What I'd do differently next time. - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 860 Old 06-16-2007, 07:40 AM
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If you have a room designed and built for you that room is a reflection of somebody else, not you. I don't think these people have any right to brag about their HT, even if Lucas himself created it.

DIY all the way baby!
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post #62 of 860 Old 06-16-2007, 08:57 AM
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Try to get as many tools ahead of time as you can. The prep work, the things you do before working, makes the actual job go so much better.

If you have stairs going down to your theater area, be sure that the "stuff" you need to bring downstairs will actually fit! In the stairs to our last theater, we had a small staircase, and a right angle to go down. It was only on delivery day that we realized the seating we picked wasn't going to fit.

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post #63 of 860 Old 06-16-2007, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

It was only on delivery day that we realized the seating we picked wasn't going to fit.

Thats a bummer! What did you do? Rip out the stairs or get new seats? I lived in a townhouse 1 time and getting bedroom furniture up those tiny stairs took 3 strong guys and alot of creativity!
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post #64 of 860 Old 06-16-2007, 04:28 PM
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Three things

1) Never use flat paint with kids and their friends that have access to the theater.

2) Riser should be a minimum 12'' high.

3) Rear speakers set at 60 degrees from listening position. Mine are too close together, but that was the suggested distance 4 or 5 years ago.


Well four really.

4) Hit the lottery before starting.
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post #65 of 860 Old 06-18-2007, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbgonzomd View Post

I would buy a second tape measure. One for within the theater, the other for where the saws are. I could of cut a month off my project if I didn 't have to walk back and forth between locations looking for the tape measure.

(And, yes, I know they have a handy clip to attach it to your pants/belt, but this requires forethought prior to moving between rooms...and I have none.)

Just make sure they both measure the same, otherwise you're in for heartache. Few things will discourage you more than realizing that you cut something too short because there were differences in your measuring devices. And yes, it has happened to me.

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post #66 of 860 Old 06-18-2007, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

If you have stairs going down to your theater area, be sure that the "stuff" you need to bring downstairs will actually fit! In the stairs to our last theater, we had a small staircase, and a right angle to go down. It was only on delivery day that we realized the seating we picked wasn't going to fit.


OUCH!!!

I'm in this same boat, building theater in basement, and the only access is via the stairs that do a 180 half way down. I can't even take 4x8 sheets of drywall down without folding them first.
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post #67 of 860 Old 06-19-2007, 04:55 PM
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For what it is worth, THX still recommends the rears are close together (if you have a receiver that supports THX Advanced Speaker Array).

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post #68 of 860 Old 06-20-2007, 12:18 PM
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Hope I have enough room to list all of the mistakes I made, er, the "things I'd do differently"
  • READ THE FORUM THREADS ON DEDICATED THEATERS FOR A MONTH!!
  • Did I mention to read the forum threads for various builds? Seriously, I was in such a hurry when I finally (after 15 years of dreaming of a theater) got the green light I jumped in a bit too fast. If I had I would have found out about sound treatment (vs. sound proofing) BEFORE I got started. Ugh. Pick at least 5 threads that are done or close to done (go to the end of the thread to see -- probably at least 300-1000 posts minimum) and read every single post from start to finish. You will be AMAZED at what you can learn this way!!
  • Consult with an expert about sound treatment BEFORE designing the room
  • Roll/brush wall/ceiling/trim paint instead of spray it
  • Invite buddies over to hold surrounds in various positions to test locations for best results
  • Spend a little more money on the projector (this assumes you're already spending enough on the speakers)
  • NEVER hang the projector up until the room is 100% done -- otherwise whatever stage your room is at, becomes "done"
  • Theater seating vs sectional (choose theater!)
  • 8oz popcorn machine not 4oz (I fixed that and it was worth it!)
  • Multiple subwoofers
  • If you're in a hurry, measure 4 times before cutting!
  • Avoid "over-engineering" solutions -- they're time consuming, costly and usually not necessary. Simple is 99% of the time just right.
  • Hang your solid core door BEFORE you have drywall put up!
  • When you take down your door to paint be sure and do it quickly and get it back up right away -- they like to warp when they're off the hinges.
  • Mark the hinges to indicate which mortise they go in on the door (or jam) and also indicate direction (which side to door, which side to jam, which way up)
  • When hanging a 70+ lb door to a little piece of pine jam go ahead and use 3" screws to secure it to the 2x4s framing the door itself
  • If using Green Glue, add a layer of MDF (or some other dense material), with green glue in between, to the theater side of the door. I custom ordered my door knob and I'm sure I could have asked for a larger "thingee" that connects the two knobs so it would fit through the larger space. The room's pretty quiet but the door leaks sound just a bit (you can't hear it down the hall in the master bedroom but you can in the kids' rooms).
  • I would also add that if you plan to make the door "heavier" you should let the door manufacturer know that you're adding X lbs to the door and to have them beef up the hinges properly to support it (maybe go to 5 or 6 hinges instead of 4 on the door and jamb).
  • Plan to remove hot air from your projector
  • When designing the projector hush box don't forget to take into account the distance the cables will stick out when attached to the projector
  • Make sure you cover all electrical boxes with acoustical caulk -- it's AMAZING how much sound can escape through a tiny little hole!
  • When painting MDF be sure and seal the edges (drywall joint compound works great for this) or the paint will look awful otherwise
  • I sometimes wish I had aligned my room length wise instead of width wise and put in a false front with speakers behind an SMX screen (bigger too) and used a riser with two rows of theater chairs (4 each row).
  • I HATED painting. If you can afford a painter (at least get a few quotes) -- HIRE ONE!


Since the spirit of this thread is helping others avoid making the same mistakes I thought I'd also throw in a few things that I feel I did right and made a big impact on the overall project:
  • I got stuck trying to come up with the final color scheme for my architectural details (columns, column boxes, proscenial arch, art deco fan, walls, ceilings, etc) and hired a local decorator who spent 90 minutes with me and we came up with the perfect scheme!! Best 90 bucks I spent on the project.
  • Green glue = awesome! I don't want to start a war on this, just provide my testimony. I used it on walls and ceilling (2x5/8" drywall layers) and along with the solid core door I can listen to movies late at night at "nervous" sound levels (i.e. nervous my wife will come banging on the door because it's too loud) and she and the kids sleep right through it
  • Don't scrimp on the speakers. I spend a lot of time in the room listening to music now because it sounds so good -- definite plus
  • Conduit is your friend and really cheap -- use a lot of it
  • Don't be afraid to be different. Find a style you like and put something of yourself into the design so it's unique -- that's what really draws people in to the experience of your theater. "The memory moment". Something they'll walk away from the room and remember as a "wow" factor.
  • Above all else, have fun and enjoy it when possible


Good luck!!

Mike
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post #69 of 860 Old 06-20-2007, 01:50 PM
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Excellent post!
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post #70 of 860 Old 06-20-2007, 03:18 PM
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My theater's not perfect, but I wouldn't do much differently.

Probably the only thing would be to think about sound treatments first. Didn't give much thought to it when building 3 years ago and now I have to add that.

"The dream never dies, just the dreamer."

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post #71 of 860 Old 06-20-2007, 03:33 PM
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Hm, let's see in retrospect, I probably if I knew then what I know now, and seeing the HUGE financial and emotional drain this theater has become, [all my fault as usual I know] Iwould have NEVER gone to see Pirates of the Caribbean. It was the impetus for my wanting a home theater after going to the real theater 38 times to see it.
Though in truth I had seen my first Home theater several years ago and the germ of wanting one was always there afterward.

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post #72 of 860 Old 06-20-2007, 05:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accts4mjs View Post

[*]Hang your solid core door BEFORE you have drywall put up!

Mike

Mike, just curious. Why is this? (Too late )

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post #73 of 860 Old 06-20-2007, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbgonzomd View Post

Mike, just curious. Why is this? (Too late )

I was going to ask the same thing. I've always seen doors go up after drywall.
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post #74 of 860 Old 06-21-2007, 03:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCall View Post

Hm, let's see in retrospect, I probably if I knew then what I know now, and seeing the HUGE financial and emotional drain this theater has become, [all my fault as usual I know] Iwould have NEVER gone to see Pirates of the Caribbean.

That's funny. Every store I went to (all independent, no chains) to audition speakers they were playing Pirates in their theater rooms. Every one.

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post #75 of 860 Old 06-21-2007, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Wadsworth View Post

I was going to ask the same thing. I've always seen doors go up after drywall.

I can imagine two reasons.

1) I had a double door in by basement build and the rule of thumb for adding an inch on both sides for the rough in doesn't work for a 48 inch double. a 48 inch double door is actually 48 3/4 inches wide......that's why God invented the reciprocal saw.

2) If you are working alone you can reach around the open framing and position the door and insert shims a lot easier.

I would recommend just checking the measurements and when it comes time to do the door just getting a friend to help. With one guy on each side you can push the shims from both sides at once and make pretty quick work of hanging the door. Just be sure you have the right tools on the right side before you start the procedure!
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post #76 of 860 Old 06-21-2007, 08:29 AM
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Have only one door and have it located in the rear of the room!
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post #77 of 860 Old 06-21-2007, 09:08 AM
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[*]Hang your solid core door BEFORE you have drywall put up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbgonzomd View Post

Mike, just curious. Why is this? (Too late )


Good question. If you start here in my thread you'll see where I give the details about what went wrong on the door install in regards to order (drywall vs door).

In a nutshell, I already had a door installed from when we built the house and left the theater unfinished (didn't know how I was going to build the theater at the time). Later as I learned about soundproofing (major important to me) and double drywall with green glue I was all over that (in fact that's pretty much what got my theater build going ). It wasn't until the drywallers were done and I went to install the door that I realized I didn't have any room to fit the door properly (shims, moving it around, size of the door slightly different than the original, etc) and so I cut the drywall back to the stud edges. This made the install of the door better (not great -- read the thread to see why). However, once the door was shimmed into place I had a 1/2" to 3/8" gap all around the door. Can you say LEAKING SOUND!? Yeah, it was awful. All that work on soundproofing blown on a poor door install. I did manage to fix it (again, in the thread) but had I installed the door first then the drywall could have been run right up to the edge of the jamb and it would have been 10x easier in the long run.

I will say this though. If you happen to be in the situation where you have drywall already done and need to install the door then don't trim all of the drywall back. What I would do is get a couple of friends (solid core = at least 2 friends) to help move the door around while you trim the drywall to fit the door and then try to squeeze the shims in from one side (no clue how to do that but I figure with enough hands it can be done). Again, door first = much, much easier.

Mike
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post #78 of 860 Old 06-22-2007, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accts4mjs View Post

[*]Green glue = awesome! I don't want to start a war on this, just provide my testimony. I used it on walls and ceilling (2x5/8" drywall layers) and along with the solid core door I can listen to movies late at night at "nervous" sound levels (i.e. nervous my wife will come banging on the door because it's too loud) and she and the kids sleep right through it

Mike, I love the "nervous" descriptor. I have similar construction. 2 layers of drywall, Green Glue, and RSIC. I am thrilled that I can crank it up to sound levels bordering on uncomfortable while my wife and kids are upstairs sleeping. Its truly amazing and I don't regret one penny spent on sound isolation. Green Glue really is all its cracked up to be. Anyway, I'm a believer.

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post #79 of 860 Old 06-24-2007, 01:53 PM
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We used FabricMate tracks to help mount the insulation/GOM and I while I would use it again, three things I would do differently when mounting it:

1. Leave a 1/4"-1/2" gap where the tracks meet to allow extra room for the fabric.

2. Use additional staples (say, every 3" instead of every 6") when mounting the tracks around the entrance door (or other places where the tension is only from one side) - in a few places the tension has pulled the track a bit off kilter so it isn't completely vertical. Only I notice it, but still...

3. Order the track in black - ours was white (or beige) and we ended up using a black magic marker on a lot of the track to have it blend it with the adjoining walls/fabric.

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post #80 of 860 Old 06-24-2007, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by accts4mjs View Post

[*]Hang your solid core door BEFORE you have drywall put up!

Mike

Thank you a thousand times! I was coming at that speed bump at about 45 mph.
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post #81 of 860 Old 06-24-2007, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tek-noid View Post

We used FabricMate tracks to help mount the insulation/GOM and I while I would use it again, three things I would do differently when mounting it:

1. Leave a 1/4"-1/2" gap where the tracks meet to allow extra room for the fabric.
James

James--could you elaborate on this one? Do you have pictures to explain it? I'm not getting the visual.

Thanks

Fat
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post #82 of 860 Old 06-24-2007, 04:38 PM
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I don't know if you are familiar with how the FabricMate track works, but you essentially lay the fabric over the insulation (or batting, which is not yet applied in this top of this photo) and then use a tool (envision a very dull pizza cutter) to press the fabric into the narrow slot in the track.

So, if you picture that the fabric extends beyond the border of the track by 2" initially, everything works well until you get to the corner, where you end up with a lot of extra fabric, as well as a desire to not use scissors to trim it in case you need to pull it out again.

Leaving a gap where the tracks butt together essentially gives you room to shove that extra fabric. I cut and mounted all of the track, and my wife, bless her, installed the fabric. Once I learned to leave that 1/2" or so gap, her life (and mine) became much easier.

And, on the top left, you can see where I didn't put enough staples in the vertical piece by the door. Sigh.

HTH,
James

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post #83 of 860 Old 06-24-2007, 06:58 PM
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Got it--thanks James
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post #84 of 860 Old 06-25-2007, 09:51 AM
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[*]Hang your solid core door BEFORE you have drywall put up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwracer3 View Post

Thank you a thousand times! I was coming at that speed bump at about 45 mph.

You're welcome

One other thing I'll add here and in my original post is that I would add a layer of MDF (or some other dense material) with green glue in between, to the theater side of the door. I custom ordered my door knob and I'm sure I could have asked for a larger "thingee" that connects the two knobs so it would fit through the larger space. The room's pretty quiet but the door leaks sound just a bit (you can't hear it down the hall in the master bedroom but you can in the kids' rooms).

I would also add that if you do something like this you let the door manufacturer know that you're adding X lbs to the door and to have them beef up the hinges properly to support it (maybe go to 5 or 6 hinges instead of 4 on the door and jamb).

Mike
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post #85 of 860 Old 06-25-2007, 04:24 PM
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If you are using concrete and have conduit in the floor, you would be a fool to use 1" conduit. I swear I didn't approve it, everyone else swears I did. Pulling an HDMI cable, component video, analog audio and digital audio through a 1" PVC conduit with a couple bends is darn near impossible. Okay, we proved it was possible but it makes for a bad Monday.

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post #86 of 860 Old 06-26-2007, 11:54 AM
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Can I keep adding? D'oh!

Don't cut MDF to finish off your riser and stage inside of your theater room after the walls are already painted! I saved myself a few steps for each cut, but now I've got a huge mess to clean up -- and having read about how tough walls with flat paint are to get clean, I'm not looking forward to it.
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post #87 of 860 Old 06-26-2007, 01:35 PM
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Start with a soft brush vacuum cleaner attachment and gently clean the walls. Takes longer but works better than starting with a rag. I had the same problem adding lights to the ceiling after the fact and getting drywall dust on the flat black ceilling (drop clothes saved me problems elsewhere). The first hole I tried wiping it off with a rag and the tiny bits of dust acted like an abrassive and I scratched the ceiling like no tomorrow -- and I thought I was being gentle! The next and subsequent holes I started with brush vacuum attachment and gently moved it along the ceiling (almost trying not to touch the paint) and it got about 90% of the dust off and then a wet cloth in a dabbing motion got the next 8% and the final 2% had to be done with a wiping motion but by then there was so little left it didn't really scratch the surface. Oh, and turn the cloth and rinse it out OFTEN to prevent build up and end up scratching anyway.

Mike
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post #88 of 860 Old 06-27-2007, 08:26 PM
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1. Access! Access! Access! Technology changes. You'll need to run another wire or two or three... I guarantee it! This time, the bottoms of my soffits will be removable so I can run new cables when technology changes or I just need another wire for something.

2. Flexibility/modularity: When your design gets stale or it's too bland, or you want to correct your mistakes (i.e. You read these forums after building your first theater, me ), it will be a lot less trouble to get rid of the old and bring in the new.

3. Flexibility/modularity part II: Carpet first then install columns. My first theater had columns framed first and then I drywalled and then came the carpet. Now that I'm renovating my theater, I have had to do some nasty drywall removal and the carpet has rectangles missing where the old columns were. I hope to patch the carpet, I have extra, but it has a fancy pattern so it will be tricky. This time, columns are being designed so that they are independent of the walls. Carpet will go in before the columns, then I'll fasten the columns to the walls. Also, the side panels of stage will be removable in case I want or need to redesign them. If I ever remodel again, it will be a lot less mess and trouble.

4. Get the biggest screen you can afford/fit. If your picture is too dim then mask it down. It's awfully hard to stretch a screen. When that new brighter PJ comes on the market you won't have to buy a new, bigger screen.

5. Read these forums!
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post #89 of 860 Old 06-28-2007, 02:54 PM
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1. Don't bother with nice speaker plates, way to hard to work with and just not a good idea in terms of usability and quality of sound. Just go with the cable outlet that keeps the cables tidy and bundled together.

2. Use Low Voltage boxes for ALL low voltage cables. Much easier to work with and stuff cables in and out. I have one box which is a regular voltage box and working with that and my speaker cables is a dog!

3. Follow your gut.... When you think "I should probably do that...." you should do it, thinking "ah it will be okay is fatal...." And fixing it later costs way more, if you can fix it.

4. Plan everything. If you are using unfamilar technologies make sure you understand how they are implemented 100% before starting. I got burned with low voltage cabinet lights. I had no idea most were installed from the wall using a ballast with a transformer in it. Too late now.....

5. Be prepared for some dissapointments. Nothing goes the way you want all the time. Try to keep a big picture perspective but keep your attention to detail.

I'm not done with my project, but those are the ones for me so far....
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post #90 of 860 Old 07-01-2007, 07:34 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nashville
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1. I wish I would of been able to sit in the Berklines before I ordered them from some guy on here... next time I'd rather buy some bigger couches and chairs that are more comfortable.

2. Put it down in the basement instead of a 3rd floor room (which I think I am going to do soon)
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