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Old 07-05-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
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How to drill through metal in headers


I'd like to run a wire inside a wall. I tried drilling down the wood header in the attic. I ran into some metal. At first I thought I ran into a nail so I tried a different hole. I found metal there also. I now have 4 holes. In three of them I can see something shinny like metal. There are no A/C vents on either side of the wall. It's an inside wall. There isn't any plumbing near this room. The drill I'm using is a 4' drill. I need to go from the attic down two floors. When I drilled the first hole I did get through the 2nd floor header. I attached a 4' extension and that wasn't long enough so I attached a second 4' extension. The drill got stuck (I'm guessing in some metal in the 1st floor header. I couldn't back it out or drill any further. It ended up coming loose from the extension. So the first 4' drill is in the wall. This house was built 7 years ago. I don't understand why they would put metal across the header.

Does anyone know where I could get a 12ft drill that will go through the metal?

Thanks,

Docfxit

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Old 07-05-2009, 08:04 PM   #2
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How to drill through metal in headers


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Originally Posted by Docfxit View Post
I'd like to run a wire inside a wall. I tried drilling down the wood header in the attic. I ran into some metal. At first I thought I ran into a nail so I tried a different hole. I found metal there also. I now have 4 holes. In three of them I can see something shinny like metal. There are no A/C vents on either side of the wall. It's an inside wall. There isn't any plumbing near this room. The drill I'm using is a 4' drill. I need to go from the attic down two floors. When I drilled the first hole I did get through the 2nd floor header. I attached a 4' extension and that wasn't long enough so I attached a second 4' extension. The drill got stuck (I'm guessing in some metal in the 1st floor header. I couldn't back it out or drill any further. It ended up coming loose from the extension. So the first 4' drill is in the wall. This house was built 7 years ago. I don't understand why they would put metal across the header.

Does anyone know where I could get a 12ft drill that will go through the metal?

Thanks,

Docfxit
you can buy long bits and long extentions for both wood and metal at any electrical supply house and most box stores. BUT.... why drill through something that you do not know what it is. And you will not want to run an electrical wire through a metal hole since this would require a bushing to protect the wire from damage from the sharp edges around such a hole. Measure down to determine where the problem area is and open the wall to inspect what you are dealing with.

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Old 07-05-2009, 08:53 PM   #3
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How to drill through metal in headers


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Originally Posted by Docfxit View Post
Does anyone know where I could get a 12ft drill that will go through the metal?
Wow Doc, You've got more tools than I do. Two feet is my Max

A. On the second floor I would open the stud bay close to the floor to see what is going on.
With a drywall saw I would start a cut about 8" from the floor in the approximate center of the bay.
  1. Cut horizontally in one direction until you hit the 1st stud.
  2. Cut Down about 4".....................
  3. Cut horizontally all across the bay, opposite the step 1 direction
  4. Cut Up about 4".........................
  5. Cut across to the starting point

If you are successful in cutting out the drywall in one piece then you can use this piece to make the drywall patch after the wire is installed.


B. Now that you have access the the second floor bottom plate drill the appropiate size hole with a 12-18' drill held at a slight angle.

C. Go down to the first floor and find the Stud bay which will hold the Wire then cut a small opening in the drywall to install a box at the the termination point
.
.
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Last edited by PaliBob; 07-05-2009 at 09:06 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:15 PM   #4
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How to drill through metal in headers


Have you ever considered that what you are trying to drill through is a steel beam supporting upper structure? Find another route. That steel could easily be 1/2" thick.
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:16 PM   #5
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How to drill through metal in headers


Headers are solid or built-up wood and/or steel used under the top plate to span an opening in the wall.

Plates are the horizontal wood members that connect the vertical studs to make a wall.

Beams are solid wood or steel used to support ceiling, floor and deck joists, usually carrying multiple members.

You are telling us you are drilling through an opening in the wall. But is it the plates? To go between studs- in their bays? Be safe, G
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Old 07-05-2009, 10:31 PM   #6
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How to drill through metal in headers


Quote:
Originally Posted by Docfxit View Post
This house was built 7 years ago. I don't understand why they would put metal across the header.
As you state you are drilling down through two of these "headers", I'm guessing you mean the top plates of the wall. Depending on where the hole is and whether the wall is load-bearing or not, there is a pretty good chance you've run into a structural strap, similar to an MST or LST:



If so, the answer isn't how to drill through it but rather, where to move your holes to.

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