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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    140

    Default Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    In my main level, I have a 12-ft long hallway & common area run with 1 overhead light fixture. I would like to add a recess fixture as spot lighting for a (dark) closet in the hallway.

    I would pull wire from the existing overhead fixture, but am deterred by not knowing how the overhead joists line up, either parallel to the hall or perpindicular.
    Just for a spot light, I will not drill holes through several joists if they are perpindicular or open plaster board to pull 4 feet of wire to where I want the recess fixture.
    My 2nd floor is a "cape cod" style where the finished 2nd fl. is part of the attic (w/ dormers).

    The house is 55 x 35 and the hallway parallels the (short) 35' sides. Given the 35' span, how would you expect the joists to run ?? Would you expect joists to run parallel to the 35' side, and attach to a header over a door? The house is 1964, plaster boards and the main level has 9 ft ceiling.

    You can tell I've never done framing or know much about bare-bones construction.
    Last edited by t_manero; 07-25-2012 at 09:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    5,089

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    Hard to say which way the joists run. I'd open the ceiling in the closet to see, run my wires, install the light fixture and re-drywall.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    559

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    cut the hole for the recessed light, where you want it to go. once you get the hole open you can see which way the joists run. if the joists run perpendicular to the hall, you should have strapping on the bottom of the joists and you can run the wire below the joists.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    140

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    Quote Originally Posted by MLBSF View Post
    if the joists run perpendicular to the hall, you should have strapping on the bottom of the joists and you can run the wire below the joists.
    Wouldn't the ceiling plaster boards (1964) be nailed (tight) to the joists ?

    Also, how would I pull wire into the overhead fixture box as the power source ? I expect the round box be strapped/tied to 2 joists. Do those boxes have knockouts to bring wire in. The house has AC all over (w/ apparently a Au ground wire, small diameter).

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    My best guess is that the ceiling joist would run perpendicular to the ridge line of the roof.

    Is your basement finished? If the ceiling joist is running the wrong way to make it easy, then I would try to install a light inside the closet with the switch inside the closet, power supplied via a run from the basement.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    559

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    blue board is not nailed or screwed into joists, it's nailed into strapping that runs perpendicular to the joists. try youtubing "attaching shetrock to a ceiling" or something similar and you can see the setup. you should be able to run your wire without a problem between fixtures. you might have to punch a small hole where the existing light is so that you can get the wire and feed it through one of the knock outs in the box that has the light fixture attached to it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    231

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    Do you have crown molding in the hallway? You could always remove a piece and feed wire behind it. Just be careful you don't pierce it with a nail when you put it back up. If not, it might be a nice addition for the hallway and would also hide the wire. There's no sure way to tell which way the joists run but I do like the suggestions of most likely being perpendicular to the ridge. If you have a basement or crawlspace, you might be able to see which way the joists run down there and it might be the same for the upper floor. Also, there was a good suggestion of possibly running wire up from the basement/crawlspace.
    My advice and opinions come from hands on knowledge...and This Old House Hidden Content

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    Quote Originally Posted by MLBSF View Post
    blue board is not nailed or screwed into joists, it's nailed into strapping that runs perpendicular to the joists. try youtubing "attaching shetrock to a ceiling" or something similar and you can see the setup. you should be able to run your wire without a problem between fixtures. you might have to punch a small hole where the existing light is so that you can get the wire and feed it through one of the knock outs in the box that has the light fixture attached to it.
    I know from watching TOH you New Englanders still use blue board and skim coat plaster over the whole board, but I think that is a regional thing. Houses I have owned & worked on that date back to the '50's in the PA, NJ, MD area are either plaster over lathe or drywall. I have never seen blue board down here and never encountered the ceiling drywall attached to strapping. (Although that would have been very helpful in a lot of projects!)

    I did re-read the OP's description of "plaster board", so if he is not using a generic term for drywall, maybe blue board was in use in No. VA in the early '60's.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    140

    Default Re: Recess Lighting, Pulling Wire & Joist

    (1) I believe the house was built with Plaster Board. We knew it was plaster, and guessed it was over lathe, but I was able see the 2nd floor skeleton because the 2nd fl. is cape cod style, and saw "wall boards" over the 2x4 framing.

    (2) There's no crown molding, so can't use that workaround.
    I know that the (outer) joists run perpindicular to the ridge line, BUT can't be certain if joists then can run another direction because they are hung from interior beams that are not visible to me (the center of the house has the "cut out" for both staircase to the 2nd fl (54" wide, about 6" wider than the normal 48 ??) and staircase to basement.

    (3) I viewed a couple of youtube videos and so far it's been drywall flat against the ceiling joists. Now, I remembered seeing that my plaster boards were nailed/screwed flat to the ceiling joists (when I was exploring the attic/2nd floor).

    It's be a couple weeks before I drill the ceiling to find out, but I suspect no strapping was used, BUT I also suspect the joist will run in the favorable direction.

    I haven't installed recess lighting before so have to figure out IC or non-IC, rennovation fixture vs. new construction and bulb size (PAR 40, 30,20 or 12v), etc. before I attempt the project.

    Thanks for your interests.

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