Snake wire from wall to ceiling

Page 1 of 4  

I need to run a wire from a switch on the wall up the wall and across the ceiling to a new overhead light. (Note that unfortunately, the joists run perpendicular to the direction that I need to traverse the ceiling)
Doing so presents the following two problems for me: 1. How do I make the right angle turn through the top plate and into the ceiling joist bay?
2. How do I go through the joists as I traverse the ceiling from the wall edge to the center light location?
Note I don't have the option of using an unfinished attic or basement to help me. I am trying to avoid ripping up more plaster than I need to.
I plan on buying a long flexible 1/2" bit which I believe should at least help me with #2, though I'm a bit short on the details of where I drill the entry and exit holes and how I achieve the right bend and angle to go through the middle of the joist.
However, I am a lot more stumped about how I make the right angle transition from the wall bay into the ceiling joist bay.
Could anybody give me some detailed pointers and/or point me to any online videos? (I tried googling but found only general suggestions such as using a flex bit)
Thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
blueman wrote:

You may as well just cut an access strip 8-12" wide from the light location to the wall to start and be done with it. It'll be simpler to repair that uniform area w/ a couple of joints than having to patch a zillion smaller holes. Once you've gotten access, getting around the corner will be relatively simple.
Alternatively, use a surface-mount track or embed a track raceway just below the depth of the surface and finish over it. If it's metal raceway it'll be ok to hide it.
Alternative two if there's any access to alternate wall and around, sometimes one can go the long way 'round lengthwise w/ the joists and find another way that there is access to get to the switch wall location rather than the direct route. That, of course, depends on the layout details not observable from here.
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Removing the access strip will be a PITA since the wall is plaster/stucco over metal lathe (the wall is in a garage). Also, I probably only need to bridge 2 or 3 joists so I was thinking that with a flex bit I should only need a couple of holes.
The challenge that I worry about though is at the corner between wall and celing since the joists are parallel to the wall so presumably there is a joist sitting on top of the top plate.
I read somewhere that you can "notch" out a small area of the top plate bridging the wall with the ceiling and run the wire across it. I presume that you would need to cover the notch with a metal plate to be safe (and code conformant).
Is this the best way or is there some way to drill a "diagonal" hole

I would prefer to avoid conduit or track.

The only other walls are exterior (it is a garage) which creates other issues (e.g., insulation) plus it is truly a long way around.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

How about a wireless switch?
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well the issue is more getting power to the light which I would need to do regardless. The switch is already there by the source of power. I just need to get power to the center of the ceiling to replace an old wall mounted sconce which is in the way and dangerous since it always gets hit by all the stuff moving in and out of the garage.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think you have to think outside of the box.
Can you go down and then up some where else like where it will be easier to run parallel to the joints?
There's nothing saying you have to take the direct route.
writes:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

True. But the garage is on slab (so no good down). Also the other 3 walls are exterior walls so even harder to get around. Up is hard because there is living space above and no attic. Not saying it is impossible, but probably harder than the direct route which is only about 5 feet up and 5 feet across the ceiling.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Gotta love slab construction, eh???
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca writes:

But in my case, the main part of the house (150 years old) has a basement (with brick columns - pre-Lolly days). The kitchen "wing" which is 200+ years old is built over a crawl space and the adjoining garage which is part of the same "wing" but obviously was "retrofitted" in is just an (old) concrete slab with no crawl space below.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Blueman-
My buddy & I just did a very similar job recently; can lights.
The attic was accessible but not really; blown-in insulation & roof line that gave less than a foot clearance. We tried for about 1/2 hr to "fish / poke" the romex from ceiling box over to a closet access hole in the ceiling with no luck.
I suggested (as did dpb to you) an access strip. My partner didnt want the mess or repair. I offered an 5" access hole 1/2 way from the ceiling box to the wall. We had the wire fished in less than 5 minutes after cutting the hole (can light hole saw). Simple repair and no trace.
Depending on the distance I would suggested the "strip method" or a couple access holes (just avoid the joists)
If only the wall is that stucco stuff then an access hole at the top of the wall & a strip on the ceiling (drywall?)
A diamond blade on a skilsaw or angle grinder will make short work of the plaster, stucco, metal lathe. Use a helper with a shop vac or duct tape the hose to the tool to get the dust.
Cut the access.....you'll be glad you did.
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes I agree. The question for me is just how to minimize. The ceiling also appears to be a similar plaster & wire lathe which is a PITA.
But my question is really more about how to get around the top plate and joist at the wall/ceiling junction.
The only solution I have seen so far is to "notch" the top-plate (and perhaps a tiny bit of the joist resting on the top plate) which then get covered with a metal plate before plastering over.
I just want to make sure that this is the best/easiest/safest way for doing what I am trying to do (assuming that I want the wire to be concealed within the wall & ceiling cavities).
Again, I'm sure that with removing enough material, I could do anything. I'm just trying to learn the tricks-of-the-trade so that I don't do any unnecessary demolition or do anything unsafe/unprofessional-looking.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

{tapping microphone} Testing, testing, one, two, three. Hello, can you hear me?
What about a wireless switch? If you have access above the light location, you probably don't need to cut any holes in the ceiling (other than the ceiling outlet) or wall.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No access or power to area above light location. The trick is getting power to the center of the ceiling with or without a switch.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
blueman wrote: ...

W/O actually seeing to tell if there's a trick to be used for a specific situation, the answer is what you've already been told--make enough access for the job--it's simpler and will look "more professional" in the end to have the two seams patched than a whole bunch of 'em--and you're going to have to drill all the joists anyway to get thru 'em unless you do go under.
As for the corner, it's take your pick -- you can drill an access hole large enough to fish from the switch location to catch the fish from the ceiling and pull it through or notch -- it's your call as to what you think is simpler. There really isn't a whole lot to choose; imo drilling the holes is generally easier than trying to cut a notch but that's me; others like the other.
Excessively worrying about avoiding demolition is the sign of the inexperienced/diy'er--the pro just goes ahead and does what's needed w/o the agonizing and finishes the job at hand because he knows how to do the finish. The diy'er isn't comfortable w/ the plaster work or whatever so tries to figure out ways that he thinks can avoid something but rarely is that as successful as just biting the bullet.
imo, $0.02, etc., etc., ...
--
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I didn't want to go around notching or drilling only to find out a few days later that I violated a key code item or created structural integrity issues.

You are partly right - but I am pretty experienced at least relative to my peers though maybe not relative to all the experts here. However, I do like to learn and do things right -- and I hate when I do something impulsively only to find out a little later that there was an easier/better way to do it -- or even worse to find out that my solution is unsafe or won't last requiring rework.
I believe in measuring several times before cutting... because I have been burned many times when I rush to cut first...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
blueman wrote:

Well, you still _could_, but nobody here can see the actual construction you have to tell. :)
In general, you can drill a hole near the center of a structural element within code for wiring as long as the diameter is "small" wrt to the element itself. There's actually some guidelines iirc but I don't know them otomh and again they'll be general for things like joists, etc.
A notch at the lower edge of an unsupported beam/joist is structurally more damaging than the hole in the middle because it leads to stress concentration points at the point the longitudinal fibers of the beam are cut. Generally, as long as it's relatively small, that'll not be an issue; there's normally far more than enough material in the structure that the amount removed to clear a piece of romex will not be missed.
But, of course, there's always that one-in-a-million strange situation that could be the killer...it isn't at all likely, but nobody can say uncategorically that your modification is ok w/o seeing it.
That said, again, it's not something likely and I'm not trying to raise concern, simply stating that since nobody in a.h.r can see your situation all can do is provide a general guide. If you were to see something you think is questionable, then you need to get hands-on local advice.
...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dpb wrote:

I've experienced this exact phenomenon. A few days ago, i realized i had a bad cast iron sewer stack in the lower level of a two story house. A year ago i would have sweated about how to access this pipe and repair the plaster wall that was covered with paneling. Two days ago i merely grabbed my claw bar and 3 pound hammer and took the entire wall down to studs. A few sheets of sheetrock and it'll be like new in a few days. And the cast iron sewer stack is repaired (with pvc and fernco's) already. As a bonus, i'll also have two new outlets in properly mounted boxes in this wall. <G>
s
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Amen on that! I used to fiddy f... around worrying about doing to much damage / demo.
More but "thoughtful" demo (like back to a corner, an entire wall, mid- stud, etc) is easier & faster to get the new work done AND restore the entire system to working order than "selective" / piecemeal demo method
Thats why for a bathroom or a kitchen (unless some cool vintage stuff is being saved) its better to go all the way to studs (well, at least on the plumbing & electrical walls) .
Sorry I didn;t address "how to get around the corner" of the top plates & the joist at the wall (or at the plate)........ missed it.
I would drill up through the double top plate with ~7/8 bit & then a intersecting hole at the center line of the joist. Both of these holes are a snap to drill if you use the strip method of access. a pieced of romex can be poked / fished this way...install a nail plate on the both top plates & you;re done.
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

*Those long flexible bits are very nice, but I rarely use them. There are usually obstacles such as wiring, water pipes and duct that the bit can damage by drilling blindly. What I do is make an access hole in the center between joists and drill each one with a regular ship auger bit. I cut the holes at a 45 degree angle and am able to put the pieces back. For plaster and lathe I think that you might be better off using a carbide hole saw or an angle grinder. Before you cut anything you should consider how you will patch the holes.
My first choice to run a wire up from a switch into the ceiling is to make a long narrow hole on the wall below the ceiling so my drill with bit will fit in the space. Then I drill up at an angle towards where I want my wire to go. Another option is to notch the top plate lay the wire in and put a steel nail plate over the wire. I prefer the first method because it is easier to patch when I cut the drywall at a 45 degree angle and I can sometimes avoid cutting into the ceiling if other factors are good.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you are trying to cut through a lathe, a Victor cutting torch and #2 tip would work better. A shade 8 shield for the eyes is good, as well as leather gloves and apron. OTOH, if the OP is working with expanded metal lath and plaster, then carbide blades are the ticket. <G>
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.