Running Romex Through Beams


Old 10-17-04, 08:19 AM
danno 1
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Running Romex Through Beams

I have a ceiling fan that I`m relocating about 8ft. There is a floor above the ceiling where I can`t use to access, and I know the beams are running accross the location I want to install the fan. What are some ways to run the romex ? Do you make a hole at each point in the sheetrock and drill into the beams ? I know they make a long drill bit for this, but if I start where the exsisting fan hole would be, the hole is too small to drill through most of the beams. Maybe there`s space already where I can run a snake across ? Any ideas ?
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Old 10-17-04, 10:23 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
When adding a cable for a new (or moved) circuit, most people try to run the cable with the beams or joists, to minimize the necessary holes in the walls and ceiling. Sometimes this is not the most direct run, but the added cost of the cable is not as high as the cost of the labor to repair the drywall.

Yes, you can make a hole in the ceiling. Make the hole large enough to insert the drill and drill straight through the joist. You can by long drill bits, and add extensions to make them even longer.

However, I would try to go with the joists as much as possible.
Old 10-17-04, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
If you do need to cut some of the drywall, cut out a long strip. It's generally easier and produces better results to make one large drywall patch than a bunch of small ones.
Old 10-19-04, 01:40 PM
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JN is right

I did exactly what JN mentioned above, when I ran NM-B for my ceiling fan.
It's the most hassle-free, least expensive(those fish bits are not cheap) option. All you need is a sandpaper, drywall tape and a spackling to fix it later.
I'll give you one tip when you cut a section of drywall out. Do not use a drywall saw, as mush as you can. Use a sharp & rigid blade, like a new set of utility knife to make an initial cut. Then, give it a firm pressure and keep on cutting on the same lines. You'll be amazed what an utility knife can do.
Major benefit of doing this is that you'll end up with a sharp, clean edge around the strip and a hole. This will help you dearly when you patch it back, enabling you to make it almost un-noticeable.

On joists, you can make a small notch at the bottom. No need to drill thru the middle. Use a chisle.
Old 10-19-04, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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I strongly do not recommend notching the bottom of a joist. It can weaken it immensely. A drilled hole has only 1% (don't quote me--I just estimated that number) the structural effect that a notch does.
Old 10-19-04, 06:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 96
Notching the bottom or top of a joist is not allowed under the Building Code, unless the joist is strengthen by adding extra supports, and than only in the first (and last) 1/6 of the joist. Or you can strengthen the joist by adding a heavy duty metal plate over the notch. No notches are allowed in the middle 1/3 at all. (Bored holes should not be within 2” of the top or bottom of a joist, the diameter of any hole should not exceed 1/3 of the depth of the joist). Also the Electrical Code requires you to protect the wire in the notch, since it will be less than 1 1/4” from the edge.

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