Who to hire to run wire and install rear surrounds?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Trevin Chow, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. Trevin Chow

    Trevin Chow Stunt Coordinator

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    Not being a handyman myself, I want to hire someone to run speaker wire for my rear surround speakers. I want to ceiling mount a pair of M&K K4 tripoles for the rear. (I am also considering in-walls as well, but I have another thread started on that topic).

    Question is generally who should I be looking at to do this type of work? Should I just contact a Hometheater install company to do this? I woudl expect this job to be very small relative to other "custom install" jobs. I've spoken to some people, and they've said to hire an alarm wiring subcontractor to run the wire, and it should only cost a few hundred bucks. Others have said just to get an HT installer to do the whole job.

    If anyone is in the seattle, WA area and has a recommendation/referral, that's even better [​IMG]
     
  2. Kevin T

    Kevin T Screenwriter

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    i'm not much of a handyman myself but if you have an accessible attic space, a drill, and a cable fish then you'd be a fool not to do it yourself. i wired my rear speakers myself and there's no telling how much money i saved. that being said, without the above, i would suggest trying to contact a home theater custom installer first.

    kevin t
     
  3. Trevin Chow

    Trevin Chow Stunt Coordinator

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    Kevin:

    Unfortunately, I have no accessible attic space above the room, nor a crawlspace under the room. It would just be a friggin' mess to have me fool around with this and have to buy all the tools [​IMG]
     
  4. Jim Rakowiecki

    Jim Rakowiecki Stunt Coordinator

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    With no attic above and no basement or crawl space below it is very difficult to do. You may luck out and find the run you want to make runs parallel with the ceiling joists. If this is the case you may only need a couple of holes on each end. If the run goes across the studs you'll be looking at poking a hole at each joist and drilling through it to make the run.
    When you get your quotes make sure it is very clear what is included. Will the contractor clean up and repair the drywall? My guess is probably not so you may need to factor drywall repair/replacement and repainting into the cost.
    The process can also be complicated if outside walls are involved because then fire stops and headers may come into play and add to the cost or make it impractical or impossible to do.
    This could be very costly. If you can compromise aesthetics you may want to look into other options. I know that you can by speaker wire tape which can be painted or channel that can be run along the baseboard and up the wall to the speakers and then painted.
    Running wires is running wires. If you can run an alarm wire you can run a speaker wire but where the HT guy could have an edge is in knowing what other options there are which may be less costly and the least offesnive aesthetically
     
  5. Trevin Chow

    Trevin Chow Stunt Coordinator

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    Jim:

    thanks for the tips. AFAIK, ceiling joists normally run parallel teh shorter length of the home. Hopefully this is accurate in my case or else i'll be faced with the bad situation you described with running a wire perpendicular to the joists [​IMG]

    I have contacted a local company and will be having someone come to take a look at my plcae to give me a quote. I'm assuming the company will be able to tell me which way the joists run? If not, how can I find out? (I live in a townhouse)
     
  6. MichaelDDD

    MichaelDDD Supporting Actor

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    Mike
    I think you will find that the quotes you're going to get will make you faint. [​IMG]

    With no attic/basement to fish the wires through, your only alternative will be to bust up the drywall. Making the repair invisible will not be cheap.

    You would probably be best served running the wires under the baseboards and up the wall. Buy white wire if you want it as "invisible" as possible.

    Assuming your walls don't have any "firebreaks" installed b/t the studs, you could do the following.

    Drill a hole in the wall behind where your speaker will mount. Remove the baseboard directly under where the speaker will mount and drill a hole in the wall there.

    Get a piece of string with weights on the end. Tie speaker wire to end of string, drop string in hole, fish string out bottom hole. Run wires along baseboards to amp.

    Almost as good as running the wires thru the attic and invisible. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. Jim Rakowiecki

    Jim Rakowiecki Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, I'm sure the company will be able to tell you which way the joists run and I think your right about the direction the joists run usually across the shortest span but if you can find out before they show up you may be able to save yourself the expense of a visit for them to tell you it's more than you want to spend.
    Unless you live in an older home with lathe and plaster walls the process is fairly simple. Get up on a chair or step ladder and start tapping. If your tapping on a cavity it will sound pretty hollow and when you come to the joist the sound will change. Just tap around for a few minutes and listen for the pitch change it should become pretty clear. You may want to use a cross shaped pattern just tapping every inch or so.
    I know you said you weren't terribly handy (niether am I) but I bet you have friends/relatives that have done some home repair or remodeling that would be willing to help you out and it probably wouldn't cost you much more than a couple of beers and dinner.
    Before you commit to anything check several options. Check the Community paper for a handy man or maybe the bulletin board at the grocery store. This project doesn't require any special knowledge of home theater just the ability to pull a wire and fix drywall. Check the electrical dept at your favorite home center. Perahaps they have some advice, at the very least they can show you what you need to do the job.
    When the contractor gets there find out exactly what is included and what you are responsnible for. Ask him lots of questions about the process, his plan, any potential problems, what he intends to do at the end of the wire run, will he put up wall plates with terminals or will the wire be hanging out of the walls, etc...
    It's your house and your money, the more you know up front the happier you'll b ein the end.
     
  8. Chris Xolotl

    Chris Xolotl Second Unit

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    A while back, my only choice was to take a one handed saw and split the drywall down the middle from 9' up the wall do the ground.

    Put the wire with appropriate conduit for protection and stuffed it in the wall.

    Sanded and taped the wall back up. Nice slathering and feathering of joint compound. Dry. Sand. More compound, Dry, Sand, then sprayed heavy texture to closely match the surround texture. Dry, sand, paint. Voila!

    Good day project. Dusty and messy, but did the trick.
     
  9. Chris Xolotl

    Chris Xolotl Second Unit

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    Oh yeah. I first tried punching a hole at 9' up the wall and to drop down the wire (with a 9 Volt Battery attached to weight it down for gravity to take it's job). However, it was stuffed with insulation [​IMG] Thus, I had to do the cutting route.
     

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