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Bethesda Build

post #1 of 587
Thread Starter 
OK - here we go... officially getting started
  1. Friday was move in
  2. Saturday - wiring for basement and 1st floor
  3. Sunday - second floor runs up to the attic
  4. Sunday - Friday life happened

Attached are images from the previous thread with images of the initial build plan and a layout of the basement for the wiring

And an image of the room to be gutted and rebuilt
post #2 of 587
Thread Starter 
Saturday we managed to do all the wiring for the Basement and 1st floor

all drops are the big green cable (2x2) cat6/rg6 - basically we're also wiring for all home runs and future home automation

This included:
  1. Getting into the basement from the garage
  2. running the cable along the back wall for all drops
  3. 3 drops up to the first floor
  4. 3 drops to future HT room
  5. 1 drop to excercise room in basement
  6. 2 Cat6s to the Systems closet for the security system

Below are pictures of the spool, and the run along the ceiling in the basement

we also managed to get one more drop into the basement for the rec-room on sunday after we ran up to the attic - wires were getting scarce but we managed to salvage from some aggressive runs earlier
post #3 of 587
Thread Starter 
couple more detail shots from the wiring for the basement along the back wall - we'll be building a soffit around the cables to close off the room - decided against conduit here for now - just because the cables were so darn thick and we'll be building around them anyway

you can see where we went up to the office in the corner (this will be the back of the equipment closet), and also where all the cabling is spooled and waiting for the HT build
post #4 of 587
Thread Starter 
Sunday was a really fun day
  • Managed to get 5 drops up into the attic before we ran out of cable
  • Salvaged 2 lines for one drop to the rec room and one drop to the room directly above the garage
  • On impulse I bought a spool of 1000' cat5e from home depot (not good quality) and we cut it into 9 cables (5x100 and 4x125) for a run to the attic as well

and then..... we had a couple of mishaps with the electrician up in the attic
  1. Foot came down in the wrong place up in the attic
  2. Body came down in the wrong place in the attic

Luckily everyone was ok, he got his shoulder around a joist so it was an initial fall and then a short drop to the 2nd floor hardwood - 3ft over and it would have been 2 stories down onto marble

I've got to say - the dude was a trooper - he absolutely insisted on getting everything up there even after the fall. After that - i insisted on calling it quits. We had to tape up the ceiling b/c that spray insulation really makes a mess.

The smoke alarm is no real loss - we were planning on pulling that out anyway and using the wires for the new security panel and then using the cat5 up in the attic to hardwire new alarms

With a baby in the house wiring became second priority - on to my first drywall experience

End of the day - everyone is OK and everything is spooled up in the attic waiting to get pulled down into the bedrooms
post #5 of 587
Thread Starter 
Well my first drywall experience went really well.

While I was at Home Depot (only a mile away) - I realized that maybe now wasn't the best time to be learning how to patch holes (and not holes that big) so I started asking everyone I saw if they were contractors who knew how to drywall.

I got lucky and found the leader of a professional crew that was working about a mile away from the house and he brought his team by "after hours" to get things done.

Four guys and less than two hours later - good as new - only got a layer of primer up but you can barely tell anything happened

Bottom line - patch work done, and I decided to focus on unpacking boxes and sticking to labeling for the rest of this week

Figured the wife had been very very very understanding, and we now have no holes inside the house except for where the plates are coming (and in the basement which is where i get banished to anyway)
post #6 of 587
Thread Starter 
This weekend i'm hoping to
  1. Get the bedroom drops in place
  2. terminate everything

By my calculations I now have to terminate
  • 34 Cat6s to the patch panel
  • 9 Cat5es to another patch panel
  • 26 RGs to a keystone panel
  • 34 Cat6s to keystones
  • 26 RG6s to keystones

Started labeling the panels and cables last night and the cartridge ran out - should be a fun fun weekend

I'll keep you all posted - hopefully the HT build will start mid-Feb... Thanks again to Ted for helping with the soundproofing plan

post #7 of 587
Thread Starter 
One other thing - has anyone put plywood or MDF down in an attic over the insulation?

Is this a bad idea - I am terrified now that someone will fall and hurt themselves up there

any suggestions?
post #8 of 587
Bethesda "Fallout" of the attic build. :-) Glad that dude didn't get hurt!

I have Plywood down in the attic over the insulation. I think MDF would work too but it would be heavier than Plywood and probably more expensive. Anyhow - I recommend 3/4" just to make sure you have solid footing up there. Definitely not a bad idea at all.
post #9 of 587
Originally Posted by jesto View Post

One other thing - has anyone put plywood or MDF down in an attic over the insulation?

Is this a bad idea - I am terrified now that someone will fall and hurt themselves up there

any suggestions?

Plywood is a better choice because it is stiffer. I would minimize the amount that you use because as you compress the blown in insulation you lose R value. If you are talking about creating some walkways to get the work done in the attic it should be fine. Personally I would just put down a few strategically placed 2x4s, anchor with some deck screws and just be careful where you step.
post #10 of 587
If your joists are reliably at 16" or 24" centers, another option is Attic Dek. In my previous house I replaced the old catwalk boards with this stuff. It gave a really nice continuous surface for working and storage, and any time I needed access to run cables or adjust the layout (for example to make room for some new recessed lighting) I could easily lift and move the panels. I didn't even bother screwing them down in most cases.
post #11 of 587
Thread Starter 
good progress this weekend
  • put down 2'x4' OSB in the attic for walkways - dododge - those panels are cool - but I basically just went to Home Depot and had them cut 2 4'x8's for me into 8 2'x4' panels (so they would fit in the car)
  • dropped all the cables on the 2nd floor bedrooms
  • cleaned up wiring in the garage
  • installed all the rack management
  • opened up all the cables (the 2x2 cat6/rg6s are really a bear)
  • organized the rack and got everything ready to terminate

probably going to take it easy this week - next weekend - terminations and hopefully building a soffit over the cables in the basement

here are some pics of the rack ready to terminate
post #12 of 587
Thread Starter 
need to get a 58" Samsung Plasma on to a big stone fireplace
- TV is 130lbs
- Fireplace mortar has cracks in it
- no idea whats behind the stones
- picture below of fireplace
- I have the Sanus LA112 motorized mount
- it is rated to 180lbs
- it extends out up to 12" and swivels left / right up / down

per BigMouth's suggestion - i'm thinking I need a stonemason out to check out the structural integrity of the fireplace

other than that....

Any ideas?
post #13 of 587
It should be concrete block behind the stone. Easy way to find out is grab a masonry bit and start drilling (in a mortar joint, so you can patch it if need be).

The hearth extension looks to be about 16" AFF.. which would correspond to 2 rows of block.

Kind of strange the hearth stone is 2 pieces with a joint down the middle. Definitely worth a look up (or down) the flu to make sure everything is good.
post #14 of 587
Originally Posted by jesto View Post

- Fireplace mortar has cracks in it

Not evident from the picture is that the cracks are extensive. The mortar is crumbling between the stones and a large section of stones appears to have shifted. It looks like something went wrong with the mortar mix and it is losing it's bond.

Jesto has his hands full. Normally you would say just drill some holes and use masonry anchors to secure the mount. But I have a feeling..............

The vibration of a hammer drill and a masonry bit may actually do some significant damage.
post #15 of 587
...you have a feeling he may prefer a different stone facing?

Stinks about the mortar mix.. I've actually never seen "extensive" cracking on a stone facing before. Definitely an issue (hopefully, easily solved!)
post #16 of 587
Thread Starter 
well - I had a mason come out today and check out the fireplace - he didnt seem to see any structural issues, so i guess thats good news - probably have another one come out this week to double check and get another estimate for the mortar work

not exactly sure what to do at this point - the wifey is not happy about me potentially installing the TV myself (or with help) at this point - shes a bit paranoid these days b/c we have an 8 mo old thats about to start crawling about and the fireplace is right next to her play area

it's either put it on a stand next to the fireplace and put the cool motorized mount somewhere else for another TV (and kill the idea of having it viewable from the kitchen / play area), OR "hire professionals"

anyway, undeterred - i do think that placing like 10 anchors into the mount should be sufficient

regardless - this is the progress i've made today to help me build my case. learned this trick of cutting a template out of cardboard from a contractor friend who did this for the marble surround on the bathtub at my old place

since i had lots of cardboard and electrical tape laying around from the rack equipment and install - i think it worked out pretty well

hopefully tomorrow morning wifey will see how cool the tv will look in the right spot and let me give it a shot
post #17 of 587
Thread Starter 
so here are some pics of the area where the mortar is pretty much gone and some cracking around the keystone
post #18 of 587
Could be the joints were just way too big for the mortar mix. Or there was too much water in the mix..

Are you going to attempt a repair, or just let it go?

I know you've probably contemplated this already, but.. What about the heat from the fireplace and the TV being so close?
post #19 of 587
Thread Starter 
I think i'm going to have someone repair it

somewhat worried about the heat from teh fireplace.... but it is an old plasma

seriously though - I do plan on putting some sort of mantel underneath it to help defray any heat from the fireplace - and to be honest we really dont build fires that often (if ever)
post #20 of 587
Thread Starter 
It's been an interesting couple of weeks, and unfortunately not too much has been done on the HT build front

Turns out my wife got a hold of my contractor and decided to completely remodel two bathrooms - so that's slowed things down a little, but the good news is:

1. Whole house wiring is done
2. Patch panel is 90% complete (just need to finish off some coax terminations)
3. Network is up and running (boy is it fast!)
4. Ran 7 additional Cat6 cables through the main run for future touch panels and security cameras
5. Ran 2" conduit to the attic, and 1.5" and 3/4" throughout the basement for future craziness
6. Soffit covering the wiring is complete (including access panels)

Regarding the fireplace - basically it needs to be rebuilt - which isn't necc a bad thing as it will allow me to make it smaller, put a drywall backing above the mantel, and install all the electronics appropriately.

Here are some pics of the patch panel, soffit and conduit
- the hanging loops are the aforementioned future runs for cameras and touch panels for the exterior, first floor and basement
- we also added some decent access panels for any crazy ideas i get in the future

post #21 of 587
post #22 of 587
Originally Posted by jesto View Post


post #23 of 587
Mmmmmm, demolition. Nice progress with everything you have going on.

Jesto, I must tell you...you're wearing out my clicky-finger with all the attachments...I humbly suggest you get a free Photobucket account or something similar, and start embedding your progress photos for easier viewing.
post #24 of 587
Thread Starter 
Well - Demo has begun and things are looking actually better than expected.. none of the issues below are really that scary

Looks like the exterior walls are decoupled, with pink stuff in the studs (r-13) and old school white styrofoam against the foundation

HDvid - thanks for the suggestion - see below (BTW - very impressive setup)

Sorry about the poor image quality - just got home and iphone was what i had in my hand


Progress as of today

HVAC Issue #1 - This runs up to the living room

HVAC Issue #2 - this is the vent into the room - should be easy enough to shorten and keep towards one end - runs straight to the utility room so i'm not too worried about flanking here

Plumbing Issue #1 - this is the drain on the exterior wall - I believe it runs up to the master

Plumbing Issue #2 - no idea what's behind these walls - right now it looks like some vacuum tubes, some plumbing, and probably some structural stuff

Structural Issue #1 - Window

Structural Issue #2 - Steel Beam
post #25 of 587
Thread Starter 
Status Update:

- Room is now completely gutted - here's what we found (pics later)
- 2 Water drains - we will cover and just mark locations (just in case)
- 2 steel beams, 1 horizontal along the future back wall, 1 just above the left wall
- 2 support posts
- 1 vacuum tube for the house vacuum system (will be relocated to the exterior wall)
- 1 double stud wall about 70% framed for the left hand wall - we'll frame out the rest of it
- 2 air supply ducts running up to the 1st floor
- 1 air supply duct running into the HT room
- Supplies are ordered:
- Soundproofing material from Soundproofing Company - thanks John and Ted!
- 3 pails of green glue and applicator
- acoustic caulk
- clips for walls and ceiling
- acoustically transparent tubing to replace supply ducts
- Building materials
- 70 sheets of drywall (planning on adding mass to the subfloor above)
- 500 lf of hat channel
- about 600sft of insulation (R-19 pink stuff)
- 1 box of screws

Overall - everything is a go for the original plan of a 14'x20' room so all is good - soundproofing supplies should arrive thursday and drywall / channel should arrive friday

Short Term Next Steps:
- frame out the rest of the room
- add mass (gg/dw/gg/dw) to the subfloor above
- add romex for additional power lines and lights
- insulate the room
- install clips and channel
- drywall
- build stage and riser
- order linacoustic and OC 703 for screen wall and bass traps
post #26 of 587
Thread Starter 

so the blue tape doesn't stick so well to old insulation paper - but this is the obligatory start to the screen on the wall - 130"

Nice double stud wall with lots of architectural / drainage goodies in there - need to build the door frame there and close off the arches

Back wall - framed out start to staggered stud wall . We were actually able to get about another foot in depth. All the way on the left is where the rack will go and will open into a dedicated closet in the room behind.

Rear bulkhead - I-beam and then a supply duct to the office upstairs and some dead space - will isolate around the beam with clips and stuff everything full of insulation

thats it for now... supplies come thurs/friday i hope - need to figure out the electrical - it's actually stressing me out
post #27 of 587
Thread Starter 
Been thinking about the electrical a lot lately as it obviously needs to be wired before we close up the room

Currently - it looks like all of the lighting (3 recessed) and the outlets are all on the same circuit.

My back of the envelope electrical plan calls for the following:
  1. Minimum of 4 "regular" dimmable lighting zones (stage, front, middle, rear)
  2. Several low voltage accent options (soffit / stage / riser led rope, maybe some accents in the columns)
  3. 2 additional outlets for subwoofers
  4. 1 outlet for the projector
  5. Whatever I need in the equipment closet (currently running a single receiver and several sources, but i do plan on moving to separates soon)

Basically I figure at this point I have the following options.

Option #1:
Run everything off the existing circuit in the room and hope for the best

Option #2:
Run additional 2-3 x20 amp lines from the panel in the garage (55ft) for the subs, projector, and equipment (this assumes i have space on the existing panel which i'm not sure about)

Option #3:
Install a 200 amp sub-panel in the equipment room, but this might be overkill and is definitely the most expensive option

as always, thanks in advance - any advice / commentary is most appreciated
post #28 of 587
Option 4 Run 2 x20 amp circuits to the Equipment room, And pull another 20 amp run to augment the rooms existing circuit and split the lights and outlets between the existing circuit and the new one.

Tie the outlets behind the screen wall to one of the Equipment room circuits. Run the projector circuit into the equipment room and tie it into a line conditioner/UPS.

If you look at the existing service panel you might find that they used up a lot of breaker slots with full height breakers. If so you should be able to fit in some half-height breakers and double the potential number of circuits. There should be a diagram on the back of the panel box cover that would give you a clue if this is possible.
post #29 of 587
Thread Starter 
Big - not a bad option at all - really need to figure this out ASAP - round #1 of supplies delivered today

- 70 sheets of 5'8" drywall to buff up the floorboards in the ceiling and dd the walls
- 500 lft of hat channel
- lots of insulation

post #30 of 587
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