I have a cable that I need to run through the ceiling. I'd like to go under the floor, but I have a split level house, and this is the lower floor, so I don't believe there is room in the bottom half of the wall to run cable.

Here's the situation in the ceiling. I think I have a decent handle on what needs done, but this is my first time having to do something like this, so I'm looking for tips and how I might actually fish the cable.

So here's where my cable comes in to the house (wall to the right of this pic out of frame), and where I can easily access the joists:

Access to cable and joists

In my living room, here's what those ducts look like. Fortunately the joists run in the direction I'd like to run my cables.

living room, joists and ducts

Here's the TV, my wife wants a shelf above it for the cable box, home theater PC, etc. So I need to fish network cable to this spot on the wall. There is a cable outlet there already but I have hunted all over and I cannot find a the other end of the cable. This house was a rats nest of RG-11 wiring when I moved in, and none of it makes any sense. TV

Here is the approximate cable run. cable run

My biggest questions:

  1. how I'm going to get the cable about 4 feet down through that hump in my ceiling and then make a 90% turn.
  2. How to fish it along the ceiling
  3. Am I going to have to cut an access hole in my wall by the TV, then patch the drywall to do what needs done? I can't think of any other way to do it. At least not in a hole the size of a wiring box.
  • 1
    Is there molding around the base of the wall?
    – Tester101
    Dec 12, 2011 at 12:58
  • 6
    I +1'd on the pictures alone
    – shufler
    Dec 12, 2011 at 20:09
  • @shufler you just like the hand drawn arrows
    – StrongBad
    Aug 25, 2017 at 14:55

8 Answers 8


Couple problems I see. First is the textured ceiling. You'll never be able to open that up and patch it without being obvious, the texture is something that just isn't done these days. Second, the exterior wall should have insulation in it, so you'll end up fishing the line through insulation and the vapor barrier.

Instead, I'd suggest running the line around the floor if you can get it to a convenient wall anywhere in that room. Use some fasteners to keep the cable at the base of the wall to run it around the room:

cable fastener

  • 10
    If you decide to run the cable across the ceiling, you could put it in a raceway. That will let you run multiple cables while still looking neat.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Dec 11, 2011 at 22:21

I think I'd look for the outside spliter and run the cable around the outside of the house under the edge of the siding and try to enter as close as possible through the wall behind the TV. If the spliter is indoors, run a line back outdoors and around. BMitch is correct, you will never be able to fish that distance without opening the ceiling, and cutting into the drywall at the top corner. There will be a lot of drywall repair needed, and be very hard to match that textured ceiling, not to mention the mudding and painting in the top corner.

  • 1
    This is what I was going to suggest. Get some out-door rated cable and take the easy route. ;) Alternatively, wait one or two more years for the wireless HDMI technology we've all been promised.
    – DA01
    Dec 12, 2011 at 5:01

What about running it along the underside of that shelf that runs around the perimeter of the room?

Just drill through the wall underneath the shelf and between some studs, and run the wire tucked under the shelf all the way back against the wall. You won't be able to see it unless you're sitting on the floor.


Well, here I go potentially disagreeing with some more experienced folks. Assuming you have clearance over the ceiling all the way to the back wall, this is doable with fish tape and a hole in the wall with the tv on it. Get some small conduit (even thin pvc pipe will do), and put a 90 degree angle in the end. In the case of metal conduit you would bend it with some pliers. In the case of PVC pipe you would get threaded parts and screw it together. Run it along the joist. Assuming you have some clearance between the joist and the ceiling you should be able to hit the wall behind the wall with the tv. Now all you need to do is pull the cable down and plug it in.

Options to make the pulling process easier;

1) Best - Take some tape (duct tape is good) and tape a piece of twine or fishing line about 2 ft long to the end of the cable. Once it hits the end of the conduit just grab the twine and give it a good yank. Avid tying a knot - it's possible (although difficult) to damage cable that way.

2) Not best (having serious trouble, even after the above? go this route) chop off the connector and replace it after you pull it through. To do this you need a) an understanding of the way cables work (conductors, insulation, etc) and b) a crimp tool and connectors (available in radioshack). Crimping instructions are found on the tool packaging. Don't know how to use a multimeter? Think twice.


While this can be done with some long flexible drill bits, fish tape, and rods, it will be difficult to go this exact route. You will likely need at least one or two cuts, and as the previous poster mentioned, your ceiling would be hard to patch.

You might be able to run it in the ductwork but this is often frowned upon. If you do make sure to use plenum-rated cable so that it will not burn and spread fire.

It looks like you want to put the TV on an exterior wall. If that is the case, my recommendation would be to run the cable on the exterior of the house and just punch through the siding where you want to terminate the cable. You should place a low-voltage rework box at the location of the recepticle. Make sure to use cable clips to keep the wire against the wall.


If there is baseboard molding around the bottom edge of the wall.

  • Remove the molding.
  • Lay the cable in the gap between the floor and the wall covering (drywall, plaster, etc).
  • Fish the cable up the wall to where you need it.
  • reinstall the molding (be careful not to nail through the cable when you install the molding).

You may need a right angle connector, where you come through the wall behind the molding (Coaxial Cable does not make tight 90 turns).

enter image description here

  • Ordinarily this is what I would do. It's not an option in this case, as the bottom half of the wall is cement block with standoffs. Dec 12, 2011 at 15:34
  • 2
    @ChrisSobolewski How about installing crown molding, and running the cable there?
    – Tester101
    Dec 12, 2011 at 15:57

You can buy a product called "Corner Duct 1075 series." It looks vaguely like crown molding, except it is made of plastic and has a removable cap.
Alternatively, you could just run the cable along the ceiling/wall joint and lay crown molding over it. Sometimes a straight line is not the best answer.

Also before ever tapping into a ceiling look at what direction your vents are sitting. This will tell you which way your floor joist are running.


Eight years ago, these were great answers. Since 2016-ish, the solution is EOP -- Ethernet over Power. Since 2018-ish, you can get EOP units that handle 1Gb speeds (within your house, not necessarily out to the external Internet 'cause that's a slightly different story).

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