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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently thinking about building a modest home theater that will share the space with my living room. Due to aesthetic concerns, I'm leaning towards a plasma screen mounted on the wall flanked by three in-wall speakers (left, right, center) and two in-ceiling surrounds. Likely going to put the rest of the gear on a rack in a closet, so I'll need to do some IR work too. I live in a bungalow that has attic space above and crawlspace below the living room, so I would think the install would be relatively easy. I spoke to a well-known local custom installer and was quoted $170/hr (2 men at $85/hr.) for the labor cost and approximately 2-3 days to do the install. That's around $4K for the install. Does that sound reasonable? Anyone installed their own in-walls and IR stuff and care to share their experience with how easy/hard it is to DIY?
 

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I would get another quote if I were you. 4K for labor with access is extremely high. I have never been accused of being inexpensive but doubt that I could give you that quote with a straight face. :D
 

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Nothing is ever hard to do it yourself if you're passionate about it.

There's a good article in the current issue of Home Theater Mag about installing in wall speakers.

I run wires for a living and the trick is to be able to hide wires. If you want to DIY it's probably easier to do it with one guy in the attic and one on the main floor. Use a fish tape purchased at an electrical supply store with a hook on it so you can flip it inside the wall and catch your feed. It takes patience, sometimes it will take me a half hour to hook a wire. If there's insulation in a wall I'll run a wire between the stud and the insulation because it's easier to hook.

I could probably run wires alone for a theater in about five hours in a bungalow. Installing speakers and connecting them probably another ten hours.
 

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Don't know if this will help or not but the guy that installed my outlet for the cable modem showed me a great trick to running wires...


Get a coax cable - about 2 feet in length - and strip about 8-10 inches of it down to the center wire (taking care to keep the center wire as straight as possible). Now, when you locate where you want the wire to run in your room (where it will exit the wall) just follow the line straight up to the ceiling. Poke the center wire from the coax through the ceiling drywall at the joint where wall meets ceiling and push all 8-10 inches through into attic. If it hits something, then you may have run into a support so move an inch in either direction. Once the coax is sticking through the ceiling into the attic, go into the attic and locate the coax. Now you know exactly where to drop the wire. When the wire is dropped and you poke a hole in the wall, the most you will be is maybe 2-3 inches (easy to grab with a coat hangar if absolutely necessary.


I did this a week ago when I dropped another cable outlet to my wife's study and it only took me about 30 minutes (most of the time was spent getting from point A to point B in the attic. It took the cable guy at most 10 minutes to drop the line. I plan to use tip with anything that needs to go behind a wall, saved me a BUNCH of trouble.


Good luck and I hope this helps

Schwin97
 

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Seems very high. I paid $50 per hour per person in Kansas City. Most wire/cable installs require two people. If you want to save money, find someone who will allow you to be the helper and save on the labor. I did this with in stall of some speakers and mounting of my FP.


Here's what my two guys did in one day:


Mounted a pair of speakers and outlets and ran speaker wires to both. Wired for two sub outlets. Ran power cord and vga cables from the FP to the closet. Ran a sat. cable to the closet. Built the Mid Atlantic rack. Reran wires from original wall outlets to the closet for 5 speakers. Once I moved equipment and reconnected everything-they came back and organized the wiring behind the rack. Also, labor for the remote sensor. I paid about appox $900 in labor for this project.


One area they wanted to charge be another $800 for was moving all the equipment to the new rack and reconnecting everything. I did this in 4 hours myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Schwin97,


That's a cool idea! The only problem I can see with this technique is if you run into any horizontal fire block installed between the wall studs. Worth a shot, though, if I go the DIY route. Thanks for the tip!
 

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Nice tip Schwin97. I do something similar when I'm running wires down to the basement. You can drill an 1/8" hole under the baseboard down into the basement. Then, push a coat-hander into the hole. Down in the basement, look for the coat-hander, move 1 1/2" and drill up. You'll be right in the middle of the wall cavity.


--Burke
 

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chasin, the DIY route would be the way I would go. You could hire an off duty telephone installer. They run wires to hard locations all the time. I'm sure there's got to be some looking for extra weekend work. You buy the wires and tell them where you want it. I have a friend who is one, but you might catch some getting off work.
 

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Hiring an experienced wire installer is a good idea, but I would find a sub-contractor because we have to carry a million dollars in liability insurance if we want to contract for a company.
 
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