It’s time to wire your basement! Yippy! OK…this is one of my favorite phases of the basement project! The electric stage of the basement used to be a BIG mystery to me, until a friend of mine showed me how SIMPLE it really is to wire a basement.
Yep…I said simple. It’s cake man. it’s as easy as putting the lights on the Christmas tree once you understand a few basic wiring principles. I learned how to do it quickly and I have never looked back!
My goal here is help you wire your basement outlets, switches and light fixtures, and panel box breakers all by yourself. And you don’t have to read 6 text books on electric theory either.
Electric Materials For Finished Basement Projects
Let’s start with the essential electric materials that you’ll need for the project. These are the “got-to-have em” electric materials. These are the materials that I have delivered on the Home Depot delivery truck for EVERY basement that I have finished since 1992 (556 basement projects and counting
There are only three types of wire that you will need to finish your entire basement wiring project. These are in nor particular order: 12/2, 14/2 and 14/3 wire. I have wired 95% of all of my basements since 1992 using just these 3 types of wire…and that’s it! They have distinctly different uses in the basement. Some are used for just outlet circuits and some for just lighting circuits. Wiring your basement might seem a little confusing right now, but I promise you wiring your basement yourself is simple, it’s fun and it’s a HUGE money saving adventure that I encourage you to try completing yourself!
Electric “Blue” Boxes
All of your outlets and light switches get installed inside of an electric “box”. The same type of boxes are used for both outlets and switches. The only difference between these electric boxes are their sizes. You’ll need a bunch of em to get-er-done! And they are super easy to install. You will need no more than 3 different size electric boxes. The most common is the single gang box, then it’s the “double gang” box and finally the “triple gang box”. These boxes all have 2 preset fastening nails attached to them for a quick mount.
A lot of new guys freak-out when it’s time to hook-up the switches! All of the different connections and wires, screws, nut caps…heeeeeeelp! Well I have good news for you, switches area a breeeeeeeeze to install once you understand a few simple wiring techniques. You will only need two different types of switches down on the job and they are a single pole switch(most used) and the 3 way switch. I will teach you how to install both.
There are 2 types of outlets that you can install in your basement and they are the standard everyday old 110 volt wall outlet, and the GFI outlet(Ground Fault Intercept). Outlets are the easiest electric device of all to wire yourself.
This is a popular devise that gives you additional electric power down in your basement. Inside the sub-panel you have space for more electric breakers to handle the new electric needs of your new finished basement space.
Do you need a sub-panel?
I would say about 30% of my clients basements require a sub-panel to be installed, the rest do not need one. Click here to read more.
Breakers are in simple terms just an “on and off switch” that control the flow of electricity to your outlets and switches and any other circuit that needs electric power supplied to it. When the breaker is in the off position you can safely work on whatever circuit the breaker controls.
Oh yeah…recessed lights baby! And lot’s of em too! This is the staple light fixture in finished basements. Whether we’re talking 6″, 5″ or 3″ mini cans, recessed lights “it’s what’s for breakfast” when we’re deciding how-best to illuminate our new finished basement spaces. I’m installing on average 25 or more recessed light fixtures on every basement that I finish. They’re easy to install and are also very inexpensive to purchase. So go ahead and go crazy and install a bunch of them in your basement ceilings! Wire a recessed light Video Click Here!
12 Electric Project Tools for Wiring Your Basement
There are a few inexpensive electric project tools that will make wiring your basement pure pleasure…I’m not even kidding when I say that! I have always said that “having the right tools for the job is half the battle” and when it comes to wiring your basement this has never been more true.
Electric Inspections and Building Permits
Most areas of the world require you have some sort of electric inspection performed for the electric work you will be performing during your finished basement project. This is when a certified electrical inspector visits your basement project and takes a peek at your electric installation. Usually there are two inspections. One during the“rough-in wiring” phase and then another during the“finished electric” phase of your electric project.
Rough-in wiring inspection
Just means inspecting the wiring you have installed BEFORE the drywall phase. This would be all of your “wiring” 12/2, 14/2 and 14/3 wire that’s been installed by you…minus any outlets, switches, or breakers having been installed yet. The Finished Electric inspection takes place AFTER drywall and is done after all of your electric is 100% finished. This inspection is ordered after all of the outlets, switches, light fixtures and breakers are all installed and operational.
You may or may not need to get a building permit issued for your basement project. If you are required to get one, there will be a series of electrical inspections performed that are part of your building permit inspection process. It’s just best to contact your local building codes department and ask if you need a building permit to finish your basement yourself. This way you will know for sure if you are legally finishing your basement in your neck-of-the-woods! It’s best to just “pull-permits” if you are required, and not try finish without your code office knowing. Trying to slip-one past the code office usually does not end well.
Good luck with your basement electric wiring projects. I’m always here if you have any questions about your basement project! Just leave me a comment below and respond the same day!