I have the leftover from a long spool of CAT6. I'd like to run a line to my garage, which is separate from the house.

Can "typical" CAT6 be directly buried, or should I buy one of the "waterproof" cables I see on Amazon?

I'm in the Toronto area, so coldish in the winter, but not particularly wet and in an area with good drainage.


3 Answers 3


These normal cat6 cables might not work well for ourdoor using. These is direct burial cable which has a tough jacket that can tolerate abrasion underground. If you're in conduit this matter less, but you might choose it anyway.

  • My current plan is to use a direct burial cable to the garage, with about a foot of conduit where the cable comes up from the ground and then through the garage wall. On the house side I'll put in a lightening arrestor and then run the rest of the way using my normal CAT6. May 16, 2017 at 13:38

Indoor UTP cabling is not at all suitable for outdoor use. It cannot tolerate any moisture. Category-6 cabling is difficult for even professionals to install and terminate properly in order to pass the Category-6 test suite.

OSP (Outside Plant) cabling should only be done by a professional. There life and safety concerns. You must have proper grounding and bonding at both ends (lightning does travel through the ground). Buried cable must either be in conduit, or be specifically designed for direct burial. It must be buried at least 24" or below the frost line, whichever is deeper, because the ground does move.

  • So that all sounds too expensive to bother with for 8 feet of run. Other suggestions? No, wireless doesn't apply in this case. May 13, 2017 at 17:13
  • Unfortunately, questions about home networking are explicitly off-topic here.
    – Ron Maupin
    May 13, 2017 at 17:16
  • Uhh, ok, where is the appropriate location? May 13, 2017 at 18:17
  • Home networking is supported on Super User.
    – Ron Maupin
    May 13, 2017 at 18:18

I have done this with no problem. I obsoleted the need for the cable by using WiFi before the cable ever could become a problem. But while I was using it I had no problems. The trick is to not just bury the wire. Enclose it to keep water away from it.

Since this is for home use, I would suggest that you bury it inside a length of PVC pipe.

Get the smallest that will work for you, and put on elbows and such so it comes up at each end then angles down before the cable goes through a wall, so rain stays out of it. I spray-painted mine black so it was barely noticeable, mounted on the wall.

Be sure to plan for failure because this cable is not designed for this, so have a second one in the pipe with the first one just in case. Maybe also make a third one you keep in the garage in case water does cause a problem with whatever is in the pipe and you have to pull them both out and blow it clean.

Like with any conduit-type installation, make sure you pull in a draw string along with the cable(s).

Connectors on each end for easy swapping, of course.

In any case, give it a try. The worst that can happen is that it will work for a few months then fail. You have the cable, and PVC pipe and fittings are all very inexpensive. Not all the PVC joints will need to be glued, but the elbows that go underground definitely should be.

Good luck with this project.

  • "Since this is for home use, I would suggest that you bury it inside a length of PVC pipe." Don't forget to check with the AHJ. This is a life/safety issue, and it can be illegal in some jurisdictions. This could result in fines and cause the building to be red-tagged for occupation until the problem is corrected, and any property or personal damage or death could result in criminal prosecution.
    – Ron Maupin
    May 14, 2017 at 7:45
  • He is not suggesting running voltage, so I kinda doubt it is a safety issue. Besides, who would complain?
    – SDsolar
    May 14, 2017 at 8:11
  • 1
    The NEC covers low-voltage cabling (network cables), too. It has become more restrictive every three years, and many jurisdictions are even more strict than it is. That is why you must always check with the AHJ.
    – Ron Maupin
    May 14, 2017 at 8:13

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