How to Cut a Hole in a Ceiling Without Making a Mess - Fine Homebuilding
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Theres a Better Way


How to Cut a Hole in a Ceiling Without Making a Mess

comments (51) February 14th, 2014 in Blogs
grateful.ed Chuck Miller, editor at large

Video Length: 1:00
Produced by: John Ross and Chuck Miller


If you've got to cut a hole in a drywall ceiling for a light fixture or some other electrical device, you could just let the dust and debris fall and clean it up later, but there's a better way.

Tom Hazelleaf from Seal Beach, Calif., had to cut a hole in his ceiling for a vent fan, and rather than let the dust go
all over the place, he figured out a way to capture it all so none of it escaped--and cleanup was a snap.

Here's what he does: He's got a plastic storage bin that he's going to press against the ceiling with a mast. The mast is nothing more than a board with a crossbar fastened across the top and bottom. The length of the mast is 1/2 in. longer than the distance from the floor to the bottom of the bin. That way it can be sprung into position to hold the bin tight to the ceiling while he goes in the attic and cuts the hole from above.

Tom, great tip. Thank you so much for sending it to us.
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posted in: Blogs

Comments (51)

charlespone charlespone writes: Great tips.
Posted: 2:43 am on March 6th

bardenatwater bardenatwater writes:
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goalieump goalieump writes: What about using a large diameter tapered plastic plug? Back at my old job, we used these tapered plugs for a lot of uses, from tap oil (small plug) to catch basins for a variety of other uses. You can get them in very large sizes, simply drill a hole through the center, and hang on the the edge when you're drilling through the ceiling.

http://cdn.mocap.com/grafx/WF_-_caps-plastic-tapered-wider-flange-cap_group1.png
Posted: 12:17 am on February 19th

Kip321 Kip321 writes: I think Chuck Miller does a great job and is a very appropriate looking gentleman. He's giving us practical, useful advise. Don't need a GQ model.
Posted: 12:25 am on February 18th

marleyjune marleyjune writes: Can't FH find someone to present these video tips who isn't so annoying, or at least better groomed? And please also dispense with the pointless and irritating musical intro.
Posted: 10:57 am on February 17th

VirginiaGuy VirginiaGuy writes: I have a round container with a 1/2 inch hole in the bottom.

I added some 1/4 inch thick sponge weatherstripping to the edges.
It is actually on old plastic surgical basin.
Same wedge trick, but I put a hole saw with an extension shaft in the container sticking out before placing the container.
Hook up a 1/2 inch drill to the hole saw shaft, dill the hole.

I have used this for drywall, plaster (wood and gyp lath), and just abo0ut anything else I can get a hole saw to cut.

Having installed multiple Unico systems, ceiling fans, and light fixture outlets it works like a charm.




Posted: 9:48 am on February 17th

jtpjr jtpjr writes: Even easier and more accurate, two friends of mine saw an ad
for a flexible half ball that would go around a drill bit and catch
the dust. It was a relatively expensive tool and so they did the
next best thing to try out the concept before dropping funds
into the item. Steve and Doug's dog, Zar, had destroyed a
basketball so that it would no longer hold air. Cutting the no-
longer-useful basketball in half provided the needed shape. A
hole in the center provided the inexpensive solution to try it out.
That tool stayed on for many jobs. It created no mess no fuss
holes exactly where the hole was needed.
Posted: 9:11 am on February 17th

user-2543343 user-2543343 writes: Good tip, unfortunately the homes in my area do not have accessible attics. A good drop sheet on the floor and a vacuum at the ready is the best solution I've found to date.

Posted: 4:17 pm on February 16th

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