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Old 07-26-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
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Most non-destrucive way to get through joists


What is the neatest way to run wiring through ceiling joists in a finished ceiling? I am planning to add a ceiling fan and 6-8 recessed lights to my parents' living room.

Are there special bits (flexible/right angle) or do you just have to make a huge hole and stick the drill up there?

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Old 07-26-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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Most non-destrucive way to get through joists


Do you know if they installed the drywall on strapping = 1x's ?
My ceiling is like that & I can thread a snake thru
...not always easy

Its also easier of the cans are in one/two joist bays
That way you only need one hole/wire to join the 2 runs

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Old 07-26-2010, 02:21 PM   #3
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No 1x's - drywall screwed right to the joists.

We're probably going to do a ceiling fan and 4 recessed lights - I think 6 is overkill since the room isn't all that wide, it's mostly long (front to back) with the TV on one of the short walls. I was thinking ceiling fan/light fixture dead center and 2 cans on the TV-side of the fan (in one joist bay) and 2 behind the fan (in another joist bay).

Just not sure the best way to drill the holes without having to patch holes the size of a drill.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:22 PM   #4
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Most non-destrucive way to get through joists


The easy way to do this is to put horizontal strapping in, them put up your lights and fan box, then put up new drywall to cover the BX wireing between the different fixtures. Since it's flat paint and the lights are recesesed, even the worst taping job will look clean!
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:24 PM   #5
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Most non-destrucive way to get through joists


New drywall on the whole ceiling....that seems like more work than patching holes...
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:54 PM   #6
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Most non-destrucive way to get through joists


Think about all that dinking around in cramped quarters trying to drill, then fish the wires... all of it hidden behind drywall and wood. How long and agravating might that be?

vs.

New wood 1x3 over existing drywall. Make big holes in that drywall for your recessed cans, take the time and care to place them perfectly. Make a big hole for the ceiling fan a secur it exactly were you want. Make a small hole in the drywall of the wall where you need to fish the wire down to a switchbox. Wire everything with BX and staple it to the sides of the 1x3. Cover everthing with new drywall - with holes exactly where you want them made conveniently on the floor. You should only have to mud the shallow seams - no butt joints that are hard to do. That is the easiest drywalling you will EVER do!

Done, and it looks and works perfect.
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:00 PM   #7
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Good point...only issue is that room shares a ceiling with 2 other rooms (dining room and foyer) and each of those have light fixtures already...
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:44 PM   #8
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Well... good luck on your drywall patching skills then!
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:36 PM   #9
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Here is what you need. Forget re-rocking your entire ceiling. WTF?

http://www.greenlee.com/archive/ma5239.pdf
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:08 AM   #10
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Be careful drilling blind. There can be ductwork, plumbing and electric lines stapled to the joist that you can't see.

You could just make one 6" wide trench cut perpendicular to the joists and patch that.
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Old 07-27-2010, 12:14 PM   #11
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I'm sorry xxPaulCPxx, but you are WAY off base here. To suggest to a DIYer to re-rock his whole ceiling to avoid patching a couple holes is crazy and out of line.

secutanudu, get yourself a long bit, HomeDepot or Lowes has them. I'd suggest the 9/16" bit since it's got a 4' shaft (easier to use than the 5' or 6') and the shaft is a bit thinner so it's more flexible.

Find your joists, then drill a small hole centered between them. Take a small mirror on a stick (auto parts store has them) and look up each hole in both directions, you'll be able to see each side of every joist to see if any wiring is stapled to it or pipes are running thru, etc. If everything is clear, push the long bit up thru the hole and into the joist, you'll have the maneuver it around so it's going thru the center of the joist, then push the bit in and upwards so that the flexible shaft bends and the bit is going thru the joist relatively straight. Drill away and repeat this on every joist. Then take a short piece of fishtape (or wire hanger) and fish a string thru the holes you made in each joist, then tie romex on and pull, a second person helps here.

Now all you'll have are some small holes to patch. If you drilled the holes in your ceiling with a hole saw, you can just take that plug and reinsert it in the hole with a piece of wood on the back to hold it in. Then go over it with a good setting compound, this method will relieve you from having to use tape and taper in a big patch.

I've done this method upwards of 400 times (high hats, ceiling fans, etc.), never had a problem.
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:19 PM   #12
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Jim and Proby have great answers..done it both ways. Came across a customer one time who detested dust. So I cut the holes for the lights holding a shopvac. Next I cut the holes for the Romex runs at the edges of the ceiling. Got a crown molding job out of it too and no patching.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadaclub View Post
Jim and Proby have great answers..done it both ways. Came across a customer one time who detested dust. So I cut the holes for the lights holding a shopvac.
If you need to do it again, they make hole cutters with dust shields, not a spec of dust gets past
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Next I cut the holes for the Romex runs at the edges of the ceiling. Got a crown molding job out of it too and no patching.
That's a good idea too, I always ask the customer if they have any plans on putting crown molding up in the future.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:04 PM   #14
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I cut a square out on every other joist that I need to get across.
I can then see both sides of that joist, and the one next to it, then use a long bit, or my pistel grip drill.
After you are finnished, screw the cut out peice back to the joist and tape and mud.
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Old 07-27-2010, 05:12 PM   #15
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I cut a square out on every other joist that I need to get across.
I can then see both sides of that joist, and the one next to it, then use a long bit, or my pistel grip drill.
After you are finnished, screw the cut out peice back to the joist and tape and mud.
So you put the drill thru the square opening underneath joist A to drill thru joist B, correct? If so, this is a good idea, I am going to try that next time.

What size hole do you normally make? I'm thinking that a hole saw (3"-4") might work well and save some labor and dust if you use a cover.

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