DIY: How to hide wires and cables - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 09-06-2010, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I see threads in this forum and others all the time asking how to hide wires and speaker cables etc. Besides fishing them inside the walls using fish-tape, from the bottom of the wall to the speaker, there are other methods to route them from your AV rack to the speaker locations. The 2 methods I used are as follows:
1 - Wiremold (wire raceway):
This is a type of conduit that you can open up, place your low voltage cables in, and then snap closed. You can either use screws to fix it to the wall or peel 'n stick method using the adhesive backing on it. It comes in a few different colors, but you can paint to match. In my case, I used leftover wall paint to color them before I installed them. The stuff I used in the pictures below in from a different generation. There are inside corner pieces, outside corners, T-junctions, 90 degree, etc, that you can buy and snap over your joints. I was unable to get these to fit the wiremold I had, but the corner is behind the bar fridge and doesn't matter. There are different sizes depending on how much wire you need to fill it with. I used the large stuff around the baseboards, and the smaller ones for wall installation. There are a few places where I could not fish wires inside the walls, for instance, on the outside corner of a wall where there are wood beams on the corner. I used a full piece all the way to the ceiling even though the wire only goes up as high as the speaker:
That is the Surround left speaker of a 7.1 system. As you can see, I made a "T" junction out of the wiremold, and made a hole in the side of the vertical piece using a utility knife.
Along the bottom, I removed the trim (see below) and routed the wire behind it, and then I notched the back of the trim using a file and a utility knife so the speaker cable could make the corner on the inside. So there is a vertical notch in the trim piece about an inch from the end, right where the wiremold starts, making the wire completely invisible:
I have more pictures in my albums.
Now, the horizontal pieces of wiremold. You can see on the right the mess of wires that otherwise would be running around the floor. Notice the colors. In the second picture, you can see the corner...try to imagine snapping in a corner piece to cover the crack:

.

2 - Install wires behind the baseboard trim. - The second method is to remove trim and install the wires between the floor and the bottom of the drywall. If there is not enough room, you must make a small notch in the drywall. As seen in the pictures, you can use a screwdriver, chisel, and any such tool to cut the bottom of the drywall off. Then install your wires, and replace trim. I used a small pry bar and hammer to make the cuts:


.

.
Subwoofer cable, Coax cable, 4 pairs of 14 awg speaker cable. I made a 1" cut in the trim for the exiting wires, right behind the AV rack.

So that covers all low voltage wires, but how do you hide power cables if you mount your TV on the wall?
You can always hire an electrician to install an outlet behind your TV, but there is a product out there that allows you to do it yourself (if it meets your local building codes). It is called powerbridge. You basically install an outlet behind your TV, and an inlet below your TV. You connect the 2 with ROMEX (house wiring). Once that is done, then you plug the inlet (using a computer type power cable) into an outlet on the outside of the wall. here are the install pics:


.
As you can see, they are connected to each other, but are not connected to any electrical power at this time. On the left, I have there is a pass-thru (other options available) which I have fed my HDMI cable and center channel speaker cable. To get power to the top outlet, you connect the bottom inlet to another outlet, in my case there is an outlet to the right (see below).

Here is the TV, with the room painted:

.
You can also add some LED lighting to your TV for an added bias lighting effect as seen in this photo.


I hope this post helps you with your rooms setup! Cheers.

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post #2 of 42 Old 09-07-2010, 01:29 AM
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Great ideas, I will be doing the wiremold and baseboard methods, unfortunately renting makes it a bad idea to hide the projector cables through the wall, but I think some well places wiremold will take care of that as well. Thanks!
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post #3 of 42 Old 09-13-2010, 09:19 AM
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Thanks for sharing.

Box cutter also works well for cutting drywall.

This is a variant on the baseboard technique, used in this example for line voltage cable but works perfectly for LV.



Pic also shows that cutting into the dryall for a retrofit/old work box at outlet height is only a couple more steps.

For safety's sake, use nail plates over the line voltage cables if passing through the studs. For fewer possible headaches, use nail plates for LV cables, too.

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post #4 of 42 Old 09-13-2010, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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good tip thanks! I only posted what I actually used but welcome all other methods too!! Cheers.

HT: Yamaha RX-V565 | 3 X Energy Take FPS, 2 X VS Surround, 2 X Take LCR | DIY Subs: SDX12 APR15 & TRIO12 Dual APR 12's | 47" LCD

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post #5 of 42 Old 09-14-2010, 01:36 PM
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Great tip! My family has a rabbit so I'm constantly looking for ways to "rabbit proof" by home theater. Thanks a lot.
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post #6 of 42 Old 09-14-2010, 01:37 PM
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Great tip! My family has a rabbit so I'm constantly looking for ways to "rabbit proof" by system. Thanks a lot.
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post #7 of 42 Old 09-14-2010, 01:39 PM
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Sorry about the double reply. My computer hiccuped.
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post #8 of 42 Old 09-14-2010, 07:46 PM
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Hey all, I was wondering I know that it's against fire code to run a power cord in wall but I've also heard that if you wrap it in electrical tape there's no real danger you just wouldn't pass an inspection. My main concern is if I mount my tv I want to be able to still use my power conditioner/surge suppressor. Would you still benefit from a power conditioner/surge suppressor when using a powerbridge? Thanks for any answers you can provide.

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post #9 of 42 Old 09-16-2010, 12:05 PM
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Keep the extension cords out of the wall, use cable that is rated for in-wall use.

Many manufacturers offer a product like the PowerBridge, e.g. Monoprice.



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post #10 of 42 Old 09-17-2010, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah, the reviews on the datacomm one aren't the best, but not terrible either.

HT: Yamaha RX-V565 | 3 X Energy Take FPS, 2 X VS Surround, 2 X Take LCR | DIY Subs: SDX12 APR15 & TRIO12 Dual APR 12's | 47" LCD

Music: Yamaha RX-V863 | 2 X Energy RC-70 | MA RXw12 Sub

Bathroom: 2 X Energy Take LCR

Car: Sony Xplod HU, Xplod 6X9s, Kenwood 4"s, Alpine 12" Type-S, Rockford Amp,...

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post #11 of 42 Old 09-26-2010, 01:58 PM
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Also, google Furman/Panamax MIW-XT for in wall TV to Power Conditioner connection. The reason you don't want the TV's power cord (or an extension cord) in the wall has to do with the way that the insulation material burns should it ever overheat and catch fire.
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post #12 of 42 Old 09-26-2010, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, the reason is due to poor ventilation. It heats up and dries out, and cracks. I believe (dont quote me) the UL or CL rated materials won't let the fire travel along the wire should one be in the wall...

HT: Yamaha RX-V565 | 3 X Energy Take FPS, 2 X VS Surround, 2 X Take LCR | DIY Subs: SDX12 APR15 & TRIO12 Dual APR 12's | 47" LCD

Music: Yamaha RX-V863 | 2 X Energy RC-70 | MA RXw12 Sub

Bathroom: 2 X Energy Take LCR

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post #13 of 42 Old 10-26-2010, 10:13 PM
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Is there an article discussing how to run cables through an outside wall (non-renter)?
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post #14 of 42 Old 11-01-2010, 05:24 AM - Thread Starter
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My TV is on an outside wall. You mean you haven't heard of fish tape? If not, maybe I can help a bit.

HT: Yamaha RX-V565 | 3 X Energy Take FPS, 2 X VS Surround, 2 X Take LCR | DIY Subs: SDX12 APR15 & TRIO12 Dual APR 12's | 47" LCD

Music: Yamaha RX-V863 | 2 X Energy RC-70 | MA RXw12 Sub

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Car: Sony Xplod HU, Xplod 6X9s, Kenwood 4"s, Alpine 12" Type-S, Rockford Amp,...

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post #15 of 42 Old 11-01-2010, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caper_1 View Post

My TV is on an outside wall. You mean you haven't heard of fish tape? If not, maybe I can help a bit.

Would you mind bringing your fish tape over. I'll buy the bear-after you're done. There is so much insulation it's a pain to thread it though.
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post #16 of 42 Old 11-01-2010, 08:46 AM
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For runs less than 10' or so, I prefer fish stix/glow stix.

The few runs I've done through/behind/in front of batt insulation in exterior walls have been pretty easy, using fish stix.



The ones that glow in the dark make life a little easier.

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post #17 of 42 Old 11-01-2010, 08:56 AM
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I'd be happy to try to help, if you post some details on what you want to do.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #18 of 42 Old 11-01-2010, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I'd be happy to try to help, if you post some details on what you want to do.

I think you just did it with that lighted fish tape. The biggest issue I've had is finding the end IF I can snake it down through the insulation. Any particular brands or stores?

As usual, a tough job is easy when you have the right tool. Like having the U-joint for your drive ratchet when the sparkplug is under the AC Compressor, ya know?

This thread will already have me making custom moulding with just the right router bits.
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post #19 of 42 Old 11-02-2010, 10:01 AM
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Glow Stix/Fish stix are semi-rigid fiberglass rods. They're not 'lighted', but glow in the dark. You can pick them up at HD/Lowes, or order online and save a few dollars.

Do you want to run cables from the basement or from the attic?

Either way, you'll be inside of a single stud cavity in the wall. Pick the right one from the attic, or the basement, and it's hard to miss from a single gang hole cut into the drywall. Easier to drill down from an outlet-height hole, through the bottom plate, into the basement.

I've found that a very thin colored wire, passed through a 1/16" pilot hole, sometimes helps locate the spot in the basement 'ceiling', if you drill down from your drywall hole. This way, you can make sure you're going into a safe spot in the basement, before you make a bigger hole.

Try to stay in front of or behind any insulation. 'In front of' is better, in front of the vapor barrier.

Take your time, don't rush it. You're not under the pressure that a pro is under, to complete the job quickly. One of the few advantages to DIY over professional jobs.

LSDI is a company that makes/sells all sorts of cable running devices. Pricey, and you usually don't need everything in their kits. Their website may give you some good ideas, though. I personally haven't bought any of their items.

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post #20 of 42 Old 11-02-2010, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Glow Stix/Fish stix are semi-rigid fiberglass rods. They're not 'lighted', but glow in the dark. You can pick them up at HD/Lowes, or order online and save a few dollars.

Do you want to run cables from the basement or from the attic?

Either way, you'll be inside of a single stud cavity in the wall. Pick the right one from the attic, or the basement, and it's hard to miss from a single gang hole cut into the drywall. Easier to drill down from an outlet-height hole, through the bottom plate, into the basement.

I've found that a very thin colored wire, passed through a 1/16" pilot hole, sometimes helps locate the spot in the basement 'ceiling', if you drill down from your drywall hole. This way, you can make sure you're going into a safe spot in the basement, before you make a bigger hole.

Try to stay in front of or behind any insulation. 'In front of' is better, in front of the vapor barrier.

Take your time, don't rush it. You're not under the pressure that a pro is under, to complete the job quickly. One of the few advantages to DIY over professional jobs.

LSDI is a company that makes/sells all sorts of cable running devices. Pricey, and you usually don't need everything in their kits. Their website may give you some good ideas, though. I personally haven't bought any of their items.

We have a single story house. Basements are not common out here, and in the Family room it's a Cathedral ceiling so no attic.

I did find a 15 foot greenlee on Amazon and so don't have to use gas to get it.

Anyway, I've mounted speakers on the outside wall and want to hide the cables, and then run some more cable for speakers around where the fireplace is (We don't use it anymore due to allergies- another story). I peaked in there and saw running wires was going to be tough, but this tool indeed will simplify the job. THANK YOU!

Another job, much easier, is over the bedrroms on the other side of the house. there is an "attic" and a few projects that would be "fun" to do. actually enjoy doing it myself. Anyway, I've used fish tape before but with insulation and trying to keep the holes small...
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post #21 of 42 Old 11-04-2010, 07:52 AM
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You can use the stud bay, behind the drywall, to bring the cable down from the in-wall or on-wall speaker.

Then, you run horizontally behind the baseboard. Use a box cutter to cut along the paint cut-in line, between the wall and baseboard. You can pretty easily cut a 1" channel along the bottom of the drywall, behind the baseboard, to make space for the cable. Try not to damage the baseboard, may need some repainting if you want it perfect again.

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post #22 of 42 Old 11-05-2010, 10:11 AM
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I have a fireplace in the way. Some people have said there's actually some space, but I'd have to go in the drywall... otherwise, thinking of installing some crown molding and using the "baseboard trick" on the celing (carving out a channel in the drywall at the top). But if anyone has experience in that, that'd be great. For my right surround, I had to use wiremold since that direction had a wooden beam from the ceiling.

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post #23 of 42 Old 11-06-2010, 11:49 PM
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'have to go in the drywall' for the fireplace? go into the drywall behind the baseboard

My gas fireplace literally has a room behind it, I've walked inside.

Find the install manual for your fireplace online, see if there is a way to pull it apart without cutting drywall.

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post #24 of 42 Old 11-12-2010, 04:36 AM
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Thanks for sharing. I hate cable messes.
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post #25 of 42 Old 11-30-2010, 01:39 PM
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any recommendations on the best place to buy the #1 option wiremold/raceway? I been looking around on the internet but couldn't really find someone I trust ordering from online.
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post #26 of 42 Old 12-01-2010, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tonydt1g3r View Post

any recommendations on the best place to buy the #1 option wiremold/raceway? I been looking around on the internet but couldn't really find someone I trust ordering from online.

Should be able to find it at HomeDepot or other hardware stores.
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post #27 of 42 Old 12-01-2010, 09:08 AM
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My local HD has a Wiremold display section. Electric Supply House would have a wider selection, but you can't really inspect the display (in a warehouse).

Find what you might like online, from a big company, and then look for a local or internet distributor. At the local distributor, they'll let you take a look in the warehouse if you seem knowledgeable and you know what you're looking for.

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post #28 of 42 Old 10-06-2012, 04:59 PM
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See what you think of this for hiding wires and if you like it please pass it on www.hideawaytrim.com
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post #29 of 42 Old 10-06-2012, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah, I have seen that product. I am a fan.

HT: Yamaha RX-V565 | 3 X Energy Take FPS, 2 X VS Surround, 2 X Take LCR | DIY Subs: SDX12 APR15 & TRIO12 Dual APR 12's | 47" LCD

Music: Yamaha RX-V863 | 2 X Energy RC-70 | MA RXw12 Sub

Bathroom: 2 X Energy Take LCR

Car: Sony Xplod HU, Xplod 6X9s, Kenwood 4"s, Alpine 12" Type-S, Rockford Amp,...

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post #30 of 42 Old 10-15-2012, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide away trim View Post

See what you think of this for hiding wires and if you like it please pass it on www.hideawaytrim.com

Nifty product. You may want to include a printable page that shows the exact profile of the molding, for those trying to match existing baseboard.

You may want to offer a drill bit guide that fits into the channel, depressing the flap, so that cables can be passed easily into the stud bay behind, e.g. speaker cables running up a wall for on-wall speakers.

Although the product is meant to be installed with a nail gun, not everyone has one. Perhaps you might suggest a semi-strong adhesive on the website. One doesn't want to use anything too permanent, for baseboard. I had to pull a baseboard once that was glued on with strong adhesive - had to remove it in fragments with a chisel.

Just a few thoughts. Good to see some ingenuity and motivation. wink.gif

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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