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I need to fish some speaker wire through my ceiling downstairs to the lower part of the adjacent exterior wall. To compound the problem, the ceiling joists run perpendicular to the direction I need to run the cable. I have a feeling I already know the answer to this, but is there any way other than cutting several holes in the ceiling to drill through the joists? The run is about 10 feet.


The ceiling is a smooth drywall ceiling. The joists are I joists.

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Is the ceiling smooth or textured? Is it drywall or plaster? –  Tester101 Jul 24 '10 at 3:05

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Consider through the crown molding, or installing some to hide the dable. See my response to wiring rear speakers

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I saw that question, but these speakers won't be close to a corner, unfortunately. –  Adam Robinson Jul 24 '10 at 3:39
@Adam -- you use the moulding trick to run the length of the room, then you're running along the joists, rather than across. –  Joe Jul 24 '10 at 5:04
Excellent point. This may just be what pushes me over the edge toward putting up crown moulding downstairs. –  Adam Robinson Jul 24 '10 at 20:08

Depending on your house, it may be easier to lift the floor in the room above. There's almost bound to be a run of cable or pipe that goes across the ceiling that already has holes or notches in the joist.

Lifting floorboards is much easier than messing with a ceiling!

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Unfortunately, the upstairs is wall-to-wall carpeting with a plywood subfloor. While obviously still possible, I'd be pulling up a LOT of carpet and plywood. –  Adam Robinson Jul 24 '10 at 20:09

A quick google for 'Drill Bit Extension' turned up a 72" extension - that might at least cut down the number of holes involved.

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I like your approach and wish to subscribe to your newsletter. –  MGOwen Oct 5 '10 at 3:25

Here is a crazy idea, that might only work on a smooth ceiling.

  • Using a razor knife, cut a shallow channel into the ceiling from one side of the room to the other (should be just deep enough to fit both wires).
  • Patch the channel with drywall compund, sand and paint.

This makes the wires part of the ceiling so replacing them might be out of the question, but if done with care it should not be noticeable and it will accomplish your task.

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I kind of like your idea –  Joe Philllips Jul 24 '10 at 4:31
Just a guess, as I've never seen this done, but I'd say there is a good chance you'll cut completely through the drywall in many places, and where you don't, you'll end up weakening it so much that you'll begin to see the cracks (or at least the line where you cut through) within a few months/years. It's kind of like in an old house, when the drywallers did a bad job and you can see the seams between boards. You're also very likely to run into scrwews (which means you need to go around them, making a bigger patch). –  gregmac Jul 24 '10 at 19:19
@gregmac: you might be right as I have never done this before, but like I said it was a crazy idea. I think when you patch it though, the compound and joint tape will add strength to the gap and it may not crack. If you think about it your wall/ceiling is not one solid piece of drywall, so really it would have the same possibility of cracking as any other seam. –  Tester101 Jul 24 '10 at 20:01
except that you've possibly weakened it mid-board. If I were going to try this, I'd find some way to identify the seams on the drywall panels, and run my channel there. That way, you already know you're somewhere that's got good support for a patch. No idea how to identify those, however. –  Michael Kohne Jul 26 '10 at 14:14
I think you risk damaging the drywall too much. To hide your cable, you would probably need to cut about a halfway into it, which seems too much. –  Suma Sep 10 '10 at 21:23

You might be better off avoiding the ceiling altogether and going all the way down to the basement (if possible), across, and then back up again OR go up to the attic, across, and then back down again. It adds about 20 more feet to the run but assuming you have access to either the basement or attic it would be significantly easier.

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Unfortunately, the house is on a slab. In any case, the speakers would be going in the ceiling some distance from the wall, so there's no avoiding the ceiling. –  Adam Robinson Jul 24 '10 at 20:07
Is there an attic? Or are you on the first floor of a 2 story? Because even if it's a pain the neck, it's probably easier to string them through the attic than to drill all the holes. –  Michael Kohne Jul 26 '10 at 14:11

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