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  • Writer's pictureZack Jurkowski

The Shocking Truth About Old Knob and Tube Wiring in Your Montreal Kitchen and Bathroom Renovation

As a licensed general contractor specializing in bathroom and kitchen renovations in Montreal, I've seen it all. From outdated plumbing to leaky roofs, there are plenty of challenges that come with renovating an older home. But one issue that seems to come up time and time again is old knob and tube wiring.

It's a topic that can make homeowners and contractors alike cringe, but the truth is that there are ways to deal with it safely and legally. Let's take a closer look at the ins and outs of knob and tube wiring, and how it fits into your bathroom or kitchen renovation.

What is knob and tube wiring, and why is it a problem?

First, let's define what we're talking about. Knob and tube wiring was a popular electrical system used in North American homes from the 1880s to the 1930s. It consists of two wires (a hot wire and a neutral wire) that run through ceramic tubes and are held in place by porcelain knobs. This type of wiring was phased out in the 1940s in favor of more modern systems, but many older homes still have it.

So, what's the big deal? Well, knob and tube wiring is outdated and doesn't meet modern electrical codes. It's also prone to wear and tear, which can lead to electrical fires. In addition, it's not compatible with many modern appliances and devices, which can overload the system and cause it to fail. For all of these reasons, many insurance companies refuse to insure homes with knob and tube wiring.

Is it legal to modify or replace knob and tube wiring in a Montreal bathroom or kitchen renovation?

In Quebec, the construction code does not prohibit the modification or replacement of knob and tube wiring, but it does require that any work be done in accordance with the code. This means that any electrical work must be performed by a licensed electrician, and the new wiring must meet current code requirements. In addition, any modifications to the wiring must be done in such a way that they do not compromise the integrity of the existing structure.

What are the dangers of knob and tube wiring, and how can they be avoided?

The biggest danger of knob and tube wiring is the risk of electrical fires. This can happen if the wiring is overloaded or if it becomes frayed or damaged. However, it's worth noting that not all knob and tube wiring is dangerous. If it's in good condition and not overloaded, it can still be safe to use.

That being said, if you're planning a bathroom or kitchen renovation and you have knob and tube wiring, it's important to take the necessary precautions. This may include upgrading the wiring to a modern system, or using an AFCI (Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter) device to provide added protection. An AFCI device detects dangerous arcing and shuts off power to the circuit, which can prevent electrical fires. If your electrician determines that your knob and tube wiring is in good condition and can be safely integrated into your renovation, an AFCI device may be a good solution for you.


In conclusion, knob and tube wiring may seem like a daunting challenge for homeowners and contractors alike, but it doesn't have to be a dealbreaker for your Montreal bathroom or kitchen renovation. By working with a licensed contractor and taking the necessary precautions, you can safely and legally deal with knob and tube wiring and enjoy a renovated space that's both beautiful and functional.


Montreal Contractors is a qualified company, holding an active bonded license as a General Contractor and Specialized Contractor with the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ License: 5767-5480-01), ASP Health & Safety Certification and a $2M liability policy. Our employees have all passed background checks, are registered with CNESST and have their ASP Health and Safety certification.

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