Replacing some old wiring with crumbling insulation. One of the wires passes down through an exterior wall from the attic, to an outlet on the second floor, and continues down to the first floor.

I attempted to follow the same path, but I drilled over 6 inches into the bottom of the wall and still haven't broken through.

The drill seems to be really struggling through the wood. Started with a 3/4 auger bit on an 18" extension. That stopped making any more progress so I switched to a 5/8" spade bit on the extension instead. Now the spade bit is fully into the hole along with part of the extension.

Not sure if I should keep going. The old wire goes through, but is there a chance I'm going to cause problems if I keep drilling? The house was built in 1930, so I assume the drilling difficulty is due to the wood used. I'm just worried about weakening the beam or something.

Looking down exterior wall between first and second floor

  • Pictures might help us understand what you are dealing with..
    – IronEagle
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 16:24
  • You are drilling directly into a stud perhaps? Although drilling through bottom plate flooring lower level top plate and wall framing is going to be at least 6 inches
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 16:34
  • Since it's on the exterior wall, you could be going into the wood that goes along the outside wall between floors around the whole house(I forget what it's called). Try drilling the same distance from the drywall as the original hole. Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 16:38
  • 1
    Either what Kris said (try another hole a good distance away), or you could just be dealing with platform framing, a method fairly common in the 1930's. There could easily be a giant beam running between the floors on the exterior walls. Is it possible to remove the old wiring and see how thick the hole is that it goes through?
    – IronEagle
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


HazardousGlitch had a good suggestion. I don't think I was drilling into to top of a stud because I had tried several holes before posting.

Opened up the wall more so I could position the drill closer to the drywall and went through easily. Above I posted the wrong photo that didn't have the deep hole. Now you can see the deep hole (left bottom) and the successful hole (right by the old wire). You can also see my other failed attempts.

Thanks for the help!

Successfully drilled througb

  • Good to hear! Be sure to mark this as the answer. Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 17:28

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