Oct 18 , 2019
Pick Up Parts and Apply for a Permit
Surface wiring is a system of channels and boxes that let you put outlets, switches or light fixtures anywhere you want—without the hassle of cutting into walls, fishing wire and patching holes. And it can look neater than you might think since you can paint the parts to match the walls. Mount outlets low on walls where they’ll be hidden by furniture.
All the parts you need are available in metal or plastic at home centers. We chose plastic because the channel was easier to cut. You’ll also need wire, connectors (various sizes), outlets and cover plates. (You can use a similar system to run low-voltage wiring for a telephone, TV or computer.)
You’ll need some wiring know-how to complete this job safely. You can usually add outlets to an existing circuit unless you plan to plug in a device that draws a lot of power, such as an air conditioner or a space heater. Your electrical inspector will review this with you when you apply for a permit. Be sure to have your work inspected when it’s complete.
Mount a Base at the Existing Box
Start by mounting a box base at an existing outlet. You’ll later draw power from that outlet to serve the new outlets. Turn off the power and make sure it’s off using a voltage detector. Remove the old outlet and screw a box base to the junction box. Cut out the back panel of the box with a utility knife before you screw it to the junction box. Then use a stud finder to locate studs and mark them with masking tape.