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post #61 of 127 Old 05-10-2014, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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My roof has asphalt shingles. We're likely to eventually upgrade that to a metal roof, but not for the time being. I do think that that asphalt shingles are a big reason for the extreme temps. That and the relative lack of air flow in the attic -- we do have eave vents around the entire house, but I they don't work as well as I'd like.

And yeah, I decided to go with new 2x8s for the joists and will use the recycled 2x6s for stage and/or riser.
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post #62 of 127 Old 05-10-2014, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Two random things.

I was measuring the actual size of the room after framing to enter into Sketchup and wanted to see how square the corners were, while I was at it. My first set of measurements were off by more than I would have preferred, so I went back and re-did them to be more accurate. I discovered that my pressure treated 2x4 plates ranged in width by quite a bit -- from just less than 3-1/4" to just over 3-1/2". Odd. Knowing that I couldn't count on that height, I just measured exclusively inside dimensions.

The end result is that my room is 21' 9-1/4" long for all of my measurements (within 1/16"), meaning that the front and back are as parallel as I could get them. The width of my room goes from 13' 5-3/8" to 13' 5-1/2". So they aren't perfectly parallel and the room isn't perfectly square... but considering that there is only a 1/8" rise over a 21' run. That means that my angle in one corner is 89.973 degrees rather than 90 degrees. Yeah, I can live with that. tongue.gif

FWIW, I did do a 3-4-5 right angle check on all corners and those all showed a 90 degree angle within all tolerances of my tape measure, so I don't have some kind of skewed parallelogram.

Anyway, the other thing that threw me for a temporary loop was doing a riser height calculation. I figured that I'd have a 1' stage and a 1' soffit, giving me a 6' screen. I tossed in some test numbers to figure out how high my riser should be... and it came to something like 3 feet high! Gak!

I went back and forth for too long before remembering that I couldn't have a 6' high screen anyway. I'm going with a 2.40:1 screen, and so my height is physically limited by my available width. If I allowed for a 12' width, then my height is 5'. My original idea of 6' would require a 14'-5" screen -- an impossibility considering my drywall-to-drywall width of about 13' 3".

So yeah, putting in some more reasonable numbers and my riser height calculation was between 12" and 15". That's much better.
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post #63 of 127 Old 05-11-2014, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Conceptual Update - May 11, 2014

In Search of Realism

I've spent all of my theater time lately working in SketchUp to try and nail down some decisions. I started by entering in precisely what I already have and then putting in exactly what I know I'm going to add -- the OSB plus drywall. My goal for this phase was to work out exactly how much material I'd need and to also figure out exactly how I'd do it. As in, how do all the pieces match up. So by having precise locations of studs and the like, I could then create individual "panels" in SketchUp of both the OSB and drywall. I'll admit that I went mildly overboard in that I also ensured that I did the zig-zag pattern in the corners. That meant shifting the panels by 1/4" here and there. That was important to me since I was trying to figure out how I was going to handle 8' 1-1/2" walls with an 8' sheet of OSB. It turns out that because of the 3/4" OSB on the ceiling, I could get away with roughly 3/8" gap on the top and bottom of the OSB. That's only 1/8" more than the recommended 1/4" gap, so I'm hoping that that will work out just fine when it comes time to caulk it.

Anyway, I figured I'm going to need 26 panels of 3/4" OSB plus 7 12' sheets, 7 10' sheets, and 4 14' sheets of 5/8 drywall.

Here's an idea of what I came up with. The actual SketchUp file contains the roof as well as quite a bit of other details on other parts of the theater and adjoining room. It should be accurate to within 1/16" for the most part.

Realistic SketchUp of Theater

Notice the 2x4 on both ends of the ceiling. I'm not actually certain what to do there. I could not find any building guides that talked about how to handle the joists next to the parallel exterior walls. That is, if the first joist is 24" from the wall, then that means that the first layer of OSB will have nothing to screw into for 2'.

I've seen a few cases where people put perpendicular "jack" joists (or "nailer" joists?") on regular intervals attaching the first joist to the wall plate. That doesn't seem ideal. Putting a full joist right there could work, except that my roof is relatively shallow and a 2x8 might not actually fit right there.

So I decided to put a 2x4 across the gap. It'll be fully secured on the two outer walls and then overlap the parallel exterior wall by half it's width. That'll leave 1-3/4" of space to screw the OSB to. That seems reasonable to me?

Mocking it Up

The realistic SketchUp is invaluable for making precise decisions, but it's not well suited for making exploratory ideas. A big part of what I'll need going forward is to figure out roughly what my stage, proscenium, riser, soffits, columns, and the like will also roughly look like. More specifically, where will they be in rough form. For that, I created a bunch of "mock" layers that allowed me to play with the new components in high-level form. I didn't care about how many studs they would need or how many sheets of sheet goods. It was just "what will this look like?" and "where will it go?"

Here's roughly what I'm thinking, minus the soffits:

Proposed layout - open top

The screen wall is 2' from the exterior wall. The screen is 4' 7" by 11' (2.40:1). The stage and riser are both 11" high (more on that later). Those chairs are actually existing La-Z-Boy theater chairs from my first theater. There are four of them and they'll be in the back row. Those models are relatively accurate -- I spent likely too much time on them. I have three up front, but those are just placeholders since I don't know what chairs will be in the first row.

A lot of the dimensions are based off The Bacon Race theater. Columns are 10"x18", riser is 7' 6" long, the soffits are 16"x12", and so on. Those will likely be tweaked as I go, since my space is very mildly smaller than the Bacon Race space.

With soffits, it looks roughly like:

Proposed layout - with soffits

The main thing to note is the curve in the front soffit, that roughly matches the curve in both the stage and the riser. That seems a little big, though, so I will likely tone it down. I'm considering putting a shallower arc out from it to give me a staggered look on the ceiling. I've seen that done in a few high end theaters. I'll have some mockups of that at some point.

Needs More Work

So what am I already not a fan of? Well, the back columns might need to be bumped out to the side more. The front columns are in a very strange place and just look wrong. Maybe I don't even need columns there. The curves steps to the riser give it some symmetry with the stage (and possibly the roof) but I wonder if the footprint is too small as a result.

The riser at 11" is somewhat necessary, since the two windows on the right side come down to roughly 12" from the floor. I don't want the riser (or stage) to overlap the windows at all. Thing is, 11" might be a tad low, depending on what seats I eventually get for the front row. Here's the view from the second row with the camera placed at 36":

Back seat view

If somebody tall was sitting in the seat in front, then I'm pretty sure the bottom of the screen would be cut off. A shorter front row would help, and even with this view, that assumes that the front row seating is upright and I almost always recline when watching a movie.

Still, another inch or two would go a long way. I'm considering putting a riser on my riser, just below the seats to raise them up another couple of inches. If it was just under the seats, then would then seem abnormally high? If it branched out a bit, then might it be a trip hazard? Maybe I could create a gradual slope towards the sides and stairs. Hmm..

Anyway, that's where I'm at. My next steps are going to be deciding where the electrical will go and how I'll get it there, as well as where the projector will go. Once that it done, I'll be able to start ordering materials for the next stage and simultaneously start the electrical. That's at least a couple weeks out, likely.
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post #64 of 127 Old 05-12-2014, 04:29 AM
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I like the overall look. But I do think the front columns may stick out too far and end up being distracting.

The curved step to the riser may be a tripping hazard without some really good ( I'm thinking a led strip along the curve) lighting it up.

I wish white didn't affect the projector picture quality so much, because it can look very cool.

I don't see any harm in your mini riser on a riser idea.

Keep up the ideas. Sketch up is great.
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post #65 of 127 Old 05-16-2014, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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How do I prepare a build for a projector location that I won't know until possibly months later?

Everything I'm reading says that it's pointless to plan both screen size and projector location until you have the projector on hand to play around with. Putting it closer creates a brighter image, at the expense of contrast. Going back increases contrast, but you might get a dimmer image. The screen size makes a massive difference no matter what. In the end, the solid advice I'm seeing is to simply not make any placement decisions until I have the projector and can project on a wall to see what I prefer.

So far, so good.

But I need to pull the cables (electrical, HDMI, ethernet) very early on -- months before I'd buy a projector. How do I plan for that?
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post #66 of 127 Old 05-17-2014, 06:10 AM
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Can you run your cables front to back? If so then you can run them past your potential PJ locations and cut a hole and pull out what you need once you've decided on a final location.

Dude, are you made of leprechauns? Cause that was awesome!

The Plains Theater Has Begun
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post #67 of 127 Old 05-17-2014, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm... my first thought was, indeed, to just run everything long and then terminate as needed where the projector was going to be. The reason I dismissed that idea was the HDMI cable -- as a general rule of thumb, you can't field terminate HDMI without tools and skills I don't have. HDMI cables can be relatively expensive on a foot-by-foot basis compared to Romex, too.

But you jogged me to rethink that and it hit me that since HDMI isn't field terminate-able, I'm going to get it in multiples of 5' anyway and will likely have some extra no matter what. The difference between my closest possible and farthest possible positions is about 5', so if I just got one step up, I should be fine. And the cost difference isn't as much as I was thinking -- somewhere around $5.

Now, I was planning on running the cables in conduit or tubes, for upgradeability. That's trickier to move than just cable. Not impossible, though.
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post #68 of 127 Old 05-17-2014, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granroth View Post

Hmm... my first thought was, indeed, to just run everything long and then terminate as needed where the projector was going to be. The reason I dismissed that idea was the HDMI cable -- as a general rule of thumb, you can't field terminate HDMI without tools and skills I don't have. HDMI cables can be relatively expensive on a foot-by-foot basis compared to Romex, too.

But you jogged me to rethink that and it hit me that since HDMI isn't field terminate-able, I'm going to get it in multiples of 5' anyway and will likely have some extra no matter what. The difference between my closest possible and farthest possible positions is about 5', so if I just got one step up, I should be fine. And the cost difference isn't as much as I was thinking -- somewhere around $5.

Now, I was planning on running the cables in conduit or tubes, for upgradeability. That's trickier to move than just cable. Not impossible, though.


I have an idea for you. Since you will have attic access, run conduit from equipment area to just into the space above the ceiling joists, and finish the conduit once final position for PJ mount is determined.

I can not see why this won't work. Other than the downside of working in the oven I mean attic.

Pete
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post #69 of 127 Old 05-17-2014, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xm15_owner View Post

I have an idea for you. Since you will have attic access, run conduit from equipment area to just into the space above the ceiling joists, and finish the conduit once final position for PJ mount is determined.

I can not see why this won't work. Other than the downside of working in the oven I mean attic.

Pete

Yeah, that seems like the most flexible method. Plus, at the rate I'm going, it'll be in the middle of winter by the time I need to install the projector, so it'll be nice and cool in the attic. Heh.
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post #70 of 127 Old 05-23-2014, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Random Update - May 23, 2014

I'm somewhat narrowing down the projector possibilities, even though I won't be buying one for awhile. The contenders include a Panasonic AE-8000, Epson 5030UB, and Sony VPL-HW55ES. Maybe a JVC X35. None of them are a slam-dunk, because each has their compromises. I'll likely be talking about that in more detail as I get closing to having to actually choose one.

I have abandoned my plan of having a layer of OSB as the first layer of sheathing. I found that I couldn't come up with a coherent justification for the extra cost when describing it to my wife. That's always a sanity check for me -- If my reasons for something sound lame when describing them to her, then maybe the idea is faulty in the first place. So both layers will be 5/8" Type X drywall (with GG) with one single strip of OSB in the center of the ceiling to help with projector mounting later.

I am in the midst of ordering various things. I got my wide throw hinges from HardwareSource.com (three 4x6" wide throw hinges @ 24.97 each) and my 75 ft of 6/3 wire for the new sub panel from Home Depot. I am in the process of ordering some more supplies from a local supplier (need to solidify the quote):

Lumber:
10 - 16’ x 2x8
2 - 16’ x 2x4
4 - 16’ x 2x10

5/8” Type X Drywall:
20 - 4’x12’
21 - 4’x8’

OSB:
2 - 4’x8’ 5/8” (19/32") OSB
8 - 4’x8’ 3/4” (23/32”) OSB

Door:
1-3/4” - 32” x 80” Solid Core Slab

Insulation:
30 batts 23” 3.5" R-13 Fiberglass

I actually wanted some more specific drywall sizes, including a few 4x14 and 4x10 sheets, but the supplier only does 8' and 12' sheets. No big deal. I'm assuming somewhere around $1300 when the quote is finalized.

I also sent in a request to the Soundproofing Company for some Green Glue. I had today off and so I was going to call them... but they also took today off. Oops.

3 - Green Glue 5 gallon pails
1 - Speedload gun
1 - 10-Pack of Putty Pads

I also want an automatic door bottom from Zero International (352AA), which it looks like they don't carry. I may get that and some gasketing material from Trademark Hardware.

It turns out that installing that new subpanel is going to be a bit more of a pain than I remember thinking it was going to be. The problem is that I don't have any spares available in the existing panel for the new 60-amp breaker. That means re-doing some existing ones to make space. That's not fun. I'm likely going to replace a double-space 30-amp 240-volt breaker and a 20-amp variant with "thin" breakers, so each take up only one space instead of two. This opens up two spaces, which allows me to get a traditional double-pole 60-amp breaker. There are thin versions of those, too, but they are significantly more expensive.
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post #71 of 127 Old 05-27-2014, 08:35 AM
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I just skimmed through your build and I am impressed: Well done smile.gif I look forward to following more progress.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #72 of 127 Old 05-30-2014, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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It's Not Delivery, It's ... Yeah, It's Delivery

I got my first big load of construction materials today! I got it from a local building supply company called R&K Supply. They have darn near everything related to construction, although it's curiously segmented into multiple business units. As a result, I had to order the lumber and insulation (and doors; more on that later) separately and then had to coordinate it all to be delivered on one truck. It arrived on a rather large flat-bed truck. Mine is the load in the back:

Flat bed truck

They had one of those really handy forklift tricycles on the back, so the guy could put it anywhere I wanted. I had him load it up on some 2x2s that I had laid down as stickers of sorts:

Construction load

This load is enough to create my joists, put insulation on the inner walls; and put two layers of drywall up. The OSB is primarily for creating the riser and stage later. I put them on the stickers because it may still be some weeks before I get to the drywall (at least) and so I wanted to be able to throw a tarp over it and then keep it elevated.

Other Deliveries

I got my wide throw hinges for the door, already, and the Emtek extra-deep handleset plus automatic door bottom are ordered. Both come directly from the factory, so there is always some lead time on those. I doesn't matter since I don't have the door, yet. I priced one out with R&K but remember how I said they were different business units? Yeah, the door would have been delivered on a completely separate truck with its own delivery fee. We will likely be wanting another exterior door for a different part of the house so I put off ordering the theater door on the assumption that we'll order both of them at the same time.

Frustrated

I had wanted to get my Green Glue and related bits ordered, but no such luck. Okay, so I know that the Soundproofing Company has a great reputation on AVS and their articles and Ted's support in the forums is great. But... I'm not having such a great time with them. The key problem is that even though they have a contact form for email, they completely ignore it and never respond. I've sent two queries; the second being essentially an order for the Green Glue. I've got NOTHING in return. Now it may well be that they hate email and only will deal over the phone, but if that's the case, then they need to remove the ability to send them emails. As-is, their customer service from my perspective has been abysmal.

I'm seriously considering just ordering the Green Glue from Trademark Soundproofing (sister company to the place I order my automatic door bottom from). They don't have the same reputation here but they are very responsive over the Internet and I was able to make some modifications to an order without ever having to pick up a phone. Honestly, the only reason I'm even hesitating is because the other company is The Soundproofing Company. In any other case, I have a zero tolerance policy for bad customer service and so I would have jumped ship long ago.

So yeah, either I wait until Monday and give the guys a call, or I just order what I need from TM Soundproofing this weekend over the Internet like the non-caveman that I am. We'll see.
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post #73 of 127 Old 05-31-2014, 07:30 AM
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I bought my GG and mass loaded vinyl from Trademark . Fast shipping and they answered questions I had over the phone. Just thought I would share my experience .
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post #74 of 127 Old 06-01-2014, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Electrifying Update - Jun 1, 2014

I've been thinking about the difference between knowledge and skill, lately. I realized that when it comes to electrical work, I am knowledgeable enough, but I'm not at all skillful. I spent maybe 15 hours working on a new sub-panel last week and while it was done properly (would have easily passed inspection had I pulled a permit), a skillful electrician would have done the same amount of work in maybe 2 hours. Maybe less. The end result would likely have been similar, but the skill comes into play when doing proper work in a much shorter amount of time!

So yeah, that sub-panel is what I've been working on for the last week. Oh, also scorpion hunting -- but that's only at night. 41 scorpions, though!

Anyway, the panel work didn't start out how I planned at all.

Cramped

My original plan was to put a new 60-amp breaker in the service panel and then run a 6/3 NM wire across the house and down to a new sub-panel in either the theater or the office (which is right next to the theater). I even custom-ordered the 6/3 since it was far cheaper on a roll than paying per foot and I couldn't find a 75ft roll in stock anywhere locally. I got a standard Square D Homeline flush mount sub-panel and some breakers and was ready to get going.

It was at this point where I realized that I hadn't thought this through at all. Specifically, I hadn't made sure that there was space in the service panel to put a new 60-amp breaker... and there wasn't! The service panel handles a 200-amp service, but there is only one physical row for circuit breakers. Every one of them was full.

Full service panel

My next thought was to find some "slim" double pole breakers to replace a couple of the bulkier 20-amp and 30-amp 240v breakers in there. I started doing some research, though, and discovered that there really isn't such thing as a slim (1") double-pole breaker unless you had a specific GE model. This conflicted with the fact that I clearly had my water heater and clothes dryer on 240v circuits that each only took up one space. How was that possible?

I asked a detailed question about this on the DIY StackExchange forum and got some very informative replies: http://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/42315/using-a-30-amp-tandem-circuit-breaker-for-a-120-240v-circuit

In short, this worked because of a convoluted use of tandem breakers. The circuits were each set up to use one "leg" of each tandem breaker. This gave 120v + 120v = 240v and so it worked. It's quite unsafe, though, since that meant that you could trip one breaker and the other would still be live. Plus, it wasn't obvious until I tested which breaker was for which circuit. Dangerous stuff!

After that, I realized that I couldn't get away with slimming down the panel any more. I couldn't even replace any single-pole breakers with some tandem units, since all but one had already been replaced like that.

What that meant was that I would need to move at least one of the existing circuits into the new sub-panel, in order to get space for a new breaker. This also meant that the most practical solution would be to put the new sub-panel right next to the service panel, rather than put it on the other side of the house. The one other alternative would be to move the HVAC circuit from that side of the house to a localized sub-panel and use that space... but I wasn't in the mood to move a HVAC circuit in the middle of the summer, since as anybody reading this well knows, I don't work fast. That means that whatever circuit is moved will be inactive for at least a couple of days. That's a non-option for an HVAC circuit in 105 degree days!

So the 6/3 and indoor sub-panel were returned and I got a new outdoor panel and some 12/2 wire. As a bonus, this was all quite a bit cheaper than the original cost was going to be.

Moving Time

The first order of business was deciding which circuits to move. I technically only needed to move one, but I figured that while I was at it, I might as well clear out more space in the service panel. So I decided to move all of the outdoor circuits to the new panel -- those are the ones that connect to the service panel through a punchout via conduit. There are four of them : a 30-amp 240v circuit to my workshop and garage; a 20-amp 240v for the pool pump; a 15-amp 120v for the pool LED; and a 15-amp 120v for some exterior floodlights. I chose the workshop circuit breaker as the one I'd replace with my new 60-amp sub-panel breaker.

I started the move by getting rid of a junction box that was used to connect up a few of the circuits. That was not actually up to code, but when the inspector passed me at the time, he made me promise to fix it. I did -- nearly three years later. Oops.

Old junction box

I installed the new sub-panel in the place of the old junction box and had to add a new PVC junction box for the workshop/garage wiring. That wiring wasn't long enough to reach the new breakers in the sub-panel and so I created a new splice box. That also allowed me to lower the entry point of that circuit into the panel. You might notice the tip of the umbrella in this picture -- I was getting massively sunburnt in the morning since this is on the East side of the house until I erected patio umbrella:

Initial placement of sub-panel

I tried to be as clean as possible in the new panel, but mostly was making sure that I had plenty of "leftover" wire in case I ever needed to rearrange the circuit breakers again. That's good practice until such a day that they create a wire lengthener.

First wires in sub-panel

I then created yet another junction box to connect the two EMT conduit lines to. I needed a junction box for the floodlight circuit since, like the workshop circuit, the wires weren't long enough to reach. The pool circuits couldn't easily route around the splice box, so I just routed them through it. At this point, though, I hadn't yet hooked up the floodlight circuit.

Revive the Old

That's because first priority was getting the pool circuits working again. It's not a good idea to have a pool pump off for more than a day or two in the summer, or else algae starts growing like make. So three days in, I finally connected up the power. That wasn't as easy as it sounds, since the existing panel is almost unbelievably crowded:

Crowded panel

Yeah, that's the neutral/ground bus bar completely hidden by all of the hot wires. This was a problem when connecting the neutral for the 6 gauge wire, since none of the accessible lugs in the neutral bus bar could fit a wire that size. I got a replacement lug that was bigger, but it didn't fit either. In desperation, I temporarily pulled all of the lower breakers to see what the neutral bus looked like there and noticed that while all of the normal "bigger" lugs were used, there was an unused lug clearly intended for a 1-gauge or so wire. I was able to use that to connect my sub-panel neutral. Whew.

In the end, I did have power and I was able to turn the pool pump back on (plus get in the garage using the door opener):

Power to the sub-panel

The next day, I connected up the floodlight circuit. Just as there is no such thing as a wire lengthener, there is also no such thing as a conduit stretcher. I cut off a piece from one end of the existing conduit (I needed to move six inches to the right, anyway) and connected them up to the bottom of it. A few splices later and all of my existing circuits were back in business.

All old circuits connected

Bless the New

I added a 1-1/4" conduit on the top of the panel that punched through my eve into the attic. I'm not a huge fan of running Romex inside of conduit, so I made sure it was amply big to handle two 12-2 Romex wires.

I put in two CAFCI breakers for my new two 20-amp circuits. Those are required for bedrooms by the most recent NEC. Now, three years ago when I create my addition, my city followed an older NEC code and so it wasn't a requirement. I used them anyway, since it seems safer. In this case, those circuits aren't going to be used in bedrooms... but I am relatively certain that the theater and office are considered bedrooms according to the code. Regardless, I'm using them for the same reason I used them for the addition -- they appear to be safer up in the attic. Wish they weren't so much more expensive, though ($40 vs $3)

CAFCI

I pulled two runs of 12-2 NM through the attic to roughly around the theater space.

It sounds so simple when I write it that way. It's not. This very well might have been the most miserable work I've had to do since starting the theater.

Here's how it went. For the first circuit, I got a roll of Romex and popped up into the attic. I waited until the sun was going down to lessen the heat impact, but since it was 115 in the theater, I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant in the attic. Nope -- somewhere around 130 degrees. Plus I had to wear pants considering what I was going to be doing. I hiked over to the other side of the building and hit the maze of HVAC ductwork. I don't have to deal with that on the theater side since there is a trunk system. Also, all of the plumbing on the theater side is underground. On the addition side, all of that is in the attic. So there's multiple flexible ducts all hanging at different levels and then Pex pipes, vent stacks, and exhaust ducts darn near everywhere.

Attic

That picture was as close as I dared to get while having my iPhone out. After that point required going on my hands and knees to get through the ducts and then -- oh, here's when it got REALLY fun -- I had to get on my stomach with my face in the insulation as I shimmied underneath that support bar you see in the distance. Even then, the roof pitch is so shallow that I could only get within three feet of the eve. So there I was, sweat from the 130 degree temps pouring into my face and smearing my glasses; buried in the insulation which ends up sticking to every square inch of my body; stuck in a claustrophobic space with no room to move; and only having my little headlamp light to see by. Yeah, it was a absolute BLAST. I threaded carefully eyed up the conduit opening in the eve and did my best to thread the romex through it. That done, I slowly shimmied and crawled backwards out of there.

That was only one circuit and since it wasn't anchored in the sub-panel, I didn't want to unroll the roll in the attic lest it pull the wire out of the conduit. That meant that I'd need to be doing it at least once more.

For some reason, I chose to do it during the middle of the day. Kind of a "I'm going to be miserable no matter what so might as well get it over with" type of deal. This time, though, I decided to thread the second circuit's wire through the conduit from the outside and then just pull it in the attic. So I repeated my trek of walking to the other side; then crawling; then shimmying. The only real difference from the night before was that it was substantially hotter (140s) and it was a lot easier to see.

I made it to my belly resting point and... the new circuit wasn't even close to being in reach. It turns out that when I pushed it into the attic, it decided to just coil up right by the eve rather than poke in in. Again, I could only get within three feet of the eve and so I couldn't reach that wire at all. That meant that I would need to go through this a THIRD time! Many an impolite word was uttered at that realization!

I did use this time to unroll the first circuit over to the theater space and then promptly jumped in the pool to cool off. Man did that feel good!

My third time up was a couple hours later and this time I enlisted the help of my wife. I brought up my metal fish tape a did my now familiar walk; crawl; shimmy. I carefully aimed the fish tape through the hole (which was harder than doing the same with wire, since the tape curls so much) and my wife grabbed it on the other end. She then secured the end of the second wire to the tape and I started pulling.

Wire pulling

That wasn't too bad, considering. I couldn't go very fast, due to all of the obstacles in the attic and so that gave my wife plenty of time to even out any kinks in the wire, so that it pulled smoothly. It took maybe five minutes to get it all the way across the house.

AND THAT'S IT! No more doing the crawl for the foreseeable future. I will, of course, still need to be in the attic do finish the wiring when the time comes and to do insulation and chases and all sorts of fun stuff. But no more crawling with my face in the insulation (that I know of).

And the final panel:

Finalized Sub-Panel
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post #75 of 127 Old 06-02-2014, 01:09 PM
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dude that sucked I have been in attics before doing the same thing but not 120 frigging degrees
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post #76 of 127 Old 06-02-2014, 01:13 PM
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Frustrated

I had wanted to get my Green Glue and related bits ordered, but no such luck. Okay, so I know that the Soundproofing Company has a great reputation on AVS and their articles and Ted's support in the forums is great. But... I'm not having such a great time with them. The key problem is that even though they have a contact form for email, they completely ignore it and never respond. I've sent two queries; the second being essentially an order for the Green Glue. I've got NOTHING in return. Now it may well be that they hate email and only will deal over the phone, but if that's the case, then they need to remove the ability to send them emails. As-is, their customer service from my perspective has been abysmal.

I'm seriously considering just ordering the Green Glue from Trademark Soundproofing (sister company to the place I order my automatic door bottom from). They don't have the same reputation here but they are very responsive over the Internet and I was able to make some modifications to an order without ever having to pick up a phone. Honestly, the only reason I'm even hesitating is because the other company is The Soundproofing Company. In any other case, I have a zero tolerance policy for bad customer service and so I would have jumped ship long ago.

So yeah, either I wait until Monday and give the guys a call, or I just order what I need from TM Soundproofing this weekend over the Internet like the non-caveman that I am. We'll see.
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post #77 of 127 Old 06-03-2014, 06:56 AM
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I hear you. I too prefer email and it's not pleasant experience when you are ignored. Best luck!

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post #78 of 127 Old 06-03-2014, 03:33 PM
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Ted and John were both very responsive to phone calls, and made it clear when I spoke with them that they prefer to discuss each scenario in detail. Taking the time to call them certainly saved me a bunch of cash as they steered me towards products that were cheaper, but would perform just as well. YMMV.

Dude, are you made of leprechauns? Cause that was awesome!

The Plains Theater Has Begun
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post #79 of 127 Old 06-05-2014, 12:02 PM
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me as well I used IB-1 clips vise whispher and other changes. Great to work with.
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post #80 of 127 Old 06-15-2014, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm Still Alive Update - June 15, 2014

No Longer Frustrated

Okay, where was I? Oh yeah -- getting supplies. I finally got through to John and Ted at the Soundproofing Company via email and after a week of going over my plan, we settled on three pails of Green Glue plus a pack of Putty Pads. Their quote for Green Glue was substantially below the price at Trademark Soundproofing... until you factor in shipping and handling. TM Soundproofing includes S&H in the price ("free shipping!") while the Soundproofing Company tacks it on later. The end result was that TM Soundproofing would be $61 less, since shipping from MI to AZ is nearly $190. Ted just price matched that and all was good! I'll be receiving my order tomorrow.

So it's fair to ask why I spent something like 2-1/2 weeks with the Soundproofing Company when I could have ordered the same stuff in minutes from TM Soundproofing and for $61 less (before price match). Well, I'm a big supporter of people who are committed to a cause. Ted is legendary on this forum and his and John's articles on their website have become essential reading for anybody interested in soundproofing. I quote them extensively in the Soundproofing Master Thread. These aren't just two guys trying to make a buck -- these are two guys that care deeply about soundproofing and give a lot back. That matters to me. If TM Soundproofing had ever participated in the community and had created a well done educational portal, then yeah, I likely would have gone with them up front. As is, I was willing to spend a bit more time to work with a company that fits my ideals better and am happy that I did.

I also got my door on Friday! I realized that I had never actually lifted a 1-3/4" solid core slab before. Those suckers are heavy! You really can tell the difference between those and a 1-3/8" door and even those and a 1-3/4" exterior door. Only paid $70 for it, too.

That means that I have all of the necessary bits to make my door except the Green Glue. With that coming on Monday, I should hopefully be ready to go next weekend.

Stuffing Gaps

One of the tasks I did in the interim was clean out the theater space. All of the old joists (2x6s) were hauled out, since I won't need them until stage/riser time. Most of the old insulation was pitched up into the attic for use there, later. The rest -- the 2" or thinner stuff -- was left for use stuffing some gaps.

See, there is the normal gap between my inner wall and the outer walls since I have a decoupled room-in-room configuration. I worried about that gap for quite some time since it's open to the attic above. I was afraid that things would fall down (including non-living and living things) and that it would also create convective chimneys that would super-heat the space between the walls. I finally got confirmation from the acoustic experts that stuffing fiberglass between the two walls and filling that gap wouldn't hurt the soundproofing at all (it wouldn't re-couple the walls). I also figured that even though it's only 1" thick, since it's going to be up to 16" wide, I'd essentially have the equivalent of almost R-50 in that space. That should handily stop the convection currents. I had a lot of left-over thin fiberglass insulation from the old rooms (yeah, it was only insulated with 1-1/2" of insulation -- something like R-5) so I used that.



I didn't really care that much if it was less than 16" wide -- as long as something was there, I was fine with it.

Joists

I also started on the joists. The first order of business was installing the nailing ledge for the drywall. This is one of those things that you'd think would be talked about in a lot of drywall HOWTOs, but I found nothing at all. Is it so obvious to most people that it's not worth mentioning? Specifically, how are you supposed to handle the drywall when it's abutting a wall that's parallel to the joists? Wouldn't the ends just be hanging free since there's nothing to screw into? Well, I just created my own screwing support by nailing down a 2x4. It's solidly nailed into the two perpendicular walls and also attached with 1-1/2" of the board on the parallel wall. This leaves 2" of pretty solid space to screw the drywall (and OSB in one case) into.



That done, I moved on to the actual joists. Each was cut to 14' 0-1/4", which is the distance between the other floor plates. My goal is to have the exact same spacing on the top and bottom to ensure a plumb and parallel wall. As much as reasonably possible. The joists are 2x8s and I attached them with a Simpson hurricane clip on one side and one or two toe-nailed 16d nails on the other. Wether it one or two depended on how much the joist felt like it wanted to move.



The walls aren't naturally parallel near the top, so in some cases I had to pull the walls in and in some I had to push them out. Pushing them out was relatively easy since I just attached a clamp to the joist with one side on the back of the joist and the other on the front of the wall. A few quick turns and the clamp pulls them together to the spot I want, which effectively pushes the wall out. Pulling them in was a bit harder since there was nothing to really hang on to. What I ended up doing was getting a spare block and screwing it to the underside of the joist. I then put one end of the clamp on the block and one on the back of the wall. This effectively draws the wall in, since the joist doesn't compress at all. I forgot to take a picture of it with the clamp on, but here's one with my helper block right after it was secured and after I remove the clamp (had to move this section of the wall 1/2" in):



At this point, I have four of the joists up and will be working on the next six. A more skilled person that I would be able to easily install six joists in a few hours, but this will likely take me the rest of the week. If I do finish early, then I think I may start insulating the (inner) walls. We'll see.

Future Thoughts

I realized that I'm sort of putting off putting up the ceiling, mostly because I know that doing so will essentially cut off access to the attic. I only have two attic openings and they are both pretty tiny. I've been really liking the trivially easy access to the attic having no ceiling gives me. Well, I finally decided that the only way I'm going to be happy about this is if I have a reasonable access panel. So yeah, I'm going to put an attic access panel in my theater.

It's not as bad as it sounds! I'm going to go through some extra effort to make sure it's not a weak point. I'll post a Sketchup picture (or just hand sketch) when I get closer to doing it, but my thinking now is that the top of the hatch will have two layers of OSB in a staggered "bank-vault" manner with gaskets. It will also have some 8" thick insulation attached to it. The bottom of the hatch will also have two layers of 5/8" plywood, staggered, and with gaskets. The hinges and latch will essentially force it up into the gaskets. I may actually even hide all this with some kind of absorbing material, for a first reflection-style absorption. I'm relatively confident that this won't be a weak link, while the 5' x 2' opening will make accessing the attic much easier.

I also decided to do the insulation in the attic slightly differently than I originally planned. cw5billwade and Ted both expressed concern that just dumping loose cellulose on top of the ceiling might be a bit too packed and I'd lose some of the benefits of a "spring". As such, I decided to put down a 7.5" layer of fiberglass insulation first, between the joists, and then put a layer of landscape fabric on top of that (stapled tight) and then dump the cellulose on top of that. That fiberglass will give me my open channel/spring, while the cellulose above will provide the bulk of my actual thermal insulation.

(As an aside, this is the first update to my build thread since the move to vBulletin from Huddler. I like having an actual title now. Posting the images is significantly more of a pain, though. Alas)

Last edited by granroth; 06-17-2014 at 04:14 PM.
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post #81 of 127 Old 06-17-2014, 12:50 PM
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No Longer Frustrated

good to hear

Stuffing Gaps

the new site sucks I can not see your pictures just a big red X







Future Thoughts

I realized that I'm sort of putting off putting up the ceiling, mostly because I know that doing so will essentially cut off access to the attic. I only have two attic openings and they are both pretty tiny. I've been really liking the trivially easy access to the attic having no ceiling gives me. Well, I finally decided that the only way I'm going to be happy about this is if I have a reasonable access panel. So yeah, I'm going to put an attic access panel in my theater.

It's not as bad as it sounds! I'm going to go through some extra effort to make sure it's not a weak point. I'll post a Sketchup picture (or just hand sketch) when I get closer to doing it, but my thinking now is that the top of the hatch will have two layers of OSB in a staggered "bank-vault" manner with gaskets. It will also have some 8" thick insulation attached to it. The bottom of the hatch will also have two layers of 5/8" plywood, staggered, and with gaskets. The hinges and latch will essentially force it up into the gaskets. I may actually even hide all this with some kind of absorbing material, for a first reflection-style absorption. I'm relatively confident that this won't be a weak link, while the 5' x 2' opening will make accessing the attic much easier.

Just one question any thought how you will open it? The window plug I built took three men to carry up the steps and put into place. No way you will be pushing that thing up over head by yourself!


I also decided to do the insulation in the attic slightly differently than I originally planned. cw5billwade and Ted both expressed concern that just dumping loose cellulose on top of the ceiling might be a bit too packed and I'd lose some of the benefits of a "spring". As such, I decided to put down a 7.5" layer of fiberglass insulation first, between the joists, and then put a layer of landscape fabric on top of that (stapled tight) and then dump the cellulose on top of that. That fiberglass will give me my open channel/spring, while the cellulose above will provide the bulk of my actual thermal insulation.

(As an aside, this is the first update to my build thread since the move to vBulletin from Huddler. I like having an actual title now. Posting the images is significantly more of a pain, though. Alas)
This confirmed what I was think I guess I was paying attention in school

Last edited by cw5billwade; 06-17-2014 at 12:56 PM.
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post #82 of 127 Old 06-17-2014, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Arg!! Yeah, those image uploads are completely borked. That is, when I view my post or even the quoted reply, I can see the images just fine... but if I view the same in another browser (or even an Incognito Chrome), I see only broken links. Turns out that Chrome must be caching those links for me. I'll post them to Imgur until this all gets worked out.

EDIT: Okay, I updated those pics with Imgur links. Hopefully that works a lot better.

As far as the weight of the attach hatch goes -- it will have a hinge on one side, plus it'll be split into two parts (separate top and bottom), AND in a worst case scenario, I could always install a hydraulic lift. That does make me think that I should probably calculate how much that'll all weigh, though... just to be on the safe side.

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post #83 of 127 Old 06-18-2014, 05:51 AM
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can't you just put a normal attic access the hall way prior to the theater? I do not see why not. Would save a bunch of head ace hate for all your efforts on the room to be wasted on this attic access.
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post #84 of 127 Old 06-18-2014, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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can't you just put a normal attic access the hall way prior to the theater? I do not see why not. Would save a bunch of head ace hate for all your efforts on the room to be wasted on this attic access.
Alas, no. This side of the house has a "trunk" style ducting setup. Basically, a metal duct fills the entire space above the hallway, with offshoots connecting up the bedrooms and bathroom. I would need to rip out that entire system and replace it with flexible ductwork to be able to use the hall ceiling for access.

I did look into that, since I'm going to have to do something other than the trunk system for the theater. That thought was vetoed as being unnecessarily expensive for no clear gain.

Hmm... now that I'm thinking about it, though, maybe it would be easier to put an attic access hatch in the bathroom adjoining the theater.
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post #85 of 127 Old 06-18-2014, 06:56 AM
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my house in VA had the attic acess in the master bed room. I know stupid but there it was. What about the office anything but the theater? I know you will make it work either way.
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post #86 of 127 Old 06-18-2014, 08:54 AM
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I like seeing all the pictures.

I hope the crappy new site doesn't prevent that going further.

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post #87 of 127 Old 06-18-2014, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I calculated that if I built an attic hatch in the theater with two sheets of 5/8" drywall or plywood of roughly 5' x 2', then we're looking at 40-50lbs per side. That could be manageable on a hinge. Not sure I'd want to deal with that, though.

So yeah, I'm looking into putting the hatch in the bathroom now and my wife broached the idea of just expanding our existing access in the master bedroom closet. I thought she hated that particular access point, but it was mostly the fact that it's currently so messy and drafty. Creating an attic hatch that's energy efficient is somewhat easier than creating one that's soundproof, so I'm leaning heavily in one of those two directions now.
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post #88 of 127 Old 06-19-2014, 03:08 PM
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post #89 of 127 Old 06-19-2014, 03:32 PM
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Looking good, I live just around the corner from you in Chandler. You picked a HELL of a time to start this build

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post #90 of 127 Old 06-22-2014, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking good, I live just around the corner from you in Chandler. You picked a HELL of a time to start this build
I actually started this build back in November, which was just gorgeous weather to be doing demo and the like in. I knew all along that some of the main construction time would come in the hottest parts of the summer, though. C'est la vie!
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