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Adding my surround speakers in the basement finally, and I want the wires to be in the walls. The area I'm working on is the finished side of the basement in a new build (well... 2014 anyway) so I will assume the builders framed the concrete walls however a builder frames concrete walls (I honestly do not know how they do it) and if it's anything like a conventional framed wall, it will have a bottom plate, studs 16" on center, and a top plate. I can see from the unfinished side of my basement that this is likely the case as I can look directly at the studded wall that extends from the unfinished side into the finished side, and it looks like a regular ol' wall to me; just spaced maybe an inch or so away from the concrete wall. Not sure why they did it this way - maybe to allow for some expansion and contraction of the concrete without disturbing the framed walls.

I can drill the hole where the speaker is going to be mounted, and I can fish the CL-2 down the wall - I should have no problem doing this part. It's the whole "running the wires behind the baseboard" part that has me a bit concerned. I'm sure it can be done, but I'd like to be able to accomplish this task without having to patch or repaint, other than a few nail holes in the baseboards. I assume I can just remove the baseboards but I'd certainly like some tips and tricks from the experts here on how to best go about that part with minimal risk of damaging anything. And once removed, should I notch the baseboards or the sheetrock? If I notch the sheetrock, how far should I go? Can it be a shallow ditch of sorts, just deep enough to facilitate the CL-2? Or should I run the baseboards through my router table and notch those?

Again; I've never taken on a task such as this, and the house is pretty new and my wife would kill me if I messed it up. We want it to look clean - no wires showing - but I'd like to be able to do it myself, if possible.
 

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This is going to be harder than you think. There’s no easy trick to getting the baseboards off – they have to be pried off. Just try to be careful not to break them in the process.

However, don’t expect that you won’t have to do any patching or painting to do. You will probably end up with gouges or depressions in the wall where you used a tool to pry off the baseboards, which will have to be repaired. Using joint compound to smooth out the depressions is easy; however, matching wall texture can be a challenge for non-professionals like us.

And you will have to re-nail the baseboards when you’re finished with the wiring, so they will have to be re-painted. Unless you use a nail gun, you’ll have indentations in the wood from the hammer. Those can be patched / smoothed with common joint compound (fortunately, no texture on baseboards!) and re-painted.

The biggest problem, though, is that baseboards are typically caulked to the wall at the top. You’ll have to cut through that with a box-cutter knife before prying them off. Then there is the problem of getting all the old caulk off the wall and the top of the baseboard, for re-caulking.

Once you get the baseboards off, just cut away a bit of sheetrock at the very bottom of the wall, just enough to tuck the wire under it. Then the baseboard will go back on the wall flush, as it was before. You’ll also have to notch out the drywall at the point where you bend the wire at a 90 to get it into the wall under the speaker location. Hopefully your baseboard is taller than the footer board to hide the entrance into the wall.

An easier tact would probably be to leave the baseboards in place and use something like a Dremel tool to cut away a small section of the wood the length of the baseboard, just above the floor – no more than 3/8” tall. After tucking your wire in the channel, you could cover it with 3/4" shoe molding, which naturally will have to be caulked and painted to match the baseboard. Of course then, in the interest of uniformity, you’ll probably want to shoe-mold the entire room.

At the point where you need the wire to enter the wall, you’d have to use the Dremel to cut a small channel in the baseboard vertically (i.e. top-to-bottom). This can be easily covered with joint compound. Or by a piece of furniture sitting in front of it. :)

Regards,
Wayne
 

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I just recently went through this decision process. I chose an approach that was different than other suggestions I have seen. My situation was that I had previously had in wall fronts and centers. My speaker cables for all 7 speakers in the room ran from my AVR in another room to one stud bay. From the central stud bay the wires went to the 7 speakers in the room. All this work had been done when the house was built.

I wanted to transition away from in wall speakers to floor standing fronts and center. I wanted to put a LV box directly behind each speaker down near the floor with banana plug keystones to connect each speaker. In addition I wanted to put in an RCA keystone for my sub, which previously had a long cable running along the floor from a box in the central stud bay. Complicating things was that the original fronts were spaced too closely together, so I couldn't just drop the cables down to the floors within the same bay where the in-walls had been mounted. Well, I could have but then I'd have speaker cables stretching farther than I wanted.

So what I did was built a small jig to work with my router. The jig basically allowed me to create a notch that saddled each stud. The notch was about 2.75" wide by 1" tall. Combined with a template guide and bit I ended up with a notch in the wall and stud about 2.5" x .75". I set my router plunge depth so it plowed out only about 3/8" of an inch of the stud. With the notches cut it was trivial to have the wires "hop over" the studs from one bay to the next.

I ended up with six notches. I am not that handy with drywall patching, so I had my painter do it. He charged $75. Maybe he would have charged more if I had been the one doing the painting. He then painted the wall and things look great.
 
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