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Paul, Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 805
Experience:  23 yrs as an electrician, self employed contractor, municipal inspector
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how to pull wire across in rafter ceiling when there is room up there.

Customer Question

No Comment Added
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.

I think you mean when there is no room is this the case ?
Can you explain in a little more detail what it is your trying too do ?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I want to install 6 recess lights in my ceiling and I came across the 10"X 2" rafter in my way to get the wire connections to each other light fixtures.

and there is no acess to the atick as there is bed room up to pull the wire thru the rafters, can not cut the ceilig

Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.

You will have to cut a hole sooner or later how are you going to fish them down to a supply and a switch ?
As far as fishing hoes is the down stairs ceiling strapped for the sheet rock ?
Now as for the 2x10 you can drill a 1/2 hole in it
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I understand to drill a 1/2 hole in 2x10 but the question is my lights are 112" far a part and in between there are 7 rafters how can I drill all unless I open the ceiling which i dont want.

and for the switch there is a switch ready on the wall to get a jumper from there for the second switch and have excess to the ceiling to pull the wire for second switch.
Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.


This is why I asked you if there was strapping under the 2x10's ?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I dont know, how can I find that
Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.


Have you drilled a hole for a light yet ?

If so put your hand up there you will feel a 1/2 gap between the drywall and the rafter

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Not yet
Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.
If you can see the first 2x10 look under it can you see a gap ?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I open the ceiling and there is absolutely no gap between sheet rock and 2x10. I think I can give it up this job looks like too much hasstle.
Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.


You do have a choice they do make decorative romex race way that is surace mounted

Expert:  Glenn replied 9 years ago.
I am going to suggest another expert for you and opt out
Expert:  Paul replied 9 years ago.



This is Paul there is a way to do this without ripping your ceiling up. It will be a little work but it can be done. If you interested I will walk you through the steps.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Ok lets go
Expert:  Inactive replied 9 years ago.

Thank you for asking your question on graphic

You are corresponding with Joseph - Your personal On-Line “Electrical Consultant”

*****Click here to view my profile*****

Ok - in this case you have 2 choices, both of which I have done.

1st choice here is to go up into your attic and use a circular saw to cut an access hole in your floor. You stated this is just an attic, so you can do this without any probelms at all. Now you most likely have slat boards so all you need to do is cut across and open it up enough to get your drill there. Make sure that when you cut the slats, your centered on the floor joists so you can re-install the boards when your finished. Then when you have your raceway going across the joists - just fish the wire across to your lights. (if you need more clarification on this just let me know)

Here is an example:


2nd way is to do what we call notch and patch. In that case you would puncture a hole on each side of the floor and across the joist about 1/2" wide. Then once you fish your wire across - just use spackle to fill the hole back in and smooth it out. Good as new. Here are some pictures of this to help you out:

This picture is a good reference if you need to get wiring up the wall and across the ceiling.


This picture illustrates what I was referring to as notch and patch. The hole here are a little large, but 1/2" wide channel would work just fine.



Hope this helps you out, if you should need anything further please don't hesitate to ask. Have a great night!

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Expert:  Paul replied 9 years ago.

Alrighty good Joe saved me from explaining one way.

This method is time consuming I will warn you of that, that is also why electricians will charge $ 85hr. You will have to add a light in the middle so that they are approx 60" apart, the minimum size can you can do this with is 5" in diameter, the 6" cans are even easier to use. You will need to buy what electricians call a diversibit. Home Depot or a similar store sells these get it in the 3/8 or 1/2 size.If you go to an electrical whole-aler you can get one as long as 60". You need to map out possible plumbing and heating lines that might be running through the ceiling space, you can get an idea of this from locations of bath rooms, heat registers, etc. The method I am going to give you will involve blind drilling.

There is a possibility of wiring or plumbing being hidden in the ceiling. You will not be able to see them and risk the possibility of damaging them. Again that is why again electricians charge as much as they do.

Locate you lights, mark the location and cut you hole. Drill in line with each light through the bays. Keep the angle as low as possible, the bits a pretty flexible, you don't want an angle that will put you through the floor above after you go through 2 or 3 bays. After your last hole attach the wire to the hole in the bit and pull it back, I use a nylon string for this. Do this at each light

__________________________________________floor joists_________

O - lights






O -light

Just make sure you light spacing does not exceed the lenght of you bit.