How to build a soundproof fireproof light box - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are my instructions (from many persons combined thoughts) on how to create a "fireproof" lightbox. What I mean by this is that I hope it is fireproof, so build at your own risk! I plan to use 65 watt bulbs, so I don't think the heat problem will be too bad. Here goes...

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_010.jpg

First of all, get yourself 1 sheet of 24 by 48 inch 3/4 MDF. This will be enough for 2 boxes.

Cut it up as follows:
bottom and top 9" x 9"
2 sides 7 1/2" x 7 1/2"
2 sides 7 1/2" x 9""

Break out the glue. Regular wood glue is what I used. Glue the ends, hold and nail together with 2" nails. It helps to have a nail gun.
Clamp it if you feel the need.


http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_020.jpg

Another angle...

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_030.jpg

Now get the Hardi Plank. I used two sizes. 8 1/4" and 7 1/4" The space in the box was 7 1/2" x 7 1/2" for 2 sides and 6 3/4 x 7 1/4 for the other sides. This gave me the coverage I was looking for.
I don't recommend cutting this with a table saw in the house. Bad idea. The table saw works great, but do it outside if you want ever want a home cooked meal again.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_050.jpg

Break out the automatic 29 ounce tube gun and insert a GREEN GLUE canister. nice.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_055.jpg

Apply.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_060.jpg

Stick these on the 4 sides

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_063.jpg

and then one piece on the bottom. Caulk with 100% silicone.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_065.jpg
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post #2 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Separate the handy box and metal arm from the 6" can. I bent the arm and will use it later.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_070.jpg
Here is the can ready to be used.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_080.jpg
Take a 9" x 9" piece of hardi and find the center.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_090.jpg
Attach it temporarily to the top of the MDF box.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_100.jpg
Break out the Makita with a 6 1/4" round cutter. I used a 6" which is too small. I still need to resolve this.
If I can't get the 6 1/4" hole cutter, I may use the Dremmel with the circle cutter. It should work fine for MDF.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_110.jpg
Cut the hole. Don't do this at 11:00 pm at night if the soundproofed double sheetrock is not installed yet. I'm on my own for dinner for another week...

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_120.jpg
The can fits nicely, but with a bigger hole, it will fit through the hole and have a lip to hold it in place.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_130.jpg
Drill a hold in the side of the box and pass the wires from the can through. Attach the handy box to the side of the box, install in ceiling and wire up.

http://www.geocities.com/garykagan/b...ht_box_200.jpg


When I have them installed, I will post more pictures.

Let me know if you have any feedback on this approach!

Gary
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post #3 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 02:44 PM
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This is a great tutorial, wonderful job!
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post #4 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 03:30 PM
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I've never heard of a power "automatic 29 ounce tube gun". That's So Cool. :)

I'm a little worried that you have a spot that is wood that a ground wire is touching. Or is it all metal enclosed wherever there is a live wire. (could be, looking at the can picture).

What's Hardi Plank, and why not just use drywall in there?

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post #5 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 03:46 PM
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That's an excellent tutorial all right! Thank you so much.

The Hardi Plank (cement board) is advisable because it's truly fireproof. The paper on Type X Firecode drywall is still combustible, and repeated heatings can delaminate the paper. This information is per the drywall manufacturer.

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post #6 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm not totally finished with the light boxes, but the wires from the can are in flex conduit and that will pass through the box into the handy box.

Gary
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post #7 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BasementBob
I've never heard of a power "automatic 29 ounce tube gun". That's So Cool. :)

I'm a little worried that you have a spot that is wood that a ground wire is touching. Or is it all metal enclosed wherever there is a live wire. (could be, looking at the can picture).

What's Hardi Plank, and why not just use drywall in there?

Hardi plank is found at HD or Lowes and it a cement composite that is used as siding (so I'm told)

Gary
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post #8 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 06:00 PM
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Thank's Ted White and garykagan. Hardi Plank looked like plastic floor tile from the photo. Glad to hear it's concrete/cement.

An amateur built the Ark. Titanic was built by professionals. Of course Noah took a little advice.
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post #9 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 11:34 PM
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Is there a good reason for building one? They don't cost that much to buy.
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post #10 of 56 Old 03-10-2006, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Have you seen sound proof rattle proof can boxes anywhere? I see the sealed cans at big orange, but I believe the MDF will be better. After spending all the money on soundproofing, I want to be sure the 15 lights in my theater don't leak and sound.

Gary
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post #11 of 56 Old 03-11-2006, 12:17 AM
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I see. That's good reason enough. Nice work on that riser.
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post #12 of 56 Old 03-11-2006, 06:59 AM
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Gary,
Very nice light-box tutorial!

I had not seen your construction thread before. It looks like your theater is coming along nicely. I've now subscribed to it so I can keep up with your progress. :)

I built very similar sound-proof light boxes (thanks Ted White for the recommendation). The only difference is that I used IC rated cans and put the whole can assembly inside the sound-proof box.

One concern about your light box method... In my area, electrical code requires that you have access to all electrical junction boxes. With most recessed lights that I have seen, the light-can can be detached from the housing even after the light is fully installed and the it will drop down out of the ceiling, giving you access to the electrical box. With the electrical junction box attached the way you have it, will it be unaccessibly buried in your ceiling? If you are pulling a permit, will it pass inspection?
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post #13 of 56 Old 03-11-2006, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottJ0007
Gary,
Very nice light-box tutorial!

I had not seen your construction thread before. It looks like your theater is coming along nicely. I've now subscribed to it so I can keep up with your progress. :)

I built very similar sound-proof light boxes (thanks Ted White for the recommendation). The only difference is that I used IC rated cans and put the whole can assembly inside the sound-proof box.

One concern about your light box method... In my area, electrical code requires that you have access to all electrical junction boxes. With most recessed lights that I have seen, the light-can can be detached from the housing even after the light is fully installed and the it will drop down out of the ceiling, giving you access to the electrical box. With the electrical junction box attached the way you have it, will it be unaccessibly buried in your ceiling? If you are pulling a permit, will it pass inspection?
I am using IC rated cans as well - Ted also gave me advice. I just wanted to save space and make them lighter. I have already passed on electrical, framing and duct work and the next inspection is for insulation. I'm not too worried, these guys don't even look at anything unless it is in the open. Since it is not a safety issue, I'm not too worried about it. I will think about this though - thanks!

Gary
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post #14 of 56 Old 03-11-2006, 05:29 PM
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Very very nice, thank you for the tutorial!

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post #15 of 56 Old 03-11-2006, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I have put some more thought into the boxes. The way I have it I will not be able to fix a problem without taking down the ceiling. I will be changing the plans to make wider boxes to store the entire can. I have pictures for this method as well and will post shortly. I was able to take two 9" boxes and put them together with a cut in the middle for the bar and wire box. I went to Big Orange and the guy there made over 50 cuts for me for the new boxes and wouldn't even take a tip. I'll be making him a basket of cookies, you can't say no to cookies.

My only problem is that I can't seem to get the clips to hold on the 1/2 " bottom layer of sheetrock. The MDF is cut at 8" round, the 5/8 rock at 8" round and the 1/2 sheetrock at 6 1/4 round. The clips just don't want to close. I think they are getting stuck on the MDF sides which is an 8" opening as well.

Thoughts on sheet rock holder clips?

Thanks to ScottJ0007,

Gary
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post #16 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 12:32 AM
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Gary,
I feel a bit bad that you are rebuilding your light boxes on my account. Sorry!

It looks like your are using the remodel type light cans. Sometimes the clips can be pretty tough to get to grab right, even on regular installations. A few weeks ago I helped a friend install 24 remodel type recessed cans. I think he bought them at Home Depot and they were the "Commercial Electric" (CE) brand. They took a lot of force to get the clips to install right. If the clips are hitting the MDF, maybe you could notch out the MDF where they are hitting. To see where it is hanging up at, try taking a piece of MDF with the 8" hole and do a test without the rest of the box.

I don't know if your are interested or not, but here's how I did my boxes:

The boxes are built just like your boxes. They are MDF with cement backer board with green glue in between:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_01.jpg

I used 5" Halo NEW CONSTRUCTION IC rated cans. I pulled off the sliding bracket bars that are normally used to attach the cans to the ceiling joists and then just slipped the entire housing inside the box:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_02.jpg

I am using RSIC and hat channel on my ceilings and I wanted the light cans to be decoupled from the joists. To do this I attached 1X2's to the sides of the box so they could sit on TOP of the hat channel. Here's a diagram:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_03.jpg

Here's a picture of the box sitting on the hat channel:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_04.jpg

The next four pictures show how I attached the can to the box:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_05.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_06.jpg

http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_07.jpg

There is one of these screw in each of the four sides of the box:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_08.jpg

Here is the box after the FIRST layer of drywall has been installed:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_09.jpg

Here is the final installation after the second layer of drywall:
http://home.comcast.net/~scottj0007/...ght_box_10.jpg
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post #17 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't feel bad, it is better to do it right the first time then have a problem and not be able to get to the handy box. I appreciate all info even if I have to start over. It only cost me an extra $50 and a few hours to get it right. I'll give another crack at the clips today.

Gary
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post #18 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Very nice job as well. I will try it again without the mdf on one side of the box. I will make the first layer of 5/8 go around the rectangle flush with the box. The 1/2 sheetrock will have the 6 1/4 hole and this should work. Will try later.

Gary
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post #19 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 12:24 PM
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Gary,
Great thread, I love how the tips have been distilled down into a single cohesive thread.

Scott,
Wow... The graphic drawings are very nice. Your attention to detail is admirable.

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post #20 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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With the 5/8 sheetrock flush against the sides of the rectangle box and the 1/2 layer over the box, the 6 1/4 hole works with the clips. I will post pictures later this week after the new boxes are built. This will be good as we will have 2 versions in this thread. New construction and re-model cans in soundproof / fireproof boxes.

Scott - have you had any of the lights go out due to too much heat? I can't test this now and hope that it will not be a problem.

Thanks,

Gary
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post #21 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 06:59 PM
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Gary,
Glad to hear that your new plans will work out for you. Please post your pictures when you get the new boxes built.

I did a test (non-scientific) prior to installing my boxes. I put the finish trim on the light can and installed a 75 watt bulb. I left it on for a full day. At the end of 24 hours, I put my hand on the top of the MDF box and it was just room temperature. I then pulled the recessed can out of the box and put my hand on the top of the light can. It was pretty warm, but I could comfortably hold my hand directly on the top of the light can. I concluded that there was not any excessive heat build up. When you think about it, these cans are IC rated which means they are built to be in direct contact (covered) with insulation. It makes sense that they will be okay inside of the box. The cans also have a built-in heat sensor that will shut the light off if it gets too hot.

I'm still in the construction stage of my room, so I've not yet installed the finish trim and final light bulbs. I really doubt that my light bulbs will burn out any faster than a standard installation.
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post #22 of 56 Old 03-12-2006, 07:13 PM
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This is indeed an excellent thread. Should be made a sticky!

Gary, I have had several of my double wall MDF/GG boxes up and running with 50 watt PAR20 bulbs for months now (the GE isn't yet installed so they are running at full wattage). They get at least eight hours a day usage (and for hours at a time) and haven't overheated, nor have I had a bulb failure yet. My MDF boxes are a little oversized, compared to what you and Scott are doing, as I was concerned about heat. I think the cement backer board and fitted MDF box are excellent upgrades over my construction!
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post #23 of 56 Old 03-13-2006, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Love the purple rims....

my first sticky? I would be too honored....

I'm just glad that people will be able to use this thread for all types of soundproof / fireproof boxes.

I should have all the new boxes and the fixed ones done this week and installed on Sunday. I will put up pictures asap.

Gary
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post #24 of 56 Old 03-18-2006, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted White
That's an excellent tutorial all right! Thank you so much.

The Hardi Plank (cement board) is advisable because it's truly fireproof. The paper on Type X Firecode drywall is still combustible, and repeated heatings can delaminate the paper. This information is per the drywall manufacturer.
Hey Ted!

You guys are hardcore...who would bother with all that? :)

Hope you remember me...

Mark
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post #25 of 56 Old 03-19-2006, 06:12 AM
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And how could us old timers forget the man Mark Brown! How have you been, man? What are you doing these days?

Ready for another over the top build?

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post #26 of 56 Old 03-19-2006, 10:34 AM
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Wow guys. Nice!
Good to see I'm not the only nutball that rebuilds can lights and hangs them from RSIC and hat channel.

As far as having access to the junction box. I don't see how that is possible, at least with the lights I used.
In fact, it isn't. Even if they are mounted normally.

We soldered, taped and wire nutted the connections just to make sure.

 

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post #27 of 56 Old 03-19-2006, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt99
Wow guys. Nice!
Good to see I'm not the only nutball that rebuilds can lights and hangs them from RSIC and hat channel

No your not the only one. I used 1/2" aluminum angle as a bracket to suspend my can boxes from the RSIC and hat channel. I didn't gauge my boxes to hang down in a way that the first layer of drywall came to the edge of the boxes, though. my boxes are gauged to be flush with the hat channel. Both drywall layers will cover the boxes. To do it over, now that I have seen it, I would have used the 1x2's instead.



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post #28 of 56 Old 03-19-2006, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Brown
Hope you remember me...
Who could ever forget the infamous basement thread? There's another basement dig-out going on now (see it here). I don't think anything will compare to your's though. I still think about your project sometimes and have wondered where you were. Nice to see you back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milt99
As far as having access to the junction box. I don't see how that is possible, at least with the lights I used.
In fact, it isn't. Even if they are mounted normally.
We soldered, taped and wire nutted the connections just to make sure.
With most new-construction can lights that I have worked with, there are some screws or clips on the inside of the can that can be loosened even after the can is installed. The can will then drop down out of the housing. It is a tight fit, but you can then get access to the j-box. Of course the remodel type cans are very easy to take out of the ceiling to get access to the j-box. This may not be true of all recessed lights, but the three or four brands that I have worked with all have accessible j-boxes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoSport
I used 1/2" aluminum angle as a bracket to suspend my can boxes from the RSIC and hat channel. I didn't gauge my boxes to hang down in a way that the first layer of drywall came to the edge of the boxes, though. my boxes are gauged to be flush with the hat channel. Both drywall layers will cover the boxes. To do it over, now that I have seen it, I would have used the 1x2's instead.
Got any pictures of your method? :) If so they might be helpful to others who read this thread in the future. The 1X2 method was quite easy, but may not work in all situations. The Pac International site had another method, using RSIC-DC4 clips, but I didn't want to spend another $25 on clips for each light.
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post #29 of 56 Old 03-19-2006, 06:55 PM
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Yeah I have the pics for it and several other steps up to now. I have been meaning to upload and update my construction thread (been working on the theater, not updating the thread :) ) I will upload and update my thread within the next few days.

The aluminum angle was a pain. Had to cut and predrill through the aluminum angle. Also I was stuffing the 2" of air space on top of the boxes to the above floor, with insulation when I discovered that I was bowing the angle / boxes down lower than the adjacent hat channel. Oooopps! I had to pry it all out and used only 1/3 redoing it.

Scott
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post #30 of 56 Old 03-19-2006, 07:20 PM
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We mounted the boxes on their own RSIC and Hat channel.
Like you, we set them to be flush with the top of the first layer of
drywall and used adhesive backed dynamat as a gasket.
Heres a pic.
LL

 

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