Any suggestions for speaker wire management?

We just moved, and are at a loss for how to safely secure the wires for our rear speakers to the floor. The challenge is that the entertainment center is centered on one wall, and the speaker “stands” (actually a bookshelf) are in the middle of the room, behind the couch. So stapling the wires to the trim at the bottom of the walls won’t really work. At some point, they have to trail over hardwood floors without being a trip or baby hazard. They run under an area rug for most of their length, but there’s still about two feet before the area rug and two feet after the area rug where they’re exposed.

At our last place, I used clear duct tape, which worked great until we pulled it up to move. Turns out clear duct tape pulls the finish off hardwood floors. :smack: I don’t care about that place - the floors were trashed to begin with, and they’re demolishing it now anyway. But these new floors were just refinished before we moved in, and I can’t let them get hurt.

I’m sure there’s some product designed to deal with this, but I don’t even know where to start looking. Ideas?


Get rubber “flexiduct” or “wiremold” at the hardware store - the wires go into the strip’s center slot, then the weight of the rubber strip holds it in place.

We had speakers in all four corners and wall-to-wall carpeting, so we had no way to hide the wire. We went up to the ceiling and followed the seam between the wall and ceiling. Obviously, it looks pretty crappy, but you could tack up some sort of thin plastic tubing to put the wires in and create a fake-and-cheesy poor man’s crown molding with it. It works great! I’m sure if you want to keep it looking tres chic, you can invest in other things that will look better than plastic tubing.

Sweet! Flexiduct looks perfect. Now that I see it, I recognize it from offices. :smack: I’m guessing I should not use the doublesided tape, as any adhesive left for a number of years is likely to play havoc on hardwood, right? You think flexiduct is heavy enough to stay in place on its own?

Gaffers tape won’t mess up the floor. It’s like duct tape but doesn’t have the sticky glue on it yet holds stuff amazingly well no less.
Have you considered taking the wires into the basement or crawl space and then back up where the speaker is located. Drilling the smallest hole in the floor to allow the wire to pass and then if you ever leave the place use some wood putty to cover the holes up. Try to do this as close to the corner as possible to avoid the possibly unsightly hole.

The problem with flexiduct is that it is now a trip hazard and if kicked will rip the wires out of the speaker jacks. If anything fasten the wires to the speakers with some sticky-back tabs and some ty-wraps, then go into the flexiduct. This will prevent the wires from pulling on the speaker jacks and act as sort of a tension relief.
I still would try to route the wires through the basement if possible.

I’m moving into a new house this month, and it’s not going to be easy to run wires to my speakers, given the layout of the living room (vaulted ceiling, and the speakers will be sort of out in the middle of the room, rather than against a wall). While trying to come up with a solution, I had an idea…

Some areas have started providing internet access through the powerlines, correct? You just plug your modem into the outlet, and poof you’re connected (probably not that easy, but you get the idea). Those electrical outlets are huge, unused pipelines in most houses.

How about a two-part device: One part connects to your stereo, and plugs into the nearest outlet. The second part plugs into any other outlet, and receives the signal the first part is broadcasting- and then it sends that signal to the speakers you’ve plugged into it.

Seems like a simple enough idea. They could certainly make it safe enough- if they can connect a modem to the house electrical system, then surely they can make it safe for speakers.

I would consider buying two wireless speakers, because of the child and hardwood floors. Incase you use the speakers you have, be sure to secure the wires to the shelf. You can put an eye loop into the shelf behind the speaker. You should do this behind the stereo two if it’s high so it doesn’t crash on the floor. Thread the wire through the eye loop. The wire should move freely through the eye loop, or they’ll pull down the shelf also. The kid pulling on the wire or an adult tripping will not pull the speaker off the shelf and on top of themselves causing injury and speaker damage. The wire will pull out of the clip on the speakers, or stereo.


I’ve only used gaffer’s tape on painted wood, and crappy painted stages at that. Is it really safe for hardwood? Do you know this personally, or just theoretically? (Not that I don’t trust you, but I really, really like this landlord and don’t want to ruin his floors or lose my security deposit!)

Drilling holes in the floor is not possible - it’s an apartment. Good idea for a home, though.

I did consider it. But wireless speakers need to be plugged in to a power source, correct? Then I just have the same problem with the power cords - there’s no outlet in the middle of the room. Plus, a quick look on Amazon shows nothing under $100 at a rating I’d consider buying. We’re poor folks. :wink:

Might the electrical system be too noisy to get a good signal? I assume that you’d have to do digital transmission, but that might open you up to unacceptable lag. Apple makes a wireless audio transmission device of the same sort, and I understand that it’s great for music, but too laggy to use for, say, video.

And you’d still have the same problem with routing a wire, except that instead of routing the line from your receiver or amp, you’d be routing it from a power outlet. Plus, that little box would have to be the amp. My amp isn’t exactly tiny. I don’t know enough about audio electronics to say for sure, but I imagine that if they could make good receiver/amps that were tiny, they’d already be doing it.

Forget wireless speakers right off. The ones that are even remotely affordable are lousy - they hiss, spit and pick up passing ambulances and taxis. And, as you said, there’s no readily available power for them.

Good flexiduct is fairly flippy-floppy soft stuff made from heavy rubber. If it’s bumped, it’ll move, but go back down to the floor. The cheaper vinyl stuff tends to twist and curl.

For a two-foot span, I’d not be hugely worried about a trip hazard - I’m assuming such a narrow space isn’t a heavy traffic area. Run the one end of the stuff under that rug, and I’m assuming the other end’s up against the wall. You can loop the wires a couple times through a stick-on hook (The 3M “Command” ones will easily be removed when it’s time to move) attached either to the floor or baseboard molding, so if someone does catch them, they’ll be less likely to yank the speakers off the wall. Don’t put the hook on the painted wall, as if it is tripped on, it’ll probably pull off a chunk of the wall surface.

Is it a one story home? Is there attic access above the room(or basement below)? If so, you can run the wires up through that way, and drop them down inside the back wall. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, then you can find any number of low voltage wiring or home theater companies who can.

Also, you can take off the baseboard, get a wire that has 4 conductors in one jacket, and cut a channel in the backside of the baseboard, and run the wire in it…then just stick the baseboard back up.

It depends on how the wood is sealed. Is it with a few coats of poly or just a stain or maybe a stain poly combo. I would try it on a small scale and let it stick for a few days, then pull it up and see if it comes off easy. Problem might lie in whether or not the sun is beating on the tape and softening the floor (for a prolonged period), although sometimes heat is a good thing when you’re trying to remove something sticky from a floor. You’ll have to be the judge on this one, but gaffers tape is known for not leaving residue behind and for not damaging surfaces.

I must have been using the wrong gaffer tape in the past. For short term use, it does come off nicely, but leave it there for a month, and it will leave goo behind. And this was with “real” matte-black gaffer tape that sold for something like $15 a roll.

Well there, at least we have some first hand experience.
I think if the wood is protected (with a decent sealant) then a mild solvent should take off any glue residue without any signs of damage to the wood or sealant. After all, the glue is only going to stick to the top surface of what ever is on the wood.