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Old 06-22-2008, 11:18 PM   #1
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Drilling Question


So I'm looking to hang my new 52" Sammy A750 LCD on the wall above my gas fireplace (I have never used this fireplace so it will never be on -- it is just the best location in the room for the TV).

Anyway, using a stud finder I've determined that on either side of the fireplace is a "large" stud. By large I mean wider than the standard 2x4. I'm not sure if this is two 2x4's right next to eachother, or what, but I assume it is a load bearing stud. (Please, correct me if I'm wrong).

I need to run a single romex cable through the thick stud from a socket that is to the right of the fireplace so I can pull it up above to have the TV plug into.

I also will need to drill through the left thick stud so I can run the HDMI and component cables down to the corner of the room (I will also have to go through a ton of 2x4's which I am not looking forward to) to the AV equipment.

Can anyone let me know if I'm making any glaring miscalculations here, and if not, how big of a hole can I drill through the load bearing studs without violating code? Also, where would be the best locations to cut the drywall out so I can try to get a drill in there to drill through the stud (which would make it easiest for me to patch/mud in the end?)

Any help would be appreciated. :-)

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum!

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Old 06-23-2008, 05:57 AM   #2
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Your holes need to be 1 1/2" from the edge of a 2X4. On each side of the fireplace there would be 2 2X4's sandwiched together. Is the fireplace stone, brick or what. Is there a flue you have to worry about or is it ventless? Some photos would help. You can get a 36" wood auger bit at Lowes that pretty flexible which might cut down on the holes you need to drill. You might want to post also in construction forum.

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:01 AM   #3
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One more thought, can you go from the attic or under the house?
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:10 AM   #4
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Your holes need to be 1 1/2" from the edge of a 2X4.
Where is that info coming from? Based on the wire protection guidelines in the NEC, I agree, but those protection guidelines don't exist for TV/audio component cables.

The International Residential Code will allow you to drill a hole in a bearing stud that is up to 40% of the stud's width. The hole has to be 5/8" from the edge of the stud, at least. If you in fact have two bearing studs next to each other, you can drill up to 60% of their width.

It is impossible for us to know (online) whether or not the studs around your fireplace are bearing. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The best bet is to assume that they are, and limit the size of your holes to 40% on single studs. That's about 1-1/2" on a 2x4.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:54 AM   #5
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Electrical wiring has to be 1.25" away from the face of the stud, unless protected by a metal plate.

In your situation, I find it easier to cut out an area across the face of the studs wide enough for a nail plate to fit. Using a 1" Forstner type bit, drill holes just deep enough for the cable to fit, clean out the area with a chisel, insert the cable, and add a couple of nail plates. Use the cutout piece to patch the hole (a dab of compound on the nail plate holds it in place nicely).
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Where is that info coming from? Based on the wire protection guidelines in the NEC, I agree, but those protection guidelines don't exist for TV/audio component cables.

The International Residential Code will allow you to drill a hole in a bearing stud that is up to 40% of the stud's width. The hole has to be 5/8" from the edge of the stud, at least. If you in fact have two bearing studs next to each other, you can drill up to 60% of their width.

It is impossible for us to know (online) whether or not the studs around your fireplace are bearing. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The best bet is to assume that they are, and limit the size of your holes to 40% on single studs. That's about 1-1/2" on a 2x4.
Required or not, it would still be a good practice to have the LV wiring set back as to aviod damage from a nail or a screw...
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BillyD View Post
Your holes need to be 1 1/2" from the edge of a 2X4. On each side of the fireplace there would be 2 2X4's sandwiched together. Is the fireplace stone, brick or what. Is there a flue you have to worry about or is it ventless? Some photos would help. You can get a 36" wood auger bit at Lowes that pretty flexible which might cut down on the holes you need to drill. You might want to post also in construction forum.
Pictures are attached. I'm not sure if it has a flue per se, but it does have a vent running out the back of the house.

I've also read that instead of going through the center of the studs, some people "notch" the side and put a plate over the cable after its been installed. Is this an acceptable practice as well? I don't want to violate any codes or cause any structural issues with my house if it does indeed turn out to be load bearing studs.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:44 AM   #8
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Electrical wiring has to be 1.25" away from the face of the stud, unless protected by a metal plate.

In your situation, I find it easier to cut out an area across the face of the studs wide enough for a nail plate to fit. Using a 1" Forstner type bit, drill holes just deep enough for the cable to fit, clean out the area with a chisel, insert the cable, and add a couple of nail plates. Use the cutout piece to patch the hole (a dab of compound on the nail plate holds it in place nicely).
Got it. So if I'm understanding correctly you are simply saying you can cut the drywall out, centered on the stud. Then you notch the stud just enough to get the cables in, and then put a nail plate on top, which covers up the cables.

This is an OK practice (eg: I'm not ruining the structural integrity of the studs, etc?)? This seems like the easiest way.

I also, unfortunately do not have attic or crawlspace access. This is a 3 level townhome and this is the middle level. Finished basement is underneath.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:45 AM   #9
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Last edited by HouseHelper; 06-23-2008 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:07 AM   #10
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Is it possible to use the circuit for your fireplace blower?
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:16 AM   #11
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Is it possible to use the circuit for your fireplace blower?
Great suggestion - I didn't think of that. I'd have to look into it, but I don't see why not.

However, I still need to hide the A/V cables (one HDMI, one component) so I cannot get away from going through these studs somehow.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:48 AM   #12
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Can you run them from under the house up in the open space around the fireplace. You may have to remove the marble to gain the access but just seems like less repairing.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:16 AM   #13
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You can notch the studs' edges up to 25% of the studs' width. A little notch on the edge won't hurt, even if they're bearing studs.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:23 AM   #14
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Required or not, it would still be a good practice to have the LV wiring set back as to aviod damage from a nail or a screw...
Agreed. I just didn't want the OP to think that he was required to keep them 1-1/2" back from the face of the stud as the first reply post stated. He doesn't want to do irrepairable damage to the structure, and electrical code shouldn't be confused with structural codes. Just the facts!
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:34 AM   #15
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As far as the a/v cables, cut a box in the wall with hdmi and component jack, run under the house, out the band board, pop the siding off run those up in there to conceal them, come back in where your tv is and cut in boxes with jacks. Just don't do this with the power wiring. Sounds like alot but I think the cutting, drilling, patching and painting would be a pain in the arse.

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