Fitting recessed lighting without damaging ceiling

by Octopoid   Last Updated September 08, 2019 23:21 PM

I'm trying to add recessed lighting into my hall. There's currently a pendant light in the middle, which I'll be removing. I then want to add 6 240v (UK) GU10 fittings. There's no insulation in the ceiling cavity as it's downstairs.

I don't really know how to go about physically wiring it all up though. The ceiling is Artexed (as much as I wish it wasn't!) and I really want to try and fit all this without causing a lot of damage to it, as I don't think I'll be able to match any repair cleanly.

I can get all the fittings in place without too much trouble, and I can slip a junction box into the cavity where the pendant is now. I can then fix that to be just flat and smooth, and cover it up with a smoke detector.

My problem is the beams:

Ceiling Beams

I don't know how I'm supposed to get the wiring in between all the recessed fittings without cutting loads of extra access holes into the ceiling. I've got a decent threading kit, but:

  • Do I just drill holes in the beams to thread the wires?
  • If so, how? The holes required for the fittings themselves seem like they will be far too small to use.

Answers 2

It looks as though you could actually pull this off without drilling/cutting extra holes. Yes you just drill the holes. Keep them up from the bottom, or from the top about 2" so no fasteners from the floor or drywall or plaster is hit.

I have used 3/4" bits for easy holes to pull wire through and up to 1 1/2" bits for more difficult fishing, as in threading a needle from 2 ft away. If the threading kit you speak of are fiberglass rods you connect together, these are perfect for this.

If the location of the new holes are relatively accurate how they are oriented to the joists, with care and a few drill extensions you could drill so the end of the bit can be used to pull a wire back through. It will take extra patience to do so but it can be done.

You could also use to fish tapes, or your threading kit, I presume, if you had help to send one out through the blue hole and cross it with another from the other holes, or you could go at the angle in one shot. I would assume you would pull the box at the blue location.

Here is a little sketch using you drawing to show what I would do.


From the blue hole drill 4 holes in line as best as you can with the other lights. Feed 2 wires to the fist light, one is supply, the other goes to the next light, after that it should be simple using the blue location to redirect the wires you pull to finish the remainder in that area. The rest you will need to thread.

September 28, 2015 00:17 AM

A flexible bit and guide tool, should make drilling the holes through the joists easy.

If you have to get in a real tight spot, a flexible extension might work.

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Though you might not be able to drill a large enough hole with the extension, and your reach will certainly be limited.

September 28, 2015 00:25 AM

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