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Low voltage wire install - Glue lams and backing/bracing wall? Oy

Low voltage wire install - Glue lams and backing/bracing wall? Oy

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  #1  
Old 11-26-11, 01:21 PM
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Low voltage wire install - Glue lams and backing/bracing wall? Oy

Ok,

I'm a relative noob to home DIY but am mechanically apt and do a fair amount of research before a project though I'm a bit unsure of something so asking for advice.

I need to run some low voltage (cat6/rg6) to the other side of the living room. It's a vaulted ceiling room with no basement or attic access, and all walls are exterior.

My plan is to run it from where the attic stops (where the blue tape is in the picture below) and through the ceiling right to the opposite wall, then down it. This way I have only one corner bend, less walls to traverse, etc. etc.

My concern is that I read about not ever being able to drill into a glue lam and the pain in the but that exterior walls have with wood backing, etc.

I know from just knocking on the far wall that it has something behind the drywall as it all sounds rather solid.

I have no clue what is on the ceiling. I'm hoping just joints, but have no clue. I plan on cutting a 4" trough or so of the drywall all the way across and then drilling each joint to pull through.

I don't yet know how to get around the corner from the ceiling and into the wall. I'm worried about the bend radius of the wire, how close I'll need to remove drywall near the corner, etc. Ugh.

So based on what little you can tell from the picture below, here are my questions:

1) Is there any reason I should expect a glue lam in this ceiling? Is it very likely given no attic? very unlikely? If I do, I assume I'm screwed?

2) Any particular way to cut/deal with wood/backing on an exterior wall when trying to pull wire?

3) Finally, is there a link, video, or advice on how to deal with corners when needing to pull low voltage wire? I can't find any.



P.S. I'm running 3 cat6 and 2 rg6 and 2 14 guage 2-conductor wires, so using an external wire raceway is going to be ugly x2 because of need to go up a wall and along a few.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-26-11, 03:58 PM
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Are the 14 ga wires speakers or household current? If speakers only is there anyway you can run your wires in the duct work? Are you good enough to patch the groove you propose without it showing? Sometimes, especially with low voltage wire the shortest route is not the best. Wire is cheaper than repairing walls and ceilings. I have a son - in - law who installs alarms and cameras. He has some 3/8" bits that are 4' and 6' long with somewhat flexible shafts. He can drill through the blocking and several studs or joists from one location.

Is the room a slab on grade or can you go underneath the room?

Think about this some more there is almost always a way to run wire without making a lot of holes in walls and ceilings. I am amazed how much work electricians and plumbers can do with very few holes in obscure places.
 
  #3  
Old 11-26-11, 10:26 PM
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If speakers only is there anyway you can run your wires in the duct work?
Local code may prohibit that and even if it doesn't the cable would have to be plenum rated.

Surface race (AKA Wiremold) may be your simplest solution. Since they are all outside walls you might consider buried conduit with short section coming up into the bottom of the wall. You can probably push a fish tape through the wall insulation and pull the wires to where yo want them.
 
  #4  
Old 11-27-11, 12:21 AM
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My plan is to run it from where the attic stops (where the blue tape is in the picture below) and through the ceiling right to the opposite wall, then down it.
Are you telling us there is an attic space immediately behind where you have the tape on the wall? Some pictures from this space would be helpful.

If there is an accessible space behind the taped area then the next step would be to put a small hole through the wall inside the taped area and do some VERY careful measuring. You may find that you can fairly easily access the framing the ceiling is attached to from this attic space and if so it might be possible to use a D'versibit to drill through three framing members without a hole in the living area. You would, of course, need to cut a hole every fourth bay to continue but that might be easier to patch than a room-length trough.
 
  #5  
Old 11-27-11, 05:44 AM
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Take a look behind the baseboards where they meet the floor. Many times there's enough room to sneak a cable or two behind them.

As for bend radius: Six times the diameter for RG6; four times the diameter for Cat5.
 
  #6  
Old 11-29-11, 12:37 PM
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Thanks guys for the responses.

The baseboards are not an option as I'll be running:
- 2x 2 conductor 14 gauge speaker wire
- 3x CAT6
- 2x RG6

Under the carpet is not an option because of the large bundle and because we plan on putting in some laminates or hardwood floors in a couple years.

Cablemold, etc. isn't an option because of the right bend (90 degree) radius it uses - and it looks ugly as all heck.

So my only real concern before cutting into the drywall is that I run into one of these glue lams that you can't drill through and might be supporting the roof.

I don't think I'll need to worry about electrical lines up in the ceiling...
 
  #7  
Old 11-29-11, 06:03 PM
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The age of your home will tell you much about how it is constructed. LVL's (Laminated Veneer Lumber) beams are relatively new in construction and have only been in major use around the past 20 years.

What kind of siding do you have? Vinyl siding is easy to take off and put back on without damage. Might be easier to do the work on the outside if that is the case.
 
  #8  
Old 11-29-11, 06:35 PM
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Heya dwarf

Thanks for the reply.

The house is about 42 years old. So it seems I don't have to worry about running into anything I shouldn't drill through. I'm guessing the vaulted ceiling (only in this room), despite being all weight bearing joists, is still probably just...what...2x6 beams?

Putting a 1 inch hole in a 2x6, even if weight bearing, doesn't seem too worrisome to me. Assuming, of course, that all I need to deal with are 2x6's.

The exterior wall is stucco so that is not an option. And that outside wall has some kind of wood I think behind the drywall as it sounds more solid than it should, so that ought to be fun. :/

My biggest worry though is how to navigate the top corner on the wall where I want the outlets because I need a decent bend radius for the cable and not sure how one navigates that other than cutting two big areas (one on each wall near the corner ceiling) and drilling like a mad-man to create some clearance.

Then again maybe when the drywall is off I'll realize it's not that bad, other than a huge patching job.

But I'll be calling in a drywaller to do all the patching. One day I'll save and paint again :P
 
  #9  
Old 11-29-11, 07:12 PM
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42 years old I don't think you have anything to worry about with LVL's. You may still encounter trusses, which you also should not drill. That would likely have a 2x4 bottom cord. With the looks of your vault, it is likely rafters though. 1" hole would be fine.. I find cutting a 4-6" slot in the drywall all the way across the framing to be easier to work with for drilling, pulling and patching.

I wouldn't worry too much about the bending radius of the cable. When pulling through 2x lumber, you would really have to make a tight bend to damage the cable. (Cat 5/6 is about 1/8" x 4 = 1/2")
 
  #10  
Old 11-29-11, 09:53 PM
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Take another look at your baseboard. It might be easier to take the baseboard off, cut some of the drywall out from behind the baseboard to make room for your cable, run the cable, then reattach the baseboard over the cable. Patching drywall is horrible work (in my opinion, I'm not good at it and it takes me a loonngg time to do a nice job), it's messy (sanding the repair covers the entire room and half the house in dust), and it takes days to complete waiting for mud to dry...and the paint almost never matches afterwards.

Just my thought... good luck with it.
 
  #11  
Old 11-30-11, 09:03 AM
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Double what Jfinn said. Have you considered running it outside in burred conduit and then coming up into the bottom of the wall. Because this is low voltage you could probably bury the conduit only a few inches.
 
  #12  
Old 12-14-11, 01:42 PM
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Hi guys,

Thanks for the great responses. I got quite sick so I was absent from this forum and frankly this project.

But I'm back and need to get this going!

@ray2047 and @Jfinn: As for going along the "side" wall and/or along the baseboard - the issue, per the picture below, is that I can't really go through the drywall itself as there is very little room on the side wall given the windows.

Also there are many outlets along the base of the wall and I'm sure they ran the electrical wire along the bottom as well which means my cat6 would be run parallel to electrical wires the entire distance outside of the attic. Not very ideal.

I could try and carve out the drywall right behind the baseboard, but:

1) It will still be close to where the electrical wires are likely run.

2) It will be difficult to drill through the wood (2x4 or 2x6?) at that low, tight level but I could router out a notch to put the wires though but my fear is that the entire wall, which supports the weight of the sloped celiling, will have all the supports notched. With Los Angeles being earthquake country, I'm concerned about all the weight bearing down on the bottom of all the beams which are now notched...and potentially have that wall and roof come down.

So while it might be more of a mess, it seems cleaner (structurally) to go through the sloped roof and down the target wall - as long as I don't run through any type of support I can't or shouldn't drill through (like trusses or glue lams or whatever).

Also, I won't worry about running into any electrical wires.



I wish there was a simpler solution :/

P.S. If I were to run into a truss or similar and I did drill a 3/4 or 1" hole into it, what risk am I taking?
 
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