Should Romex Be Stapled Neatly? DOES IT MATTER??

In a world where first impressions can make all the difference, does the appearance of your work truly matter? Find out what Dustin has to say about this topic!

Electricians commonly hear the phrase “do all electrical work in a neat and workman-like manner”. This is from Article 110 of the NEC. So here are my thoughts about how it applies to the aesthetics of running Romex (NM cable).

Video from Electrician U YouTube Channel:

There are two schools of thought out there from a lot of electricians. One is to think it doesn’t matter what the wires look like. It’s just going to get covered up by drywall. The other half thinks everything that you do matters, and that you should take pride in everything that you do. But in my opinion, you should take your time and do things well. But don’t take so much time that you’re wasting money.

What makes a “GOOD” electrician?

A great electrician is somebody who can efficiently do the correct work as quickly and neatly as possible. The reason people choose to hire professional companies, is because they can do amazing work in a very short amount of time and because they’ve built a reputation for doing quality work. I’m from the school of thought that all of the work that I do needs to impress me. If it impresses me, it will most likely impress other people. And the people that I want to impress are my customers and inspectors.

When you just slap things together in a very sloppy manner, it makes an inspector want to take a closer look at everything you do. This is because they realize you are just a fast worker and you don’t care about the quality of what your work looks like to others. If you don’t care about the quality of your work, why would you care about other people’s opinion? I think it’s extremely important to care about the quality that you provide as an electrician.

What Does Code Say?

Article 334 of the 2020 NEC talks about all of the different approved means of stapling Romex. Nowhere in there does it state it needs to be neatly stapled. It only mentions that when stapling Romex, ensure the flat cables are not on edge. Instead, stack them flat on top of each other. This leaves a lot of leeway for strapping. This can cause a problem, however, because people tend to put far too many pieces of Romex together when running them through walls or securing them in groups. There is a rule for bundling conductors, and you do have to derate your conductors if you put too many of them together in any length exceeding 24 inches. Many people don’t do this, and it’s going against code when they do…Regardless of how pretty it looks.

Doing work that looks neat is great, however, doing work that meets code is a higher priority. I do think bothcan be achieved, and that is what a great electrician should strive for.

Neatly stapled romex

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