Running coax through wall in Condo

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Old 08-21-07, 09:12 AM
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Running coax through wall in Condo

Hi there,

I just bought a condo, and the only coax jack is in the bedroom. I would like to put one in my living room, and I don't want to see the cables, so I have to run it though the wall obviously. Problem is, since it is a condo, I have no attic or basement access. What would be the best way to run cable through the walls without completely ruining them? I've never worked with drywall, but I am willing to learn.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 08-21-07, 02:51 PM
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You have a few options here.

1. You can remove all your baseboards and run the cable behind them branching off your bedroom receptacle.

2. Tear into the walls.

3. Or you can pay the $20 install fee and get the cable company too do it.

(It's $20 for Cox Communications that is, may be different for your provider)
 
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Old 08-28-07, 02:28 PM
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Don't have the cable company do it! They do whatever's quickest and easiest. If you want it done right, do it yourself or hire a professional. How you run the coax depends on where the living room is compared to the bedroom and what obsticals are along the way. Here's a few different options:

1. If the living room is on the other side of the wall that the jack is on:
Look behind the jack and see if the cable is just coming out of a small hole in the wall or out of a box or low voltage wall insert. The wall insert will look like a shallow cut-in box with no back to it. They're usually metal or orange plastic. If it's just coming through a small hole in the wall you'll have to cut a larger hole to accomodate a low voltage insert (which can be purchased at any hardware store). Then feed the coax into a 2-way splitter. After that, cut another hole in the livingroom wall (keep your holes centered at the same height as the outlets in the room). Now run a short jumper from the splitter to each jack.

2. If the livingroom is not on the other side of the wall:
Follow the same steps as before to install a splitter in the wall. Then remove the base board and cut/ notch a hole for the coax. The hole should start about 2" up to avoid hitting the base 2x4 in the wall. It has to be notched out so that it can get down to the floor while being flush with the wall. You should be able to run the cable tight to the floor (even under the carpet if the tack strip isn't too close to the wall) along the wall and then put the base board back on top of it without noticing much change when done. If it is noticable or if you have harwood floors, you probably want to either notch out the drywall along the bottom or skip to option 3. Follow the same steps of notching out holes to get through any walls. Doors can be tricky. A lot of times there's a gap between the door frame and the structural 2x4 frame to shim and square the door up. If this is the case, run
the coax in that gap. If not, see if you can fit it under a carpet stip or threshold. Otherwise, keep notching. For wall mount heat regsters or cold air returns, you should be able to run the cable underneath, although in this case the cable technically should be plenum rated (rated for use in air circulated areas. If it doesnt say "plenum" it'll be marked "CMP"). This covers all the obsticles I can think of.

3. Running along the baseboard (Where steps 1 or 2 won't work or would be too difficult):
Again follow the same step to install the splitter. In this case you want to put in a double wall jack. Run the coax from the bottom jack down to the bottom of the baseboard keeping it neat but leaving a slight bending radius so as not to damage your cable. From there you can run it along the bottom of the baseboard and it won't look too bad if you straighten it out, strap it often (about every foot or so), and keep it tight. You can also touch it up with paint when your done (a putty knife works well for painting along edges, but make sure you wipe it every time you pull it away from the baseboard or you may schmear paint onto the floor). Use a small tack hammer or use a lot of finess to pound in the coax staples as the nails bend over easy. For doors, just go around the outside of the trim if you can't slip under a threshold or carpet strip. Use the same method as before for vents. To get through walls, you'll have to again drill through the baseboard and pop through the wall from behind the baseboard.

4. Wiremold:
Wiremold is an exposed raceway system that you can find at any hardware store. It is easy to use as there is no bending involved like with conduit. It is also a little nicer looking than conduit. It can be expensive though, especially with metal wiremold. I don't advise using plastic wiremold because it cracks easy and mounts with double-sided tape that can peel off or be a mess to get off in the future if it actually does stick. Follow the same step as before for the splitter, but you then mount a wiremold box to the low-voltage insert. You do that by notching out the backplate of the box with tin snips, taping along the edge to smooth it off, and then screwing the bakplate to the insert. You could also use the knockout in the backplate with a knockout bushing to smooth the edges, but then you won't be able to easily access the splitter. There's not a whole lot of room to fit the splitter in the box either. The box has knockouts and notches that the wiremold raceway slips into. The raceway has a couple of different kinds of straps you can use. One wraps around the outside and the other the wiremold straps into. I'd reccomend the latter because it's nearly invisible, but you have to make sure you use flat head screws so that they don't space the wiremold out. Straps are to be spaced within 3' of a box and within every 10' after that. Wiremold makes all kinds of corner pieces, so all you have to do is cut your pieces to length and add whatever pieces you need to circumvent obsticles. Make sure you leave the cover off of the corner pieces until after the coax is pulled because it won't pull straight through. To go through walls, they make a dead end piece that's triangular in shape. It has a knockout in the back that you can use to go through the wall. Again, make sure you use a knockout bushing to give a smooth edge.

OK, that's all the options I've got. As far as the coax itself goes, you have 2 options. Buy a coax patch cord that's close to length or make your own. If you're using wiremold you'll have to make your own because the ends won't fit through the raceway. Making your own is easy. All you need is a coax stripper and some twist on terminals. Using the coax stripper, strip about 1" back from the end. It will make 2 strips in one, going down to 2 different layers. Underneath the jacket is the sheild. This is what the terminals actually screw onto. The terminals must have good contact with the shield. Beneath the shield is an insulating layer that houses your solid copper conductor. The stripper should strip off the correct amount so that the insulator just meets flush with the back part of the inside front of the terminal. Make sure no metal shielding got through and is making contact with your copper condutor. When done, cut the copper conductor so it's just sticking out past the face of the terminal. If you make a mistake and the cable turns out short, or you just want to couple 2 premade patchcords, they make double male-ended connectors.

People claim that the twist on terminals have more loss than crimp on ones. In my house I used all twist on's plus a 4-way splitter and a couple of 2-ways. I use RoadRunner and have 4 computers and 3 TV's hooked up, all without any problems.
 
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