Wiring house with Cat6 (finished walls)

dummptyhummpty

New Member
Hey all,

I signed up here a while ago after seeing IVB's posts over on AVS Forum. I posted my questions there, but didn't receive as much feedback as I had hoped for.

I'm looking to wire my house with Cat6 as Wireless N isn't cutting it. My house is a two story with a slab foundation. I'm planning to terminate the cable on a side wall of my attached garage (finished walls too). The current cable TV and phone lines terminate in the same location, but have to be accessed from the outside. Each cable TV jack has it's own coax cable, while the phone lines are daisy changed. I plan to run the cables up the wall, across the garage ceiling and up into and through the wall of the room above. This will get me into the attic where I can drop down in to each room, following the existing phone wiring.

Will there be any problem with me locating my terminations in the garage? I plan to locate the cable modem, router and switch with the wiring. I originally had planned to locate some computers there as well, but I will end up putting these in a room in the house. If I stick with the garage location, I will most likely bring the cable TV wires into the garage and clean up the cabling a bit (big mess of splitters and boosters).

Should I get a structured media cabinet or just use a patch panel mounted to the wall. I guess a cabinet would look nicer. Also since the wiring will be running up the wall and across the ceiling, should I look into conduit? The conduit will still be exposed, but might look nicer than a bundle of cables.

I plan to run four network jacks to each room. I was wondering if I should run another cat6 for phones? Our house is wired for four lines and we haven't had any issues with the current daisy changed wiring.

Lastly, distributed video/home automation isn't part of the plan due to time and money. Is there anything I should still take into consideration while doing this? If I ever did want to do distributed media/home automation, the equipment wouldn't be located in the garage.

Here's a link to my AVS Forum thread.

Thanks!
 

dummptyhummpty

New Member
I think you received some great feedback over on AVS. ;)

Haha. Yeah, and I really appreciate your help and suggestions. I was just hoping for some other people's experiences too. I was hoping to put it in the garage so that it would be close to the phone/cable TV. You really think I should put it in the house?
 

AceCannon

Active Member
Some of this was addressed in the AVS thread, but here is my stream of consciousness:

You said a slab, so I guess the garage is not in a basement. What is the temperature range in the garage throughout the year? Extreme temperatures would be a clear indication to locate your electronics with better climate control.

I would use a patch panel, either wall-mounted or mounted in a rack.

Your exposed wires will look fine, in my opinion, without conduit in the garage. Just use some velcro or zip ties, keep everything neat. It will be harder to change things later if all the wires are in a conduit. There are a lot of things you can use for cable management along walls and along the ceiling, especially in a garage. Rubber-coated hooks?

You've already got a daisy chain for the phone which is working. Your new 4 runs for network can be re-purposed for phone later if you decide to do so. For that matter, the runs can be re-purposed for A/V distribution, audio keypads, and pretty much anything else - so consider exactly where the runs will end in each room.
 

dummptyhummpty

New Member
Thanks for your feedback. No the garage is not a basement. I did some thinking regarding Neurorad's advice. I found that the guest room closet backs up to an open space that I believe runs to the attic. I'll check this later tonight if I can. Our '90s era intercom is on the other side so I pulled it out to take a look (weird stuff going on in there, but that's another story). There's a lot of room for wiring. Another benefit to this space is that it's next to our home theater setup which makes media distribution a bit easier.
 

AceCannon

Active Member
inking regarding Neurorad's advice. I found that the guest room closet backs up to an open space that I believe runs to the attic. I'll check this later tonight if I can. Our '90s era intercom is on the other side

Sounds like you found the spot for a central closet. How much room in there?
 

dummptyhummpty

New Member
Sounds like you found the spot for a central closet. How much room in there?

It's a decent sized closet 3-4ft deep and about 8ft wide (going from memory). I could easily fit a structured wiring panel in the wall and have an equipment rack in there too. I'm waiting for my friend to come by so that we can see how easily we can wires to the attic.
 

dummptyhummpty

New Member
My friend and I spent a good amount of time up in the attic. We found the hole where the intercom wiring comes through. It looks like we could easily drill our own hole and drop down to the first floor. On another note, the wiring up there is a mess, it's amazing any of our electronics work. It seems that every cable is wrapped around some other type of cable.
4196345023_b4bb6d1f70.jpg

I now understand why our intercom system always has noise coming through it (from high voltage lines). I've decided to leave the cable TV and phone wires alone for now.
4196345007_a12dd31503.jpg

I also found these speaker wires behind a blank cover. I'm not sure where they come from, but one set runs to the volume control in the master bedroom above. The strange thing is that they aren't connected up there as the master bedroom gets its audio from the playroom. Now if I could only find where the other pair runs to.
 

Neurorad

Senior Member
Looks like most of the low voltage wiring (and some of the high voltage) was retrofit - that means it's not stapled to studs inside the wall. You can use the existing wires to pull new ones. :p

I don't think those new speaker cables you found are in-wall rated (they're clear). When they burn, they'll give off toxic fumes. You could replace some of them pretty easily (since they're retrofit, and not stapled), and increase the gauge too (most people use 16 AWG, but many prefer 14 AWG).

The biggest problem is running new cables from the attic to first floor locations. Each time you go up in the attic, bring something to label wires.
 

dummptyhummpty

New Member
Looks like most of the low voltage wiring (and some of the high voltage) was retrofit - that means it's not stapled to studs inside the wall. You can use the existing wires to pull new ones. :p
No, that's just the build quality of this house, lmao. Seriously though, I do have a feeling that they only used staples before going down into the wall and in the few spots they didn't use gang boxes. You can see in that picture above, where the black coax dips down, that they did use a few staples in the attic. My only issue with replacing existing wire is that it doesn't look like they always went straight down. I think they went across the wall in a few places or across the space between floors. Hopefully they didn't use staples.

I don't think those new speaker cables you found are in-wall rated (they're clear). When they burn, they'll give off toxic fumes. You could replace some of them pretty easily (since they're retrofit, and not stapled), and increase the gauge too (most people use 16 AWG, but many prefer 14 AWG).
Is this something to worry about? This looks like the only place they did this. All the speaker wire behind the family room entertainment center is white wire. I pulled off one of the in wall speakers and white wire there too. I have no idea where these clear speaker wires come from. They come from above and drop down to that hole in the wall. Then a set runs up into the attic and back down to the volume control in the room above. The location that they enter the attic from is strange as well.

The biggest problem is running new cables from the attic to first floor locations. Each time you go up in the attic, bring something to label wires.
Yeah. I think for now I'm going to run cat6 for data and phone where I can and then go from there. I think once I punch a hole in the guest room closet, I can get a better view of all the wiring in that space behind the intercom.
 

dummptyhummpty

New Member
So...even more weird...I just found some more speaker wire in a linen closet on the other side of the guest room closet. There's six pairs in here. There's also an electrical outlet. Looks like I found my power source.

It also seems that the guest room is wired for in ceiling speakers.

4198476428_151c064752.jpg
 

Photon

Active Member
I don't think those new speaker cables you found are in-wall rated (they're clear). When they burn, they'll give off toxic fumes. You could replace some of them pretty easily (since they're retrofit, and not stapled), and increase the gauge too (most people use 16 AWG, but many prefer 14 AWG).
Much of the CL2-rated wire I bought has clear insulation. I was under the impression CL2 means it is rated for in-wall use. Is this not correct?
 

Neurorad

Senior Member
I don't think those new speaker cables you found are in-wall rated (they're clear). When they burn, they'll give off toxic fumes. You could replace some of them pretty easily (since they're retrofit, and not stapled), and increase the gauge too (most people use 16 AWG, but many prefer 14 AWG).
Much of the CL2-rated wire I bought has clear insulation. I was under the impression CL2 means it is rated for in-wall use. Is this not correct?
Well, then, I stand corrected. All the clear speaker cables I've seen have not been CL2 rated. I should probably stop making assumptions based on my limited experience.

If the cable is CL2 rated, it can be used in-wall, regardless of opacity. -_-
 
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