SoundProof Door for short ceiling - AVS Forum
Dedicated Theater Design & Construction > SoundProof Door for short ceiling
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 08:44 AM 10-27-2013
I've seen doors that cost a fortune- way out of my league - I'm looking for something (pref. <$150, max $300) that will provide the necessary sound containment - especially of LFE
The aesthetics don't concern me much.

I heard getting a solid exterior door from Home Depot/Lowes(approx. $150) would work - however they seem to be 80" tall and my ceiling height is low (about 76") any idea?

Main ITOLLTHW Thread

BIGmouthinDC's Avatar BIGmouthinDC 11:01 AM 10-27-2013
You buy a 1 3/4 inch thick flat birch veneer solid particle core door (Office Door). you cut it to the height required. If you want more sound containment you add additional layers of 1/2 MDF with GG. A prehung door as described with extra hinges (Weight) will be under $200. Pictures of this in Curve Frenzy.
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 10:40 AM 10-28-2013
btw - that theater looks amazing

Q- The height from the floor to the beam (as shown in the pic) is 78". As you can see as soon as you walk in you'll hit your head on the pipe and main support beam (well at least on the soffit which will be covering them). The pipe and beam hand down 9" below (i.e. 69" height). I'm 6'2" (74") tall
Any ideas?
Should I cut the door to the size of the soffit (~69"), or keep it at 78", and be careful not to bang head on the soffit. Or any other suggestions?


Tedd's Avatar Tedd 06:08 PM 10-28-2013
Is it possible to have that pipe reworked, so it is above the bottom of the beam?

Is there another suitable location for the entry door?
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 06:24 PM 10-28-2013
Unfortunately can't rework the pipe (don't know what's involved but the wife would never go for that)
It is approx. 1/2" below the bottom of the beam
And no other place for an entry door as the beam runs the length of the HT, and the other walls are surrounded by foundation walls
Here's the layout - light blue area is the HT

Tedd's Avatar Tedd 08:24 PM 10-28-2013
Is that 69" under the beam, and 78" of basement height?
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 09:04 PM 10-28-2013
~69" under the pipe
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 07:22 AM 10-29-2013
This is a tough one.

How wide is the hallway? Would a 36" wide door help with some duck over room?

If things can't be reworked to get height, then I'd split the difference so the door has some drywall
over top, and then maybe pad the soffit and carry that treatment under and up. Maybe do a diamond
tuff finish on both sides of the low soffit.

The beam isn't the real problem, it's the waste line. A section of support beam could be recessed up into the joist cavity,
spanning the support columns, and the floor joists attached with hanger brackets. So if that pipe doesn't run the length of the
basement, then that's where a less headroom constricted door could go.
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 08:48 AM 10-29-2013
Hallway is 6' long,
Unfortunately the waste pipe also runs the length of the room

What do you mean by "split the difference"?
also what is a "diamond tuff" finish?

Tedd's Avatar Tedd 08:51 AM 10-30-2013
I would shorten the door, to keep some wall header space above. I wouldn't shorten the door to 69" though.
This will give preserve some room for trimming out the door and when a door in a lower height room
goes to the ceiling, this tends to completely emphasize the low ceiling.

cgott42 doorway.jpg 18k .jpg file

An example of diamond tuff would be BigMouthinDC's bar front.

diamond tuff.jpg 93k .jpg file

Or some similar padded treatment. You can't easily work around the pipe so might as well try to "own it"

What are your seating needs? And does this room need to have the work out gear in it?
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Tedd's Avatar Tedd 10:57 AM 10-30-2013
Here's a few ideas that rework the space to a wider/shallower profile but move the
headroom issues into the hall outside the theater. One row of seating though...

Cgott new layout b.jpg 55k .jpg file

Cgott new layout c.jpg 143k .jpg file

You have so many threads going, that I can't seem to get a handle on exactly where you are,
on your build, so this might be too little too late...
Attached: Cgott new layout b.jpg (55.1 KB)  Cgott new layout c.jpg (143.4 KB) 
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 04:31 PM 10-30-2013
Thanks - I really appreciate this.
I like your idea re: the soffit - I'll have to look at his thread to see how to do that.
I need the workout equipment in the room as most of my time watching is while I'm exercising.
re: seating - usually have 4 people - so 1 couch is fine (usually 3 on the coach, 1 on the floor)
Also - if I shrink the HT portion - it would affect throw distance (12' wide screen)
Really ashame that I can't move my screen to the "long wall" (on the bottom) - and move the seating under the soffit - I think that would look great, just the problem is there would only be 10' of throw distance and I'd be limited in the choice of projectors (currently I have a BenQ W6000)

re: the door - If I have it slightly above the bottom of the soffit (as in your pic) - would people misjudge the soffit (subconsciously assuming it's the same height), and bang their heads?

I'll update the main thread with progress info and pics - thx!!
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 07:28 PM 10-31-2013
My experience with a low-ish ceiling is that having to cut two doors down 4" to fit under a beam
actually worked to help disguise the fact that the basement level was lower. I ended up cutting
the other two doors to matching height.

Shrinking the screen with a single row is all about viewing angle. And when the screen shrinks,
you gain a brighter image.

If the door is slightly taller then the soffit, you still have padding but if that padded drop is just behind
where the door is, it should be easily noticed. Or you could just go with some humour and have signage
there that says 'low clearance" or "DUCK!"

As for shrinking the room and throw distance, the projector could be in a hush box, outside the room,
or partially extending through a wall.
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 09:46 PM 10-31-2013
Where would I put the proj outside the room - as behind there is just a wall, and above is the soffit with the beam preventing placement of a proj.

I just measured - from the bare south wall to the beam = 11'1" -
Options to sit under soffit, and project onto south wall:
  • Put proj. on ceiling in front of soffit. distance from soffit to new screen wall (i.e. south) = 10'1" (i.e. start with 11'1" above and deduct 3" for the soffit, and 9" for the south wall ). The projector itself is about 15" = 8'10" throw distance - which is good for approx. 74" screen on the BenQ W6000, though 90" on a Panny AE8000
  • If I put the projector overhead above the seats (i.e. under the soffit) - Adds 19" = 10'5" throw distance --> which is good for 87" on the BenQ W6000, but 106" on the Panny AE8000. but the problems are the bottom of the soffit will be about 66" high, and then might be claustrophobic to begin with , then a projector overhead would compound that.
  • Behind the room - not sure I can - as there's just a wall there.

Just found the BenQ W1500 - not sure if the PQ is on par with the W6000, based on specs contrast is way lower, but could make this set up work.
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 04:48 PM 11-02-2013
Have you tried these scenarios to see, or are just guessing the results will be as such? I only ask because
sometimes what seems very unusual, ends up working.

Years ago, I was in one 6'9" high basement, with a Sony 1292 crt pj. It was low, to put it mildly.
I was eye to crt lenses. Yet it worked fine once you got over the uneasiness of having a 250 pound
projector hovering above. The owner even had a second row with a 6" riser behind. Excellent sightlines,
and while it looked different, it worked very well watching a movie with the lights off.

Another unusual set up I've seen, was the JVC RS1 and Draper HighPower combination, where the projector
was mounted mid room height on the High Power screen. When my friend told of his new set up, I had to
go this since I couldn't see this working. And since you have one row of seating, the projector might just
work on a stand (or equipment rack) right behind the seating. Might work as a port hole solution with the screen
on the bottom wall.

Another possible scenario might be to use a front surface reflective mirror to lengthen the throw distance, to get
a bigger screen. ( Much like a rear projection TV ). Never seen this first hand, but I have heard of it being done.

A little digital projector over the seating, might be a very good location.

A rear projection setup might also work. The trick is finding one cheap...
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 06:38 PM 11-02-2013
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 07:44 PM 11-02-2013
Thanks expected screen sizes are taken from projectorcentral calculators.
Though it seems there are some pretty good shortthrow projectors, however
Another concern is acoustics it seems there's a 38% rule , that the ideal listening position is 38% of the distance between the front orback wall. So sitting right attheback wall might ruin the sound
HopefulFred's Avatar HopefulFred 08:08 PM 11-02-2013
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post

Another concern is acoustics it seems there's a 38% rule , that the ideal listening position is 38% of the distance between the front or back wall. So sitting right at the back wall might ruin the sound
The 38% rule is one of thumb - it's a good starting point. On the other hand, the sitting too near a wall is a virtual guarantee of bad sound. This is what makes most sideways setups inferior or impractical - the sound pressure at the wall becomes especially inconsistent near the wall (while it will be highly variable elsewhere, it's worst at a wall). The effect of reflected sound from walls about one to three feet from a listener is a significant dip in the response in the frequency range of voices (mostly low voices) and speech intelligibility takes a hit.
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 12:00 PM 11-03-2013
You do have some flex space with the rear wall and that 2' in behind.

I'd reclaimed that depth and then do a minimal front AT wall with a Seymour AV
XD DIY screen. This AT wall could have a larger screen that could be revealed rebuilding
fabric panels secured from the backside of the AT wall.

Another stab at the room... The av rack could employ the beam and waste pipe run to run a
couple of conduits to the front wall, or AT space. I narrowed the room to eliminate the soffit,
and did a wide duck under section, with the entry door where it is currently. The added alcove
could act as a mini lobby with a movie marquee and a recessed media rack by the doorway
and put some of that wasted depth to use.

Another thought is to do a scope AT screen and build sliding side masking panels. These would
just stay in 16x9 format for now, but you'd be prepped for a pj upgrade or anamorphic lense addition.

Cgott E.jpg 146k .jpg file
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cgott42's Avatar cgott42 12:44 PM 11-03-2013
I love the idea of an AT screen. My younger kids come into the room a lot, and I cringe everytime they do as they go near the speakers.
Is there also a way to use sliding panels or other stuff cover the screen - for the same reason - so no one can lean/rest their hands on it?
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 08:35 AM 11-05-2013
I just measured - instead of an "L" soffit (attached the wall with the door). I can move the door wall back 15" from the soffit (using a "U" soffit attached to the ceiling. I think this might be enough distance from the door way so that people will have enough notice to duck w/o hitting their head.
Now the Q is how close to the lobby hallway door should the HT wall be? i.e. (looking at diagram in OP for reference) - I can make the HT wall flush with the doorway, or I can move it in slightly. How much (if any) should I move it in?

Here's a pic (standing inside the HT) looking through the HT door opening (where it stands now, inset towards the HT) and viewing the entrance door to the lobby

Tedd's Avatar Tedd 02:23 PM 11-05-2013
You should order a sample of SeymourAV's XD material. It's not as fragile as one would expect,
and all the speakers up front would be out of eyesight. The temptation to touch them would be

Why nut a lock on the door and control access? This is now "Daddy's room" and access is
limited to when Daddy is in the room. They kids have their play room space, and lots of it.
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 02:35 PM 11-05-2013
yep, I plan to put a lock, but when they come in while I'm there, they can't help but gravitate towards the screen.
Also eventhough this is my "man cave" - having it not look like a theater would gain a lot of WAF points (she's not into it).
h the speakers hidden behind the wall, the only thing that screams "theater" is the black border around the screen - so if there was someway to have that hidden - bingo!
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 03:46 PM 11-05-2013
If you reclaimed the 2' of room depth, kept the north wall of the theater just off the
beam, and stuck the reduced head room in the hallway, then this could be an option.

cgott F.jpg 144k .jpg file

You could also use some of that wall reduced height wall depth for a dead vent.
Attached: cgott F.jpg (143.8 KB) 
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 03:53 PM 11-05-2013
I can't reclaim the 2' because of the waste pipe running along it

Also - I like the idea of the screen wall being opposite the entrance, however since I have the exercise equipment - if we move the screen to the opposite side from where it is now, people will have to navigate around the workout machines to get to the couch.- not pleasant - so I think we need to keep the screen on the side it's at

btw- I'm trying to learn SketchUp to create a 3D model - however it takes a while :-( and has a little learning curve
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 03:57 PM 11-05-2013
AT screen = WAF

The black "border" is the entire front wall. When the Mrs sees am image floating in space,
she'll get it. And a fabric front wall has some texture so it's not that bland. You could also introduce
some panelling effect with routed edges.
Tedd's Avatar Tedd 04:11 PM 11-05-2013
Give the kids bean bag chairs and they'll stay away from the screen.
cgott42's Avatar cgott42 09:28 AM 11-06-2013
Gotcha - just asked SeymourAV to send a sample to me.
Seems it'll cost me about $200 for the wall, and the same for the screen (as they only sell 98" screen material) and the black wall material is 72" or 98" (I'll need 78" - i.e. forced to buy the 98")
So $400 for the screen and wall - not bad.

Though - (due to cost) - I'm going to leave the screen open (kid accessible) and ask the wife to live with the "home theater" look instead of disguising it as a living area.
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