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How Do I Install a Junction Box?

January 28, 2007

Q: We removed a couple of walls in our kitchen to open it up. One of the walls had an outlet in it. We need to make the wire on this outlet longer so we can move it over and have it in a post instead of the location it was before we removed the wall. So, we need to add more wire and install a junction box. I’ve been trying to find a good website that will show us exactly how to install a junction box, but haven’t found any. Will you explain to us how to do this?

A: Installing a junction box is pretty simple. However, the junction box needs to be securely mounted to something (i.e. wall stud) and it needs to be accessible. Securely mounting it to something is typically not a problem. However, keeping it accessible usually is. Most homeowners do not want to see the junction boxes, so they bury them in a wall, ceiling or floor. You CAN’T do this!

I have learned that when you remove a wall with electricity inside, it is usually challenging to relocate the wiring to eliminate it and not install a junction box at all; especially if the homeowner does not want to get involved in cutting and patching drywall.

The first option I usually explore is trace the wiring back to the power source (i.e. breaker box, receptacle, switch, etc.) and see if you can eliminate it. If this is possible, you also need to determine if you are able to re-feed your receptacle at its new location easily and where you will get your power source from. If you are able to use the existing power source, remove the cable that is too short and install a longer one.

If you have a cable that drops down from the ceiling and one that comes up from the floor, you will probably need 2 junction boxes. Here you either need to install an old work (cut-in or remodel) box in the ceiling or hopefully you have attic space above for a nail-on box. Now you need to either install an old work box in the floor or fish the existing cable over to and up the nearest wall to match the height of the rest of the receptacles in the home.

From here, install a cable between the 2 junction boxes. You may use a plastic blank cover for the junction box in the wall, attic or ceiling. However, if you install a junction box in the floor, use a metallic blank cover. All of your blank covers may be painted to help them blend into your floor, wall or ceiling.

I really can’t explain how to fish your walls, floors and ceilings. To do this you need lots of experience, some proper tools, a knowledge of how the framing runs and you need to know some tricks. Tools I recommend for this are a fish tape, a string with a nut on the end of it, some jack chain, fish rods, an assortment of various length drill bits and a magnet.

If you provide more details for your exact situation, I can probably explain to you how to re-wire this circuit.   

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One Response to “How Do I Install a Junction Box?”

  1. Mikeytee on February 16th, 2012 1:24 pm

    I tore out a wall in my family room with light switches and 3 electrical outlets. I know the code says that all junction boxes have to be accessible but I wonder why, in this day and age, someone can’t come up with a permanent fix to splice wire so that it can’t come apart and is completely sealed? This is 2012, not 1943. It just seems stupid to me. Running new wire in this situation is going to be a huge PITA, as it’s through floor trusses and is no doubt stapled in several places, also part of it goes into another wall for another outlet.