always replace or add to the wiring if needed.
The separate strands of wire aren't hard to deal with.

If you want a quick easy install use direct burial.... run 12-2 w/ground UF cable.
Old 01-28-16, 10:34 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,943
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
What I would do is install 1" PVC conduit at 18" depth. That would allow me to install a single 20A circuit now and an easy upgrade if my needs change in the future. I would also probably throw in a second 1/2" conduit for future low voltage use (phone, TV, ethernet, security, etc). I rarely choose the lowest cost option.

The cheapest option is #14-2/g UF-B cable on a 15A breaker with a GFCI receptacle in the shed. Burial depth is 24" for a standard breaker -- conduit sleeves should be used for entrance and exit to the trench. Slight upgrades in cost would be to use #12 cable and a 20A breaker (33% more power), marginally more expensive cable. If you use a GFCI breaker instead of a GFCI receptacle, minimum burial depth is reduced to only 12", less digging but cost is about $40 more. For a little more cost you could go to #12-3/g cable which delivers two 20A circuits with a shared neutral.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: