Running wire in finished ceiling on main floor


We have a large family/living room area and I want to put two ceiling fans in this area. So the fans will be on the same floor about 25 feet apart or so.
I'm going to add a new circuit for these fans/lights. I'm comfortable with the electrical wiring part of the job but I'm not actually sure how to run the wire.
The room in question is on the 1st floor. Above that is the 2nd floor with our bedrooms, Above the 2nd is an attic. How do I run the wire through the 1st floor ceiling? Obviously I have to cut a hole in the ceiling where the lights will be mounted. Do I also have to cut holes in the ceiling so I could drill a hole in the joists and run the wire through them?
To complicate things we have a ceiling with a popcorn finish so I don't know how hard it will be to patch any holes I make. I'd like to minimize the destruction to my ceilings...my wife would appreciate that too :) Thanks
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wrote:

I am sure you will get many answers.
If it were me, I would cut a 14-16 inch wide piece of sheet rock out between the two fixtures. Leave half of the sheet rock overlapping the end studs so you will have something to screw the end pieces of rock too.
There may be many methods that you can "try" to keep from making such a large hole, but opening the entire ceiling between the fixtures will prevent any surprises you may run into.
http://i37.tinypic.com/5u3j3s.png
Joists in yellow. Fixture box in yellow. Opening in black.
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wrote:

BTW it would be a much easier project if you can get the feed from an existing ceiling box.
Make sure you use ceiling boxes designed for ceiling fans.
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Yeah, that makes sense. Just put back one large piece of sheetrock rather than patch a bunch of small holes. Thanks

Unfortunately there are no other ceiling fixtures in these two rooms.
Thanks alot for the reply.
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Mash wrote:

Hmmm. 25 Feet apart. Assuming the joists run perpendicular to the line between the 2 fans, that means running the cable thru nearly 20 joists! 20 ugly holes to patch.
Instead, consider running a cable from each fan to the wall space, *in* the joist spaces. There will be 1 or 2 holes to get from the ceiling into the wall.
Once in the wall, join the 2 cables at some point where the power can be fed to them. Or, don't join them, if 2 feeds can be made.
Plan B: Run a surface raceway and have no holes to patch.
Lots and lots of unknowns in this concerning the structural details...
Jim
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You're right, I'm actually not sure which way the joists run so I've got to check that. By looking at the orientation of the roof a contractor friend of mine guessed that they will probably run parallel to the line between the fans but I've got to check.

That's a good idea. I like that better than cutting up my ceiling. Thanks.

I'd much prefer to hide the wire in the ceiling/wall...but definitely an option. Thanks
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On Aug 22, 1:36am, snipped-for-privacy@invalid.com wrote:

Thanks, so the joists run in parallel to the line between my two fans. That's good to know. I'll have to check out the wire mold. I'd rather hide the wire in the ceiling but you're right...it's a pain. I've considered scraping the ceiling because we actually would prefer a flat ceiling but that's alot of work...and a mess.
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Patching the popcorn ceiling may be very, very difficult to do well. Plus, popcorn ceilings are common examples of what's likely to contain asbestos in your home. Whether they do or they don't, I don't know, I'm just putting that out there.
There are electrician's tricks like long flexible-shaft bits ... but dang, 25 feet. That's like 18 joists.
I'm presuming that the joists run crosswise relative to the line between the fans. IE, you'd need to go through all those joists to get from one fan to the other. Instead of that, how about running at right angles to this in the joist cavity, to one of the side walls, from each fixture. Then down in side the side walls to basement or crawl space, then over and back up in the walls to the switch. (You were going to switch these, right?)
To get from the ceiling into the wall won't be trivial but you may be able to do it without breaking into the popcorn ceiling, and if your wall is plan drywall or plaster it'll be easier to do a seamless fix. (If it's wallpaper, well, not so much.) If there's wide old-style crown moulding (maybe not likely with a popcorn ceiling) the damage may be hidden behind it. Or maybe you can do the damage in the ceiling and wall of the next room, which may or may not be easier to repair. Actually, I was once able to do exactly such work through a hole in the wall of the room above, which was easy to patch (drywall and tall baseboard).
The point is, instead of going straight from one fixture to the other through all the joists, you get to each of them individually inside the joist cavities, and then join them together at the switch or in a junction box.
If it was absolutely impossible to get to one of the fixtures like this, then I would personally consider a nice straight stretch of wiremold, painted ceiling color, to be less offensive than a bad popcorn ceiling repair. But that would be your wife's call.
Chip C Toronto
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What kind of flooring is above ?? I worked for a builder and once the electrican forgot two light cans in a kitchen .So we cut the t&g ply flooring above to add the lights,but if you have hard wood you can't.
Jerry
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/MyWoodWorkingPage
http://community.webtv.net/awoodbutcher/CARWRECK
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On Aug 21, 5:14pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Jerry - OHIO) wrote:

Newly installed carpet above. Not sure if I want to rip it up...
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wrote:

Sure you can. Just get a *harder* saw.
:)

Could cut a U-shaped cut, fold up the inside, do the work, fold it down and stick it somehow.
The guy I bought my house spilled paint in the middle of the bedroom and couldn't get it out and had to cut out a 6x6inch piece and replace it with a piece from a closet**. I can see where this was done, but don't notice it much and if the nap were thicker or different maybe I wouldn't see it. If it were under the bed I know I wouldn't see it, but of course, he wouldn't have spilled something under the bed.
25 years and the patch hasn't come up at all.
**That's what he told me, but I've been in every closet and found no pieces missing or with paint stains. Very strange.
And it's better if one keeps the scraps when the carpet is installed. I went to the carpet store that he had hired 4 years earlier (he gave me all the receipts) and I was able to get a section of matching kitchen vinyl linoleum, but no carpeting. The manager, a woman, said that when they leave the scraps, the wives call up and complain. Stupid women.
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mm wrote:
(snip)

One of the very few things the idiot previous owner of this place did right, keeping the carpet scraps from the addition. 20 years later, I was able to have a moonlighting carpet guy cheaply patch in the damaged spots, for less than a hundred bucks. It ain't perfect- if there was a SWMBO in the house I would had to pop for new carpet- but it is presentable, and plenty good enough for a guy living alone.
-- aem sends...
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I have been finding some homes have been built using prefabricated trusses instead of solid wood floor joists. The beauty in them is that it can be a lot easier to fish wires without having to cut many holes in the ceiling. Try making a small hole (1/2") where you would like to put the fan. Then take a fish tape and push it in the hole in four different directions and see how far you can get. The fiberglass fish rods work well for this too.
If you do need to cut holes in the popcorn ceiling, do it neatly so you can use the pieces again. I cut my holes at 45 degree angles so I can slap the cutout back in place with joint compound. I use a lot of joint compound so it oozes out of the edges and dap it with my fingers. It's not perfect, but with the dapping the piece tends to blend in. Of course the ceiling still needs to be repainted afterwards.
Click here to see a video of my technique: http://www.wd40jobsite.com/secret_detail.cfm?idt8&c=1&q=&s=1 With a popcorn ceiling it is better to have rough edges so don't spend too much time smoothing the joint compound.
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Mash wrote:

Nobody else said it so I will- back when the modern era of ceiling fans getting popular started in the 70s, a common technique for large rooms like that was to add shallow faux beams across the space, and use those as raceway for the cable and landing spots for the fan bases. Rough-sawn dark finish for modern decor, especially with the then-popular T&G ceilings in 'California-style' flying wing houses, or painted and trimmed out like the crown mold in the rest of the room in traditional houses. Some decorators even used the faux beams as a way to visually break up 'great rooms' into more human-scale spaces (like dining/fireplace/conversation pit areas)
-- aem sends...
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That's a good idea. The room I'm working on is a large room and the beams could serve to break it up. I'll look into that.
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wrote:

I'm not at all saying these things will make it possible, but there are 6 foot flexible shaft drill bits. I don't know if there are longer. They even have a selection of long bits at home depot. They have a hole at both ends through which can be attached a wire. When you pull out the drill the wire comes with it, and you can use that wire to pull the bigger wire through. That's great for going from a hole in the wall down to the basement, but maybe won't help elsewhere.
Will the 25 foot run likely be empty of obstructions? Do they use use firestops in ceilings like in walls? I don't know but some people do.
They also make L shaped tools, 10 inches by 10 that are used to help to control the drill bit inside the wall or ceiling from outside.
Guys who run telephone lines know how to use two snakes, one in the ceiling and one in the wall, hook one with the other. I've even done this myself with burglar alarm wire, one snake down the hole in the sliding galss door channel and another throug the ceiling of my basement (no firestops encountered), but that was thin flexible wire, not romex or bx.
Is there any way it would be legal for this guy to run two or three insulated 12 or 14 gauge wires, as required. They would be flexible enough to be pulled through a corner. But I doubt it's legal.
Make a hole in the wall right below the ceiling, to reach in and up a bit to grab the romex and pull it out, then send it down the wall to the basement, then patch the wall and not the ceiling.
I don't know if any of these ideas will help.
I haven't read the whole thread but the idea of going in from the floor above doesn't seem bad.
I don't like ceiling fans.
I installed ceiling fixtures in two bedrooms but had no desire for a fan and still don't.
I just use use table fans.
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wrote:

Funny you mention this because I HATE fans in general and can most easily live with ceiling fans as they seem the least obtrusive.
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Question: Conidering the amount of work involved, the type of ceiling finish etc ................ Do you HAVE to use ceilng fans? What about some other type of quiet fan? Plugged into a wall outlet.
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Yer screwed. I could think of several ways to do this with only a few patches, but patching popcorn and having it not look like it was patched is difficult at best.
I'd honestly recommend stripping the popcorn off the ceiling, THEN do your work, and plan on skimming/priming painting the whole ceiling when you're done. IMHO popcorn isn't all that attractive, either, but if you like it I can actually recommend a guy to patch it for you (assuming you're near DC)
nate
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I don't like the popcorn ceiling at all. We were planning on stripping it off but we've got so much other stuff to do. I haven't yet installed the ceiling lights/fans. I'll post here when I do.
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