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Old 05-25-2008, 09:53 PM   #1
drh
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..


My father and I just spent an exhausting day trying to uncoil and hang approximately 300ft of "dry PEX" between joists (screwing them up with aluminum plates) under a family room with little success.

We are drilling small holes between the joists as we run the PEX, but are having a devil of a time with the PEX coil (as it's being fed through the holes between joists) tangling up on us, leaving us with knots etc., and forcing us to pull out all 250ft or so we just fished through! We managed to get three runs through just fine, but now each time we attempt to feed PEX through the joist holes, the coil because a tangled birds nest -!

Are there any tricks or tips to feeding coils of PEX through joist holes without running into entanglements, knots and hours of frustration?

Thanks for any tips!

Dan
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:08 PM   #2
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..


I wish I could say that there's an easy way to do this. I used PEX for plumbing my house, and it can be a real challenge to fish it through holes if changing directions.

My only suggestion would be to drill larger holes to make it easier. Here's what you can do with dimensional lumber joists according to the code:

-No holes within 2" or top or bottom of the joist.
-Holes are not to exceed 1/3 of the joist's depth.

If you have i-joists, follow the manufacturer's drilling recommendations. I will say that you can typically remove the bulk of the joist's web (circular holes) without compromising its strength. Holes near bearing points should be smaller or avoided altogether. There are very specific size requirements relating to proximity from bearing points.

If you're drilling 1" holes, bump up to slightly bigger ones and try it. Even 1/2" will make it remarkably easier. I'm not advocating wood-butchering, but if you follow the code you won't have any problems.

As far as tangling and kinking the PEX...I'd say your best bet is to not unroll the entire roll. Have one guy pulling and one guy feeding and unrolling the roll as needed. Pull from the outside of the roll, not the inside!
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:28 AM   #3
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..


Thanks for the suggestions, kctermite

I can't begin to tell you how frustrating it is fishing pex through joist holes - especially at these lengths. You fish through 200 ft, having only 10 ft left, only to find out that somehow, you've knotted it the PEX and have to pull all 200ft back out. We opted to drill 3/4" holes to give us that little extra slack -- being sure to drill down the joist at least 2" (and reusing old holes that once held electrical).

There has to be an easy way ... unfortunately there is no way to control how to unroll the PEX (from the outside or inside) since the tubes tangle in all ways as they're rolled up.

Part of me is tempted to just cut pieces off and using couplings to re-attach!
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Old 05-27-2008, 08:10 AM   #4
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..


Thought I would attach a picture to help illustrate our situation...
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..-radiantprogress.jpg  
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:48 PM   #5
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..


Quote:
Originally Posted by drh View Post
Part of me is tempted to just cut pieces off and using couplings to re-attach!
You read my mind!
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:26 AM   #6
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Help :( Looking for tips on fishing PEX between floor joists ..


There is such a thing as a PEX unroller (like a rack) where one guy can pass the tube thru the joist while the other pulls, and it is less likely to knot up. Worse is the fact that if this is for radiant heat, it may get fairly noisy! PEX expands and contracts quite a bit compared to Onix tube, and make a lot of noise when cycling. I hope this was taken into account when this project was planned!
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