Can You Bury Romex Wire?

Charlie D Paige profile pic

When it comes to electrical wiring, safety should always be your top priority. 

If you’re considering burying Romex wire yourself, it’s important to know the rules and regulations associated with this kind of project. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss whether or not you can bury Romex wire and provide tips for doing so safely and properly.

What is Romex and What is it Used For?

Romex is a type of cable used for electrical wiring in residential and commercial settings.

It is a brand name for non-metallic paper bonded cable (NM-B, as printed) and consists of THHN conductors plus a ground encased in PVC. 

Romex is often used for indoor applications such as wiring lights, outlets, and other electrical equipment. 

While Romex can be used indoors, it should not be used outdoors as it is not designed or approved for direct burial. 

If you need to run wiring outdoors, it is best to use conductors such as THWN that are specifically approved for outdoor use.

Can You Bury Romex Underground Without Conduit?

Can You Bury Romex Wire?
Can You Bury Romex Wire?

No, you cannot run Romex underground without conduit.

According to the National Electric Code, regular Romex wire must be housed in conduit if run outdoors. 

UF rated wire can be run without conduit, but only under certain conditions. 

These conditions include a minimum burial depth of 18 inches and the area being free of any obstructions that may put pressure or strain on the wire. 

Additionally, nonmetallic sheathed cable (Type NM, NMS) cannot be used in conduit in any damp or wet location. 

If you want to bury Romex wire, the best option is to use direct-buried cable that meets minimum burial depth requirements and is GFCI protected.

What is the National Electric Code For Burring Romex?

Can You Bury Romex Wire?
Can You Bury Romex Wire?

The National Electric Code (NEC) is a set of standards for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment. 

When it comes to burying Romex cable, the NEC requires that UF cable be placed in a trench at least 24 inches deep. 

For regular Romex wire, if it is run outdoors, the NEC requires that it be housed in conduit. 

Regardless of which type of cable you are using; it is important to make sure that you are adhering to local codes and regulations when installing wiring. 

Once you have determined what type of wiring and code you need to follow, you can start the installation process.

Can You Bury Romex Wire Outdoors?

When considering whether to bury Romex wire outdoors, it is important to note that regular Romex wire must be housed in conduit if run outdoors.

However, UF rated wire can be run without conduit as it is encased in PVC. 

According to the National Electric Code, UF cable is THHN conductors plus a ground encased completely in PVC and is approved for direct burial. 

It is important to note that the minimum burial depth for UF cable must be 24 inches in order to ensure safety and protect from any potential damage. 

Additionally, other types of cables such as THWN are also approved for outdoor use and direct burial. 

If a homeowner chooses to bury Romex or any other type of wire, they should take precautions such as using appropriate ground rods, sealing the wiring connections, and marking the location of the wiring so that it can be easily located in the future.

Can You Bury Romex In Dirt?

Romex is not approved for direct burial in dirt because it is not designed or rated for this type of application.

Instead, you must use conductors such as THWN that have the correct ratings for direct burial

Additionally, the National Electric Code requires that any Romex wiring used outdoors be housed in conduit. 

If you are burying wiring, you must also call a utility locating service before you dig and ensure that the cables are buried at least 18 inches below ground level. 

Taking these safety measures will help ensure that your wiring is installed correctly and safely.

What Type of Cable Should I Use for Direct Burial?

Can You Bury Romex Wire?
Can You Bury Romex Wire?

When it comes to direct burial of wiring, it is important to use a cable specifically designed for this purpose. 

Direct-burial cable is built with the sole purpose of outdoor use in mind and can be used underground with or without a conduit.

It must also be rated for use in a wet location, such as Type THWN-2 (thermoplastic/wet location/nylon jacket).

Romex wire, on the other hand, is not designed for direct burial and should not be used for this purpose. 

While it may be possible to bury Romex wire without a conduit, it is not recommended due to the potential fire hazard. 

The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires that any direct burial cable be clearly labeled as such. 

This ensures that you are using the correct type of wiring and reducing the risk of safety hazards.

What Types of Cables are Approved for Outdoor Use?

When it comes to outdoor wiring, you should use cables that are specifically designed and approved for outdoor use.

THHN and THWN wires can be used in outdoor settings, but they cannot be put directly underground.

UF cable is a type of nonmetallic sheathed cable that is approved for both wet and dry locations, and is suitable for direct burial in the ground. 

Outdoor-rated cables are made to withstand heat and UV rays, and their UV-resistant jackets are either made out of PE or a UV-resistant PVC material. 

Romex is not recommended for outdoor use and should be encased in a conduit if exposed to the elements.

How Deep Should I Bury the Wiring?

When deciding how deep to bury wiring, it is important to know local regulations and codes. 

As a general rule, direct-burial underground feeder cable should be installed at a minimum of 24-inches deep.

However, some locations have deeper minimums such as driveways. 

If a wire is placed in a rigid conduit, the minimum measurement goes from the finished grade to the top of the conduit. 

While schedule 40 PVC burial depth may vary, the general recommendation for burial depth when installing electrical conduit is at least 24 inches. 

If you are using individual insulated wires, galvanized rigid metal electrical conduit should be installed with a minimum burial depth of six inches. 

It is also important to remember that Romex wire should not be used for outdoor use as it is not rated for direct burial.

What Safety Measures Should I Take When Burying Wires?

When burying wiring, it is important that you take the necessary safety measures to ensure that you do not damage the wiring and create a potential hazard.

It is important to make sure that the wiring is rated for burial, as well as ensuring that it is properly sealed in conduit or a water-resistant sheathing so that moisture does not come into contact with it. 

You should also ensure that you bury the wiring to the appropriate depth according to your local codes, and use caution when digging the trench so you don’t accidentally damage any of the wiring. 

Finally, make sure to use the appropriate type of cable for direct burial and follow all other applicable safety guidelines from your local code.

Are There Different Types of Conduits?

When it comes to burying wires, conduit is often the best option for safety and code compliance. 

Conduits come in a variety of materials, including PVC, galvanized steel, aluminum, and various types of conduit fittings.

PVC is one of the most affordable and lightweight conduit materials, making it a good option for many applications. 

Galvanized steel is more durable than PVC and is usually used in areas with a lot of moisture or corrosive material. 

Aluminum is also lightweight but is often used in areas with high temperatures. 

Different types of conduit fittings are available to make installation easier, such as couplings and elbows. 

It is important to know the type of conduit that you need for your installation before beginning the project.


In conclusion, it is not recommended to bury Romex wire due to safety concerns and the risk of damage. 

Romex is designed for indoor use only and must be kept away from wet locations. 

If you are looking to run wires outdoors or underground, you should use specialized cables that are designed for these conditions. 

Additionally, you should always consult an expert prior to attempting any type of wiring projects to ensure that it is done safely and in accordance with the National Electric Code. 

Taking these precautions can help ensure that your wiring project is successful and safe.

Best Wishes!

Charlie D Paige profile pic
About Charlie D Paige

Charlie is a massive DIY fan, with dozens of DIY projects under his belt - ranging from tiling to electrics, and concrete pads to walls. Charlie loves tinkering, seeing how things works, the outdoors and playing with power tools... so is it any wonder that he's completed so many DIY jobs over the years?

Charlie loves spreading his hard-won DIY experience with the world via this blog.