Can I run low voltage wires inside brick mortar joint?


Old 09-20-20, 07:39 AM
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Can I run low voltage wires inside brick mortar joint?

My family house in the city has a recessed front door. We installed a security steel door flushed to the outside wall years back. The door bell was blocked by the steel door. We just put an old fashion battery power door bell on the outside. It has been good for years. However, there has been a few burglaries in the neighborhood recently. We would like to install a WiFi doorbell with camera something like Ring and I need to figure out how to run the power outside.

The house is built with concrete blocks in the inside and bricks on the outside. I have a 16 volt line where the old doorbell used to be. Here is the picture:

How can I run the 16V lines to the outside on the left of the picture? Can I clean out the mortar (circled) and bury the lines inside the mortar? The brick is 4" thick. I'm not sure if there is a void between bricks and the cement blocks but It will be a good spot if the line comes out the outside wall 4" from the corner. Do I need to use some kind of conduit? Thanks!
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Old 09-20-20, 10:09 AM
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You can run low voltage wire about almost anywhere. Go for it.
Old 09-20-20, 12:46 PM
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I wouldn't recommend it. I know of no cable/wire approved to be embedded in mortar (concrete). It will work for some period of time, then it probably won't and you'll have to do it again. Also, how are you at matching mortar color and repointing brick?
I never worked in Chicago but there was always a space between block (structural) and brick (a fašade) where you could probably fish a cable.
What are you trying to install? An intercom? A doorbell? A door release?
Old 09-20-20, 01:27 PM
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Hi, what is above or below the area, where does the cable exit inside, you will have to find it to splice new cable onto the existing, at that point you maybe able to find a spot to fish a cable to the new location.

Last edited by Geochurchi; 09-20-20 at 01:42 PM.
Old 09-20-20, 01:29 PM
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If I were you...
1) Get a vacuum cleaner or shop vac that has a hose. Preferably one with a HEPA filter. Clean it out really well. Get a narrow Big Box Store wire brush (a bit bigger than a toothbrush) and LIGHTLY brush the mortar joints WHILE you are holding the vacuum directly beneath the mortar. You do NOT want to remove material, simply brush a few grains off the surface. You SHOULD end up with a cup of mortar dust.
2) Get a hot glue gun, dab a few dots of glue on the wire, and fasten the wire into the deepest part of the mortar channel.
3) Brush a narrow line of filler / adhesive over the cord. You could use silicone caulk, grade school craft glue, or a pure white toothpaste. You simply want the wire to blend in to the mortar channel.
4) When the adhesive is just tacky (not wet) pour the mortar dust into a small piece of cheesecloth / window screen / pantyhose and pat it on the bricks ABOVE the wet adhesive. The mortar dust should stick to the adhesive and change the color to match the mortar. When the filler/adhesive is MOSTLY dry, you can pat the mortar dust direction onto the channel to even out the color. Once the filler/adhesive is TOTALLY dry, run a wet cloth over the brick to remove the dust.

You SHOULD now have a wire concealed in the mortar joint, barely stands out, the exact same color of the mortar. And it can easily be removed or replaced because it's only held on with removable hot glue.
Old 09-20-20, 06:14 PM
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If it were me, I'd just run it along the mortar joint, with a few small clips to hold the wire in place. A white or tan wire you'd hardly even notice.

Embedding it the mortar would probably be fine - most cables, while not rated for concrete, won't be adversely affected by it. But it seems like a whole lot of extra work. Especially since 5 years from now you'll probably want the next best doorbell contraption and it will require a different setup.
Old 09-21-20, 03:29 AM
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I would use a piece of cord hide plastic over the mortar joint.
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