Running speaker wire under carpet...?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Vader, Mar 14, 2005.

  1. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Derek
    In hooking up my rear surrounds, I found that there is no clean way to run speaker wire to them because of the design of the room, placement of doors, a fireplace, etc. In-wall is also not an option. I am looking into the possibility of simply running the wire "as the crow flies" under the carpet, and am looking for somthing to protect the wire. The wire is flat, and some kind of plasic conduit (also more-or-less flat) would be ideal. I am using 14AWG wire, and the run(s) would be about 15'. Obviously, I don't want a bulge in the carpet, but at the same time I want the wire to be protected against foot traffic. Does anybody have any suggestions?
     
  2. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    Derek,
    I would rec'd an installer does this.
    You need to pull the carpet up. Then I would run the wire around the exterior and have it held in place by plastic staples.
    The other option is to cut a slit in the insulation below your carpet. Then slip the wire in there.
    It will be invisible afterwards.
    Tucking the carpet back in is a pain.
    There could always be other issues.
    Good luck.
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    It would be pretty tough to run wire under carpet that distance without pulling it all up, as Adil mentioned. The issue is not so much that you’d end up with a bulge when it’s done, especially if you use flat wire. (I used to have standard 12-gauge running across a doorway, and you couldn’t tell it was there unless you walked over it without shoes on.) The problem is that it’s easy to snag the pad and get it all “bunched up” under the carpet, and there’s no fixing that without pulling up the carpet.

    I suggest going around the fireplace and doorway. That would really be the easiest way. You can easily hide the wire between the tack strip and the brick or threshold. I’ve successfully done this numerous times.

    If you’re game to try the “as the crow files” method, here’s how to do it – no guarantees you won’t end up with a bunched-up pad, though.

    You’ll need a really stiff wire, something like what they use for hung ceilings with drop-in tiles. You might find a suitable thin aluminum rod at the hardware store, 1/8 to 3/16” tops. I suggest rounding off the end with a file, to minimize your chances of snagging the pad.

    The trick is to push the “fishwire” under the carpet a few feet, and make a slit in the carpet with a single-edge razor in it so that you can pull the wire back out. When you’re all done the slits won’t be seen – presuming your carpet isn’t some super-low-cut pile. It would be helpful to have someone grab the carpet with some needle nose pliers and pull it up slightly as you push your wire under it, to relieve some pressure and help reduce your chances of snagging the pad (you want to go under the pad, by the way – if you’re on top of the pad you’ll see and feel the speaker wire for sure). Tape your speaker wire to the other end of your push wire. There has to be a really smooth transition between the push wire and the speaker wire, or else the speaker wire will be what snags the pad. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this. You might even want to use some cutters to taper the speaker wire to a point before taping it to the push wire.

    So, you push your wire under the carpet to your slit a few feet away, and pull it fully out of the slit with all your speaker wire slack. Then re-insert the push wire under the carpet and push it towards your next carpet slit. And so on until you get across the room. Naturally, you’ll need be careful with each re-insertion to make sure you don’t get your speaker wire twisted. You want it to stay flat under the rug.

    Since your starting point is probably dead against a wall, I suggest you start your “journey” not from the wall, but from your first slit in the carpet a couple of feet from the wall. Then you can go backward from the first slit to the wall. You’ll want to pull up the carpet from the tack strip right there and cut a notch in the strip wide enough for the speaker wire to pass through. Same thing on the other end of the room. You obviously don’t want your speaker wire laying across a tack strip.

    Good luck, and let us know now it turns out.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I did this succesfully at my last apartment (about a 13 ft. run). The secret is to get one of these at Home Depot or Lowes:Fish Tape
    They are a reel of flat stiff wire that you can slip under the edge of the carpet and feed through to the other side. Bend a closed loop in the end of the fish tape before you slide it under to prevent spearing through the padding. Use the needle nose pliers trick to aid the fish tape along. When you get it to the other side, slip your wires throught the loop and bend them back along themselves for a good 3 inches. Then take electrical tape and wrap the whole shebang tightly, forming a cocoon that extends about 1 inch further than each side of the loops. This will keep the wires from snagging or pulling out of the loop. Yank the fish tape back under the carpet and detape. Viola, no muss no fuss and my 12 guage regular wires didn't show under my fairly short (1/2 in. or so) pile carpet. Took me about 1/2 hour total.
     
  5. Vader

    Vader Supporting Actor

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    Derek
    Thanx, all!

    I am looking at possible alternatives before I attempt it, but I will let you all know how it works....:)
     

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