Running wire inside wall

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris_Smith, Dec 21, 2001.

  1. Chris_Smith

    Chris_Smith Auditioning

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    I am hooking my home theater up in my new house. I have all of the wires run except for one of the rear surrounds. I have run it around the room behind the baseboard and just need to get it up the wall. The hard part is that the wall is insulated.

    What I would like ot do is drill a hole at the bottom of the wall and one behind the speaker and somehow fish the wire up the wall. Does anyone know how to do this with an insulated walll? What tools would I need. I was thinking some kind of fish to go down from the top and hook on to the wire at the bottom and then pull it up.

    Another thing I oculd do is to buy some sort of covering to put on the wall and leave the wire on the outside of the wall behind the covering. Does anyone know where I can get covering like this?

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  2. Bryant Brunner

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    Chris - I guess it depends on how thick the insultation is. I found the stud and drilled a hole next to it, anticipating a small gap in the insultation next to the board. I used one of those small beaded chains (like what's in the toilet tank) and lowered the chain. I then used a strong magnet to lower the chain down the wall to the hole that I drilled along the baseboard.

    I'm not promising it'll work, but that's the only thing I method I've found sucessful.

    Good luck.
     
  3. John S Smith

    John S Smith Agent

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    If you add a Plub Bob, heavier the better, preferably with a very blunt tip to the toilet chain, it will "sneak" between the insulation and dry wall. I have had very good results in commercial applications using this method. (You would then use chain as a pull string).However you may have Fire blocking halfway down the wall (Horizontal 2x4 between each stud bay to retard the path of fire in your wall). In this case the location will be obvious by the Plumbob "knocking" agaist it, you could then open the wall above and below bore a hole through fire bock and patch/paint wall.
    "Wire Mould" is availlable at or your local Hardware store sometines in a variety of color/profile options.
    Alternatively you could camoflage wire with a set of Christmas Lights ( may be a problem with significant other)[​IMG]
     
  4. Ralph Summa

    Ralph Summa Supporting Actor

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    Chris,

    A 50' fish tape will run you $15-$20 at HD or Lowes. Even then insulation makes it difficult. I now resort to cutting holes big enough for my hand to reach in. I cut one hole behind the speaker and one half-way in between. Then I fish bottom-half of the wall, pull the wire through. Then start from there and fish to the speaker hole. So you never fish more than three or four feet at a time. Of course it forces you to be good with patching holes, which I've mastered out of necessity! You also have to repaint. I've tried for hours on several different occasions with chains and weights, I've tried fishing an 8 foot wall and I always came back to this. Try it without the middle hole first, for cosmetic reasons, but I would recommend that you cut a hole behind the speaker that allows you to reach in and grope for the wire.

    Good Luck!

    Ralph
     
  5. Rich Boykin

    Rich Boykin Auditioning

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    Barring any fire blocks (see post above), I have had very good success with fish tape....
    In you particular case it may be difficult, as you'll want to keep the hole near the base board small, and you're running up a fair distance....
    First thing I would do is get a decent stud finder, and check to see if there are any fire-blocks. If not, get a decent length fish-tape (necessity in my mind, esp with insulation). If the path from the baseboard hole is unblocked, I would cut a decent sized hole directly above it (behind where the speaker will be mounted) shooting for either a single or double gang sized hole (use an old work j-box or mud ring as a guide for size).
    Since you have a relatively small hole at the baseboard (you could make it larger, but would have to patch), I would start running the fish tape from the bottom...yes the bottom. There are two key things to try to shoot for...
    1) Make the hole just large enough to slide your finger and the head of the fish tape through. Try to slide the tip of the tape between the drywall and the paper backing of the insulation. The tip of the fish tape should be smooth (usually curved/hooked for wire attachment) and should slide fairly easily.
    2) The fish tape has a natural "bend" to it...because it wraps around a spool. You want to feed the wire such that the "bend" curves toward the wall (ie tip of fish tap against wall, bowing towards insulation). This helps keep the tip of the tape from digging into the insulation and burying itself.
    Apply even pressure and feed the tape into the wall, trying to keep the feed as straight as possible. You should be able to hear the tape progress up the wall as the tip slides across the inside of the drywall. Generally you'll run 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 the actual distance, as the tape will bow as you feed it in. When you're confident that the tip "should" be near the hole behind the speaker, feel around for the tip. This might take a couple of tries to get it fed through straight, but it should work...patience [​IMG]
    Now just use a cord or some extra wire, attach it to the tip of the fish tape, and pull it down to the bottom. Use this cord to pull the speaker wire up to the hole behind the speaker....trim out the hole with your choice of wall plate, etc....and patch the small hole at the baseboard (if it's small enough, run the wire behind the baseboard, and have the hole behind it as well...easy to hide and no patching necessary).
    I've used this technique with insulated walls many times, for speaker/cat5/romex/rg6 and it works pretty well.
    Sorry for the long postage....
    Rich
     
  6. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Excellent advice, Rich!
    Chris, as someone who used to do this kind of stuff for a living, I’d say Rich nailed it. Everyone here gave great advice, but if I was doing it, I’d be using Rich’s method.
    I’ll add a little to that to make it even easier: If at all possible, enter and exit the wall next to a stud (another reason to get a stud finder). This way the fish tape will “chase” the stud as you push it up the wall, and at the exit point you will know exactly where it is. Piece of cake.
    At the exit point, plan on installing an old-work box. This will give you a big enough hole to put your hand into to grab the fish tape. You can dress out the box with a blank cover with a hole in the center (i.e., the kind used for rotary dimmers) and drop the speaker wire out the hole.
    Now, you don’t have to have your exit point against the stud. You could move it over to a more convenient place, as long as you can reach in to the stud and get the fish tape. (Or get your kid to grab it. Those little arms can go where no man can!) However, since you probably want to mount your speaker to a stud, you will probably want the wire coming out there, too.
    By the way, I'm amazed the all the responses to this post. A couple of weeks ago someone posted a question on how to run the rear speaker wires through the attic and drop them out of the wall. I was the only one who responded. Where were all you guys then?? [​IMG]
    Happy Holidays,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  7. Chris_Smith

    Chris_Smith Auditioning

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    Thank you very much guys. All of the advice is appreciated. The speaker will be attached to a stud so that won't be a problem. I have a stud finder and so far haven't seen a sign of a fire block in the wall. It appears to be open the whole way down. The baseboard is removed from the wall now, so I can make a fairly good sized hole behind it without having to worry about covering it up. I have an electrical box and faceplate to go behind the speaker too.

    I will give it a try tomorrow and see how I make out.

    Thanks a lot,

    Chris
     
  8. Max Jacobs

    Max Jacobs Auditioning

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    You may have already finished your job over the weekend, but I thought I'd add one helpful tip. When using a fishing tape, I've used a wire coat hangar to hook the end of the tape and pull it out of the hole. I don't have any small children to help find the tape through that little hole! A bent coat hangar worked like a champ.
     
  9. StevieC

    StevieC Extra

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    bump :)

    Hopefully all you experts are still out there. In both this thread and the other thread, hints all say choose the wire path along with wall so that you don't run into the "fire block" or basically a "horizontal stud" on the top of the vertical studs. ( I don't know the name of this horizontal stud, but the wall I am interested in fishing the wire is taller than 8'. )

    What I was thinking was cutting out the dry wall at that stud and just carving/chiseling out a notch for the wire to pass through. Then of course I have to patch the whole.

    Any other neat tricks ????

    The general plan is to run the wires into the crawlspace across the room the up the walls. I will remove the baseboard to drill down into the crawl space and have that as my starting point to fish up the wall.

    Any tricks to make sure where I drill into the floor, behind the baseboard, so that I can find the whole in the crawlspace ?
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Stevie,
     
  11. SimonKing

    SimonKing Auditioning

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    I have a question about the fish wire. Is it possible to use it to run speaker cables under the carpet? If so, is there anything I should know before trying it?
    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  12. StevieC

    StevieC Extra

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    Wayne,

    Thanks for reminding me of the simple things, but yes there is definitely a cross stud in my way :-(. I am just building up the guts to make the cut in the drywall, for fear that the wife might not like my patch job when I am done :)

    SimonKing,

    If I understand your question, fish tape is a tool used to fish different types of wire in hard places. You can use the flat speaker wire to run under the carpet, but it seems like it would be tough to actually fish under the carpet and padding. Can you run it along the baseboard ?
     
  13. SimonKing

    SimonKing Auditioning

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    Thanks StevieC. I can run it along the baseboard, but unfortunately I have a fireplace and patio doors in the way (so I'll have to navigate under the carpet edge around those). My thought was to run the wiring straight across the room under the carpet and padding. Doesn't sound too easy though, and I'd be concerned about feeling the wires under my feet. [​IMG]
     
  14. StevieC

    StevieC Extra

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    SimonKing,

    I don't know how much you can feel under the carpet, but they do sell the flat speaker wire. If it is under the carpet and the padding, it shouldn't be that bad. Or how about running it along the tack strips under the carpet ?
     
  15. Rich Boykin

    Rich Boykin Auditioning

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    Wayne:

    Thanks for the kind words :) Lessons learned after running tons and tons of wire.

    SimonKing:

    As far as running under carpet goes, I've done that as well, but it's pretty tough to get it run without feeling it. If your carpet pad is not attached (as most ARE), you might be able to use a fishtape (or some such tool) to run cleanly under the carpet and pad, but most pads will tear or bunch up when doing this....leaving a lumpy feel to them. I've done this for short runs (of phone cable) with good success, but I don't know if I'd try it for longer runs. YMMV (your mileage may vary).

    I'd more likely run under the baseboard as much as possible, and use this technique only to circumnavigate difficult areas (such as patio doors or fireplaces)...this would lessen the impact of running under the carpet.

    Also, I don't know what the code is on running cable under carpet....

    Cheers,

    Rich
     
  16. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Rich,
    It took you a month-and-a-half to check back in on this thread? [​IMG]
    Simon,
    I have a few tricks for this. What would be the distance under the carpet?
    But before we go there, it still should no problem getting around the fireplace and patio doorway – I’ve done it before. There is still a carpet tack strip in place, and you can go between it and the threshold and fireplace. However, if you’re running a pair of wires, you might be limited to 18ga. wire, since those areas are less forgiving than baseboards.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  17. SimonKing

    SimonKing Auditioning

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    Thanks Rich and Wayne...
    The distance across the room would be a lot. It would also be right across the living room, so going under the carpet probably isn't an option. It's concrete under there too so I wouldn't be able to run them under the floor.
    Going around the fireplace will probably work, but I doubt if I could use 18 gauge wire because the total distance on the furthest rear is about 40 feet (would 18 gauge work well enough for that distance?). I'm planning on using 16 gauge for both, and I will make it fit. [​IMG] If you have any suggestions or tricks though it would greatly be appreciated.
    I just ordered my Paradigm speakers, and I'm seeing about having the shop do the installation on the rears. If that works out then I won't have to touch the carpet and my wife will be very happy. [​IMG]
     
  18. Anthony_Alfonso

    Anthony_Alfonso Auditioning

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    SimonKing, have you considered going threw the attic?

    Also, I would think that you would want to use something like 14 or 12 gauge speaker wire for a run that long.
     
  19. SimonKing

    SimonKing Auditioning

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    Anthony, I have but I'm not skilled enough to do that nor do I know anyone who does. [​IMG]
     
  20. Rich Boykin

    Rich Boykin Auditioning

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    Wayne,
    Been too busy pulling cable to check on the thread [​IMG] Just (4 months ago) moved into a new house (well, new to me) and have been pulling a lot of cable recently (500+ feet of RG6 and 1000+ feet of cat5, as well as speaker wire and others).
    Luckily (sortof) the wiring closet/server/equipment room is in the basement and there is a drop ceiling...and many of the runs are to the HT room which is also in the basement, so I've really grown to appreciate drop ceilings [​IMG] Lots of fun [​IMG]
    SimonKing,
    Attic runs aren't that hard, they just require some additional tools...specifically a really long drill bit helps, as well as patience with a tape measure, a good feel for the layout of the house, and some luck. If Wayne has some tricks for carpet, I'd probably go with that, but don't rule the attic out. Too bad you don't have a crawlspace, as that would make the run really easy.
    Cheers,
    Rich
     

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