I'm fairly new to this community, the wiki really helped me out with taking
electricity out to my shed and that works really well with that. I'm prett
y well versed in the technical knowledge of electronics, mains electrics, l
ow-voltage, networking and all round interested in DIY, just don't have so
much practical experience with other DIY tasks. Anyhow.. TL;DR at the end i
f people want it. ;-)
I am re-doing my home-network, right now it was just a bunch of cables runn
ing behind the wardrobes and really messy, all ending up in a little ex-fir
eplace/chimney place. I decided to try and tidy it by sticking them on euro
data modules and putting some rather expensive D Line trunking but I regre
tted that.. it looks fairly messy and it would have made sense if I wired i
t from the attic which is just a storage space. Boring story I know.. here'
s a picture: https://imgur.com/tkXA7nv
I have everything ready to do my home network properly but I can't seem to
figure out how to get some Cat5e down the walls from the attic, if I was ar
ound when the house was decorated I'd probably have a better idea but I was
1 years old, which dates it at roughly 1998 which is fairly modern by hous
I tried this about 4 years ago, gave up and never tried again. I pulled out
the flooring under the area I know the wall I want to drop cable down is.
I attempted to drill with a wood drill bit but then tried with another bit
that was thinner but just as long. Today, I tried drilling more than one ho
le which was probably not a great idea but couldn't get very far.
After looking at it, I think I hit plaster. I don't really know how walls a
re constructed, I know that this isn't a hollow wall but surely it isn't fu
lly plastered up within although it does seem like that to me?
http://imgur.com/a/sWCNb - a few images of it
TL;DR I need to get a low-voltage wire down a wall through the attic, I don
't know much about wall construction, and can't get a hole from above. The
only thing I want to avoid is cutting up plaster and re-plastering (other r
esidents won't approve ;-)).
Any ideas, advice, help?
<snip> >I tried this about 4 years ago, gave up and never tried again. I pulled
How old is the house, as that can give ideas about how it's constructed.
The ceiling in the top of the first attic picture appears to lath (thin
strips of wood) and plaster over the top - you can see it squeezed
through the gaps. This would suggest pre about 1960 - ish.
Anyway, you say the wall isn't hollow, in which case you have no
realistic chance of running a cable down inside the wall.
A solid internal wall will normally be built of brick or some kind of
concrete block and be solid all the way through. The timber you have
drilled through (called a plate) is put on top of the wall to rest/fix
the joists to. What seems to be plaster underneath is probably mortar.
Hollow walls are normally a wood frame with lath and plaster or plaste
board. But there are normally horizontal pieces called noggins so you
can't just drop a cable down the middle.
Where is the place you want to bring down the cable in relation to the
network equipment location?
The only realistic option is to bring it through the ceiling and then
chase out the wall and bury the cables - it wouldn't need much for a bit
of network cable or to surface run some minitrunking down the wall and
paint it. Done in corner or behind a cupboard or something like that it
isn't that obvious. When the room is redecorated you can bury it.
By the looks of it you have laminate flooring. The should have a gap
round the edge - hidden underneath that quarter round beading . You
might be able to lift the beading and run cable in the little gap.
Replacing the beading afterwards. Don't know if that would help with an
Another possibility for horizontal runs is to prise off the skirting
board and put it behind there. But that will leave at least a little
bit of damage (paint, were the fixings are etc.) and may lead to the
On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 6:30:16 AM UTC, Chris French wrote:
I'd say just about 1950s, with my limited knowledge. It was renovated in 19
98 but most things stayed as they were including the old cabling which look
s to be old lead sheath cable for lighting which was placed in some sort of
odd thin metal conduit that's all rusted. There was some old grey twin and
earth (didn't check if there was earth) cable from the old installation wh
ich I presume was for sockets, looked even smaller than 2.5mm which the bui
lders never bothered ripping out in some places.
I presume the walls remained the same. I can only see one hollow wall in th
e house which I presume was added as an extra room in 1998.
A side view of a similar wall from a light switch: https://i.imgur.com/VbMc
gXU.jpg - it looks like wood in the picture but it's some sort of mortar/pl
aster/something mixture which I suspect is filled in through the whole wall
and with trunking inside for other room's light switches.
Dang, I thought it was the case but I was still hopeful that I missed somet
Network equipment will be somewhere in the attic, that's not a problem. For
it to actually work, I need a link to the modem which is stuck in a room,
and I also want to get wires back down to a printer and workstation in that
same room. Right now powerline ethernet is used for those, but it's pants.
Possible, but in that case, it's probably easier with the D Line trunking t
hat I paid so much for, just wanted to avoid it. ;p
On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 6:58:45 AM UTC, RJH wrote:
Yeah, too much effort for what it's worth, easier to bear the sight of exte
rnal trunking than having to move all the furniture and chase into the wall
. If the finish isn't perfect, other residents won't be too happy. ;-)
Right now I have a single Cat5e from the modem to my room where the network
equipment currently is on with cable clips, it looks terrible and I want 3
Cat5e's to that room really.
Literally nothing goes down from the attic to the rooms apart from bundle o
f lighting cables going down to the lights and switches. I could take a loo
k at the light switches, from what I saw they used what can be lightly term
ed as trunking to the light switches but I probably won't be able to fit an
other cable through there. Pic:
On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 8:20:07 AM UTC, Chris French wrote:
That's what it looks like to me.
That fireplace wall is an external wall, the one I was attempting was an in
Off the point, but who owns the house?
If there is still old lead sheathed cable in use , then it really should
be checked (well in reality, rewired). The inner insulation on the lead
cables was IIRC normally rubber. This perishes, and can just crumble
away in fittings. We almost had afire in our old house because of old
perished rubber insulation.
If there is just one or two cables, it might be neater just to staple
the cable nearly to the top of the skirting and paint over it. Painting
the trunking anyway will make it less obvious.
<snip> >Right now I have a single Cat5e from the modem to my room where the
Do you really need 3 cables though for the network? A network switch
and the end means just one cable (though if you are putting in trunking
or chasing, it's that much more work if any really to put in more.
On Fri, 15 Jan 2016 14:37:09 -0800 (PST), Humza wrote:
Modern house internal soil stack? Boxed in but with plenty of space
around the soil pipe inside. Gets the vertical parts sorted but
horizontal to where you want the ends is a bit harder...
A good place to come down inside almost all rooms is the corner
behind the door. 15 mm or so trunking painted(*) or wall papered over
will blend in very well. Choose corners above each other and you may
be able to get down into all rooms from just a few places in the
(*) Emulsion won't take nicely, not sure what you'd need to put on
first to provide a key for emulsion.
Thanks Dave, I didn't make it too clear in the first message; I already have a plan of where I want and what I want to do, I'm just struggling to execute it. So:
- I need to get a few cables from the attic down through an internal wall, near the corner of a room (directly below attic).
- It isn't a thin plasterboard wall, I'm not sure what's in the wall or how it's constructed but there is a lot of plaster.
- I've located the wall from above and attempted to drill but I can't get through, see images in first message.
I've probably missed something because I'm sure it's possible to drop a cable through an existing wall without having to rip it up or cut into it.
IME, at best, it's going to be difficult to thread a cable down through
a wall. If you're going to try you want to be clear there's no obstacle
(such as nogging), and if it's an older house, lath and plaster rubble.
* Chase into the wall - lot of mess, but IMO the best option, especially
if you future proof with trunking. If I was starting from scratch it's
what I'd do, and take the hit with plastering/decorating costs.
* Surface mount - as somebody said upthread, the may get away with a
reasonably neat solution in the corner behind a door. Drill up from the
room into the attic after checking what you're drilling through. Apart
from looking a bit tacky, making the opening is likely to cause more of
a mess than you would think ;-)
* Follow existing services/gaps - but be sure you're clear of other
wiring. In one wall I followed the mains wiring, which is not the best
plan for a number of reasons. I used cat6 and have had no problems (yet).
And if that isn't the "right" corner of the room it's not big deal to
cable staple an single cable along the top of the skirting. As this
is a modern house I guess it only has champered or 1/4 round
skirting. Ogee is great for hiding cables in the two moulded grooves
and along the top.
Another thought is to cut the bottom 25 mm off the skirting and put
25 mm trunking in the space, hopefully there will be enough deepth.
Choose the trunking on depth rather than width. B-)
You say the wall you are trying to come down is not hollow, tapping it shou
ld establish if it is or not, if it sounds hollow it is if not it is solid.
Are you sure the top of the wall you can see in the attic is wood and not
brick, if wood then it should not be a problem to drill through and would s
uggest the wall is a studded wall, ie. a timber framework with plasterboard
lining either side and will sound hollow when tapped. A studded wall might
allow you to get cables down part of it but you usually find horizontal cr
oss-members called noggins will prevent you dropping your cables the full h
eight. To get past these may require a few access holes in the plasterboard
which will have to be patched up afterwards.
Useful places to drop cables from the attic are as Dave mentioned, pipe box
es or airing cupboards. If your walls are solid then you have to decide wha
t you are prepared to put up with. If you are happy to conceal it in trunki
ng then a corner behind a door is fairly unobtrusive. If you want to comple
tely conceal the cable/s then you will have to chase out channels in the pl
aster and patch up afterwards. To minimise how much channeling you have to
do door frames are useful. Architrave, the wood moulding around the frame,
is usually just nailed on and prising off a vertical length will allow you
to chip out some plaster for several Cat5e cables to be set in and conceale
d once the architrave is re-nailed back in place. That leaves a short secti
on of wall above the doorframe to the ceiling that can be channeled out and
patched up or again a short length of trunking can be fairly unobtrusive.
One other advantage of using door frames is that in two storey houses room
doors are often directly above or below each other so if you need to go dow
n two storeys this can really minimise the amount of visible cabling or ch
anneling needed to be done.
Unless it is a drylined brick or block wall. This can sound like a stud
wall - OP this has plasterboard normally stuck to a brick or block wall.
I interpreted the photos as drilling through wood and then hitting
Also the wall contains an old fireplace where the network gear is, it
would be unusual to have a fireplace in a stud wall.
On Saturday, 16 January 2016 04:21:22 UTC, Humza wrote:
ave a plan of where I want and what I want to do, I'm just struggling to ex
ecute it. So:
, near the corner of a room (directly below attic).
ow it's constructed but there is a lot of plaster.
through, see images in first message.
able through an existing wall without having to rip it up or cut into it.
An internal wall that's not plasterboard will be a single leaf of solid mas
onry, almost certainly breeze blocks in 98. So there's no way to get inside
it, it's solid. Hence the alternatives folk have suggested.
It's not particularly hard to bust a channel in breeze/plaster, but your fi
lling skills need to be upto it afterwards.
If you decide to put trunking in a channel, fit your wire outside the trunk
ing. That way you can in future get more total wire in a given trunking spa
ce, and it's one less task when rewiring, no need to pull out the old stuff
. Cat5 has various other uses beside networking, and always will.
There are various other ways to make life easier, but it looks like you don
't want to change the route.
It could be a wall made from light weight blocks with a timber header
plate on the top. Drilling into the top of that would seem very much
like drilling through timber and into plaster.
If that is the case you will need to chase the wall and make good after.
Only if its a stud wall. Could you see any fixings down through the
timber in the attic that would suggest the timber plate is nailed to the
top of studs?
FYI, Stud wall construction:
On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 12:00:26 PM UTC, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
If it were just up to me, I'd rip out the wall and start again or at least chase the wall and re-plaster but I'm just more worried about disruption to others in the house. They don't particularly approve of my work. ;-)
On Saturday, January 16, 2016 at 1:10:14 PM UTC, John Rumm wrote:
I couldn't see much, it doesn't appear to be a stud wall from what I have seen.
On Saturday, 16 January 2016 15:01:23 UTC, Humza wrote:
There are various other options not yet mentioned, eg.
1. Lift floorboards & run cable there.
2. Run wire down an internal wall corner & plaster over it so that the corner's no longer square.
There are various others if you want to get creative too, eg
3. Repurpose a TV coax for network & use a tv sender instead.
4. Run cable in a skirting board groove (superglue it) and woodfill over it to make a new profile.
5. If determined enough you could hide 8 core twisted pair in plain sight, but it doesn't look like you want to get into the issues that come with nonstandard feeds, creative routing etc.
I've got some cables encased in corrugated conduit shoved down a defunct
blocked off chimney. There's some holes carefully  drilled near the
top of that which exit  into the atic.
 carefully, meaning well - I haven't toppled the top of the 1930's
stack going at it with my hunking SDS ...
 no place for smoke, so if its a chimney that could be in the future
made usable, er, no.
On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 2:08:06 AM UTC, Mike Tomlinson wrote:
No such thing as gentle with me, it's either going to do nothing or bust th
e whole ceiling down. ;-)
On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 9:45:55 AM UTC, Jeff Layman wrote:
As a networking guy (my business is dealing with servers, data centers and
the like) anything less than gigabit is unacceptable for me. ;p
All of my storage is in the shed, inside the house all of the workstations
are quiet SSD based with low storage. I do use wireless (if you're serious
about it I really recommend the Unifi AC Lite, it isn't a router or anythin
g, it just shoots out wireless) of course for mobile phones and the like an
d power line for the TV (although it's not hard to get a cable there, just
not worth the effort for something that's never going to max out powerline)
On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 9:00:23 AM UTC, Chris French wrote:
Well, I've made my way onto the deeds of the house but my father bought it.
Those cables are not in use, if they were and I knew I'd have done it alre
ady, our builders just didn't care enough to rip it out of the walls fully,
they are stuck hanging in the attics out of the wall, I've tested it and n
o voltage and it doesn't make its way to the consumer unit so all is good.
I'd prefer if one of the computers was on a different VLAN, it's a guest PC
really and only my beefy switch upstairs can do that, not the cheapy £10
On Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 10:59:09 AM UTC, Adrian Caspersz wrote:
That's how I plan to get the cables down to my room, my room has all the cu
rrent endpoints for all the computers right now as it is, so they'll be sho
ved up the chimney and terminated in the attic with a patch panel and then
connected to a beefy switch. I'll also have to run a separate conduit to br
ing power upstairs to the attic, there is already power but the electrician
though it was a good idea to run a 13A plug socket off the 6A upstairs lig
hting circuit. I don't see the logic in that but hey.
I think I can safely conclude that the best solution is to be creative with
routing the cable externally on the wall. The best option would have been
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