How to wire wall light - notch stud, or via attic / basement?

cramponApril 16, 2013

Hi all, I'm installing a new wall light in my bathroom. There was not a light in this spot before, so I need to install an old work box as well as run wire.

There is an existing light fixture that's about 6 inches to one side and 6 inches down from where the new light fixture will go. I'm not certain if this existing fixture is wired through the attic or through the basement; we have both in our house. This fixture is on the other side of a stud from where the new fixture will go.

I cut the hole for the old work box yesterday, and it is close enough to the stud that I can reach in to notch or bore out a hole big enough to fish through the wire from the existing fixture (which I am going to remove).

Or, I could try going through the attic or basement. I would hesitate to go through the attic because we have something like R-36 of expanding foam insulation up there, which is over the tops of the joists, and it would be a pain to cut through to get at the wiring (as well as reducing our attic insulation). The basement would be easier, and I believe the basement ceiling is open in the relevant spot. Of course, if it is run through the basement, it's possible there's not enough slack in the wiring to reach to a higher location on the wall...

Any advice or suggestions on what the best / easiest approach would be?

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If you are going to remove the old fixture anyway then unfasten it from the wall and see where the feed comes from. If it comes from the basement and there is enough slack then you may be able to re-use it, if it comes through the attic there may be so much adhesion to the insulation that it may be worthless, but the access to that wall cavity will prove valuable, both in fishing down to the basement and in "hand to hand" wire manipulation from the old location to the new one.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 7:36AM
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Ron Natalie

Usually spray foam insulation is installed to the inside of the roof deck not tot he top of the ceiling.

If you go the route of running through the stud, bore a hole rather than notching it.

Note that even if you remove the existing fixture, unless there's a lot of extra wire in that fixture, you're going to be making a junction there and you'll need to leave that box accessible (blank plate or whatever).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 8:32AM
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My approach is to plan as much as is possible the path in which the cable will be run before cutting any holes. A D'versibit might work well to drill a hole from your planned box location to the basement.
Planning would include looking at the situation in the attic and locating the place in the basement overhead that is directly under the planned box location. The absence of such concepts suggests that this job should be contracted to a professional.

Here is a link that might be useful: D'versibit

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:08PM
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