“Rough-in” refers to that point after construction once the basic framing, wiring, and plumbing are done but the walls and ceilings aren’t closed up yet. An electrical rough-in means that this is the stage where all cables have been pulled through the studs, any other type of framing and the wall and ceiling boxes.

As one might expect, this job often comes with deadlines and electricians might have multiple other jobs lined up. It’s important to not only be accurate but fast as well. Here are five tips for all the electricians out there trying to get their rough-ins done with a little bit more urgency and less effort.

It’s Better to Install Plates Before Pulling Wires

Steel cable protection plates can act a bit of extra protection for electrical cables that are wound through the walls. While it’s true that cables need to be installed 1 ¼ inches or more from the edge of a stud or wood framing member to protect them from nails and screws, these plates can be placed over holes drilled closer to the edge to make sure no cables are punctured. You can keep several in your pouch so that you can install them right away.

Drill Your Holes in A Straight Line

Keeping the holes in a straight line at the same height makes it easier to pull the cable through them. If the holes are at different angles or heights, then the cables can snag and make your job much more difficult.

Pull Rolled Up Cable from the Middle

If you want to avoid tangles, the best thing to do is to pull four loops of cable from the middle of the roll and lay it on the floor, this will equate to around 12 feet. This way of unwrapping it lets you carry it around and store it more easily. If you need to use the entire spool, just neatly unravel it across the floor to keep it from curling into itself.

Know What Kind of Electrical Box Works Best

For many electricians, “the best kind of box” is a toss-up between fiberglass or plastic. They both have their perks and both are code compliant. Fiberglass boxes are more durable and the plastic ones are cheaper, either way - as long as it’s got a volume of 20 cubic inches, you’ll be fine.

Many electronic peripherals nowadays need more room inside the box and the extra space makes wiring easier. If you’re going to use electrical boxes for ceilings and exterior walls though, they’ll need a vapor barrier seal to protect against moisture.

Strip the Sheathing

Stripping the sheathing from the cables before they get put into the box makes your job a lot easier as you won’t have to worry about doing after they’re inside of it. You’ll need to leave at least ¼ inches of sheathing visible inside of the box though. If you’re installing a single cable, then you can just install it through the knockout that’s the farthest away from the stud.

There’s a list of five rough-in tips that can help speed up the process of your work exponentially. If you know of any other tips to help out your fellow electricians, put it in the comments below!