Looking to run 3/4" conduit through the bottom plate of what should be a load bearing wall to get ethernet to the lowest floor in our house. I already drilled a 1" hole through what I guess was a beam to get from the top floor to the middle floor. Hopefully the house doesn't fall down.

Will going through the bottom plate of the same wall in the same cavity be an issue? The studs and joists appear to be vertically stacked 16" apart, so the load should be supported from above. However, it is open garage below this wall. It is also in the cavity next to the exterior wall, if that matters.

For some reason I'm nervous to drill this one after seeing a split in the single(?) bottom plate. I've cut a big hole in the garage ceiling to see things and run conduit, but only have a small hole for a receptacle in the living room and can't go bigger on wife's orders (90 degree attachment for driver).

Am I being overly paranoid, or is caution due?

Below https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51862823468_771b82c3f1_h.jpg

Above https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/51863400435_5ed3dca400_h.jpg

  • 2
    You don't need conduit for ethernet. Skip the conduit and drill a substantially smaller hole for your ethernet.
    – gnicko
    Feb 5, 2022 at 4:47
  • A 1” hole would not be an issue in the plate but Ethernet in a residence is not needed for single family dwelling.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 5, 2022 at 8:12
  • @EdBeal, why do you say that Ethernet is not needed for a single family dwelling? I would anticipate that you meant that "wired" Ethernet isn't needed, but I'd guess that most people in the civilized world have and use Ethernet in some manner already, whether wired or wireless. There are many reasons why someone might want a wired Ethernet connection, whether for security, network performance, or for devices that don't have WiFi Ethernet built in.
    – Milwrdfan
    Feb 5, 2022 at 14:43
  • 1
    No, conduit may not be needed, but it will make it easier in the long run. I'm running three CAT6 drops (two jacks and one wireless access point) to the adjoining room 6 feet away. That's at least one 90 degree bend and going through insulation. I could potentially do a 3/4" hole and line up the conduit from below.
    – dubch87
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:06
  • 1
    @milwrdfan , conduit was supposed to be in there no conduit needed.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 5, 2022 at 15:40

2 Answers 2


The check in the plate is not a big deal (it's off-axis to most of the loading), and drilling a 1" hole through it will not aggravate it.

Conduit is indeed the best way to run network wiring, since network wiring standards change much faster than other wiring types, so being able to remove and replace the wiring when & as needed is beneficial.


First of all the bottom plate is entirely in compression so that split was likely there from the start. But since there is no tension here, it's not going to open up and drilling a small hole is not going to cause problems.

As noted in one of the comments, you do not need conduit for a CAT-5/CAT-6 network cable. Just drill a 1/2" (more or less) hole and push the cable through. Best case is to use an unterminated cable and either terminate it on the other side with a connector or attach it to a punch-down block.

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