What is In-Wall Vertical Wire Concealment?
In-Wall Vertical Wire Concealment is fishing cables vertically through the wall within the same stud bay (between 2 vertical studs). This type of wire concealment is suited for most common situations where you would place AV components (e.g. Cable box, DVD/Blu-Ray player, Gaming console & etc…) below the TV sitting on a component stand / entertainment unit.
See the illustration below. Imagine there is drywall in front of these studs. Low-voltage cables (such as HDMI, RCA, Component cables) would be fished through the wall starting from back of the TV, down through the wall within the same stud bay (between 2 studs) and then cables would exit near the bottom of the wall where they would come out and plug into your AV components. So it’s fishing wires straight down from point A to B.
In-Wall Vertical Wire Concealment Examples
Walls That You Can Fish Cables Through
- Drywall with wooden studs (Newer House & Town-home)
- Interior Plaster wall with wooden studs (Older House & Older Building)
- Drywall with metal studs (Condos, Newer Apartments, Lofts & Commercial Buildings)
- Custom designed wall with cavity
Walls That You CANNOT Fish Cables Through
- Concrete Wall (In condos, apartments, Loft & Commercial Buildings)
- Brick Wall
- Exterior Plaster Wall (In Old Homes & Buildings)
- Cinderblock wall
- Cement wall
Wall structures are different by each type of construction & when it was built. To be able to fish wires through a wall, it needs to have enough space inside a wall for cables to go through.
Any walls with studs (wood studs or metal studs) there’s usually enough space to fish wires through as long as there’s no plumbing pipes, fire blocks (horizontal stud), ventilation or other obstructions in the way.
Newer Houses & Town-Homes
In Newer Houses and Town-homes, normally there are no issues running wires in wall.
Older Houses & Town-Homes (Usually 1970’s or older)
In older homes, you can fish cables in INTERIOR walls only. Because EXTERIOR walls in older homes do not have enough cavity to run wires through.
Interior walls in Older Homes, there are wooden studs behind plaster & lathe. So there’s space inside interior wall to run wires through.
Exterior walls in Older Homes, there’s only thin wooden strapping (instead of wooden studs) behind plaster and bricks right behind it. So there’s no way to fish wires through an exterior wall without destroying the wall.
Condos, Apartments, Lofts & Commercial Buildings
Most newer Condos, Apartments, Lofts, and Commercial Buildings are built with concrete structure (concrete walls, concrete floors & concrete ceilings). And non-load bearing walls are built with drywall with metal studs to partition rooms.
How Do I Tell if My Wall is Concrete or Drywall?
When you knock on a wall, you can usually hear the difference in sound between concrete wall and drywall with metal studs. Go knock on every wall in your unit and you’ll know the difference in sound.
Concrete wall has high pitch sound and feels very solid when you knock on it. And the sound is usually not so consistent throughout the entire wall. Using a stud finder to scan a concrete wall will likely give you all kinds of weird & false readings because there are no studs.
Drywall with Metal Studs
When you knock on Drywall with metal studs, it has deeper tone and sometimes you can hear a little echo. If you scan for studs against drywall with metal studs, stud finder should detect the studs pretty consistently (usually 16″ apart-on-center) throughout the wall. Then you know for sure it’s a drywall with metal studs.
Limitations Due to Wall Structure
In-wall wire concealment is NOT applicable for concrete walls, brick walls and most exterior plaster walls because there’s no cavity to fish wires through.
If your wall is one of the above, your next best option will be to hide cables using wire raceway (wire cover) that gets surface mounted to a wall. On-Wall Wire Management option is still a great way to neatly manage cables.
What Kind of Cables Can you Hide in Wall?
You can hide any Low-Voltage Audio, Video & Data cables in wall that are in-wall rated.
There are mainly 2 types of ratings for in-wall or in-ceiling installation;
- FT4 (CM / CMG / CMR – also known as Riser)
- FT6 (CMP – also known as Plenum)
For cable runs in residential, any FT4 ratings will suffice in most cases.
For cable runs in commercial buildings, FT4/CMR rating can be used in Riser spaces & FT6/CMP rating is required for Plenum spaces.
Most Common low-voltage cables that you might need for your TV are; HDMI, Component, Composite, RCA, Coax & Ethernet cables. We carry all of those cables that are FT4 rated, while FT6 rated cables can also be specially ordered upon request.
How do I know if my cables are FT4 or FT6 in-wall rated?
Usually, cables that are in-wall rated, you can see the rating printed on the cable itself.
Fire rated cables are made of special materials that are made to be fire resistant / fire retardant & nearly (if not completely) smokeless when it burns.
Important Note: “Flexible Power Cords” such as TV Power Cord is NOT considered as low-voltage cable.
Power Cords CANNOT be hidden in wall
Power cords are NOT low-voltage cables & it’s considered to be Fire Hazard if hidden in wall. Therefore it’s against the building code to hide any type of power cords in wall.
Examples of Power Cords that cannot be hidden in wall;
- TV Power Cord
- Sound Bar Power Cord
- Power Cord for Any of your Electronics
- Power Extension Cords of ANY KIND
The ONLY WAY you can hide TV power cord out of sight while complying to building code is to plug it into a power outlet behind the TV so that the power cord is hidden behind the TV & NOT inside a wall. So, you will need a power outlet installed up high – where it would end up behind the TV once your TV is mounted.
If you don’t already have an existing electrical outlet installed up high on the wall where you want to mount your TV, then you might want to consider installing a Bridge-Style Power Kit instead.
Use Bridge-Style Power Kit if you don’t have an Existing Power Outlet
Unless your home is fairly new and the wall was prepared for flat screen installation, chances are you probably don’t have an existing power outlet available up high on the wall where your TV will be wall mounted.
If that’s the case, you should use a Bridge-Style Power Kit instead of hiring an electrician for a new outlet. Installing a new electrical outlet also requires permit & inspection from the city which is another added expense.
Especially in a situation where you don’t even have an existing outlet directly down below from where the TV will be mounted to jump the power from (given there’s enough amperage on the circuit).
If you were to install a new outlet by sourcing power from an existing outlet that’s horizontally across the wall, that would require cutting the drywall open in order to drill through the center of each stud to feed the electrical wire through.
So, instead, install a Bridge-Style Power Kit and forget-about-it.