I'm installing a ceiling fan into a living room with no overhead lights. (1921 house in Minneapolis). The ceiling in the adjacent room is accessible thru a (ridiculous) drop ceiling installed where the plaster was failing. That's another project. I have the new electrical ready to fish from the adjacent room between joists. When I drilled the hole for the new fan I realized that the ceiling is actually drywall that has been attached to 2 layers of 2x4s which as far as I can tell are attached to the intact plaster ceiling. Trying to access the joist space above the plaster I drilled a smaller hole in the same hole (shown in image) and now I'm hitting the actual ceiling joist. I can poke around within my 4 inch hole and hopefully figure out where to drill where I won't hit a joist.

Am I right in thinking this is the right approach? My husband was encouraging me to run the wire between the ceilings (which to me screams bad diy) and I'm not convinced it will be easier. Once I get into the joist space I can see I have an unobstructed run.

As an aside, any ideas why they would have done this? It shortens the room by 4 inches (1 1/2 per 2 x 4 plus 1/2 inch for the drywall. It seems like overkill to me? We moved in in 2004- I'm guessing it was done pre 1990 when the owners before us moved in.

Thanks! enter image description here

1 Answer 1


If the easiest way to run your new wire is between the old celling and new, go for it. If you called and electrician to do the job, that is what they would do.

If you are standing firm on running through the original ceiling it may help to purchase a "fish tape". The most important thing is to have a box rated for a fan and a place to secure it properly.

The 2x4 dropped ceiling was most likely done because the old ceiling was falling like the one in the adjacent room.

  • Thanks for the quick response. If that is what an electrician would do I'll see if I can get to it unobstructed. I do have fish tape (and glow sticks from the Tool LIbrary, so I'm good on that! Thanks!
    – Becky
    Sep 16, 2022 at 20:43

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