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Door bell button prewire for future flexibility?

JimS

Active Member
Detached garage is new construction and in the wiring phase.  Thinking I should put something beside the people door for future possibilities - door bell, camera, etc.  Most doorbells just have a small hole with no box but thinking I should run cat5 cable to allow more possibilities.  Looking for ideas of how to make this look good now with just a door bell button or nothing and allow some future flexibility.  Should I be thinking about a camera above the door instead?  Haven't ever had any trouble here and planning to put a camera on the front of the building.  Just trying to think ahead and allow for options but perhaps overthinking it...  Could just punch through the wall later  for whatever device and run the wire on the inside surface of the wall - it's a garage not a finished living space but still, hiding the wires in the wall looks better.
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
Give thought to what views you'd really want to see from a camera.  A straight-out doorbell position may or may be the best.  Passing cars, foot traffic, etc. might trigger motion far too often.   But you don't want to make it annoying for a guest to find the doorbell.  So "too far off to the side" might not be ideal either unless it's a really obvious looking unit.
 
It's easier to pull wire while things are open, or at least leave some conduit in place.
 
It'd be wise to pull both CAT5 and regular 2-wire doorbell wire.  And to have the doorbell wire AND transformer positioned somewhere it'd be convenient to eventually wire up for Ethernet.  Better to home-run CAT5 *and* doorbell wire from the bell location back to a central point that also has your networking.  There are some wallbox doorbell transformers that would allow putting it right behind the bell.  This is not ideal if you also want home-run CAT5 or other integrated control.
 

JimS

Active Member
Bill,
 
Thanks for the pointers.  I think I have all that covered.  I am running everything like this back to a "wiring closet".  In this case the walls are high so am planning to put the equipment high on an interior wall.  High enough to be out of the way but not too high to make it difficult to get to when needed - I think about 8 - 10' would be good.  8' step ladder will allow simple access.
 
My main question is what to do on the exterior.  A normal doorbell would just have a small hole for wire behind the button.  Since I am running more wires a box would be handy but doesn't look as clean.  In my bathroom I used a doorbell button and drilled a hole in a blank standard box cover plate.  Worked well and looks reasonable.  But no weather issues there.  The doorbell is under a canopy so fairly well protected so could do that but looking for ideas and other options.
 
If I run a conduit that allows me to change out the wire but I still need a way to terminate it on the exterior in a box or something.
 

pete_c

Guru
Personally I would put a box there where the button will be.   
 
Here had to offset the video doorbell to mounting it on brick and passing the wire from the wood frame that was enclosing a glass side panel.  It is right next to the brick such that I was able to hide wires.  
 
In your case for future use I would use an electrical box to home run the wires to then cover it with a matching color of brick / siding.
 

JimS

Active Member
Pete,  Not following you...  If I cover the box with brick/siding how do I get to it?  Maybe a picture would help me.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
pete_c said:
Personally I would put a box there where the button will be.   
 
Here had to offset the video doorbell to mounting it on brick and passing the wire from the wood frame that was enclosing a glass side panel.  It is right next to the brick such that I was able to hide wires.  
 
In your case for future use I would use an electrical box to home run the wires to then cover it with a matching color of brick / siding.
 
I guess it comes down to the structure as many times doors are surrounded by side windows etc and the doorbell is actually mounted on the door trim vs on a wall.
 
I would also be worried that a one gang box would be bigger than a lot of the doorbell cameras out there today.  A wired doorbell station would likely be larger, but any of the wireless doorbell cameras are pretty thin.
 

pete_c

Guru
 If I cover the box with brick/siding how do I get to it? 
 
You do not cover it.  
 
or just pull cat5e and a 2 wire doorbell cable through the siding or brick.
 
Here last three homes had side glass panels framed by wood and all of them had doorbell wire running inside of the wood framing of the side glass panel. All of the houses were brick and the side panels were adjacent to the brick.
 
I had issues with the doorbell button / wires for the regular doorbell.  So in current home the frame of the side panel with the doorbell buttons was adjacent to brick such that the doorbell is mounted in the corner. 
 
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JimS

Active Member
Pete,
 
First you said:
 
In your case for future use I would use an electrical box to home run the wires to then cover it with a matching color of brick / siding.
 
Then you said:
 
You do not cover it.
 
Can you tell me what "it" is and what you are covering it with?  Sounds like perhaps you are suggesting a box for the other end of the wire or nearby in the wall somewhere rather than directly behind the doorbell button.  Or are you suggesting to cover "it" with something that matches the COLOR of the brick or siding but is some other material.  I have noticed that Ring calls their unit the doorbell when in my mind the doorbell is the thing that makes noise.  Guess I am being a bit anal but it's hard to tell what is intended without more precise language.
 
Thanks,  Jim
 

pete_c

Guru
Well to be neat and if the doorbell will be mounted in wood / siding or brick then use a box to pull you catXX and doorbell wires and cover the box with any old standard wall plate cover painted the same as the color of the brick, siding et al.  Thing is here that you will need to put the box in and tell the brick layer to cut around the box or the siding person to cut the siding there for the box. Note this is to accomodate a video doorbell whatever brand you decide to utilize.
 
Not to be neat would be leave the wires hanging out of the hole that you are using for the doorbell wires and put them in a plastic bag until your are ready to use them.  Ideally if in conduit you can push them in to the box inside of the house.
 
In FL during new contruction here feed the DTV dish wires out of the house and told the contractor to work around the wires.  I did the same thing for the other side of the house except ran catXX and RG6 cable out of the house.  For the doorbell as I was using a regular door bell button at the time had the wires coming out of the stucko via conduit. 
 
Layers of the exterior were stucco, then cement block walls. Wires went though both. A bit of micro managing the build and went through 4 managers in a period of a year. Example: one quit after someone fell off the roof. Thinking he got fired more than he quit.
 

JimS

Active Member
Thanks Pete!  Yes, can be hard to deal with some construction companies and workers.  There are the plans and then there are the ways they always do it.  A lot of them just go by how they usually do it and not what the plans say. 
 

midrar

Member
Our house is under construction and they will soon stone the front. Ive decided I want a POE version and am going with the Ring Elite. All the pics indicate a low voltage box. I intend on using a single gang masonry box. Does anyone have experience with an elite in a metal box? Im wondering if there are any issues with fit or WiFi if I decide to go another route in the future.
 

pete_c

Guru
Using the POE version you will not WiFi issues.  Many of the issues utilizing WiFi doorbells is the radio propagation.
 
@JimS
I got used to the trades folks near Chicago which were totally different than the trades folks in FL.    I was lucky that an alarm company prewired for alarm panel and the builder gave me a weekend to install low voltage wires.  (before walls going up).  I put mud plates all over for much of the low voltage wires.  IE: in wall speakers, controls, network et al.  It was low on the WAF until I completed everything post build.  Other folks just run the LV wires, take pictures and cut drywall afterwards.
 
Personally have never run catXX for any doorbell in any house and always have dealt with solid core 18 guage wire. I have had to replace regular doorbells and many times contractor would staple the doorbell wires to the inside of the door frame.  Mostly though way back (20 years ago) they would utilize electricians to run LV wiring and they typically did not know anything about LV wiring.  Today with new construction they would probably know how to run catXX cabling and would probably put it in a metal or plastic single gang box.  IE: in current home contractor ran conduit to the doorbell chime and thermostat.  I used the conduit fo add cat5e cabling to the thermostat wires.  
 

wkearney99

Senior Member
JimS said:
Thanks Pete!  Yes, can be hard to deal with some construction companies and workers.  There are the plans and then there are the ways they always do it.  A lot of them just go by how they usually do it and not what the plans say. 
 
This was why I specifically called out the home-run aspect of the wires.  I have a doorbell transformer in a wall box behind the ringer, not a home-run wire back to the main wiring panel AS THE PLANS INDICATED.  Dumb-ass electrician was constantly ignoring what the plans said.  Our GC was pretty good at riding herd on this idiocy, but the doorbell slipped past.
 
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