How to Rewire a House Without Removing Drywall?

Learn how to make it safely and fast with just a few easy steps

Rewiring a house is a necessary step if you need to renovate your home. But also, it is needed just for making sure your house is a safe place. Improper wiring may lead to electrical shorts, the entire house burning down because of the overload, and even become a cause of fire!

This is why, when we need to do any home renovations that involve rewiring, most of us wonder how to do the whole house rewire project so that you don’t have to remove the drywall at the same time. And today we will explain how this can be done if you are going to do the job yourself.

How to Rewire a House Without Removing Drywall And Pass Inspection?

Generally speaking, when you need to rewire the house, you normally have to remove the current drywall. And since it is both easy to remove and the same easy to install again later, most people do not bother about that at all.

However, removing drywall does take time, effort, and money, so if you don’t feel like wasting all that, you might be wondering how to rewire a house in a much easier way. Fortunately, home rewiring can indeed be done with just a few relatively easy steps. And moreover, the whole process can be done on your own even with no professional help!

The basic sequence of actions for rewiring your house will look like this:

  • You plan the removal
  • You make enough room for you to work
  • Turn the circuit you are working on off
  • You remove the old wiring
  • You feed the new wiring
  • And continue the process

Done! But of course, to be able to do everything right, you must learn how each of these steps have to be taken. Read attentively, remember what to do, and make sure you use this guide next time you will need to rewire your living space!

Plan the Removal

First of all, even before you start the rewiring procedure, you need to make a plan for yourself. What kind of plan, you may ask? See, to be able to remove old wiring without damaging or removing the drywall, you need to perform this task either in the attic or the crawl space between the floors. The attic will even be the better place, to be honest, since it will give you way more space to work with.

So you need to have a detailed plan about what wiring exactly you are going to remove. Like this, you will know for sure what rooms can be easily avoided, and what wiring will be left intact.

In addition, when making such a plan, you will be able to calculate more precisely how much wire you will need for your renovation project. This will help you to install the new wiring much easier.

How to Rewire a House Without Removing Drywall And Pass Inspection
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Get Enough Room For Yourself

What does that mean? Well, when rewiring a home, we need to make enough spare space and room for where the new wiring will slide through. This may involve removing some part of insulation, by the way, to be able to have a clear path for feeding the new wire to the outlet.

What does a full rewire involve
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Turn the Circuit You Are Working On Off

Even before you start working on your rewiring project, always turn the circuit off! We mean the circuit that you are working on, of course. You might even want to turn off the power completely to the entire house for security reasons.

Of course, if you do decide to turn the electricity off, this must be done during the day. And in addition, you will always have to have flashlights on hand.

How to fish electrical wires through existing walls. tricks to running wires without damage.How to fish electrical wires through existing walls. tricks to running wires without damage.

Remove the Old Wiring

When all the previous steps are taken and you are now safely prepared for the rewiring “mission”, it is time to remove the old wire. It often happens that the old wiring is stapled behind the wall.

If this is what you are dealing with, and you don’t want to remove the drywall to rewire the room, you can simply pull that wiring out from inside the room. Of course, that means the walls will have to be patched! But if you are ok with that, feel free to use this approach.

Such a wiring removal will leave a tunnel trace behind the wiring, so consider that it will need patching. Fortunately, patching such a wall can be done quite easily. And if you are going to paint the room later, this step will not cause much trouble to you.

In any case, even if you are not going to do any painting work later, or you don’t even feel like pulling the wiring from inside the room, you can always do this from inside the crawl space!

Remove the Old Wiring
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Feed the New Wiring

Now that the old wiring is removed, you can finally feed the new one through. If you did all the measures correctly before, the new wire should feed down from above and drop down to the opening in the wall easily.

Feed the New Wiring
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Continue the Process

From this very point, you can now simply proceed the wiring process. Just keep on wiring down to the correct outlet. We do recommend you do one room at a time and then test the new wiring by turning the electricity on.

Like this, you will know for sure that everything is done correctly and everything is working as it should be. Also, such checks will allow you to avoid the situation when you rewire the entire house from the bottom to the top, and then you suddenly find out that something is not working properly.

So this is the step by step guide on how to rewire a whole house on your own without damaging or even removing the drywall layer. If you make sure you take all the steps as we described, we guarantee that you will be able to relatively easily and quickly remove the old wiring and replace it with the new one keeping everything working.

How to Rewire a House Without Removing Drywall And Pass Inspection. Feed the new wiring
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How Much Does It Cost to Rewire a House?

When you are up to a rewiring project, and you don’t want to remove the drywall as well, you will surely want to know more or less precisely the cost you will have to spend to rewire a house. See, if you choose to remove the drywall along with the old wiring, it will cost you more than if you leave it where it is now.

So how do you know how much money can be spent on rewiring your home? Of course, you need to take into account that this process will include the use of different tools and materials (for instance, for patching the wall that old wires were pulled off). It means that all such expenses will influence the final price. So naturally, if you are going to use some expensive materials or tools, the resulting sum of money may be quite impressive!

But at least, it is possible to calculate the average cost of this type of work. On average, most homeowners pay around 2.100 dollars for rewiring the entire home. But to be honest, the price may fluctuate between 1.500 and even reach up to 10.000 dollars! This sum of money includes the payments for the tools, materials, and the labor (if you hire someone to rewire the house for you).

So if we calculate the cost of rewiring as for the price per one square foot, we will get approximately from two to four dollars.

How Much Does It Cost to Rewire a House
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How to Rewire An Old House? Tips For Homeowners

Rewiring a house does require certain skills from you, so naturally, if you need to do this to an old building, you might feel quite unsure of whether you will manage that sort of a task! Of course, you can always hire professionals to rewire an old house for you for money. But not everyone is ready to pay that much.

So if you decide to do this on your own, we would like to provide you with a few handy tips regarding the rewiring process. These recommendations will make the rewiring process easier for you and help you to organize the work better.

  1. Keep extra flashlight batteries close by. Like this, you will not end up in the middle of the process with the light being off.
  2. Measure and cut the wiring before you head in. Especially if you are working in a small crawl space. There will not be that much spare space to move around so make sure you cut everything ahead of time!
  3. Leave yourself some slack to have more room for connecting to the outlet or the light switch.
  4. Get some help from others. Of course, such work can be done on your own, but having a pair of extra helping hands at your disposal will always be better (at least for making the work go faster).
  5. Use rafters. Since you are not removing the drywall, you will not be able to staple the wire down. And since you don’t want that wire disconnecting and falling to the floor behind the drywall, make sure it is attached to rafters and kept secured.
  6. Use junction boxes to keep the wire organized. Like this, should you decide to add something later, you will be able to do it much easier.
  7. Don’t forget about masking tape. You can wrap it around each wire and write down what it’s connected to. Like this, you will avoid a mess and will be able to attach everything right.
  8. Call a professional whenever you are in doubt or feel stuck!
  9. Be careful with the old wiring since it can be unexpectedly sharp! So to avoid having cut and stripped hands, wear electrical gloves when cutting the wire. However, while you are feeding it, it’s fine to work with bare hands.

With these tips, rewiring an old house will be much easier for you even if you are a rewiring newbie.

How to Rewire An Old House Tips For Homeowners
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How Much Does It Cost to Rewire An Old House?

Rewiring an old house often means spending more time on the project since old buildings are more fragile than the new ones. Besides, working with them requires more accuracy as well. And in addition, it also means using more tools and materials, and thus labor. Of course, it will influence the price you will have to pay for the work to be done.

However, you should also take into account the size of the building, the scope of the project, and the cost of labor. Accessibility also matters a lot if your old house has areas that are hard to reach.

In general rewiring an old house may cost around 3.000 dollars but in some cases, the price can be even higher.

So before you start, make sure you previously calculated all the expenses. Also, make sure you have all permits and inspections needed for rewiring the old building! It may add to the final price but like this, you will be sure that the rewiring will be done according to the law.

Well, now that you know how to rewire your house without removing its drywall layer, and you also learned a few handy tips on what to do to make the wire replacing process easier and safer for you, we are sure you will manage to go through this process even on your own.

However, don’t hesitate to call the specialist if you see that you are stuck or there is something with your rewiring project that you can’t handle on your own!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can you rewire the house yourself?

Yes, you can.

⭐ What is the best way to rewire the house?

Rewiring a house room by room is the optimal way of doing this.

⭐ How often does house rewiring need to be done?

A new rewire lasts around 20 years, but your cables insulation can break down sooner so a full house rewiring might be done every ten years or so.

Written by Melinda Sherween
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Melinda worked as an art consultant and Home Designer for eight years in total. As an art consultant, she was first employed in a local art gallery in San Francisco where she was responsible for picking the most suitable artwork for her clients depending on their goals and budget. At this job, Melinda showed herself as a confident specialist and a true art lover with exceptional taste and artistic sense. Melinda is a passionate author of Housekeeping Bay and we are really happy that she is our Expert.
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