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Thread: Running cable in exterior wall

  1. #1

    Running cable in exterior wall

    Hello,
    I am looking for advice. My ultimate goal is to run RJ45 cable in 2 of my exterior walls (from a ethernet outlet) down into my basement and over my drop ceiling and back up through the closet wall to where my network switch will be located. I don't know alot about construction but am trying to figure out if i cut a opening for the outlet in the wall and use a flex bit to go down, wont I hit the bottom sill that the subfloor and ultimately the outside wall rest on? I see the bottom sill is on top of the foundation wall, which if I'm understanding this correctly its not where I want to be. I hope your understanding what I'm trying to say. Does the exterior wall sit in from the foundation (sill) or when constructing a house, is the wall directly on top of the foundation (sill)? I want to route the wire in the wall but once I drill though the subfloor, is the sill and foundation directly beneath it then, if so, how can I get my wire into the basement. Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Leeds Point, NJ
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    1
    It's going to vary by house, but usually the floor is laid on joists which then sit on the top of the basement walls (or other supports). Laterally alongside the floor joists, the outside wall will just be another joist board (or two); perpendicular on the outside wall there'll be a board that all the joists are tied into. In modern houses the joists may be engineered lumber. Joist height may also vary, 12" seems typical these days.

    I recommend getting very familiar with the construction before you start drilling holes! Drop ceiling in the basement? Lift the tiles in the area you think the hole will penetrate and have a long hard look, move any insulation out of the way so you can clearly see the area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
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    4,497
    I think it varies by country and age of structure. Is this a house or a commercial building. Is it made of wood or something else? we need more details to make an educated guess.
    When drilling down in a wall with a flex bit I like to shove a swim noodle in first then thread the bit inside the noodle. That prevents it from going sideways and drilling through the wall face. If the wall is insulated that may wind up on the drill and have to be removed. I have poured in vermiculite or perlite to replace insulation inside a wall after similar jobs.
    Bil lD
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 07-04-2020 at 11:19 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    53,298
    Just as an aside...it's not 'RJ45 cable"....RJ-45 is the type of 8 conductor connector generally used to terminate Ethernet cable. For the actual cable you want at least Cat 5E but preferably Cat 6 cable. You can use pre-terminated if you want as long as you can get the connectors through the spaces and holes you need to get the cable through. It's far easier to pull bare cable, however, especially through a difficult environment that involves things like insulation.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    State College, PA
    Posts
    290
    Does your floor construction more or less match what is shown here?

  6. #6
    I find it easier to drill UP from the basement, then use a stiff piece of wire to go to box, hook cable on and pull it. Hardest is figuring out where in the basement to actual drill so you hit desired stud cavity. Your rim joist (AKA band) is going to be 1 1/2" thick, while your sole plate will be either 3 1/2", or 5 1/2" depending upon wall construction.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    275
    Cat6 cable has an exterior version, with a heavy rubber coating. It will last 20+ years. Why drill?
    Regards,

    Tom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    6,176
    Couple thoughts here. I wanted wired ethernet but didn't really want to pull cable. The 'cable' company we have (Verizon FiOS) uses MoCA for their set top boxes. To my surprise and delight MoCA can also be used for ethernet. We have coax outlets close to where we wanted ethernet so it was pretty simple and seems to work well. MoCA 2.0 is rated at 1 Gbit, seems to deliver about 700 Mbit/sec., Moca 2.5 is claiming up to 2.5 Gbit. Couple things I considered when installing MoCA. Be sure any splitters are up to the task, they should pass 1.6 Ghz+. Splitters suitable for satellite systems are good. Speaking of which, Satellite systems and MoCA cannot coexist, they use very similar frequencies. I also have 'home run' RG6 coax, not daisy chained.

    http://www.mocalliance.org/technology/index.htm

    A second thought I had would be to run plenum rated ethernet in HVAC return ducting. This was a trick I was considering before I discovered MoCA. I was going to use the return ducting to run between floors and drill holes where the baseboard runs. I don't know if this would run afoul of any codes, I didn't get that far. The fact that there's plenum rated ethernet cable says it can be used in some form.
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 07-05-2020 at 8:15 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Eastern Iowa
    Posts
    507
    Cut the hole for your box.
    Remove the base trim
    Remove a section of drywall directly below the box hole, about an inch wide and lower than the height of the trim, exposing the front and top of the sill plate.
    Drill your access hole through the sill plate, angled as much as you can with your given drywall cutout.
    Fish a stiff wire from the box hole, through the access hole, and into the basement
    pull your cable
    Replace the trim. You can replace the drywall cutout if you want.. or not.

    If you are concerned about your access hole through the sill plate coming out too close to the foundation wall (unlikely as there should be the height of your floor joist to work with) you can drill your cable access hole directly in front of the sill plate. You will have the thickness of the drywall to house your cable. You may have to drill two smaller holes next to each other then connect with a multi tool if your running a preassembled cat cable. The hole’s diameter can be the thickness of your drywall plus just a tad less than the thickness of your base trim. You can gain another 1/2” in front of your sill plate by using flat cat cable.
    Comments made here are my own and, according to my children, do not reflect the opinions of any other person... anywhere, anytime.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,497
    A week later, no response, so. ... rent a jackhammer and cut a channel in the rock wall install some conduit for the cable and slap some concrete over it to hide the slot. I have to assume he lives in a cave, hence the jackhammer.
    Bill D.
    USA

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