Safe to Drill Through Engineered Beams?

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Old 01-01-11, 10:25 AM
Justin Smith's Avatar
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Safe to Drill Through Engineered Beams?

I was at a friend's house and they want to install some can lights. They have engineered I beams instead of 2x8's. It is a strip of plywood glued to two 2x4's. Is it safe to drill through them to run some 12/2 or 12/3, or do I need to reinforce/rerout wires?

Thanks,
Justin
 
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Old 01-01-11, 10:32 AM
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Yes. Only make your holes in the plywood part of the I joists. No reinforcement is necessary. Many cases the I joists have pre-scored parts that you can punch out with a hammer.
 
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Old 01-01-11, 10:35 AM
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There should be marked areas/knockouts for running wiring and piping. If the knockouts aren't visible/accessible, I can't imagine the size of a hole for a single cable would be a big deal. Use the same rules as drilling any structural member.

http://www.ilevel.com/literature/TJ-9001.pdf
 
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Old 01-01-11, 11:32 AM
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This does not sound like an engineered beam, but an engineered floor joist . There is quite a bit of difference and will determine of they can be drilled. Typically engineered beams cannot be drilled, while the joist can.
 
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Old 01-01-11, 02:23 PM
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You can drill the web on an I joist but not the flanges. There are lots of charts on the internet that provide directions for drilling I joists.
 
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Old 01-01-11, 03:14 PM
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But, like Vic says, they have coordinated knock outs. All you have to do is hit them with a hammer, and they're gone. The manufacturer put them there, so they are OK to use for wiring, small supply lines, etc. BUT, as I have seen many times, they cannot be cut to accommodate HVAC without proper support. 9" web, 8" duct just don't work at mid-span.
 
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Old 01-02-11, 05:52 AM
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Check the local codes too. One town in our area says you can't drill farther than two feet toward the center from either end, and there is also a restriction on hole size. (Don't quote me, but I recall 2".)
 
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Old 01-02-11, 09:59 AM
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tHEY ARE ENGINEERED FLOOR JOISTS, THERE WERE NO LOCAL CODES WHEN THE HOUSE WAS BUILT, AND i THINK THEY ARE STILL VERY LENIENT. i ONLY NEED TO RUN ONE 12/2G OR 12/3G, DEPENDING ON WHERE WE FEED POWER FROM, SO i WILL ONLY DRILL A 1/2'' HOLE. i WILL HAVE TO CHECK FOR THE HOLES.
 
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Old 01-02-11, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Justin Smith View Post
tHEY ARE ENGINEERED FLOOR JOISTS, THERE WERE NO LOCAL CODES WHEN THE HOUSE WAS BUILT, AND i THINK THEY ARE STILL VERY LENIENT. i ONLY NEED TO RUN ONE 12/2G OR 12/3G, DEPENDING ON WHERE WE FEED POWER FROM, SO i WILL ONLY DRILL A 1/2'' HOLE. i WILL HAVE TO CHECK FOR THE HOLES.
Check your caps lock key.
 
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