Rough Electric, Rough Plumbing, and Drywall

As with most industries, we have our own special language.  Demolition is Demo.  Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning is  HVAC . “Rough” is everything after the demo and before the drywall.  Today I am going explain the rough electric and rough plumbing.  The plumbing needs to be done before the electric because plumbing products are generally rigid and electrical products are smaller and more flexible.

This is the wall the range will be located on and it is a good example of a typical wall after “rough”. It shows ducts for venting, black pipe is a 2nd story toilet drain, copper water supplies and typical wiring.

In this case the plumbing is fairly straight forward as the sink is staying in the same location, but we had to move the gas line and hook up water for the new refrigerator location. This is also the time to do any duct work necessary for heating or ventilating the house.

The rough electric is the wiring and boxes behind the drywall that hooks to your duplex receptacles (plugs), your single pole switches (light switches) and your decorative lighting fixtures such as pendent lights and chandeliers.  We use an electrical plan to convey the locations and types of product we want used.

The legend shows symbols that represent the product and how many of each are included.  The plan shows the placement of the items with dashed lines that show which fixtures are electrified together and which switch operates them.  Of course once the electrician arrives on the job site our plans may have to change.  Existing electrical layout needs to be taken into consideration and sometimes structural members, such as ceiling joist or stud walls are in the way.  A common problem is that if a can light is placed over the kitchen sink it cannot be centered because a ceiling joist is there.  I prefer to use ceiling mounted fixtures over kitchen sinks rather than can lights for this reason. The box (an actual metal box that contains the wiring that electrifies the light) a ceiling mounted fixture is hooked to is smaller than the recessed can light housing.

Electrical boxes for switches and duplex receptacles

When electrifying a new kitchen it is very important to be familiar with the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code.  There are rules as to how many receptacles you need, how far apart they can be, what type of wiring is used and what appliances need to be on their own circuit.  In the not so distant past, you may have had to wait to use your toaster till your microwave was done heating. If your house is up to code appliances like the fridge and microwave will be on their own circuit and you can toast to your heart’s content.

After the rough plumbing and electrical are done you will need an inspection from your local municipality.  They need to see the plumbing and electrical before the drywall goes up to ensure that it meets code.

After the inspection we then do the insulation.  In the case of a kitchen remodel like this one, we re-insulate the exterior walls to meet code.

Exterior wall after insulation is installed

Even if the existing insulation was to code, after the plumber and electricians are done doing their thing, it generally has to be re-insulated.  Fiberglass batt insulation is generally what we use.  In Wisconsin, a vapor barrier is placed over the insulation on the inside of the wall per code.

Finally the walls receive new drywall.  Often it seems as if people do not recognize the importance of hiring a professional drywaller.

Drywall after it is hung, but before it is taped or textured

At first glance, hanging and taping drywall may not seem to be as skilled as say, finish carpenter work.  I have heard of companies that have carpenters do the drywall work and they are probably capable drywallers. But over the years we have found that using a professional who specializes in drywall and wall finishes is the difference between an o.k. job and a great job. With remodeling, there is often a need to match the existing wall texture.  Texturing drywall is an individual process that varies as much as the people doing it.  It takes a real professional with just the right touch to blend old and new drywall. Also, if you start looking at ceilings, if you are paying attention, you will often find that you can see the joints where the drywall butts together.  A well done drywall ceiling should not show the seams or any nail pops or indents were the  screws are located.

Wall before drywall

Now we have a fresh clean palette, ready to receive the cabinets.  The next post will show the cabinets installed. It is the point were you finally get a really good idea of what the finished kitchen will look like. See you then.

New drywall, ready to receive cabinets

5 thoughts on “Rough Electric, Rough Plumbing, and Drywall

  1. if you are not replacing the drywall (just replacing cabinets in same locations) can the rough inspection occur after cabinets are installed and rough plumbing is visible without the countertops? (I got permits as the homeowner/doing it myself). The electrical boxes will be open with the wires hanging out. Thanks for your advice…

    • I see you are from New Jersey. Wisconsin is unique in the fact that we have our own building codes so your situation may be different. I would call your local building inspector and ask them what they require for inspections. We often find that individual inspectors have different expectations.
      I think you are going to be fine as long as all the mechanicals that have been worked on are visable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s