New electrical wiring can be run behind baseboards to serve a new wall receptacle or to a switch and new ceiling light fixture. To pass the cable through the wall studs, a notch is cut in the wood and a metal shield is fastened over the notch to protect the new wires from nail and screw punctures.
It is the responsibility of the user of this information to know and understand the NEC (National Electrical Code) as it applies to them, as well as any local regulations or laws that may pertain. While many jurisdictions do adopt the standards of the NEC, some may have requirements in addition to, or exemptions from those standards. The information on this page is intended to aid in electrical wiring projects that become necessary when doing DIY home improvements and repairs. We cannot assume responsibility for personal injury or property damage as a result of using the information provided here.
First, plan the path for the new wiring and remove the baseboards where necessary. Use a sharp drywall knife to cut the caulk and paint sealing the top of the baseboard to the wall. Start at one end and cut all along the top of the molding. Use a straight edge held flat against the top of the base cap to keep your line straight and pull the knife through the caulk several times until it is cut cleanly.
Pry the molding off the wall, working at each stud. Drive a broad chisel-type joint knife between the baseboard and drywall and pull out on the handle to loosen the molding enough to wedge a crowbar behind it.
Hold a piece of plywood or a board against the drywall at each stud and push the crowbar behind the molding to pry it off the wall. If you have two-piece baseboards, remove the base cap first and then the bottom.
Scrape any caulk off the wall using a putty knife. Also scrape the old caulk off the molding and remove any nails. Sand the wood lightly with 120 sandpaper and put it aside to reinstall later.
Mark a straight pencil line along the wall, an inch or two below the top of the baseboard, and cut along this line. Use a drywall saw to cut between the studs and a drywall knife to score the drywall over the studs. Remove the drywall cleanly so it can be used again. Mark a 1 inch notch on each stud and use a handsaw to cut 1|2 to 3|4 inch deep at each line. Use a sharp chisel to chip the wood out between the two cuts on each one.
Run the new cable through the notches and pull several inches into the box at the source and the new outlet. Nail a metal shield, available at home stores, over each notch to protect the new wiring from nail punctures.
Reinstall the drywall strip. Cut along the edges first with a sharp drywall knife to remove any torn paper and then caulk the strip to the metal shield on each stud. Reinstall the baseboard, carefully nailing it just above and/or below the metal shield at each stud. Caulk the trim, fill the nail holes and touch up the wall and molding paint.