Can I run NM in space behind kitchen cabinets & plaster or do I need to use BX?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Belmondo, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Belmondo

    Belmondo New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Hi all. I'm renovating my kitchen. There were very few electrical outlets in this old place, and I'm adding them for the fridge and stove in addition to installing a micro/hood and counter outlets, all with appropriate separate circuits and GFCI.

    The issue is that the wall behind the counter and appliances is lathe and plaster on 3/4 furring over brick. What I'm planning on doing is spacing the cabinets 1-1/2" out from the wall with a 2x4 and running the water and gas lines in that space. But the electrical needs to be buried in the wall, at least where it exits from behind the cabinet and runs to the appliance outlets and up through the wall to the hood. So the question is: Does this cable need to be BX? It's relatively vulnerable both in the space behind the cabinet rear wall and in a 3/4 space behind plaster.

    I'd like to use NM as it's easier to work with in tight spaces and cheaper, but don't want to do something unsafe, as I understand the major concern in these circumstances is someday someone accidentally piercing the cable with a a nail or screw installing something. Any advice?
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Without being able to see what you are talking about I would be afraid to give an answer.
  3. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Consider using MC. You are not really talking about all that much wire, compared to the whole renovation the difference is got to be a fraction of a percent.

    Be sure you understand how to work with it. There are anti short bushings, and you will only use metal boxes. There are connectors for the boxes that are pretty specific, and some are better to work with than others.

    And there is a groovy tool to cut the sheathing, that is a worthwhile investment even if you are only remodeling one kitchen. It really does the trick clean as can be.
  4. Belmondo

    Belmondo New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thanks. Of course you're right about the cost, it's more the wrestling with the stuff in tight spaces and fishing it up through a 3/4" gap that makes me prefer the NM, and I understand it needs to be separate #12 circuits for the fridge & hood. Stiff stuff. And I've installed it a fair bit over the years, much more than NM, I even have the rotary cutter you mention.
  5. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    You might find it easier to run wiring in the upper back side of the cabinets and then you would have very short distances to fish to the appliance circuits.

    edit: re-reading, maybe that was your plan in the first place..
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  6. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

    Messages:
    525
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA USA
    Oh, cool. Did not mean to presume anything.
  7. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet New Member

    Messages:
    371
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    You should seriously consider the various types of surface-mounted conduit available. You really don't have a wall cavity
    to speak of, kind of a nightmare trying to fish NM or flex conduit thru that. Surface-mount can be painted to match
    the wall finish so it's not very obtrusive.
  8. Belmondo

    Belmondo New Member

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Actually, neighbors in the building have told me they've had it done. One said the electrician chipped away a shallow hole in the brick to seat the box deep enough! I've lived in a place with surface mounted wiring (like I said I've lived in a LOT of old places) and it's better than nothing, but not ideal.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Surface-mount can be painted to match the wall finish so it's not very obtrusive.

    "not very intrusive" in a newly remodeled kitchen?
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