How to finish the inside of a 12 x 20 cabin on a budget

Picture of How to finish the inside of a 12 x 20 cabin on a budget
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Finishing the inside of the cabin with my budget was a little trying at times.

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Step 1: Running the electric line

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First thing i had to do was to dig a trench 50 feet.  Then i Ran 12/2 uf   underground wire through 3/4 inch conduit from the panel box in the garage to the junction box in the cabin.

Step 2: Junction box Illustration

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Step 3: Wiring

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 The 1st picture shows the power wires coming from the junction box to the 1st outlet which is a  gfi outlet . 
The 2nd picture shows the power from the gfi going to the  double switches.
The 3rd picture shows going from outlet box  to outlet box from the 1st gfi outlet.

Step 4: Duel switch box wiring illustration

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Step 5: Double switch outlet

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Here shows the double switch outlet finished
   As the illustration shows on step 4  two small pigtails get tied together from the main power coming in . They are screwed to the two bottom gold screws on each switch. Then the 2 black wires coming of each of the power out wires  get screwed the the top black screws. Then all the whites get tied together and all the copper  grounds get  tied together .

Step 6: Outlet wiring illustration

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Step 7: Outlet wiring

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(Line)  Power in wires -  The black wire goes to the bottom gold screw .The white wire goes to the opposite  side  across the outlet on the silver screw . Then the same goes for the (load) side power out wires.

Step 8: Wiring the outside light

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Tie the two white wires together then the two blacks and then the two copper wires.
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nimo4636.23 days ago

I noticed you used Underground rated electrical wiring on your interior, you could have saved on that by using interior grade wiring. nice cabin though.

techscott2 months ago

Great stuff. I enjoyed both the cabin and the interior instructions. BTW, what was the material cost of the interior work?

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  techscott2 months ago

around 500.00 total

jims65 months ago

Query: does the current configuration allow you to make room temperature beer cold? If the answer to my question is yes, then i see no problem with the wiring. Nice cabin and nice site.

Heath A.B7 months ago

How far of a run did you have to get the power there? I would be concerned about voltage drop with that gauge wire if you are going more than 50 feet, very concerned if more than a 100 feet. Have you had any issues with the breaker that feeds it tripping a lot, or appliances not working properly and/or burning out altogether?

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  Heath A.B7 months ago

i ran 50 feet and no troubles

norma.j.pratt8 months ago

I love it . you did a fantastic job .wtg

mdeblasi12 years ago
As the owner of a licensed, insured, bonded, and code compliant electrical contracting company,
this sorta horrifies me.

why ? because he didn't hire you for 50 + bucks an hour to wire it ? might as well ban all the do it yourself books to while your at it , they should horrify you too! his wiring was fine , Most folk that can do something like this can do basic wiring, and know already what he was talking about. don't need an electrical engineer to speak techno babble to figure out basic wiring like this

Let's start with this... I haven't taken ANY electrical classes since high school... ( class os 82' ) but I learned even back then that you wrap all outlets and switch connections with electrical tape... I also noticed NO ties to stud walls ( I don't know codes but should be at least every foot ) The ties are meant to keep the random wall mount photo (etc.) from possibly contacting a live wire. And though I agree that there are many people who can wire they're own home correctly (and safely), The photo's of this job leaves me with many doubts.

Actually, we're $90 an hour,
and licensed
and our work is inspected.

Just sayin'.

"Actually, we're $90 an hour"

Which is exactly why such helpful instruction is horrifying to you. If I had a nickel for every time a licensed electrician sounded the alarm bells about the grave dangers of doing it yourself, I could probably afford the sort of price gouging that is standard in your profession.

Sorry, but there's plenty of useful, accurate, and safe instruction out there for those willing to take the time to learn. So while your concern for our safety is touching, it's really not the source of your concern. Just sayin'...

I defer to @Wonderground 's defense of my input,
You may feel free to do as you please and good luck to you.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  mdeblasi12 years ago
why is that?
Because I was once a teacher and had a student and her sister die and their father loose both eyes and a hand trying to save them ---
In an electrical fire.

There is a good reason for code inspections.
Is there any reason that you won't actually augment your criticism with actual substance? So far we have:

"As the owner of a licensed, insured, bonded, and code compliant electrical contracting company, this sorta horrifies me"

That may be true, but what does that offer? You then follow with and anecdote about injuries from an electrical fire, yet offer no relevant explanation. While that is certainly a sad story, how does it specifically relate to this build? Rather than just being condescending, why not take this opportunity to help the community with actual substance rather than vague derision? What is it specifically that you find horrifying? I would really be interested to know and perhaps learn.

nice reply with offering substance to the conversation without basing and name calling!! Nice to see civil communication. I just wanted to take the time to thank you. :)

The substance of mdeblasi1's post was to establish their credibility in the field of electrical work, and to use that credibility to state that this cabin is, potentially, very dangerous.

I'm an electrical engineer who has done plenty of wiring work, and can back their claim. I am not terribly well versed in construction code, but I am in theory and application, lets visit a life ending possibly.

First, 'black wire', 'white wire', what are those, no one knows, it depends how whoever wired it. Say that you mixed neutral and line, say that your source for this cabin in not on a gfci, if you don't know what can happen because of that you have no business working with a medium as dangerous as line voltage in construction.

Code is there for a reason, it keeps you safe, if you would like to know more about how it keeps you safe, there are plenty of legit places to learn, a comment thread is not one of them.

ANY place is a good place to learn anything , nothing there looked out of the ordinary to me in the wiring . It is NOT illegal for owners to wire anything of themselves or to show others how. This comment thread assumes you already know something about these things, it's not a place for an encyclopedia to be written , or , for that matter know it alls to flaunt themselves .

Respectfully in my opinion in my opinion comment's are critical about something as important electrical installation safety, and not point out the issues, have to be irresponsible. Even calling into question if the person making the criticism has the credentials they state. Why not make that can be constructive to those reading it have been alerted to an issue will not make the mistake after fact checking the validity of the criticism?
I'm not sure I understand your comment.
Is this what you are looking for?
United Systems
Ohio License #10552
jspence18 months ago

Maybe you need a smoke alarm? If you have a heater, you need a carbon monoxide alarm too. Finally a fire extinguisher or two could be handy. All of this stuff is cheap.

Thanks to the others for their 'electrifying comments' ... I learned a lot.

skelly359 months ago
Love the cabin. I am looking into building a tiny home since it's only me and my 2 dogs. My problem is I love to cook so I have to have a full size stove, fridge, and sink , but other than that hey I'm good!! Great job!! Love it

when I saw his dimensions, I ran some numbers and found out this cabin has more square footing that my current appartment. in between paying rent here and grabbing half an acre and building one of these, I'll go get my tools!!

cmies2 years ago
For others looking at this project, I would ask that you please consult with your local electrical codes before attempting your own wiring. In my municipality, there are things in this project that would have to be corrected, things that you would not consider. For instance, I have a similar detached space and the electrical feed had to be burried deeper than 36 inches and encased in conduit. Just be careful.
coolbeansbaby68 (author)  cmies2 years ago
It is encased in conduit.
Yes, I saw that in the comments later, sorry for that.

My comment wasn't specific for your project, I was just trying to make sure people understand the gravity of doing your own wiring, and the things that they might not think of. My city actually has a program for you to become certified to do you own wiring at your primary residence (you still have to pull all the same permits and have all the same inspections). I did the program and it was a great experience. Only took a few weeks of study, and then a Saturday for the test.

Great project by the way!
Agreed. I would highly recommend conduit, just to protect the cabling from the wandering shovel. UG is "underground" but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's safe without a conduit.

A walkway over the conduit is a helpful reminder of where it's buried as well. Given the distance you're pulling the wiring, you may have needed 10/2. It depends on distance and expected load. The "Electrician's Handbook" at your local home store can provide specifics. A heater and a fridge on the the same circuit could be too much draw for your wiring. I would also suggest you use a GFCI breaker, if you haven't already.

As cmies has pointed out, a quick discussion with the city building commission or a local electrician would be highly recommended. Even a chat with the local utility company's offices would be a good start. If you are so lucky as to have a city which lets you self-certify, do take the course.

I've done lots of electrical work on my homes, and I would have enjoyed having a course like this to learn about pigtailing and very useful tips like, "Dry fit all of your underground conduit from end to end, THEN string the bits onto the wire you plan to use, like beads on a necklace, THEN glue the PVC together...."

bat159 ToolboxGuy9 months ago

Not too be rude, but pulling your wire in before gluing PVC conduit is a bad idea. Most common wiring insulation are either vinyl or PVC, both of which can be affected by the solvents in pvc glue.

If you want to put a pull string in while dry fitting the sections of conduit that would be okay.

just my 2 cents worth.

ToolboxGuy bat1598 months ago

Ah! I see your concern. At the time, I was pulling 8 gauge wire to my hot tub, and let's just say I'd have needed heavy equipment to draw that wire through the tubing. I made sure to only coat the "outside" of the pipe, press into the fitting, and dope the edge. [====] In this example, on the == yes, on the [ or ] connectors, no. I definitely should have explained that more clearly. Thanks for the heads up.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)  cmies2 years ago
Actually i should have used 3 wire instead .I can change that easy.
coolbeansbaby68 (author)  cmies2 years ago
have you seen my modern outhouse yet?
coolbeansbaby68 (author)  cmies2 years ago
Thank you very much. I still might change the wire to 10/2 i used 12/2 with a ground .Its not a hard job to change it .Juts more money when i already had the 12/2 wire ..maybe ill do it in the spring
Regardless, somewhere down the road, someone could take ditch witch and would rip right through that. You want to bury electrical DEEEEEEP.
tuxman21 year ago
Just a few things... This should technically all be on a gfci breaker at the main panel in case somewhere along the line someone puts a shovel or something through the line you would hate to have them soak up the amperage before the circuit pops... how it is set up currently the gfci is protecting someone in the shed but not anyone between the shed and the long run to the house. secondly around here if your running conduit you have to use three separate lines of THHN, i'm not sure if this is standard or not, but you cant run UF, ROMEX, SOOW or basically anything in conduit other than separate strands of THHN. (an engineer explained it to me once, but it didn't make much sense...something to do with the jacket plus the conduit causing thermal issues. [overheating potential] )

don't know about obamistan , but here in kanuckistan you can run anything you like thru conduit. no one has ever died running electrical wire thru a pipe that I know of

good luck poking a shovel thru his already mentioned "CONDUIT" ;)

jimmurray194610 months ago

One point: check local Building Dept. for necessary permits, My neck of the woods this structure would require permits and just be familiar with the code requiring anchoring the coax cables to the studs. Otherwise, very nice build.

awparran11 months ago

Love the unit. I am buying some land in Idaho and have poured over several plans. This one come close to what I'd want to build. I saw several comments about heating and for my dollar I might go with an electronic heater. You can sit on these things, also because my property runs near the Salmon River, I'm thinking of raising whatever I build on piers.

Nice cabin! I really like the wood interior. I want to give you a few pointers on your electrical work though, if you don't mind.

First of all, there's nothing wrong with using both sets of screws on an outlet. After doing electrical service calls for years I honestly believe that using pigtails (small pieces of wire from a device into a wirenut) actually increases your probability of failure. If the application doesn't require you to use a pigtail I don't think you're any better off using one.

Next, good use of UF in this application. It's not necessarily required, but I like seeing it since it doesn't have that paper to absorb possible moisture. Even though it's UF you are still required to strap it. If the box has a clamp in it like your junction box, you need a strap within 12". Boxes without a strap like the blue ones need to be strapped within 8" of the box. Make sure to strap it in the center of the stud, at least 1 1/4' back from the face of the stud.

Make sure that your Junction box is accessible without having to remove any paneling. Ideally you should be able to see it without knowing to look for it.

Finally, your home run to your panel needs a few changes done to make it legal. First of all, you may not need to worry about using 10/2 UF to feed it. Just take your meter and check the voltage at the breaker and at your junction box or first outlet. If there's more than a 3% drop in voltage between the two you will "technically" need to change it. Realistically if it's within 5% I wouldn't sweat it at all.

If you take nothing else from my advice PLEASE take this - Even though it's encased in PVC the wire feeding your cabin is NOT SAFE. You NEED to make the following change - You need to add a GFCI device to the wire feeding your cabin BEFORE it enters the trench. You can do this either by simply changing out your breaker to a 20A GFCI breaker or by placing a GFCI outlet in the circuit before the trench. Believe it or not, this will actually make your shallow trench code-compliant as far as the NEC is concerned. The extra half hour it takes to do this will be well worth the piece of mind.

Hope this helps. You have a really nice cabin, and I hope to someday build a similar one myself :)
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