I want to pull two Ethernet cables from my attic down a 12’ wall into the living room behind the tv console. There are several horizontal studs in the wall preventing a straight drop. From the top, the lowest horizontal stud is 8’ down.

I’ve come across “flex” auger bits. My intent is to use a 74” long bit with a 54” extension to drill straight down from the attic. Is this the right method? Any alternatives? Anything “easier”?

Update: I used a 1.25” auger drill. I made a 8” wide by 12” wide cutout in the drywall between the header and the fire stop. I drilled up thru the header and down thru the fire stop. Easy. ...The wrench in the mix. My stud sensor was giving some funny readings, but other checks concluded that there was another horizontal at about 4’ from the floor. I tried to make the same cut in the drywall. Turns out, there are 2 2x12s running horizontally(I assume to mount a tv to the wall) once I figured that out, I had to open up the fire stop hole to push the EMT conduit away from the 2x12s. I’ve got a little patching and painting left.

  • 5
  • 3
    I think that cutting access holes in the drywall at the points where the cable needs to go through the "horizontal studs" is going to work out much better than a ten foot drill bit.
    – gnicko
    Mar 1, 2019 at 3:52
  • You can go up from the bottom as well as down from the top to minimize the additional holes you need. Also, at least one hole could be behind the TV and re-used to power the TV or for AV cables.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 1, 2019 at 17:41
  • WiFi is a lot faster than cat5e these days...
    – dandavis
    Mar 1, 2019 at 20:34
  • Ran into this exact problem while running wires for new outlets. I gave up one of the outlets because of the difficulty of the job.
    – cryptic0
    Jan 8 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


Given that the "horizontal studs" are fireblocking, you should be applying firestop caulk after you run the wires, which favors access holes and drywall repair. So does the possible/likely presence of power wiring in the wall, and possibly other things like pipes. Blindly poking a long drill bit into the unknown can get very interesting, in the unpleasant sense of "interesting."

Edit to add: Also - choose conduit. Cat5e is already obsolete, even if it's "good enough" for what you currently want. Conduit makes it easy to install the next thing when needed.

  • PVC or metal conduit?
    – GisMofx
    Mar 1, 2019 at 14:38
  • I'd add that as a separate question, but personally, I find PVC conduit much easier to work with. Mar 1, 2019 at 15:07
  • 1
    Whichever you like. I tend towards using EMT inside and PVC outside, due to relative cost and corrosion, respectively. You can also use "ENT" if you fear rigidity, but it's relatively expensive. That's the plastic stuff that looks like small vacuum cleaner hose.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 1, 2019 at 15:09
  • Thanks. If I pop holes in drywall just above each fire stop, I’ll need to drill a hole for the conduit. Depending on how much I can oversize and how well I can align the holes, a straight EMT will work. Something flexible would make things a little easier. I’m thinking 3/4” EMT would suffice. Thinking a 1.5” hole. What type of drill would you suggest? Auger, spade, etc?
    – GisMofx
    Mar 1, 2019 at 17:54
  • If you are going up to 1.5 inch, a hole saw tends to be the practical and affordable option unless you are a professional drilling lots of holes where something like a power auger bit will pay for itself by being quicker. Of course such an auger also needs an appropriate drill to drive it (geared-down right angle heavy duty drills with short bits to make holes between joists easily.) When you commit to drywall repair, keeping the hole small does not help you any, so feel free to cut a nice big access which takes no more time to fix than a small one, and lets you line up the drill vertically.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 1, 2019 at 19:00

I don't gamble, I've never been in a casino. But I would bet a substantial sum that you wouldn't be able to hit 3 or 4 blockers on center through a top plate with a flex bit without exiting the drywall. You will want to use a long ridged bit with a large diameter hole to allow you to see down. You have to be careful to not hit wires or plumbing etc. and a 3/4 hole will not let you see anything. I would try at least a 2-1/2 bit and make 2 holes next to each other overlapping. Very long daisy chained flex bits torque up quite a bit and go all over the place out of control. This isn't an easy job, have you considered surface mounting? Or pull the baseboards and run data lines behind the quarter round?

  • That’s why I asked. It’s a lot of length. Surface mount isn’t acceptable and baseboard not possible. I’m trying to avoid making holes in drywall, but I don’t think it’s possible.
    – GisMofx
    Mar 1, 2019 at 16:18
  • 2
    I've attempted similar challenges and found out it's not a very good idea. I've been successfully, but not anywhere near those lengths with so much obstruction. Long flex bits load a lot of torsion and end up very hard to control. Cutting the drywall is a much better option as you would most likely punch the drywall with the long bit method anyway. You also lower the likelihood of hitting wires or plumbing.
    – Joe Fala
    Mar 1, 2019 at 16:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.