How to run an electrical conduit on the surface of a wall

Written by mark morris
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How to run an electrical conduit on the surface of a wall
Do away with extra extension cords by adding electrical circuits. (Nicholas Eveleigh/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Most electrical wiring is run behind wall faces, such as drywall or panelling, or above the ceiling and is never seen. Adding this type of wiring in an existing structure can be challenging and may not be possible for all do-it-yourselfers. You can extend circuits or add new circuits to your electrical system without running through walls or attics by simply mounting conduit on the wall and running your wires through the conduit.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Stud locator
  • Pencil
  • Conduit
  • Fittings
  • Wire
  • Drywall screws
  • Tapcon style concrete screws
  • Drill
  • Wire cutters

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  1. 1

    Use a stud locator to find and mark the studs in the wall where you intend to run your conduit. Press the buttons on either side of the locator and run its base over the wall. The locator will indicate a stud by lights, beeping or both. Mark each stud with a pencil.

  2. 2

    Mark out a path from the existing junction box, or circuit breaker panel, to the switch, outlet or fixture you are adding. Run all horizontal conduit overhead, at the top of the wall where possible. Make lower horizontal runs between junction boxes and the like as short as possible. Run all vertical lines along a stud for easy installation.

  3. 3

    Lay out runs on concrete block or brick in the same way, using a level to run vertical lines, placing them where convenient.

  4. 4

    Cut your conduit pieces with a hacksaw and fit all fittings, such as elbows, to the appropriate ends of the conduit. Pull the wire through, starting from the original junction or electrical panel, as you go. Add each fitting or piece of conduit in order, then pull the wire through it.

  5. 5

    Line up the conduit and fitting with the path you marked on the wall. Make any needed adjustments in conduit length or fittings. Add a mounting bracket, which clips over the conduit pipe with a small metal screw tab, every 12 to 16 inches.

  6. 6

    Attach the brackets, with the conduit, to the wall using 1 5/8-inch drywall screws. By running along studs and staying in the corner near the ceiling, your screws will run through the drywall into the lumber frame behind.

  7. 7

    Mark the screw holes of the brackets on concrete block and brick walls. Use a 3/16-inch rotary mason's bit to drill pilot holes in each location and install the brackets with 1-inch tapcon style concrete anchors. Drive them in with the drill as you would with standard screws.

  8. 8

    Install junction boxes and other fixtures at the ends of the conduit. Make sure to leave several inches of slack in the wire at each end for connections; you can always cut more off, but adding wire is more complicated.

Tips and warnings

  • Use flexible conduit to avoid using fittings, or more advanced DIYers can use a conduit bender to shape metal conduit.
  • You may need permits from your local authorities before making major changes.

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