Home & Garden

Running Ethernet Cable In a finished home

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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2009
5687 posts
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Running Ethernet Cable In a finished home

I don't think there is any easy answer, but putting this out there anyways ...

I'm hoping to run an Ethernet cable from an office on my main floor, to another room on the main floor on the opposite side of the house. House is a 2 story and the basement is completely finished with a drywall ceiling.

If anyone has any tips, tricks or suggestions on the best way to do this, I'd love to hear it.

In my last house I had to run a cable from a second floor bedroom to a room on th main floor. I went up to th attic, down a return air duct into th basement (which wasn't finished) and then across and up to the room I needed it in on the main floor. This was a PITA and won't work for me this time anyways because the basement is finished.

I've considered those Ethernet over powerline devices but let's call that plan b. Wifi is not an option.

Thanks.
34 replies
Sr. Member
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Dec 28, 2010
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I drilled a hole.
My office is too far away in the house for proper signal strength and my company requires high quality up/down. I work on two phones and a vpn, so I needed a reliable cable connection.
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Member
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May 28, 2007
418 posts
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Peterborough
Can you go down to the basement and behind crown molding? Just a thought.

Plan B: I use PowerLine right now with few issues because I need to go through block walls all over my basement.
Penalty Box
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Oct 13, 2008
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If you want to run physical ethernet cables ... then you definitely should get somebody to do the fishing of the cable through the walls ... however ... a big hole will be drilled and that requires patching and re-painting ...

It also depends on how much insulation is in the walls as well if there are anything that gets in the way ...

Cost ... pretty high.
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Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
12254 posts
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Brampton
When planning cable routes Use interior walls,
You might be able to just use return air ducts.
Sr. Member
Dec 24, 2007
783 posts
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GTA
I know someone runs hidden ethernet cable for $200-300/per cable (since your basement is finished you definitely fall under the higher price tier). You need matching paint to completely patch the hole (typically 1-2 holes). He uses potlight holes, unfinished furnace room ceiling, to plan the routes and minimize the drill on drywall.

option 2: powerline, you can find on amazon for decent speed pairs. I have TP-Link AV1200 and not too bad, but again, it depends a lot on your electrical circuits.
Sr. Member
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Mar 3, 2013
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East Gwillimbury
fdl wrote: In my last house I had to run a cable from a second floor bedroom to a room on th main floor. I went up to th attic, down a return air duct into th basement (which wasn't finished) and then across and up to the room I needed it in on the main floor. This was a PITA and won't work for me this time anyways because the basement is finished.

Thanks.
tebore wrote: You might be able to just use return air ducts.
Keep in mind that you will need to use plenum rated cable in cold air return ducts. I would advise against this route though because air vents eventually need to be cleaned.
A Licensed Electrical Contractor
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Jun 14, 2006
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GTA
I just did my whole house through someone I have used before, no issues.

PM me if you're interested...he definitely has been cheaper over others.
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
I have a powerline kit and it works great except for one issue. It's causes interference with my Denon receiver. Like popping sounds. Denon is on a UPS but it's still basically directly plugged into the wall unless the UPS detects a power outage and switches to battery.
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Oct 19, 2008
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GTA
fdl wrote: I'm hoping to run an Ethernet cable from an office on my main floor, to another room on the main floor on the opposite side of the house. House is a 2 story and the basement is completely finished with a drywall ceiling.
If anyone has any tips, tricks or suggestions on the best way to do this, I'd love to hear it.
If basement has pot lights drop the cans down and see if you can run the length of basement by pulling cable using the cans holes for access. Also, get a length of thin vinyl molding, something like 1/4 quarter round...its often easier to push that semi rigid piece hole to hole than using a fish cable.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
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pandorazw wrote: option 2: powerline, you can find on amazon for decent speed pairs. I have TP-Link AV1200 and not too bad, but again, it depends a lot on your electrical circuits.
Yeah, really flakey, may work, or may not - hardwired Ethernet is still a lot faster and much more reliable.

OP - you may want to consider surface mounting the cable using WireMould - it's available at HomeDepot. Total cost will probably be <$100 vs. $400-500+materials (paint, etc.) for behind the walls.

If you buy the small plastic cable cover and run it above your baseboards, it is not very noticeable:

Image

If you plan on needing more than 1 wire or plan on changing out the wires, the metal raceway is better.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19466 posts
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Toronto
coolspot wrote: Yeah, really flakey, may work, or may not - hardwired Ethernet is still a lot faster and much more reliable.

OP - you may want to consider surface mounting the cable using WireMould - it's available at HomeDepot. Total cost will probably be <$100 vs. $400-500+materials (paint, etc.) for behind the walls.

If you buy the small plastic cable cover and run it above your baseboards, it is not very noticeable:

Image

If you plan on needing more than 1 wire or plan on changing out the wires, the metal raceway is better.
This is good if the route is easy and convenient, although those wiremolds are pricey too. However, if it's a complex route indoors, then consider running outdoor Ethernet cable on the outside of the house. People do this with RG6 cable all the time, and it's just as easy to do it with outdoor Ethernet.

The cost for doing it outdoors is the cost of the outdoor Ethernet cable plus the cost of the drill bit. Long wood drill bit for wood, or long masonry drill bit (with a hammer drill) for cinderblock or brick.

As for outdoor cable, basically it is Ethernet with an extra external sheath around it to repel water and which is UV resistant. (See pic below.) The cables are a fair bit thicker and they're not as flexible as regular Ethernet cable, but it's not that much more expensive. There is cable that is filled with waterproof gel, but for our use that's not necessary. That's fortunate, because that waterproof gel is flammable and it makes that type of cable uber expensive. I'd recommend that cable if you were burying it the ground, but it's not needed just to run along the side of the house. You just need the outdoor but non-gel-filled version which is a heluvalot cheaper and easier to work with.

Image
Deal Fanatic
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May 1, 2003
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This is why you want a T-Bar ceiling in your basement. Anytime you want to add or change something, its simple
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Oct 6, 2005
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bionicbadger wrote: This is why you want a T-Bar ceiling in your basement. Anytime you want to add or change something, its simple
Most drop ceilings are ugly... and you lose head room. Although I think Costco does carry some pretty high-end drop ceiling panels.
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4478 posts
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Burlington, Ontario
We do this a lot, and your cheapest, less destruction and best option do it outside and around the house.
Out one side, wrap it around and then back into the room you need it into.
Measure properly where to drill, before drilling.
Use lots of caulking around the hole. Single cable 1/2" is fine.
Go into a mortar line if brick.

EugW, don't let this go to your head that we are agreeing on something about cabling :)
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Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19466 posts
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Toronto
BuildingHomes wrote: We do this a lot, and your cheapest, less destruction and best option do it outside and around the house.
Out one side, wrap it around and then back into the room you need it into.
Measure properly where to drill, before drilling.
Use lots of caulking around the hole. Single cable 1/2" is fine.
Go into a mortar line if brick.

EugW, don't let this go to your head that we are agreeing on something about cabling :)
;)

BTW, I managed to get 4 outdoor Ethernet cables through a single hole from a 5/8th inch masonry bit, albeit just barely.

Image

Image
coolspot wrote: Most drop ceilings are ugly... and you lose head room. Although I think Costco does carry some pretty high-end drop ceiling panels.
Height is also an issue for many older homes.
Deal Addict
May 10, 2011
1455 posts
506 upvotes
Ottawa
Like you said there is no easy answer. However in my experience there are always some easier ways than the others. A couple tips:

- Dont be afraid to cut hole in the wall. Patching small holes is easy, especially if you make a clean cut. When you cut the hole tilt your saw a bit away from the hole so the outside of the cut is wider. This way when you are done you can just pop the cut piece back in without worry it will fall into the hole. Put a thin coat of drywall compound on it. Use a sponge to smooth it out after it is dry. Take less than a minute excluding the waiting time.
- Always run the cable in an interior wall rather than an exterior wall.
- Look for a heat vent near an interior wall. You can often be able to peel back the duct work a bit, and they usually lead to large space between walls that span multiple floors. This way you can easily add a jack near the vent and run it to the basement or attic and then into the other room.
- Get a long (i.e. 48") flexible drill bit. You can cut a hole for the wall plate and then drill directly from the hole into the baseplate.
- Even your basement is finished, because of the plumbing and the duct work there are usually places you can fish a cable easily from one end to the other.
Sr. Member
Dec 24, 2007
783 posts
87 upvotes
GTA
Zamboni wrote: If basement has pot lights drop the cans down and see if you can run the length of basement by pulling cable using the cans holes for access. Also, get a length of thin vinyl molding, something like 1/4 quarter round...its often easier to push that semi rigid piece hole to hole than using a fish cable.
I think that vinyl flexible thing is what I saw the professional used when he run the cable for me.

My house is retrofitted using all powerline, best 5Ghz pairs (need a good adapter as well, not only router), and hidden ethernet cables for hdmi extender, HD stream, file server, POE camera etc. Too expensive to run all by hidden ethernet cables so I compromised some to powerline and 5Ghz.
Deal Addict
Mar 5, 2012
1958 posts
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Guelph
EugW wrote: ;)

BTW, I managed to get 4 outdoor Ethernet cables through a single hole from a 5/8th inch masonry bit, albeit just barely.

Image

Image


Height is also an issue for many older homes.
Where did you get your outdoor cable?
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Feb 1, 2009
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Toronto
I just moved into a new build. Bell pre-wired their CAT5 cable running throughout the house in multiple rooms (meant for home phone). I purchased the tool less RJ45 keystone jack and wired them all to the modem in the basement. Worked out very well, just got lucky Bell pre-wired the entire house.

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