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Old 11-30-2009, 02:05 PM   #1
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Remodel Recessed Light Questions


Hello,

I am going to be installing some remodel recessed lights in a first floor den/office. We did the second floor bedrooms last year and since we had attic access for those, the job was pretty easy. Obviously there is no attic access here so it will be a bit more challenging. I was hoping you could look at my planned approach and see if it looks okay. I dont want to rip out huge amounts of drywall.

My approach will hopefully be a little more surgical. First I plan to cut a 3X 3 or 4X 4 hole in the drywall above the existing light switch where the wall meets the ceiling. Ill fish my wire up from the switch and Ill notch back into the top plates just enough so that I can pass the wire up into the ceiling. We will be doing 6, 4 inch lights in this room (3 on each side). I will run them so that all 3 on each side of the room will be in the middle of 2 ceiling rafters. The challenging part is getting my wire through the ceiling rafters. My plan is to locate the rafters with a stud finder and then cut a small square hole in the drywall (3 X 3) exposing the rafters I need to pass the wire through. Ill notch up into the bottoms of those rafters just enough (1/2 inch) so that I can slip the wire through the notch and fish to the other side of the room. Ill need to do this across maybe 3 rafters. Once everything is connected Ill have maybe 4 or 5 small holes to patch, tape and sand..

Does that seem like a reasonable plan?

Thanks.

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Old 11-30-2009, 04:08 PM   #2
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Remodel Recessed Light Questions


Sorry I may have put this in the wrong thread initially.

I am going to be installing some remodel recessed lights in a first floor den/office. We did the second floor bedrooms last year and since we had attic access for those, the job was pretty easy. Obviously there is no attic access here so it will be a bit more challenging. I was hoping you could look at my planned approach and see if it looks okay. I dont want to rip out huge amounts of drywall.

My approach will hopefully be a little more surgical. First I plan to cut a 3X 3 or 4X 4 hole in the drywall above the existing light switch where the wall meets the ceiling. Ill fish my wire up from the switch and Ill notch back into the top plates just enough so that I can pass the wire up into the ceiling. We will be doing 6, 4 inch lights in this room (3 on each side). I will run them so that all 3 on each side of the room will be in the middle of 2 ceiling rafters. The challenging part is getting my wire through the ceiling rafters. My plan is to locate the rafters with a stud finder and then cut a small square hole in the drywall (3 X 3) exposing the rafters I need to pass the wire through. Ill notch up into the bottoms of those rafters just enough (1/2 inch) so that I can slip the wire through the notch and fish to the other side of the room. Ill need to do this across maybe 3 rafters. Once everything is connected Ill have maybe 4 or 5 small holes to patch, tape and sand..

Does that seem like a reasonable plan?

Thanks.

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Old 11-30-2009, 04:36 PM   #3
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Remodel Recessed Light Questions


Notching the joist would certainly not be my first choice. Notching either the top or bottom of a horizontal member will lessen the strength of the framing member.

If you are going to cut all those holes just cut a slot the length you need and drill the joists.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Notching the joist would certainly not be my first choice. Notching either the top or bottom of a horizontal member will lessen the strength of the framing member.

If you are going to cut all those holes just cut a slot the length you need and drill the joists.
Hi Jim,

I thought about drilling hole but I was thinking I would end up having to cut too much drywall to get the drill bit up there. Might be easier to patch a narrower hole your way though. I appreciate the idea.

The notch I was thinking about cutting would be about 1/2 deep by 1/2 wide at the most and run the thickness of the rafter......do you think even that much would significantly compromise structural integrity?
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:45 PM   #5
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Remodel Recessed Light Questions


The notches would need to be covered by a nail plate. This will cause a bulge in the ceiling when the drywall is reinstalled.

I don't want to guess on the structural affect the notch would have percentage wise or if it would still be strong enough.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:51 PM   #6
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The notches would need to be covered by a nail plate. This will cause a bulge in the ceiling when the drywall is reinstalled.

I don't want to guess on the structural affect the notch would have percentage wise or if it would still be strong enough.
Got it...yeah you are exactly right.......i guess i am going with the hole drilling method.....thanks again for your help.....
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Old 11-30-2009, 05:01 PM   #7
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Remodel Recessed Light Questions


Hve you seen the syp industries specs on how liitle wood they have to allow along the edges. terrible I actually sent 20 2x10 back because I had an edge on a cantilever and could'nt find an edge on four ends that had more than 3/4" width at bearing, so a small notch prob not so bad
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:16 PM   #8
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I notch and plate them all the time.

I'd cut smaller holes, just big enough to allow for a nail plate ( about 1.5" x 3") and dont put the drywall back, just patch the hole with 20 minute mud. You don't even need to notch the joist for one cable.
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Old 11-30-2009, 08:50 PM   #9
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I read a book on engineering wooden structures, which means I know just enough to be dangerous

According to the book it is almost never the case that you need to worry about sheer with wooden joists. The reason is simple: we size them the way we do so they don't bounce; the sheer strength is enormous in comparison.

My house was originally built with 2x8 (true dimension) 16 foot joists, and each one has a 2" notch in each end to sit on a ledger. The floors used to feel like a trampoline, but none of the joists has as much as a check in it. I've since cut the spans in half to eliminate the bounce.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:55 PM   #10
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Remodel Recessed Light Questions


Thank you all very much. This has been very helpful. Based on this information, I think I can now do a nice professional job.

Thanks Again...
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:54 PM   #11
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If you cut your holes in the middle(ish) of the joist bays, you can drill a hole in the joist on either side of the hole to run your wires and minimize the number of holes (every other bay). You'll need either a long drill bit or bit extension (HD or Lowes both carry them). If I know the electrician, (he gets me the referral to come in behind him) I have him use a 4" or 5" hole saw to cut his access holes between the joists (large enough to get his hand in). All the holes are the same size, so I can make all of my "hot patches" the same size and speed up the repair process. The round patches are a little harder for a novice, but you can make a pattern to draw squares to cut out for access. You can either screw backing in the hole and use your cutout for the patch (tape, bed, and skim), or cut "hot patches". A hot patch is merely a piece of drywall about 1-1/2" bigger all the way around than the hole. On the back side, score the rock leaving a 1-1/2" lip all the way around. Snap the lip and peel the core of the rock off leaving a paper edge all the way around. Put a thin layer of mud on the wall/ceiling where the patch will go. Put a little mud around the edge of the patch itself (just on the core of the board). Put the patch in the hole and wipe the excess mud off. Allow to dry thoroughly (24 hrs.) before the next coat.
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:49 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bjbatlanta View Post
If you cut your holes in the middle(ish) of the joist bays, you can drill a hole in the joist on either side of the hole to run your wires and minimize the number of holes (every other bay). You'll need either a long drill bit or bit extension (HD or Lowes both carry them). If I know the electrician, (he gets me the referral to come in behind him) I have him use a 4" or 5" hole saw to cut his access holes between the joists (large enough to get his hand in). All the holes are the same size, so I can make all of my "hot patches" the same size and speed up the repair process. The round patches are a little harder for a novice, but you can make a pattern to draw squares to cut out for access. You can either screw backing in the hole and use your cutout for the patch (tape, bed, and skim), or cut "hot patches". A hot patch is merely a piece of drywall about 1-1/2" bigger all the way around than the hole. On the back side, score the rock leaving a 1-1/2" lip all the way around. Snap the lip and peel the core of the rock off leaving a paper edge all the way around. Put a thin layer of mud on the wall/ceiling where the patch will go. Put a little mud around the edge of the patch itself (just on the core of the board). Put the patch in the hole and wipe the excess mud off. Allow to dry thoroughly (24 hrs.) before the next coat.
Hello Sir,

Thank you very much. I will have probably 2 unaccessible joist bays in between the bays where the lights will run. So from what you are saying I may only need to notch up into one joist. I can use your method to get my drill up into the two bays where the lights will run and drill holes in those joists for the wire. Then I will just have to notch the one joist where I won't have access to the joist bay. Does that sound about right?

I have attached a crude sketch to illustrate what i am thinking



Thanks
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:22 AM   #13
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Correct. You can drill the joist on either side of the lights through the hole you cut to install the fixture. You just need a hole next to the joist that you can't access to drill it. Just make it big enough to get your hand in to feed the wire. Use a 3/4" or 1" flat bit to drill your holes to make pulling the wire easier.
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bjbatlanta View Post
Correct. You can drill the joist on either side of the lights through the hole you cut to install the fixture. You just need a hole next to the joist that you can't access to drill it. Just make it big enough to get your hand in to feed the wire. Use a 3/4" or 1" flat bit to drill your holes to make pulling the wire easier.
Thanks again....

What I was thinking about for that one joist that I won't be able to access was to just cut the drywall away from the joist to expose the joist (maybe 3 inches long by 1.5 inch wide hole) and notch up into the joist maybe 1/2 an inch or so; then pull my wire through that notch; put on a nail plate and then just mud that narrow hole. Would be a little less of a hole that way. Does that sounds like a decent plan?

I also had a question about running my wire up from the existing light switch. I am going to cut a hole above the switch where the wall and ceiling meet. I'll notch into the top plate and feed the wire up into the joist cavity and then use the method above to run the wire to my fist can. Is that a decent method or would something esle be better/easier?

Last edited by Tom5151; 12-02-2009 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 12-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #15
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That will work also. Just be sure to use a strap over the wire....

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