Fishing wire

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  #1  
Old 01-07-05, 10:35 AM
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Fishing wire

I'm pretty much a newbie when it comes to wiring new fixtures. I want to install about 5 new recessed lighting fixtures in my kitchen. I plan to tap into the center ceiling light to power the lights. My question is how do I fish the wires to the box in the center of the kitchen? I'm thinking that the ceiling joists will be in the way since my home is two stories. Do I have to run the wires down the nearest wall and install a new switch or can my plan be done? Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-08-05, 11:00 AM
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Will the new lights be controlled by the same switch as the old light?
Will the old light remain?
Is there an accessible attic above this room, or is this on the first floor with a room above?
Is the ceiling currently finished with drywall?
Have you ever wanted to learn how to drywall?
 
  #3  
Old 01-10-05, 06:09 AM
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The first thing I need to do is move the existing overhead light about 1 foot so it is centered over the island. I want the recessed lights to be controlled by the same switch that powers this light.

The kitchen is on the first floor with no access from above. The current ceiling in the kitchen is a popcorn ceiling. The entire kitchen is about 23 x 10 while the area affected is about 13 x 10.

Would I have to take down the section of the ceiling and attach the wires onto the joists, then put up a new ceiling? Sounds like I may need to learn how to put up a ceiling.
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-05, 06:30 AM
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This is the perfect opportunity to get rid of that out-of-date (and possibly asbestos-laden) popcorn ceiling.
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-05, 07:05 AM
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The house was built in the early 80's so it won't have asbestos. The ceiling runs into several other rooms and I really don't want to replace all of it. I'd rather just replace a section of the kitchen.

So was I right - do I need to remove that part of the ceiling and drill holes in the joists to run the wire through to the center of the ceiling?
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-05, 09:39 AM
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Which direction do the ceiling rafters run?. Parallel or perpendicular to the where you want to install new lights?


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  #7  
Old 01-10-05, 09:47 AM
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I'll need to run a stud finder over the ceiling to figure that out. Is the direction dictated by building codes? The kitchen runs with the length of the house if that helps any. I want to put the recessed lights to the left, right and in front of the center ceiling fixture. Well, that is my current plan right now.
 
  #8  
Old 01-10-05, 10:34 AM
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They probably run this direction. With no access from above, itll be difficult installing the new lights. How far apart are you going to mount the new light fixtures?

Yes, the direction is dictated by building codes.
 
  #9  
Old 01-10-05, 11:21 AM
hex2k1
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by the way according to osha there was still asbestos being installed in the early 80s so i would double check that before removing it yourself. i just recently took an osha 30 hour class so its pretty fresh in my mind.
 
  #10  
Old 01-10-05, 11:29 AM
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hex2k1 - thanks for that - I'll do further research and see what I can find.

Picture yourself standing at a kitchen island looking out the window above the sink into the backyard. I want to put one above the sink, and one on either side of the sink. That covers about 12 ft of space. Immediately to the left of the island is the stove and I want to put one above that. Behind you to the left is the fridge and microwave, and I wanted to put one above there. And all those would be hooked up to the light above the island.

I'm beginning to wonder if undercabinet lighting would be an easier option. I prefer the recessed but this is getting pretty complicated.
 
  #11  
Old 01-10-05, 11:40 AM
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You need to determine which way the joists run as thinman mentioned. Then determine if strapping was used under the joists which would run in the opposite direction.

If strapping was used it is possible to add your recessed lights. You will be able to snake under joists. If you can take down center fixture and enlarge hole around existing box try snaking in both directions. The stud finder will be useful for locating strapping but I have not had much luck locating the joists being 3/4" above plaster/sheetrock ceiling.

Be sure to check existing circuit load before installing additional lights.
 
  #12  
Old 01-10-05, 12:41 PM
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If you're kitchen is 23 x 10, then the joists undoubtedly run across the 10' span. Also, you can probably remove the light fixture and see if it is nailed directly to a joist. Here are your options:

1. The existing fixture box. You can splice onto the wire in the box to feed your can lights and put a blank cover on it, or you can remove the box, figure out from which direction the wire is coming (by looking up in ceiling after box is removed), and relocate the wire to whichever new fixture it will reach. You will then have to repair the hole in the ceiling.

2. New cans. You can use retrofit cans where all you have to do is cut a hole in the ceiling and the can will "pop in" - no patching required, or you can cut out enough sheetrock to mount new construction cans. Before marking and cutting out for retrofits, probe the area with a long screwdriver to make sure nothing is in the way.

3. Running wire to new cans. After you cut out holes for your 3 new retrofits, you need to connect them together and to the power source with romex wire. If the cans are all in the same joist cavity, your job is easy. If the joists run between the cans you have to figure out the best way to get the wire to them. In your case, the best bet would be to cut out just enough sheetrock at each joist (maybe a 3" long by 2" wide strip) and notch the bottom of the joist for your wire to lay in. Thread the wires from can to can cutting a notch at each joist. Cover the wire with a nail plate where you notch out your joist (Nail plates are probably about 1 1/2" by 2". The plate will cover the width of the joist). Repair the holes.
 
  #13  
Old 01-10-05, 12:47 PM
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If you're not married to the recessed can idea, have you thought about track lighting? It is easy to install and very versatile. There are numerous different types of track heads you can use, including very small ones. They even make a track connector that will allow you to install the track directly to your existing fixture box. No ceiling repair required. They make T's, L's, and crosses so you can configure the track however you'd like.
 
  #14  
Old 01-10-05, 01:02 PM
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Do you have any moulding around your kitchen ceiling? You could cut holes next to the ceiling and drill holes into the joist and fish the wire that way. After put the moulding back or install new moulding. That would be easier than trying to match the popcorn ceiling.
 
  #15  
Old 01-10-05, 01:08 PM
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mcjunk - thanks for the detail. That gives me a pretty good idea of what can be done. Life will be much easier if I can minimize the number of holes I have to patch in the ceiling. And I would use the retrofit cans.

In order to notch the joists I need to know how far apart they are. Is there a standard width? In case the stud finder does not locate the stud because the ceiling is too thick I want measure to avoid unnecessary holes.
 
  #16  
Old 01-10-05, 01:30 PM
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Your ceiling joists are more than likely 16" on center, considering they are supporting the floor above. GT Bakers idea is a good one. If you have or are willing to install crown moulding around the top of the walls in your ceiling, you can use the area of the ceiling right where it meets the wall to do and hide your work. You would only have a couple inches (as much as crown would cover), so you'd probably cut a small hole (just big enough for a wire)and stick a fish tape over to the retrofit can hole and pull the wire back to the wall. Then you'd notch whatever joists are required and work over to do the next can.

You can locate at least one of your joists at your existing fixture. The fixture box may be nailed directly to a joist. If it is hung on a bar between the joists, you can probe between the box and sheetrock with a long screwdriver, up at an angle and feel where the joists are. Then measure over 16" and see if you can probe another with a tiny screwdriver or awl (or small drill bit).

As mentioned earlier, if there are "firring" strips mounted to the bottom of the joists, the joists will be harder to find, but the wire fishing would be easier because you would have a 3/4"-1" gap between the joists and the ceiling material. You have to be careful about can placement, because although you can cut out whatever firring strip is in your way, it's easier to cut in the cans between the strips.
 
  #17  
Old 01-10-05, 01:44 PM
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There is a soffit above the kitchen cabinets. I don't think there is anything behind it. It may have been installed because the stove is not on an exterior wall and the venting goes straight up.

I would have to take off the soffit to gain access to the edge of the wall. I hope I can get it off without damaging it (one piece is 9 ft long). Then I could do the majority of the cutting and fishing behind there, and reinstall the soffit to hide everything.

I think that is a good solution! Thanks to everyone for your posts.
 
  #18  
Old 01-10-05, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Hammylinky
In order to notch the joists I need to know how far apart they are. Is there a standard width?
16" center to center - like walls.

Often these jobs turn out being more drywall and painting work than wiring. So first consider if you can do this without any patching. Maybe you could put up new crown moulding? But if a few patches are unavoidable, there's no point killing yourself trying to minimise their size or number. If you'll have to patch one hole, it's as much effort to patch six.

To match the ceiling texture, you can mix fluffy stuff, like blow-in insulation - with paint. It won't be perfect.
 
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