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Thread: Hanging EMT conduit in new shop.

  1. #1

    Hanging EMT conduit in new shop.

    I'm currently in the process of building a 24' x 36' shop with 10' ceilings. The walls are 2" x 6" studs and the cavities are filled with cellulose insulation. The walls are covered in 1/2" drywall. My intention is to minimize wall penetrations to keep air leaks to a minimum.

    The plan is to place a 100 amp sub-panel on a wall in the shop to provide power. Power will be distributed via EMT conduit. I'm planning on going this route because I believe it to be a much easier system to modify in the long run, as opposed to placing the wiring in the walls. I'm thinking of mounting 2' vertical sections of uni strut on the top of the walls every 64" mounted to studs. This gives me mounting options for the EMT plus other items like compressed air distribution.

    In the past I've just mounted stuff to the drywall, but that wasn't always easy. Sometimes the drywall compresses under a clamp. Sometimes you need a stud for something heavier, etc. I'm thinking the uni-strut might make things a bit easier as there is less fighting and fidgeting with the mounting system.

    Has anybody done this in their shop? If you did, do you believe it was worth the effort? Has anybody done it and regretted it?

  2. #2
    I haven't tried unistrut, but I did do one shop in Romex and one in surface mounted EMT. I wouldn't consider using Romex again after using surface mount EMT. Much easier to modify and add-on to the EMT.

  3. #3
    I love unistrut. adult erector sets.

  4. #4
    I've not used unistrut in the way you describe, but have used it to mount a lot of other stuff, including pegboard. I think it would make for solid, neat installation. One tip for cutting it: if you don't have a hand held bandsaw, or another way to cut it, invest in the harbor freight model. A little over $100 with the usual coupon and cuts it like butter with very little burr. Also great for cutting the emt itself.

    In my experience, having a run of 1" or bigger emt with lots of boxes in line is the easiest way to a flexible installation. You can run a couple of general purpose circuits and still have plenty of conduit fill left over for future needs. Use big boxes or you run into box fill limitations though.

  5. #5
    When I built my 24'x36' shop a couple years ago I had the electrician install all 2 3/4 conduit from each 4" square deep box up to the attic so I could fish new wiring if I had to change a circuit later. He ran romex to the conduit all above the ceiling in the attic. This was all done before the drywall. Whether it is internal or external to the drywall I suggest running double the conduit so you can easily make changes later.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Scarborough(part of Toronto|) Ontario
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    Since you are still building and nothing to do with electrical, but paint walls and ceilings white. You'll be surprised how little if any you will be bothered by shadows.
    Just a tip.
    Nice size shop. About 3 times the size of my basement shop.

    Tim

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
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    Check your local electrical code. Here 1/2" EMT must be supported at least every 60". But I think your idea is a great one.

  8. #8
    I like a strut rack. A few things to consider, get pricing for 3/4 pipe and wire from your local electrical supply house and the big box store, they're can be significant price differences, for me pipe is cheaper at lowes with the bulk price than the supply house. It actually is $2 per stick cheaper. Wire in 500' spools is cheaper at the supply house, as is all the pipe fittings like couplings, strut straps, spring nuts, and bolts. Metal boxes are 1/3 the price at the supply house. Send them a material list and ask for a full quote. 3/4 pipe is easy to work with and way nicer to pull wire in than 1/2". I don't know if this applies to you but there's 7/8 strut and 1 5/8 strut. 3/4 pipe is 1 1/8" so imo for a nicer looking install that pipes and things running 90* to the rack can run under your pipe rack with 1 5/8 strut. 7/8 strut is nice by the panel so you don't have to offset as much going into the panel. Then transition to 1 5/8 on the ceiling. The other reasoning is if you had a pipe in between pipes or the opposite side of the rack, with 7/8 strut you would need to kick a 90 down over the other pipes and offset back up to the ceiling. With 1 5/8 stut you just kick it up to the ceiling and you're under the pipes and it looks cleaner with less offsets.

  9. #9
    I've got most of my shop in conduit. Thats a nice commercial level system, but you can get by without it not that much hassle.

    Crossrun, you can screw into joist or stud, parallel you can use drywall anchors.

  10. #10
    Tim,

    Yes, I've learned this lesson several times over. As a matter of fact I actually went overboard once and did "glossy white"! Ever been in a shop that required sun glasses? I owned one, uggggh. I'll probably do the walls in white and then do the ceiling in white with a very small touch of blue for a more natural color.

    Michael

    ETA: I went with glossy because I thought it would be easy to clean. I didn't realize the full impact of being inside a glossy cube.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Janssen View Post
    Since you are still building and nothing to do with electrical, but paint walls and ceilings white. You'll be surprised how little if any you will be bothered by shadows.
    Just a tip.
    Nice size shop. About 3 times the size of my basement shop.

    Tim
    Last edited by Michael Gantz; 09-18-2019 at 10:10 AM.

  11. #11
    Code should get interesting. This is a detached work shop. The local inspector tells me it gets categorized as an "agricultural building". He, obviously, was really concerned about the footing depths and framing. But after that didn't seem concerned. I'm guessing there's a lot more freedom in what is essentially considered a barn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    Check your local electrical code. Here 1/2" EMT must be supported at least every 60". But I think your idea is a great one.
    Last edited by Michael Gantz; 09-18-2019 at 10:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Goss View Post
    I don't know if this applies to you but there's 7/8 strut and 1 5/8 strut. 3/4 pipe is 1 1/8" so imo for a nicer looking install that pipes and things running 90* to the rack can run under your pipe rack with 1 5/8 strut. 7/8 strut is nice by the panel so you don't have to offset as much going into the panel. Then transition to 1 5/8 on the ceiling. The other reasoning is if you had a pipe in between pipes or the opposite side of the rack, with 7/8 strut you would need to kick a 90 down over the other pipes and offset back up to the ceiling. With 1 5/8 stut you just kick it up to the ceiling and you're under the pipes and it looks cleaner with less offsets.
    Now this is gold right here. I probably wouldn't have even thought about it and just went with 7/8. I hadn't worked out in my head how to make some of those transitions and just though I'd figure it out when I ran into the problem. Going with 1 5/8 solves that problem very conveniently. I think you may have just saved me from a bunch of disappointment.

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    49,545
    If your local code permits it, the grey plastic conduit is a lot easier to work with than the metallic. You do need to run separate grounds, however.

    I agree with the benefits of the surface mounted conduit because of the flexibility over time. While I initially wired my shop with wire in the walls, etc., pretty much all subsequent work was done using conduit. Should I ever move and setup a new shop, that lesson will follow me.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    No problem, the only thing to be aware of is when kicking a 90 to get out of the rack you need enough space between conduits to clear the radius of the 90. so for instance you're kicking up 1 5/8' to the ceiling you may need 1 1/2" or more spacing between conduits to allow the radius of the 90 since 1 5/8" kick isn't that big of a kick. i may not be a great woodworker contributor but i love conduit

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  15. #15
    Gotta admit, I'm a bit jealous of some of those bends!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Goss View Post
    i may not be a great woodworker contributor but i love conduit

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