I'm re-cabling my entire house with 2- CAT5 and 2- RG6 lines to each drop. I'm planning on buying individual spools, instead of the pre-bundled cable to save on costs. What is the best material to bundle/wrap/bind these lines together between the panel and the end of the drop? I suppose that I don't specifically have to bundle them up, I'm just guessing that it will be a lot easier to handle if they are bundled together for the length of the run. I was thinking of either electrical tape, but doesn't it mess up the cable jacket somehow? I was also thinking of plastic zip ties or velcro zip ties, which would be expensive, but I could manage if those work best. Any thoughts?
I'm not a pro, but I've wired a few office when they were open, but for my house, well that was the hardest. In 63 they just didn't think of additional cabling and some of the paths were a bit hard to deal with.
I didn't have room at either end for spools and boxes and for some runs it was much easier to start in the middle. So I measured the runs added about 10' and then laid it out down the driveway and used electrical tape to bundle it every 5' or so. This allowed me to pull it without too much hassle with help from my son. Where I needed some support I used the PCV electrical coax wall attachment loops. You can attach them with just one screw and they flex enough to allow you to put the cable in and out when needed.
I don't see the need to bundle, myself, but I'd put a turn of 3M electric tape around the bundle every 3 ft. Don't use too much, and use the cheap (thin) stuff. The pressure should equalize and I can't believe that it will distort the CAT specs for the cable.
People do use all three types of bundling you've mentioned - plastic zip ties, Velcro(r) and electrician tape. I would suggest one more that you may find useful, but first things first: leave electrician tape to electricians. It is too easy to apply too much pressure when bundling so the wrapping will contract over time, squeezing the bundle too much for the delicate cables to handle. Even more important from practical stand point is that if you ever have to un-bundle (and you WILL have to over the useful life of that cable, for sure), the tape leaves the nasty sticky residue that will mess up anything it touches. Plastic ties can also crush cables too bad, so if you have to use them, pick the widest ones you can get and never ever use the tightening tools, just tighten by hand and make sure every cable can still slide back and forth.
I would suggest that you use pieces of plastic spiral wrap (sized accordingly to your bundles) that you can buy in RadioShack, CompUSA and similar places, not even mentioning eBay, which is where I would go for this kind of stuff if I can wait a week or so for the shipment to arrive. Just cut them to length about 1 foot long and wrap around the cable at points where #1 the bundle is going around a tight corner #2 some cables leave the bundle #3 every 4-5 feet of the stretch where you have to hang the bundle. If you hang it, make sure your loops or brackets land on the wrapped length of the cable. #4 anywhere the bundle of cables can possibly be seen from the living space just for neatness of the install.
The relatively rigid plastic the wrap is made of gives cables additional strength for any crushing force, keeps the bundle round, which is the optimal shape, and prevents overly sharp turns that ruin the cables with the least turning radius.
BTW, another suggestion I have is this: if you opt to use Velcro®, which is also a good choice indeed, do not buy pre-cut ties, just buy it in rolls. It is significantly cheaper this way and you may find that it will be affordable, especially considering relatively small size of a regular residential cabling job.
I'm wiring my basement and running lines from basement to attic. I have considered exactly what you are asking, but decided it was best to not use anything because during the pulling stage pretty much anything you use will catch on corners, studs, and insulation esp. if pulling through walls.
But if I had to make a choice elec. tape would probably be the only thing. Velcro and anything that doesn't stick will just slide off when pulling it. Cable ties will catch and possible crease/distort cable shape if really tight.
Now, AFTER the pulling is done is a different story. For that I chose to buy some cable ties that have a hole on one end for fastening with a screw. So, for example, I run all my cable across the ceiling joists in the basement, screw in a cable tie with a hex head screw & magnetic bit (one handed operation that way!), and just wrap the tie around the bundle and tighten (gently, just enough to be snug).