I'm planning on finishing my basement, and the wiring as-is is a mess, in the way of putting up a ceiling, and code deficient in several ways. So I'm looking at ways to rework the wiring, and I'd really like to avoid drilling several dozen holes in the joists.

To me, the obvious answer is to run everything from the panel, through the joist bay directly over it, to the central carrying beam, and then run wires in both directions along the carrier beam to their destinations. The beam has to be boxed in anyway, and will definitely provide support and mechanical protection. But I can't find any examples or talk of doing anything like this, which makes me wonder if there is something I'm missing that makes this undesirable or against code. The only thing I can think of is that it's not the most efficient path and contractors want to save copper.

Is there any reason not to do this? And if not, does anyone have suggestions on how to attach a running board/cable tray/cable stacker to a steel beam?

  • I think you've created a problem where there isn't one. A pair of 3/4" holes though the vertical center of each joist near the ends gives you lots of capacity. With a good auger bit it'll take mere minutes.
    – isherwood
    Jul 27, 2020 at 16:07
  • See also here. Jul 27, 2020 at 16:09

3 Answers 3


Attaching wiring hangars to an I-beam is simplicity itself. You need these, which run about a buck each.

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This clamps to the flange of the I-beam. Note the 1/4”-20 holes, which let you attach whatever you need.

  • 1
    For those not familiar, they're simply called beam clamps.
    – Khrrck
    Jul 27, 2020 at 20:43

If the beam where you want to put the wire is below 8’ then the wiring would need to be protected. I have welded metal tabs and also drilled holes in the web to attach gutter to beams both methods work and have passed inspection. I don’t like directly welding gutter as sometimes that makes a rough point in the tray.


Idea 1
Stand 1x4 or strips of 3/4" plywood as "studs" in the beam cavity at intervals, flat against the beam's vertical rib. Fit them snugly and use construction adhesive on the back. They'll never budge and you can use common plastic staples as needed.

Idea 2
Do your soffit framing first and staple to the inside of the vertical members of that structure.

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