How to Run Speaker Wire Through Walls and Ceilings

By Glen / May 19, 2019

Last Updated on

Purchasing a new stereo sound system is always exciting. The problem comes when you have minimal space to set up your new investment.

Mounting your speakers onto walls becomes one of the viable options. Setting up isn’t usually rocket science. The real problem begins when you have to wire the cables to keep them out of sight. This is because the last thing you need is to see cables protruding from the walls. Not only is this an aesthetics issue, but a safety one.

We’ll explain all you need to know about disguising these wires in this article. With our tips you’ll easily get it right.


Reasons to Run Speakers Through Walls

Earlier we mentioned how minimal space may result in you mounting your speakers onto walls. Other reasons to choose this method include:

Personal preference

You may find it visually attractive to mount your speakers on walls.

Decor issue

Deciding to mount your speakers on walls could be a decor issue. Maybe your preferred decor plan doesn’t include speakers that are placed on floors.

Design of speakers

Some speakers are specifically designed for wall mounting. A common example is a multi-channel surround system.

Aesthetics

As mentioned earlier, protruding wires and cables do nothing for visual aesthetics.

Safety

Exposed wires pose a huge safety risk especially if you have children or pets in the house.


Steps to Running Speaker Wires Through Walls and Ceilings

And now for the actual process. We’ll quickly point out that before you start with this wiring process, you must be qualified or at least knowledgeable about the task at hand. When handling electrical wires—or any job related to electricity—you must be extra careful.

What you need for the wiring job

To get the job done, you must have the following tools on hand:

  • Measuring tape to measure the wire
  • Drill and hammer for pinning, beating and bending the wire
  • Stud finder for investigative purposes
  • Zip ties for reinforcement
  • Staple gun
  • Gauge for the actual wire connection
  • Conductors and wire strippers

Important

Note that using any wire simply won’t work. You need to use:

  • The correct wire with the right code depending on your housing building code.
  • The right amount of wire. Ideally you must first design your entire wiring plan. Only then can you calculate the correct amount of wire needed
  • Always purchase extra wire. This will come in handy in cases of emergency. Also you don’t have to worry about running out of wire during the process.

What you need for the mounting job

Now that you have the necessary tools for wiring, the next step is to collect the tools needed for mounting. You can either purchase a wall mounting kit or brackets depending on your preference and speaker.

Purchase the following:

  • Wall mounting receptacles.
  • Rough-in brackets
  • Wall mounting plates. These are necessary for creating entry and exit of the wire through the wall
  • J-box for in-wall work

Inspect the wall or ceiling

The next step is to inspect the wall or ceiling. Here you’ll be checking if your wiring won’t interrupt the following:

  • Other electrical lines
  • Water pipes

This is where you use your stud finder to investigate and detect the safest zone to install your wiring. Once you have identified this area, it’s time for cutting drywall as we’ll explain below.

Running the wire

The process of running the speaker will depend on the location of the job as we’ll differentiate below:

  • Around a door frame — When running a wire around the door frame, you need to remove the molding first. After this you can run the wire around the door frame. Reattach the molding after you’ve completed the wiring process
  • Basement — In cases where you have to run the wiring through the basement, you must first drill four holes: two on the wall or ceiling and the other two on the mounting plate. These are the holes that you’ll use to run the wire through the wall when you connect to the speaker
  • Baseboard— In this case, you must first pry off the board to expose the ground. The next step is to find the studs and construct a wire channel. After this you can install your wire into that channel and replace the board when you’re done

Fish the Wire

The final step is to fish the wire to enable proper installation.


How to Disguise the Wire

Sometimes you may prefer to avoid drilling any holes into your walls in an attempt to hide your speaker wires. The other alternative is to disguise the wire if possible. You can try these easy tips.

Cover them

A smart and effective idea is to cover these wires with some form of runner or rug. This will work best especially if the wires have to cross an open floor. Not only will the wires be tucked safely out of sight, but you’ll also get to beautify your space in the process.

Tuck under carpets or baseboards

Alternatively you can tuck them under your carpet or baseboard. This will work best if your home is carpeted or has baseboard lining. Usually you’ll find a gap between the wall & carpet and this is where you tuck the wire in. If the space is too tight, you can use a screw driver to gently push the wire in.

Layer with a coat of paint

What better way to disguise your speaker wire than to layer it with a coat of paint? This option also comes in handy if your landlord doesn’t allow you to drill through walls.


Conclusion

Before you start drilling into walls to install your wire speakers, make sure that you’re allowed to do so. If you’re renting your current space, it’s advisable to first get permission in writing from the owner to avoid any negative repercussions. Above all, remember to practice extra caution during the process. And then enjoy your audio experience.

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen Parry. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. This includes guitar, keyboard, ukulele, speakers, headphones and everything else that comes with it. I spend all my free time on music production and jamming with friends. I hope to use this site to share my experience and help anyone looking for solutions to audio related problems.