DIY Doctor

Socket boxes for pine cladding surface

Postby fiiido » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:10 pm

Hi all
I have had a log cabin built in my garden. It is all wood, that is the frame is pine with external wood cladding and the internal walls are tongue and groove pine cladding. Between the vertial wooden supports is Rockwool insulation.

I have been told to fit the surface mounted socket boxes due to a fire risk if an internal plasterboard-type socket box was used. Can anyone confirm this? I was told there are special fire-proof socket boxes if I wanted to make the sockets flush with the wall but these are so expensive.

My question is can I use the plasterboard/drywall socket boxes and are they safe? I would like to use them for both light switches and power sockets.

Thanks in advance.

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Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:36 pm

It is not really the socket and switches that are a problem they have enough surface area to keep cool it's the wires feeding them which causes the problem.

There are a number of different types of cable rated from 60 degs to 90 degs with some specials and the problem is two fold. One can the cable stand the heat and two can the wood stand the heat.

Surface wiring with sunken sockets may be best option so you may want to look at what the cable looks like. Mineral insulated is often copper and looks more like a water pipe then a cable. You can also get plastic coated it is strong enough not to need much protection if any. The Ali-tube cable looks very like the plastic coated mineral insulated and is far easier to install. The metal outer of these cables help so stop hot spots as it conducts the heat away. They are round and can be trimmed so even when visible don't look the eye sore in the same way as the grey twin and earth.

Again current draw will alter heat generated and lights are unlikely to get hot because they draw so little. Install a 2.5mm final ring and power it from a 16A MCB and it is unlikely to generate much heat. It's all down to common sense really.
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