Raceway aesthetics

Q: I need to run one to eight Category 5 cables down hallways and into units of high-end condos and apartment buildings. I haven`t been able to find any attractive conduits, raceways, or moldings. In some applications, I have to go around multiple corners.

Q: I need to run one to eight Category 5 cables down hallways and into units of high-end condos and apartment buildings. I haven`t been able to find any attractive conduits, raceways, or moldings. In some applications, I have to go around multiple corners.

Troy Hacking

Seattle, WA

A: Use crown molding. The more cable you need to accommodate, the larger the crown molding. Have a carpenter install the molding by attaching it only to the wall, leaving a gap between the top of the molding and the finished ceiling. Your challenge will be to place the cable in your up-scale "cable tray" neatly enough so that it cannot be seen by a person standing in the corridor. The narrower the corridor and higher the ceiling, the easier it is to create the illusion. If even one loop of cable is visible, all that beautiful craftsmanship is just a cable tray.

A hint from someone who has done this: It will be much easier to drill through the corridor walls before the carpenter installs the molding. Be certain that when you are drilling through the corridor wall into the living unit, you are above the finished ceiling height in the living unit, and do not forget to firestop all the firewall penetrations.

Another trick that we have used for greater quantities of cable is to install cable tray and cover the bottom and side rails with wood. We used rough-sawed cedar and ran a tray down either side of the corridor with "cross braces" at certain intervals. From a ladder, it looks like a cable tray. From the corridor below, it looks like a system of support beams, as long as no cable loops are visible.

Donna Ballast is a communications analyst at the University of Texas at Austin and a bicsi reg-istered communications distribution designer (rcdd). Questions can be sent to her at Cabling Installation & Maintenance or at PO Drawer 7580, the University of Texas, Austin, TX 78713; tel: (512) 471-0112, fax: (512) 471-8883, e-mail: ballast@utexas.edu.

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