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MLMIB 09-06-2010 09:12 PM

might be a silly new homeowner question but...
I had a sub-panel installed and I'm about to install a wall mount for my TV. since the electrical wiring is old (original 1959) I'm going to use the opportunity to probably run a 15-20 amp circuit for the TV along with the cable and internet line I run. The electrician ran the wiring for the sub panel in the unfinished section of the attic by just stapling the wire to the jousts. I'd like to make sure when I do it, since I plan on living in the house for the next 40-50 years, I do it right in a way that won't cause problems. So, I'm thinking it's better for me to run it from the sub-panel, down into the floor, cut the quarter inch holes in the 2x4's that support the plywood and run it over to the wall it needs to go down that way. Is there any downside to this plan? will it weaken the wood or cause the 2x4's to fail earlier? is there anything I should put on the cut hole to make sure it lasts longer? or am I just a paranoid new homeowner.

I mainly ask since the electrician didn't do it. I'm guessing it's 'cause he wanted to save time and didn't care about aesthetics as much as I do since it's my house and I might have plans to finish that area in the future.

thanks for the help

a7ecorsair 09-06-2010 09:44 PM

I'm not sure I follow everything in your post. Question: Why was a sub panel installed? What wires were run in the attic? The supply for the sub panel? Drilling 5/8" holes through the center or the wide dimension of a 2x4 is just fine. It is done all the time.

brric 09-07-2010 05:28 AM

Do NOT drill the 2x4 members of roof trusses.

Jim Port 09-07-2010 05:55 AM

Maybe you could post a pic of your planned install and cable route? It should would help to get a better idea of your plan.

MLMIB 09-08-2010 09:10 PM

so thats what I'm looking to do. I had an electrician install the subpanel in the attic since I know I'll have to rewire most of the house, the electrical is 1959 original, and I thought it'd be easier to do it from the attic as I go room by room in some cases rather then trying to always home run it to the basement corner.

Anyway, thats the attic/first floor. The subpanel is in the unfinished part of the the attic, and I would like to make any runs nice and neat so that I don't feel the need to touch them up if I finish the attic. That said, I'm thinking it's easiest to go and drill 3/8's inch holes through the floor beams and run it that way to the wall that I want it to go down, my only concern is that since the floor is load bearing will the holes hurt the integrity? would I be better off running it through the wall studs somehow? I just don't want to make a stupid mistake and think that I'm helping to keep the house looking neat while I'm really just making an really expensive mistake.

So yea, can I drill through those 2x4's with no worries? do I need to treat the drilled hole area to make sure the wood lasts for another 50 years?


AllanJ 09-09-2010 07:18 AM

For regular attic floor joists (2x6, 2x8, etc.) you can drill through them but drill near the middle, at least 2-1/2 inches in from the edge. If you need more than one hole, for multiple cables, for starters keep the holes at least 3 inches apart.

If the attic floor joists are 2x6 or smaller, they are probably too small to allow making the attic into living space. Do not drill 2x4 floor joists, they are probably part of a truss system or other framing design that has just enough strength to hold up the roof and cannot tolerate any holes.

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