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post #1 of 21 Old 02-05-2013, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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So I finally got clearance from the budget committee, aka my wife, to build a home theater.

I've done quite a bit of homework and have lurked on here for years but I'm sure I'm overlooking or misunderstanding some things and that's why I wanted to go ahead and start a build thread.

The room in a nutshell - 19'10"x19'7"x9' garage, 1/4ish" wood paneled walls. The room has two common walls with the main house one wall is shared with the livingroom, the other is shared with a pantry and will serve as the only entrance/exit to the theater. The other two walls are exterior. The width of the room will be cut to 16' by framing in a storage/AV room on the pantry entrance side.

I will post pics as I am able.


What I've got to work with -

  • A 19'10"x19'7"x9' garage just begging for a makeover.
  • A modest cash flow budget.
  • Some experience with everything - I work IT for a living but was a mechanic for several years before that. I have hung drywall, installed electric, installed plumbing etc. I intend to do every that I can, myself.
  • A pool of child labor(kidding :P) in the form of my three kids, ages 8-12 and an infant who is basically just there for moral support.
  • Experience making bullet lists.
  • Also an understanding, amazing, and beautiful wife who will probably read this thread at some point.



Where I want to go -

  • A full on HT with video gaming (Xbox,Wii) capabilities.
  • HD projector.
  • 120" + screen.
  • Two row stadium seating.
  • Independent air conditioning.
  • The Caribbean - that's a different thread.


The plan -
  • Empty the garage and frame in the door and two windows to completely seal off the room. I don't care about letting in external light and I want to completely control the lighting in the room for optimum viewing.
  • Gut the garage walls. They are currently 1/4ish" exterior type wood paneling.
  • Frame in storage/AV rooms on either side of the entrance.
  • Run wiring for everything.
  • Hang 5/8" drywall all the way around. The garage shares a wall with my LR so I intend to make that wall staggered stud.
  • Paint everything dark.
  • Lay something down on the slab for the carpet.
  • Lay the carpet on something.
  • Install AV equipment.
  • Install seating.
  • ????
  • Go broke.


Equipment
This is the point where budget really becomes an issue and I'm up in the air on a lot of things. ANY feedback is greatly appreciated.
  • Epson 8350 - I'm not ready for 3D just yet and this thing seems to get good reviews compared other similar PJ's.
  • Pioneer VSX-1021-K - Pioneer VSX-1122-K Pioneer SC1222K - Got a good deal on Newegg!
  • Logitech Harmony 1100 remote Harmony 900 - Native RF instead of add-on and cheap for refurb from Newegg.
  • ES R120WH1 - Elite Screens ER135WH1 Sable Fixed Frame Projection Screen (135 inch 16:9 AR) - Stepped up to 135" because why not.
  • 1 Ton Ductless minisplit A/C unit to service this room alone.



I haven't decided on speakers but i am leaning towards towers for front and rear surrounds and in-ceiling for the sides, I want to keep the room as open and flexible in layout as possible.

The current questions I'm struggling with -

  • Is 120" as big as I can go with this setup?
  • Does anyone have experience with ductless "mini-split" A/C systems? Would this be a good fit?
  • Should I worry about the attic (shared with the living room) in terms of sound leakage? If so, what's a good solution?
  • I need suggestions for front row seating - this will mostly be for the kids and me gaming but will need to be movable so we can play Kinect etc.


The questions I think I have answered -
  • Should I just leave the paneling in place and rock over it for more mass? - On the ceiling, yes. On the common walls I will use double stud walls with two layers of 5/8" sheetrock and GG.
  • What should I put on the slab to serve as the sub-floor for carpeting? I've seen people use plywood/OSB over Rboard but haven't actually read a definitive guide about this. - Seal it good and use pad/carpet.
  • What was in Marsellus Wallace's briefcase? - "A light and a battery"


Thank you to everyone for taking the time to peruse my little starter post. I appreciate your time, attention and any ideas you might have.

Here's my original layout.


We decided to go with a variation of Tedd's suggestion - theater entry at riser level in the rear of the room and single door on the RH wall where all the AV equipment live in the storage room.
The final layout is the same as below but with the storage room on the right instead of the left.




EDIT: Updated equipment and layout pics.
EDIT:Updated equipment list to reflect recent purchases. Finalized room layout.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-05-2013, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-05-2013, 10:00 AM
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It looks llike you have a good starting plan.

I would recommend double layer sheetrock and GG on at least the common walls and if I had it to do over I'd do them all.

No mention of conduit, but over do the conduit. Run more than you will ever use and then you'll find a use for it.

I recommend at least two 20A seperate lines for a space that size but you could always do more or a sub panel with more etc.

The mini-splits work good although the ducltess ones are a little ugly. You can get ones that are ceiling(recessed) mounted and all other variations which are hidden.

What are you going to do about equipment? Rack? Free standing? In-wall? You'll need power ventilation if its not out in the open.

Run Cat 6 EVERYWHERE. To projector, rack, light switches, front, back, and both sides. Nearly everthing can be spliced into Cat6 to be networked.

Seperate lighting zones are a good idea. Especially the lights up close to screen. You'll want them off when viewing.

Nice Start!
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-05-2013, 10:09 AM
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Great looking plans. I like the pantry access. First quick observation is to move the speakers out of the corners. Check out Dolby's website for detailed advise on placement.

Doug
Terra Ceia, FL

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post #5 of 21 Old 02-05-2013, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksHitachi View Post

It looks llike you have a good starting plan.

I would recommend double layer sheetrock and GG on at least the common walls and if I had it to do over I'd do them all.

No mention of conduit, but over do the conduit. Run more than you will ever use and then you'll find a use for it.

I recommend at least two 20A seperate lines for a space that size but you could always do more or a sub panel with more etc.

The mini-splits work good although the ducltess ones are a little ugly. You can get ones that are ceiling(recessed) mounted and all other variations which are hidden.

What are you going to do about equipment? Rack? Free standing? In-wall? You'll need power ventilation if its not out in the open.

Run Cat 6 EVERYWHERE. To projector, rack, light switches, front, back, and both sides. Nearly everthing can be spliced into Cat6 to be networked.

Seperate lighting zones are a good idea. Especially the lights up close to screen. You'll want them off when viewing.

Nice Start!

Thanks the tip on sheetrock and GG. I'll definitely want to contain as much of the sound as I can.

The room currently has either one or two 15A circuits so i doubt it would take much to beef them up a bit.

I was definitely worried about the appearance of the minisplit unit and I hate to sacrifice ambience for something like that so I will definitely do some more looking.
If worse comes to worse, I could give the unit a custom paint job! rolleyes.gif

I'm planning on having a simple open cabinet under the screen for equipment.
This is partly for convenience and partly because I don't have a good setup to incorporate an AV cabinet w/o doing some more in-depth construction.

Good point about the conduit, I'm not sure how I'll handle running conduit from the equipment to the PJ. Time to put the old thinking cap on.

I'm still up in the air about running CAT6 vs wifi. I'm thinking I'll want to at least do several strategic runs of wire.

I forgot to mention the lighting..
I intend to use 3 zones - 1 in front of the screen, 1 for the wall sconces and a 3rd for accent lighting including (hopefully) LEDs under riser edges and in crown molding near the ceiling.
Being an old X10 buff, I plan on automating/remote controlling as much of it as I can.
I will probably switch to something more reliable than X10 once I have a better grasp of the alternatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucsroom View Post

Great looking plans. I like the pantry access. First quick observation is to move the speakers out of the corners. Check out Dolby's website for detailed advise on placement.
It seemed like the way to go for access. Right now that room is laundry/pantry but I'm moving the sink and adding some counters and cabinets. It'll be primary food storage for the house as well as a place to make popcorn/snacks for movies. Thanks for the placement tip, I will definitely do some more homework!

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-05-2013, 02:11 PM
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That's a great looking space - plenty of potential!

You've mentioned this would be used for movies and gaming then you said the kit would be put at the front. You may want to re-think this as all the lights and readouts would detract from your 'home cinema' experience. Your room is quite wide, you could easily put the kit towards the back, which takes me to my next point:

Your room is quite wide. In fact, almost square - I've read a few times that square rooms are often to be avoided for acoustical reasons. Personally, I would make a small storage/kit rack space on the left wall (door wall) which would narrow your room down by 2-3 feet. Alternatively, with all that space on the sides you may find that building double stud walls would be a wise move. When built with the proper decoupling, they provide better sound proofing than staggered stud walls.

You said you've done plenty of reading on this site, but a good long look at the articles on http://www.soundproofingcompany.com before you start on any construction will pay dividends. You'll kick yourself if when it's done you have to keep the volume down so not to wake the kids/wife/neighbours.

At this early stage, don't worry too much about the equipment you're going to use (unless you already have it). Building the room properly takes time during which A/V kit either comes down in price or is replaced by superior alternatives.

Are you going for an acoustically transparent screen or having speakers in front? Personally, I prefer the AT screen - but you may feel that loosing 1-2 feet in perceived room length may make it feel a little too cramped.

Always remember the following:
There are plenty of people on this forum that have come across and resolved issues YOU WILL RUN INTO. Ask advice here - the worst that would happen is no replies.
Take your time. The room itself is the most important part of your home theater - equipment can be moved or replaced but you don't want to look back on it with the feeling you should have built the walls differently.
Enjoy yourself.
Take plenty of pictures. We need to see what's going on! Plus, more pictures = more feedback = often more advice when you get stuck.

On a completely different subject I read an interview with Tim Roth a long time ago. He was saying how he was tired of people asking him what was in the case. So, what was the next question?
"So, what was in the case"
"A light and a battery"
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post #7 of 21 Old 02-07-2013, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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After reading that post, I decided to revisit the room design.
After some adjusting, I can add a 3ft wide room on the pantry/access wall.
This would make the HT room more rectangular but more importantly(in my mind) would give 3 big benefits.
1) A place for an AV rack/equipment rack - located in the wall immediately to the left of the entrance, there will be a smoked plexi door hiding my AV stuff.
2) A place to run wires - this new design essentially gives me a soffit along the length of the room.
3) Storage space - True its not a huge space but this would allow me a place to put away misc stuff that can't be easily stored elsewhere in the house.

I'll update my original post with changes.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-12-2013, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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We are underway!

I started buying storage totes and packing up all the junk in the garage.
We moved into the house 3 years ago and this room has been used to store all the stuff we never completely unpacked.
It also houses the deep freeze which will be relocated to a room in the basement and my "beer fridge" which I will down size a bit and fit into a forthcoming pantry redesign.

I never realized how horrible this room looks until I took a few pictures.

View from the entrance:

The two windows will be framed in. This is the wall that will have the mini split unit.

View of the screen wall from ~first row seating:

The garage door will be framed in.
The wall will be PT at the bottom, R30 fiberglass plus 1/2" Rboard with wood panel siding on the outside to match the rest of the house.

View of the entrance from ~first row seating:

The freezer and fridge will be relocated.
I may keep the door since it's a solid core.
This entrance will be flanked on either side by storage/media rooms that will come out about 3.5' from this wall.

So far we're off to a good start. I never realized how much crap we had in here but it feels good to be trashing/donating so much stuff that was just taking up space.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-12-2013, 07:03 AM
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Nice open space to work with, once you get it cleaned out anyway. I presume you live in the south? I would freeze my B$%&^ off if I tried renovating my garage.
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-12-2013, 08:09 AM
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I'd follow the floor elevations, and rework the pantry area, so you enter at the rear of the theater, and at floor level.

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post #11 of 21 Old 02-12-2013, 08:15 AM
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A DIY AT screen could keep the window (in the storage room) too.

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post #12 of 21 Old 02-12-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip-B View Post

Nice open space to work with, once you get it cleaned out anyway. I presume you live in the south? I would freeze my B$%&^ off if I tried renovating my garage.
Tennessee! Not, that it matters much, its been pretty chilly here lately.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

I'd follow the floor elevations, and rework the pantry area, so you enter at the rear of the theater, and at floor level.
I hadn't thought about that approach.. What would be the reasoning for this approach? Other than removing AV and storage entrances from the HT.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #13 of 21 Old 02-12-2013, 08:37 AM
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On second thought, since the plumbing run is on the outside wall, and the window was kept, flipping the walkway and work wall works better.

90 - ATa.jpg 72k .jpg file

If the storage is very occassional use, maybe a door from the theater could pack in more storage.

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post #14 of 21 Old 02-14-2013, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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After examining Ted's suggestion and much discussion, the wife and I have decided to finalize on the plan below.


Still not sure about the size of the riser but at this point, we're going to keep it as small as possible.

Our main reasons for moving ahead with this layout are 1) We can renovate the pantry at a different time with minimal disruption to daily life 2) since the pantry already has a window, we'll remove the current sink and go with counter tops on the lower(outer wall) and the rest will be floor to ceiling cabinets. This should maximize storage and allow for popcorn/drinks with easy access to the HT.

The other things I changed - I'm going AT with a false all just b/c I like the idea of having the sound actually come from the screen. The two storage rooms were widened by about a foot. This will really help with long term storage and gives me a place to park my excess computer and A/V equipment and gives me A/V rack access. Plus the storage rooms create a small "hallway" to add to the entrance/transition effect. About the only thing I don't like is having the two doors to the storage rooms in the theater but I'll probably go with regular doors rather than bifold just for looks.

This overall design should give us max storage, easily accessible and still leave plenty of room for the kids to play.




Since I intend to cashflow the construction and probably won't have a single large chunk of change until next year, I'd like to go ahead and get my core components.

EDIT: Moved equipment list to OP.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #15 of 21 Old 02-18-2013, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Started demolition this weekend even though all the junk isn't completely cleaned out.
Whoever hung this wood paneling used screw shank nails which makes things exponentially harder.
But so far the studs look good, I was afraid I might have water issues.




Does anybody have a recommendation for an alternative to the Elite Sable 120"?

For the price, they seem to get good reviews. I just didn't know if I was overlooking another manufacturer.


If I go with the Epson 8350, should I ceiling mount or put a shelf at the rear of the room?

Shelf distance would be 18' and some change. 1st row seating is about 11.5', 2nd is at about 15.
I intend to go with 7.2 with 2x 12inch polk subs so I dunno if vibration would be an issue.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #16 of 21 Old 02-25-2013, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Paneling being removed:


I moved my old entertainment system out of the garage. Moved my deep freeze to its new home in the basement.
Next step is to move the washer/dryer out of the pantry and into the basement, then I can move my beer fridge to the pantry and start framing the windows/garage door/storage rooms..
Progress!! Finally!!

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #17 of 21 Old 03-10-2013, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Made good progress this weekend.. Got all the walls (except for the one with the garage door) strip down to the studs/insulation.
I'll be ready to start some framing soon.

This wall is the common wall with the livingroom and will be a double wall..
Luckily I wont have to add any insulation. The wall to left is common wall with the pantry.



One thing I'm curious about.. This lip from the footer is on the screen wall.. Rather than double wall it up to cover the lip, I'd like to float the floor.
Do I just lay down 1/2" plywood or OSB to level it up? Do I need to seal or glue on the slab?

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #18 of 21 Old 04-08-2013, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Still more progress.. I removed the windows and framed them in. I also studded in the wall for the storage room.


Windows out. I could not find a way to peacefully remove these things so I resorted to brute force.
Hammer + tape + trash can = clean openings.



Windows framed in.


One of the window openings from the outside. Framed in and covered in siding. Gaps between the wood and rock are sealed with foam.
When I have more time, I intend to go back and frame inside of the opening to improve the look.



This will be the right wall of the theater, the gap is about 4' between the two walls. The wall will be 5/8" DW and probably insulated to help with sound isolation. My AV cabinet is roughed in to the storage room, immediately to left of the door.



I had to unwire the two switched outlets in the ceiling that were used for the lights and also the outlet used by the door opener hence the dangling cords.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #19 of 21 Old 04-16-2013, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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This past weekend I got my garage door removed and the resulting hole framed with 2x6's and covered with 1/2" Rboard.


The garage door, strewn on the ground.



The framed in hole.
The footer is PT 2x6 with a 1/4" foam strip underneath, nailed down using a powder hammer and caulked with silicone/acrylic.
I went with 2x6's because it'll allow me more insulation on this sunny wall and also to help get rid of the lip formed by the footer.

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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post #20 of 21 Old 04-16-2013, 01:06 PM
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Nice to see another garage HT, will be following along.

If you don't like the looks of the typical mini split A/C, check out the LG ArtCool (looks like a picture frame) or the ceiling ducted units.


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post #21 of 21 Old 11-12-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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So, it's been awhile, I figured I'd resurrect this post.

My theater is functional but not complete as of yet.

Rather than go through the process of embedding all the images, here's the link to my gallery of pics - http://imgur.com/a/eTQLn

Now that I'm on the tail end, I can say its been fun but it has been a LOT of work.. Totally worth it though!

A toast to Bill Brasky!
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