Tips

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Running Cables in Solid Walls

Unless you live in a timber-framed house, most of your walls - downstairs, at least - will be of solid masonry, and the neatest way of running cables across them is to cut channels called chases in the wall surface. The cable is then secured in the chase with clips and plastered over. If you want to give the extra protection, or if you foresee wanting to alter or extend the wiring using the same cable route, you can encloseit in flat PVC conduit which is itself embedded in the chase.

In older homes, the plaster may be very thick, enabling you to cut the chase without having to cut into the brickwork beneath. However, modern homes have much thinner plaster so if you want to use PVC conduit you may be faced with the harder task of chiselling out brickwork or blockwork also. Remember that cable runs in the wall must travel vertically or horizontally, but must never run diagonally.

Once you have decided where the cable will run, start by marking the position of the wiring accessory it will be supplying, and then mark the route of the cable run to the accessory. Use a sharp cold chisel and a club hammer to cut along each side of the chase and to remove the plaster between the cut lines. Where the chases crosses picture rails and dados (chair rails), use a masonry bit in your electric drill to clear out the plaster behind. You can use the same technique to clear a chase behind a skirting board if you want the cable to pass up the wall from floor level.

Marking the route for cables Chasing channel for cable

If you plan to use conduit to protect the cables, cut it to length and check that it fits snugly within the chase. It should stop about 12mm above the position of the wiring accessory. Secure it in place with galvanized plasterboard nails, ready for the cable. Finally, chop out the recess for the accessory.

Drilling through chair rails Chasing for accessory

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