My dad just bought a house and let me move in. He's home once every three months so its practically my house. I just have to take care of it.

What I want to do is have my internet closet on the north side of the house and my office on the south side of the house. Well I wanted to achieve this by running a 50ft Ethernet cable up into the attic, across the house, and then drill a hole through the joist that's above the office room and feed the cable through the wall so I can have Ethernet ports on my wall.

Only problem is, I've never done anything like this before. I had assumed that if I go into the attic there would just be a wide open space where the wall is with a bunch of electrical wires and crap hanging down into the wall, which then I could just drop the Ethernet cable down and find it when I get back out of the attic.

I found out that there's a wooden joist covering it so I'd have to drill through. I tried to drill through and the drill only went halfway and then it wouldn't go through any more. So. I stopped.

Why didn't it go through? Is there a better way to achieve what I want? Am I doing something stupid?

My biggest concern is that when my dad goes to sell the house, will a home inspector see that and then flag him for it? I want to do this in a way that won't create problems in the future.

1 Answer 1


The method you describe is the basic method used by electricians and data-techs to install low voltage cable.

Low voltage and data cable do not require conduit where it is exposed, or full boxes in the wall. It does need to be run through the floor joists in the basement and stapled to the tops of the ceiling joists in the attic.

Normally you would install it similar to how you have envisioned. If there is a basement, you would drill up from the basement into the wall cavity and cut a hole in the wall sized for a device box. Cut the hole at the same height as your receptacle boxes so they all look even. Make sure you don't hit a stud. Most data-techs use a long ¼" feeler bit with a slot in he end of it. Once you drill up where you can reach the drill bit you attach the wire to the drill bit by twisting some of the wires through the slot in the bit. Then pull the wire down into the basement and feed it to where you want to go. In the basement the cable needs to be run through the floor joists.

If there is no basement, or you think it would be easier in the attic, then drill down into the wall cavity as you already attempted. Make sure your drill bit is long enough to go through both of the top plates of the wall. (This can be a problem if you are near the perimeter of the house where the roof slopes close to the top of the wall) Then use a fish tape in the wall to reach the hole for the data-port. Pull your wire up from the main floor and feed it through the attic to where you want to go. Sometimes you can use a short length (10 feet) of small chain or solid wire fed through the hole into the wall cavity and use it to pull the wire down from the attic. (This is all much easier with two people.)

Either way you go you should read more about the design of wall construction similar to this article. Take accurate measurements to locate the wall cavity and make sure you don't drill into open floor or ceiling.

Good luck!

  • 3
    "Staple".... I would not use a staple, not even from a rounded stapler, even if the insulation remains intact if you create a ridge or crease in the copper you will introduce noise. I recommend non-metallic fasteners manufacturered for Ethernet cable. I also prefer screw attachments ... if hammering be careful not to smash the cable--it will introduce noise and errors.
    – Tyson
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 0:32
  • Agreed about normal cable staples. The Gardner Bender stapler I use though has plastic inserts made for different cables available. It rarely even staples all the way in. With Romex I usually have to tap them in further. I would never mash a staple down as they are only for support and can be left loose to barely snug.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 0:38
  • 2
    I just wanted to point it out, many that run 5e and 6 don't understand that pinching or mashing cable is bad. It likely still works since TCP/IP has methods for error correcting and/or re-requesting the packet. Every point of cable deformity introduces a point of signal loss and/or induced noise. If many packets require re-transmission connection speed decreases exponentially.
    – Tyson
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 0:48
  • 3
    @Tyson yes good point. Most electricians are not properly trained in data cable installation and tend to use zip ties pulled way too tight. As you said deforming the cable causes signal reflections that are cumulative and can significantly degrade the signal. If they distort things too badly the cable will not certify. We advocate Velcro wraps for bundling and cable trays instead of zip ties.
    – ArchonOSX
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 9:51
  • 1
    Although conduit is not required for low-voltage cable, I found it a convenience. But instead of using real conduit, I used short segments of PEX water pipe, so I could slip my wires through the holes in the floors without so much worry about snags and being able to find the wires where they come through. Installing speaker wire through my cellar was quite a bit easier that way.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 0:20

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