Using moulding to hide cable runs offers a solution where the traditional cable routing techniques fail. When you hold your new flat-screen television up against the open wall in the living room it looks just right. But after you attach it to the wall, the power cable and the audio-visual (A/V) cables turns it all into an eyesore. On top of that, this perfect living room wall is actually a stand-alone wall surrounded by hardwood floors and now these same cables are turning your living room into an electronics repair shop. You can hide all of these cables with moulding designed to hide cables and preserve the aesthetics of your living area.
- Skill level:
Mount your flat screen to the wall in the location that looks best to you.
Place all of your home theatre components, amplifiers, cable TV, satellite boxes, DVR's and so on into your home theatre cabinet or enclosure. Cable everything together including the flat screen and test everything to ensure that is fully operational.
Locate your home theatre cabinet in its permanent location, for example, sitting on the floor directly under the flat screen mounted on the wall.
Stand back and look at the completed home theatre installation to clearly identify what cables need to be hidden. Most likely you will end up with two or more exposed cables travelling up from the home theatre cabinet to the rear of the flat screen mounted on the wall.
Measure the vertical distance from the baseboard to the bottom of the flat screen. You want the cable duct's top end to be hidden behind the flat screen and the bottom end to be hidden behind the home theatre unit.
Purchase an appropriate length of vertical cable duct to hide these exposed cables. If you have four cables to hide, purchase duct that can handle six cables to allow for future additions. Choose the colour that you want or make sure that the cable duct can be painted.
Install the cable duct using a level to make sure it is vertical. There are varieties of ducts available such as a simple two-cable duct that covers both cables and screws to the wall, or a multi-cable, low profile, two-piece raceway which has the back plate screwed to the wall and a cover which snaps into place covering the cables.
Test your home theatre system for full operation, before you paint the moulding, in case you need to disassemble anything due to problems.
Determine the need for crown moulding or baseboards specifically built to hide cables by planning out the proposed cable route. Hardwood floors make it difficult to route cables around the room or through the house because there is no carpet to hide the cables. If you determine that your only choice for routing the cable is to end up with exposed cable, then crown moulding or baseboards offer a solution.
Measure the proposed route so you will know how many feet of moulding will be required. Don't overlook the corners as you will want to purchase corner pieces that match the moulding. Consider running moulding the entire length of the wall where you want to hide some cables, even if the cables are only exposed for part of the wall. Cosmetically, you do not want to end up with a small section of new moulding integrated with existing moulding on one wall. It is worth the expense to place moulding the entire length of the wall and just use the portion that you need for the cables.
Plan on how the cables will enter and exit the moulding itself. You want to avoid placing expensive moulding to hide the cables and then spoil it all by having the cables just pop out somewhere along the run. There are moulding components available to fix this problem.
Install the moulding by either placing the moulding over the cables and screwing it to the wall or with two-piece moulding, first screwing the back plate against the wall and then snapping the cover over the cables into the back plate.
Test the systems which depend on these cables, before you paint, in case you need to make changes.
Tips and warnings
- While most of these cables are able to make a fairly tight 90-degree bend, it is never a good idea to kink any cables as the physical damage can have an electrical impact on the signals carried on the cables. Some cables, such as RG-6 coaxial cable, have a minimum bending radius (one inch) which you must observe to avoid damaging the cable. Moulding, designed to hide cables, is compatible with the bending radius issue and provides enough room in the 90-degree turns. Only low-voltage wiring such as cable TV or A/V cables are recommended for placement in baseboards or crown moulding. Do not run 110-volt AC power through this moulding.
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