Very simple question really -

I have a floating wooden floor and a raised stone hearth in front of the fireplace. I want to run some cables along the edge of the hearth and I need to lift the floor trim around the hearth and create a groove to hold the cables.

What's the best tool for the job?

I think I need some type of handheld router but I'm worried that there is not enough space to cut the groove given the high hearth edge.

enter image description here

The trim is about 1 inch wide and the hearth is about 2.5 inches tall. There are old floorboards under the floating floor and I want to run a network & TV cable around the fireplace.

  • We need a few measurements. Height and width of trim. Size of cable. Is the raised floor flush with the hearthe and the trim over it or is it lower or higher? What is under the raised floor?
    – bib
    Nov 2 '13 at 19:39
  • A picture or two of the area where the cable is to be installed would also help a whole lot and put your question into brilliant perspective.
    – Michael Karas
    Nov 2 '13 at 21:23
  • @bib - I've added pic and more detail
    – Catch22
    Nov 3 '13 at 10:26
  • 2
    @Catch22 - the sharp, confined 90 degree corners will likely be problematic for inserting at least the tv cable
    – mike
    Nov 3 '13 at 17:18
  • 3
    This begs the question: if there are floorboards why are you not running it below the floor?
    – Bryce
    Nov 4 '13 at 6:13

There are two possibilities - create a channel in the trim or create a channel in the floor.

For network and TV cables, you probably need at least a gap about 1/2 inch wide and 1/4 to 3/8 deep. The trim looks too shallow to put in that channel. You could cut a channel like that and cover it with the existing or comparable trim.

While a router can cut channels, it needs several inches around its cutting bits for the base of the unit, and your cut would be too close to the raised hearth.

A good alternative might be a multitool


These are specialized power saws that can cut in very close quarters. The saw blade (it has several others) is offset, so you can cut downward into the floor right up to the edge of the hearth. They come in various price ranges starting at about $60.

I would remove the molding, draw a line about 5/8 out from the hearth all around. Then I would cut downward through the floating floor using the half circle wood blade following along the line. You probably will need to use the straight saw blade at the corners.

The wood strip you cut off should be easlily removed if it is not glued down. If it is, a small prybar, cheap screwdriver or chisel should easily pop it out.

Lay your cable, replace the trim. You may want to use cable clips to keep the wire in the channel until the trim is in place.

  • Mutitool did the trick. Also used some old Play doh instead of cable clips to hold cables in place.
    – Catch22
    Nov 12 '13 at 20:43
  • @Catch22 A good macgyver! The trim is the real hold-down, so any safe temp fix makes sense. While it wasn't raised, this is NOT a solution for AC cable, and as Tester101 warned in a comment, you have to make sure the nail down of the trim is well away from the cables.
    – bib
    Nov 12 '13 at 20:51

A multitool was exactly what was needed. Thanks to @bib for the suggestion. Ended up getting this Bosch multitool as it had both the half circle and straight blade.

Chanel cut in floor

I cut though the floorboards with the tool - it took a little longer than expected but it worked perfectly.

Ended up with quite a deep groove and had loads of space for the cables so managed to fit 2 network cables, 2 TV cables and a phone cable. Might also run some speaker cables while I'm at it.

Also, there was no problem running the cables around the corners as there was some space under the corner of the hearth.

To hold the cables in place, I used some old play doh and it worked perfectly.

play doh holding cables in place


I'd go with bigger trim, with a groove cut with a router.

That trim looks too small, and installing between the floating floor and the hearth is asking for thermal expansion problems.

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