Basement ceiling and notching joists

Old 09-16-13, 06:44 PM
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Basement ceiling and notching joists

I'm putting recessed lighting into my already finished basement and have a couple questions about how I want to do it (and the differences in doing it the proper way). For various reasons, I have come to the conclusion that it will be easiest to run the wiring perpendicular to the joists in the ceiling. This generally would involve drilling a hole and running wire through each joist, which would be easier if the ceiling wasn't drywalled/painted/etc already. I've read up on various sites and believe that notching the bottom of the joists to run the wire would be ok, but wanted some opinions on whether it would be up to code and/or there is any possibility of compromising structural integrity by doing that? Assume that a nail-proof plate is put over the notched area.

The joists are 1.5" x 9" (? not sure if this equivalent to 2x10, house built in late 70's) and i believe the span is 12ft. The joists are located every 16 inches.

I would like to place a notch the size of approximately 1" wide x 0.5" high (if you were looking at the joist from the side). Would this be ok if it is not in the middle 1/3 of the joist? If it is in the middle 1/3 of the joist? This will require doing this in up to 10 joists, would that matter. The area above this is the entry way and living room so it does get frequent use.

Thanks in advance!
Old 09-16-13, 07:31 PM
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If the ceiling is rocked and painted, you're going to be cutting and patching at every joist. If you drill, you would only have to cut a 4 or 5" hole in every other bay and the holes for the lights are cut out anyway. The way I see it, it would be the same or less cutting and patching if you drill.
Old 09-17-13, 07:54 AM
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Troubleshooting Guide to Residential Construction - Google Books
Check locally if still worried, notice "gradual taper".


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