I need to drill into the wall and ceiling to install a closet rod and
also some smoke detectors. Is there any risk of drilling into the
wiring or anything important? How would I know if there is wiring
where I want to drill?
Generally, these items are held up with short screws and plastic wall
anchors. Wiring is run thru the center of the studs which should give you
(even with 2x4 [3.5"] framing) at least a good 2" from the surface of your
drywall to where the wiring may be. If you stick to 1 1/2" or shorter
screws and plastic anchors, you should be fine
Either a small metal detector or stud finder with elec. detection.
Without those tools, just drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole just deep enough to
penetrate sheetrock, then stick a small wire in there and feel around for
obstructions. For mounting closet rods, which bear some weight, it is best
to find the studs first (stud finder) then drill mounting to the stud vs the
wallboard. For smoke detectors, I just use screws that are the length of the
sheetrock thickness, so they don't poke through. These detectors are very
light, and will anchor find without long screws.
Closet rods should NOT be mounted to drywall, IMHO. They should be mounted
to a strip of hardwood 3/4 stock, or pine 1x stock, nailed across at least 2
studs. For a clean look, traditional method was to start in the back corner
of the closet and come out at least 3" past where rod attaches, and put a 45
bevel on the front end. If there is to be a wood shelf above the closet rod,
use stock at least 4 inches wide, and run a matching strip across the back,
to support the shelf. For closets under 48" or so wide, and 3/4 finish
plywood with a wood band on the front for a shelf, you can usually get away
without a center support for the shelf. For any rods more than about 36"
wide, recommend heavy galvanized water pipe as a rod, versus the thin shiny
tubing or a wood dowel. It can span a much wider distance without sagging
when it is fully loaded. Use thick metal sockets for the rod, not the
plastic or tin-can ones- they often break. Make sure to allow enough space
above the rod and below the shelf, to easily get the clothes hangers on and
off. (I hate the wire grid 'refrigerator shelf' closet systems that only
give a little slot that is impossible to hit in the dark.)
For smoke detectors, either use the tiny screws and anchors that come with
it, and a short bit, or put a few turns of masking tape over the bit at the
3/4 inch mark, and you will be fine. Alternative is to just use velcro tape
to mount it. The modern detectors only weigh a few ounces, and it makes it
easier to take them down to change battery, since standing on tippy-toes to
figure out how to get the lid open is always a pain. I prefer high-on-wall
versus ceiling mounting, unless the room is large and you need to center it
The smoke detector if it's a battery type, will just mount to the sheetrock,
so there is no danger there. For the closet rod, cut two pieces of 1x4 board
to fit the full length of the sides of the closet. Screw the boards at the
corners, where there should be studs, with 2 inch screws, and again in their
centers if you find a stud in the wall. The 2 inch screws won't go deep
enough to hit any properly installed pipes or wiring. Mount your rod
fittings to the boards
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