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Old 05-20-2011, 08:03 AM   #1
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Wiring through joists


I'm trying to wire can lights in my finished kitchen ceiling. Since it's finished, I really don't want to take out more drywall than needed. The can lights I'm thinking of are the remodeling can lights, so all I have to do is drill out the small hole for the can.

I have to pass through several joists in order to wire them all up. I've read about the building codes and how you are supposed to drill in the middle of the joists.

So I have a few questions:

1.) How do I drill the hole in the middle of the joist when all I have is a 5-6" opening? 5-6" is the diameter of the can. I don't think I can even fit my drill in there.

2.) How would I fish the wire through? I have fish tape to help, but if my opening is only 5-6" and I can't see a thing, no room to maneuver, it's going to be super hard.

BTW - floor above are bedrooms. I really don't want to rip up floorboards for this.

Yeah, so I don't plan on opening up more than the required 5-6" for the cans. Should I plan to cut more into the drywall?

Please advise. Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-20-2011, 10:12 AM   #2
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Wiring through joists


How far apart are the cans going to be? You can pretty easily reach the joists on either side of the holes, but if there are more in between that could be a challenge. There are right-angle attachments for electric drills but I don't think you'd have enough room. I'd use a fish bit (probably not the technical term but that's all I've ever heard them called). The electrical section of any big box store should have them. I've occasionally used one when adding circuits. As I recall, they aren't cheap.

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Old 05-20-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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Wiring through joists


You can buy drill bits that are 4' long and flexible enough to get into the 6" holes and drill through a few joists to the next 6" hole.
You need to keep the shaft parallel to the ceiling or you'll drill through the floor above. This is a personal life lesson.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:25 PM   #4
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Wiring through joists


Just cut a 6" strip of drywall out of the ceiling and expose the joists.

Drill the holes, run the wire and fill the strip in with new drywall. Finish the drywall cut with tape and mud, in the usual manner.
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:41 PM   #5
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Wiring through joists


You need to rent, buy or borrow a right angle drill for this. Look on Craigs List or if you have a pawn shop near you great tools are showing up? Or rent one?

You will need to buy a sharp auger to cut through the wood and that fits the drill chuck. If you have a sharpening shop near you they will have boxes full of the things people forgot to claim. A box store like HD will nail you $20 for a cheap Chinese thing. A tool supplier will too but it will last you a lifetime, if every once in awhile, you send it out for sharpening.

Last edited by user1007; 05-20-2011 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 05-20-2011, 11:41 PM   #6
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Wiring through joists


yes.

this is the only way to do it. Please dont buy a 4' drill bit....those extensions are for electricians who know how to use time (ie, who wont drill through the floor above, or buried romex in joist cavities that you dont know about, or plumbing).

drywall is the easiest, most misunderstood stuff to work with, or sub out. it can be beat to sh*T still look brand new after patch job.

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Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
Just cut a 6" strip of drywall out of the ceiling and expose the joists.

Drill the holes, run the wire and fill the strip in with new drywall. Finish the drywall cut with tape and mud, in the usual manner.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:14 AM   #7
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Wiring through joists


I've decided that I'm going to just cut a bit of drywall to drill through the joists. I just don't want to buy a long drill bit and use it only once.

Thanks for the help!

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