How to Run Cable Wire Through Finished Walls

Updated February 21, 2017

A home theatre or rec room looks better when the wires for electronic equipment are not snaking across the floor or creating visible lumps below the carpet. Running cables through a finished wall is the solution, made possible by a tool known as a fish tape. A fist tape is a flexible length of metal similar to a tape measure that coils on a spool when not in use. The fish tape becomes rigid when pulled from the spool, making it possible to run the metal strip through and behind walls to grab and install cables.

Turn off the circuit breaker that controls the power outlets in the room where cable will be installed in the wall.

Mark two points on the wall with an erasable marker or pencil where the cable will be installed. One point should be near the connection point, such as an amplifier or receiver, and the second point should be where the cable or wire will emerge to connect with another component, such as a speaker.

Drill a hole at each point on the wall at least 1/2 inch in diameter, but large enough to accommodate any plug or connector at the end of the cable to be installed.

Feed the tip of the fish tape into the first hole and pull tape off the spool to extend the end of the tape into the wall. Continue pulling the metal tape from the reel, guiding the end toward the second hole.

Pull out the loop on the end of the fish tape when it reaches the second hole, then thread the end of the cable through the loop and secure the cable to the fishtape with an overhand knot.

Push the end of the fish tape and the connected cable back into the wall at the second hole.

Pull gently on the fish tape at the first hole, retrieving the metal tape onto the spool as the loop on the end draws back toward the first hole, bringing the cable with it.

Remove the tip of the fish tape and the cable from the wall. Untie the cable from the fish tape and pull the end of the cable far enough out of the wall that it cannot accidentally fall back inside.


Leave the electricity turned off at the breaker until the installation is complete.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil or erasable marker pen
  • Cordless drill
  • Fish tape
  • Cable
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.