Planning FUTURE wall mounted TV's without blank plates everywhere? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-08-2012, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I've been searching for quite awhile, and can't seem to find an answer to this question. Hopefully someone here can help me.

Our new house is in framing, and rough electrical will start soon. The wife and I would like to make allowances for future wall mounting of TV's, but (and here's the rub) we don't necessarily plan to wall mount them right now. The easiest part is the blocking; no problem there. But what we really want to avoid is a bunch of blank wall plates that we may never use.

I know that, for line voltage anyway, it's required per code that wiring must be accessible, meaning you can't just drywall over the box. But what if the box is EMPTY?

What I'm envisioning is an empty gang box mounted directly above a live, wall-plated box, with smurf tube running between the two. The theory is, if I ever decided to put a TV on the wall there, we uncover the box by cutting the drywall, and either relocate the lower outlet, or run a wire in the conduit to add an extra outlet. Likewise for low voltage. I've even considered burying an empty double-gang box with a divider to separate low voltage and line voltage, and running two smurf tubes to it.

My question is: has anyone done this? Does this satisfy code, as long as the box stays empty until it is uncovered? Am I crazy to worry about this? Should I just put the blocking in and then install boxes if and when I need them? I'm just trying to minimize the amount of effort/destruction this expansion could cause.

Last question -- if this is all ok to do, does anyone know of a recessed media box that also accepts smurf tube? The ones I've seen at Monoprice, or even the Arlington ones on Amazon, don't look like that would connect well...

I appreciate any insight!
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-08-2012, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kaadaq View Post

Ok, I've been searching for quite awhile, and can't seem to find an answer to this question. Hopefully someone here can help me.
Our new house is in framing, and rough electrical will start soon. The wife and I would like to make allowances for future wall mounting of TV's, but (and here's the rub) we don't necessarily plan to wall mount them right now. The easiest part is the blocking; no problem there. But what we really want to avoid is a bunch of blank wall plates that we may never use.
I know that, for line voltage anyway, it's required per code that wiring must be accessible, meaning you can't just drywall over the box. But what if the box is EMPTY?
What I'm envisioning is an empty gang box mounted directly above a live, wall-plated box, with smurf tube running between the two. The theory is, if I ever decided to put a TV on the wall there, we uncover the box by cutting the drywall, and either relocate the lower outlet, or run a wire in the conduit to add an extra outlet. Likewise for low voltage. I've even considered burying an empty double-gang box with a divider to separate low voltage and line voltage, and running two smurf tubes to it.
My question is: has anyone done this? Does this satisfy code, as long as the box stays empty until it is uncovered? Am I crazy to worry about this? Should I just put the blocking in and then install boxes if and when I need them? I'm just trying to minimize the amount of effort/destruction this expansion could cause.
Last question -- if this is all ok to do, does anyone know of a recessed media box that also accepts smurf tube? The ones I've seen at Monoprice, or even the Arlington ones on Amazon, don't look like that would connect well...
I appreciate any insight!

I wouldn't even worry about right now. It's easy to add on a gang box if/when you need it as long as it's directly above your lower gang box you will be using. Cut out the dry wall and fish right on down.

Cheers,
Bryan
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-08-2012, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaadaq View Post

What I'm envisioning is an empty gang box mounted directly above a live, wall-plated box, with smurf tube running between the two. The theory is, if I ever decided to put a TV on the wall there, we uncover the box by cutting the drywall, and either relocate the lower outlet, or run a wire in the conduit to add an extra outlet. Likewise for low voltage. I've even considered burying an empty double-gang box with a divider to separate low voltage and line voltage, and running two smurf tubes to it. My question is: has anyone done this?

I've done "similar". In areas I knew there would be a TV, obviously pre-wired with a TV Box (recommend the 3 or 4-gang Arlington TV Box). For a few areas that I didn't know if I'd ever use, and would have been odd for a blank plate - like high on the wall in the master bathroom - I buried the low-volt lines behind the drywall, and made sure this was in the same stud bay as an outlet. I pre-drilled a hole through the blocking so a wire could be fished down (and left a pull string). In hindsight that wouldn't be a big deal, as once you cut a 2-4 gang opening, it's easy to get a flex drill bit into the cavity.
Quote:
Does this satisfy code, as long as the box stays empty until it is uncovered? Am I crazy to worry about this? Should I just put the blocking in and then install boxes if and when I need them? I'm just trying to minimize the amount of effort/destruction this expansion could cause.

Burying a box will probably raise questions with the inspector(s), and you might find that your drywall guys "fix" it for you and expose the box. biggrin.gif Just bury the wires, make sure you have an easy path to power within the same stud bay, and then document the whole thing with photographs and measurements.
Quote:
Last question -- if this is all ok to do, does anyone know of a recessed media box that also accepts smurf tube? The ones I've seen at Monoprice, or even the Arlington ones on Amazon, don't look like that would connect well...

Well, you should be able to attach a small smurf tube with male connectors glued on into the "power" side, but that won't really help you much. I suppose you could attach conduit to the nearby electrical box, leave it empty, and let it terminate below the planned TV location, but that seems like it's just as likely to get in the way as help...

Jeff

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post #4 of 6 Old 11-08-2012, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies.

It did occur to me that cutting a 2-gang box (our likely size) would create a nice size hole within which I could fish either style of cable. What I'm mostly concerned about is interference from the insulation making it tough to actually perform the fish. But on the other hand, it's not impossible at that point with a good fish tape, and Jeff's point about the drywallers "fixing" it for me is a valid concern. I guess I'll let it go for now.

The best news is, the next person to have this question should hopefully be able to find this thread in a search! smile.gif
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-09-2012, 09:41 AM
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If it's an inside wall, there probably won't be any insulation to have to deal with. Just install the outlets (both electrical and communications) at floor level. If you eventually turn a location into a wall-mount location, just cut the holes in the walls and pull the cables/wires up from down below. Install a retrofit box for the electrical and a cut-in ring for the telecom.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-09-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

If it's an inside wall, there probably won't be any insulation to have to deal with. Just install the outlets (both electrical and communications) at floor level. If you eventually turn a location into a wall-mount location, just cut the holes in the walls and pull the cables/wires up from down below. Install a retrofit box for the electrical and a cut-in ring for the telecom.

+1 This is probably the best answer for any location that could even remotely benefit from the low-volt cables run, and is exactly how I converted a bedroom location from a 'stand' to a wall-mounted display... Had all the cables and power in the same stud bay, pulled some of the cables back up and ran power from the box below.

Jeff

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