What to Do  About Cloth  Wiring

The craftsman blog

Hi I'm Scott.

a general contractor in historic home restoration  with over 10 years  of experience,

here to show  YOU how  you can  do-it-yourself.

Do you know what to do about cloth wiring in your home?

Check this out:

Houses built between 1900 and 1950 have a good chance of having cloth wiring in your house. 

Time to panic?

Not necessarily. 

You may or may not need to take immediate action. It all depends on the condition of the wiring and your electrical use.  If you’re wiring is in still in excellent shape and you’re not cranking major amps through your house you may be safe. 

What should you do?

If you have major electrical needs or you notice lots of bare wires with rumbling cloth insulation then it’s time to act. 


Hire a licensed electrician to inspect, assess the condition, and identify any areas of concern or potential risks. Don’t DIY this inspection. Hire a pro.

electrical inspection

Here are some solutions to consider:


In many cases, the best solution is to replace the entire cloth wiring system with modern wiring.  While it can be a significant investment, it ensures the safety and reliability of your electrical system in the long run. 



If a complete rewiring is not feasible or practical, partial upgrades can be considered.  This involves replacing cloth wiring in high-risk areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and areas exposed to moisture, where the risks are greater or where the wiring is in particularly poor condition.

partial upgrades


If you’re not able to afford a rewire then at the very least have regular inspections by a pro to help you stay safe.  It’s certainly not ideal, but there are some houses where the wiring may be old but it is in good enough shape to keep you safe.

Regular  Maintenance

While cloth wiring played a vital role in early electrical installations, its time has passed. In the 1950s and 1960s as thermoplastic-coated wiring (fancy name) came into regular use cloth faded from popularity.

Get my free downloadable ebook for a simple primer on the tips I have found most useful from decades of this kind of work.

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