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 situations where you would place AV components below the TV sitting on a component stand / entertainment unit.
See the illustration below. Imagine there is drywall in front of these wooden studs. Low-voltage 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.
What Kind of Cables Can you Hide in a Wall?
You can hide Low-Voltage Audio, Video cables & Data cables that are Fire-Rated for in-wall installation. Most Common low-voltage cables that you might need for your TV are; HDMI, Component, Composite, Optical, Coax & Ethernet cables.
There are 2 types of Fire-Ratings for AV & Data cables for in-wall or in-ceiling installation;
- FT4 (CM / CMG / CMR – also known as Riser)
- FT6 (CMP – also known as Plenum)
Usually, the cables that are fire-rated, there would be ratings 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.
What Kind of Cables CANNOT Be Hidden in a Wall?
Power cords are NOT permitted to be hidden in a wall as it’s considered as Fire Hazard and therefore it’s against the building code to bury any type of power cords in the wall.
Examples of Power Cords that are prohibited to be hidden in the 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 the 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 between the TV and the wall & NOT inside of a wall. So, you will need a dedicated power outlet installed up high on the wall where it would end up behind the TV once it’s mounted.
If you don’t have an existing electrical outlet installed on the wall dedicated for your TV, then you might want to consider installing a Bridge-Style Power Kit instead.
List of Walls That You Can Fish Cables Through
- Drywall with wooden studs (Newer House & Town-home)
- Interior Plaster wall with wooden studs (Most old homes)
- Drywall with metal studs (Condos, newer apartments, lofts & commercial buildings)
- Custom designed wall with cavity
List of Walls That You CANNOT Fish Cables Through
- Concrete Wall (In condos, apartments, Loft & Commercial Buildings)
- Brick Wall
- Exterior Plaster Wall (In Old Homes & Buildings)
Walls are different by each type of construction & when it was built. In order to be able to fish wires through a wall, it needs to have enough space inside the wall for cables to go through.
Any walls with either wooden or metal studs behind drywall (or plaster), there’s usually enough space to fish wires through as long as there’s no thick plumbing pipes, fire blocks (horizontal stud), ventilation or other obstructions in the way.
Newer Houses & Town-Homes
In Modern Houses and Town-homes, normally you would find wooden studs behind drywall. And that applies to both interior and exterior walls.
Older Houses & Town-Homes (Usually 1970’s or older)
Interior walls of Old Homes, normally you would find wooden studs behind plaster & lathe.
Exterior walls in Old Homes, there’s usually only thin wooden strapping (instead of wooden studs) behind plaster and there are usually bricks behind it. And therefore there’s not enough space to fish wires through without damaging the wall.
Structure in Newer Condos, Apartments, Lofts & Commercial Buildings
Most newer condos, condo town-homes, lofts, newer apartments and modern commercial buildings are built with concrete structure for load bearing (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 the wall, you can usually hear the difference in sound between concrete wall and drywall with metal studs. Go knock on every wall in your home 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.
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 pull 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.
In-Wall Vertical Wire Concealment Examples
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 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 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.
Instead, install a Bridge-Style Power Kit and forget-about-it.