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thegeek's obligatory construction thread

post #1 of 451
Thread Starter 
Just bought a brand new house. What do you do with a brand new home? Of course, you pick a room and frickin' detonate it.

First, walk past the "temporary setup". Note the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System in the right side of the cabinet. This setup actually sees far more use due to Dance Dance Revolution than any other task. I'm sure Gayle Sanders is just tickled pink that his products are being used in such a fashion.

Go up the stairs (note the small flecks of what used to be attached to the house)

Wall looks a little short. Something might not be right.

The initial impression of the theater right now gets the point across mighty fine... it's currently a hellhole.

Eventually, a slightly larger display surface will go here. For now, that unplugged twenty-something inch TV will have to do.

The full effect of things should start to take effect here. The builder had foolishly placed a half wall at the edge of the room. HA! I improved upon that little design flaw. The plan is to build like a wall and stuff, but as they say, you can't make an omelet without taking a sawzall to stuff, or something like that. Whatever, it was kinda fun.
post #2 of 451
Thread Starter 
Nice window! Yeah, that will have to go. Note the elegance of the $2.97 sconce. We're living the good life here. And to think, Mr. Poindexter dropped a whopping two-hundred times that tally on his sconces... EACH. I seem to have a penchant for frugality.

Another window. The wife want's it to stay, something about a nice view of the lake. I want to put several layers of drywall over it. This will be interesting.

This is the equipment closet. I was about to say that it is going to be the equipment closet. More observant AVSers may have noted that there's already some equipment in it. This arrangement may change somewhat in the coming months, but for now the little HD Tivo is a happy Tivo.

Note the attention to details in the destruction. Safety first, that's why here's a Wal-Mart bag over the live power outlets with the exposed leads. I need to chop and cap the power feed, but sawzalling around the live power to remove the half wall took precedence to ensuring my own continuing survival this evening. If I'm a little overconfident, it would be because it's been over one month since I last electrocuted myself.
post #3 of 451
Thread Starter 
Now that my house is in an unsell-able condition, I should probably plan out what's gonna happen next.

I've ordered 5 cases of Green Glue which to my understanding shall be arriving in negative two days.

Next I need to negotiate with the wife over the fate of the windows. The smaller window will get some cheap cellular blinds which will be followed by some aluminum foil covered plywood and burning hatred. From the outside it will look like a normal window, and from the inside it will look ghetto, much like the rest of the room. The foil is to try to keep the Florida death heat out.

The larger window has some unanswered questions. MrsGeek (aka "The Wife") would like it if that larger window could somehow be exposed on demand. Obviously it can't stay like it currently is as light would enter, sound would exit and it would be "sub-optimal" all around. One plan on the table is to have some kind of bizarre hinge system so that panels can open up and expose the window. The other thing is to place upon these theoretical panel things a pair of movie posters. If so, then I'd really like to go for the Star Wars Episode III dual Jedi/Sith posters. They look kinda cool. They are unfortunately at someone's first reflection point so that's going to be be quite interesting to work around.

Next up is at least one additional layer of drywall all around plus some Green Glue. This is a second floor bonus room so the floor is also going to get a second layer of OSB and some Green Glue. Some of the subfloor panels were kinda squeeky so I put 306 screws into the floor. This also means there's no way I'm going to pull up part of the floor and blow some insulation into the cavity underneath. It seemed like too pesky of a job.

The equipment closet will get drywall and GG treatment as well. As it abuts a portion of the house that shares an airspace with the main living area, this will get a third layer of drywall with a second helping of GG. The wall next to it also partially touches this airspace so it too will get a similar treatment.

The no longer existing half wall will be replaced with a double stud wall. Well, a cheesy one at least. With the old half wall, the room was 18 feet 6 inches deep, which frankly could stand to be deeper. For added fun, the room is 16 feet 8 inches wide. If I make the replacement wall too thick then the almost square room will become really too close to being square which is a bad bad thing for bass response. The goal is to make a wall with double layers of Green Glue sandwiched drywall on both sides, and also be stagger studded. I've procured some 2x3s which will get nailed onto a 2x4 border. It won't be perfect, but it will be better than a single stud wall. I also need to put in a little window because the projector is going to get mounted over the stairs, and hence outside the room which makes for a nice hushbox.

An exterior grade door is in order as well. The inner surface will likely also receive a dose of Green Glue and a sheet of plywood.

Somewhere in here I should deal with the ceiling. It's currently vaulted. I was thinking about changing it over to being a tray ceiling by building downward and feature a starfield in the middle. I've been oogling a starfield for some time now and this is my chance. I like Reuben's idea of using the tray portion as a gigantic bass trap, and I shall be pilfering that idea.

Next up is an unordinary amount of risers. The final plan isn't quite mapped out, but pretty much the entire room will be a riser of some sort. The only portions that will be at a semi-normal floor height will be the front part of the room where the first row of seats are going. The plan is to give that seating area a sunken feeling. The rest is either riser, proscenium, or raised walkway. This will all be filled with some kind of fiberglass batting, except for the portions of the proscenium where the mains and sub will go which will get the standard sand treatment which is so popular around here. Once again, this is a second story setup so doing the entire proscenium with sand isn't too great of an idea.

Risers and proscenium are getting a layer of OSB up top, a layer of roofing felt (squeaking is bad) and then a second layer of OSB. At this point I'll probably toss two more layers of OSB and roofing felt at whatever portions of the floor don't have raised flooring of some sort on it. There's living space underneath the theater room so there's probably no such thing as overkill in the sound isolation department. Note to self, make risers and proscenium things extra high to deal with this little fact.

Ohh, I should also go back in time and run the wiring for rope lighting. There's 100' spools of rope lighting at Sam's Club for like $14 which I need to grab before they no longer stock them. While I'm at it, I'll steal another idea from Reuben's thread and put an auxillary A/V input at the base of the riser along with an extra power outlet so that I can plug in random extra accessories like an extra video game system or a camcorder.

Next up is the wall treatments. Nothing special here, just linacoustic up to ear level and dacron batting above that. Cover with some Guilford of Maine wall fabric. If you're a first time reader, the purpose of this is that the GOM fabric is acoustically transparent, so that sound won't bounce off of it. The purpose is so that the sound plows into the linacoustic or dacron material and gets deadened. Echos are a bad bad thing.

The front of the theater will get some black drapes and probably some corner bass traps. Oh yeah, and a screen an some unreasonably large speakers. The planned screen is probably a 134 or 142 inch Carada bright white. Yes I know I shouldn't go that big, no I really don't care about the 1.5 rule. I sit in the front row when I go to the movies.

After that, install the equipment rack, wire some more speakers, mount a rack, shove the equipment into the rack, remember and correct whatever it is I'm forgetting, get the seats delivered, and enjoy. Any questions?
post #4 of 451
What, no carpet?
post #5 of 451
Thread Starter 
Carpet is a good thing too. You gonna change your profile to Wesley Chapel too?

I grabbed 200' of rope light from Sam's. Apparently they were 50' spools not 100' for $15 a box, but 30 cents per foot is still a good deal.

The big chunks of destruction is cleared out, and a healthy dose of drywall managed to walk up the stairs. Never underestimate how heavy that junk is, or how unwieldy it is (never buy 12 foot sheets!) Hopefully the GG will get here today and I can start hanging some drywall soon.

I don't look forward to carrying 40 sheets of OSB up those stairs. I'll probably need to move 25 more sheets of drywall as well.
post #6 of 451
Very entertaining. I look forward to your progress.

But I must protest - there's no way that could be a happy HDTiVo. Its not hooked up to anything... Fix that, man. RIGHT NOW.

post #7 of 451
Thread Starter 
Ok, so it's a little neglected but at least it's recording stuff. What, I have no idea but it is quite busily doing something. I've got a Terk Leapfrog that I might press into service to shove audio, video, and IR signals over a phone line. The bigger problem is that watching would be a real detriment to completing the project.
post #8 of 451
Thread Starter 
Dang it! Two things... one the Green Glue tubes are a damned lot bigger than a regular tube of caulk, and they won't fit my spiffy new Ryobi caulk gun.

They also seem to have somewhat exploded.

There are two caps at the bottom of the box. I also found two mostly empty tubes. Not sure how usable the rest of this case is as they're all pretty much coated, and if you've worked with this stuff then you know how sticky it is. I had to toss the whole case into a garbage bag to keep the cats from getting into it. I also should check the other 4 cases.

Audio Alloy guys, don't use UPS. FedEx takes far greater care for the extra dollar or two it takes to move these things around. I also recommend packing material.
post #9 of 451
Thread Starter 
3 out of 5 survived UPS. Here's the second victim. This one isn't as bad as the first one I opened up.

Well, that's about it for tonight. The only other thing that happened was that I pulled some baseboards off the walls in preparation of putting some drywall up over the existing drywall. I predict this will go much more slowly than Reuben's theater.
post #10 of 451

post #11 of 451
Very entertaining, send an email to Ted White I'm sure AA will fix your problem.

I'm definately subscribing to this destruction.
post #12 of 451
Thread Starter 
I'm actually a little surprised Ted White hasn't already called me. I've yet to see a disparaging word about AA here, and so far every compliment I've heard on them seems to have a pretty solid basis.

That bottom most picture is probably most telling as to what the problem was. The case seems to have gotten dropped on that bottom left corner. The first case I opened up simply must have hit much harder.
post #13 of 451
I'd call him.. the point him to this thread, he probably doesnt know it exists yet.

Or, u can create a new thread called GG destroyed in shipping and I bet ted will be all over it withn seconds =).
post #14 of 451
Thread Starter 
I left a message and Ted called me back in 5 minutes according to my cell's call log.

Ted took care of me. He even offered to send the replacement tubes via air if necessary. Hopefully UPS will take slightly more care this time. Someone in the chain of people who gets packages to my house is awfully brutal, and I've not received many unmolested UPS packages so far.

I'll have to post pictures of what they did to the boxes that the Ascents came in. One of the boxes wasn't that far off from being torn in half.
post #15 of 451
Look into Cellular Blackout shades to cover that outside window. My dad has them in his bedroom when he has to sleep during the day. It is pitch black in there, they run in aluminum tracks and are black in color. They might be pricey, but probly worth it for overall use of room, during non theater times.
post #16 of 451
Thread Starter 
Stewart Filmscreen also makes shades specific to this that purpose as well. There are also a few cellular shade suppliers, who's products are sold at Home Depot and Lowes, which are designed to fit into skylights, thusly coming in tracks. These options and others went under consideration, however, they were discarded for two reasons. Firstly, they wouldn't really fit the ambience of the room. I've never seen a window in commercial theater aside from the occasional faux mural, which I'm not a huge fan of. Secondly, they wouldn't do a darned thing for sound isolation.

Single pane glass with some cellular cloth over it doesn't really do a heck of a lot for isolation. We have cellulars over the windows on the front of the house, and with just the Ascents going on a moderate level the music can be heard quite clearly outside the house. MrsGeek had originally wanted to keep the half-wall intact, and the Ascent warm-up test completely killed that.

Part of the goal of the theater is to be able to drive the snot out of the system without raising the ire of my neighbors. We've probably spent a below average to average number of dollars on the sound system when in comparison to the others on this forum (read: completely unreasonable quantities of coin). I've been waiting to push it and I couldn't really do so in the old house. One of the major selection criteria that the new house was selected upon was the availability and suitability of an upstairs bonus room for conversion to a dedicated theater. I don't want to build a theater and then have the Pope pounding on my door telling me to turn it down.
post #17 of 451
Thread Starter 
Here's another product that's probably better than blackout material lined cellular shades. It is custom fit and a much heavier material. Limp mass is going to beat suspended cloth when it comes to sound deadening.
post #18 of 451
Any progress over the week-end?
post #19 of 451
Thread Starter 
I got some more drywall up. It's pretty slow going when you're doing it by yourself. Also, never ever buy 12 foot sheets of the stuff. The big sheets are just too hard to work with.

Of what's up, there's a pretty decent difference between the new sheets and the sheets that have been on the wall for a few days. If I pound my fist against them, I can tell which ones have had the Green Glue drying for a few days. The tubes say that it takes 30 days for the maximum benefit to occur.

MrsGeek is a few states to the north right now helping out some friends pack and move back to the area. They'll be staying with us while they're waiting for their new house to get built. We've got 4 spare bedrooms in the house meanwhile they've got an excess of tools. This should work well provided their toddler doesn't toddle upstairs into the pile of debris, Green Glue and pointy tools.

Say, for precision cutting of drywall, what works well? I'm just using a knife and it seems to be taking a fair bit of time that way.
post #20 of 451
Thread Starter 
FYI, the replacement tubes arrived yesterday.
post #21 of 451
Originally Posted by thegeek View Post

Say, for precision cutting of drywall, what works well? I'm just using a knife and it seems to be taking a fair bit of time that way.

If you have a dremel, they make a cheap attachment that turns it into a rotozip. Perfect for outlet holes, etc.

For making big panel cuts, drywall T square and score/snap with a utility knife gets my vote. Just make sure you change the blade often, that stuff eats through em.
post #22 of 451
how do u prevent the dremel from going right thru the outlet box???
post #23 of 451
it looks kinda like a drill bit and goes sideways through the drywall... has a depth adjustment too so the bit doesn't go too deep and cut anything on the other side. You can usually run it along the edges without mangiling the box. I was able to do so even with plastic electrical boxes.
post #24 of 451
Thread Starter 
Ok, my fearless prediction at the current rate of progress is somewhere on the order of 3 or 4 years. Hopefully I'll be able to use the Green Glue before it expires.
post #25 of 451
Welcome to my world, 2 years and going, still havent even started a construction thread...
post #26 of 451
just started following the thread, so this room is upstiars eh??? Sounds like a great time for hauling materials thats why I enticed many of freinds with beer and food to come over at random times to unknowningly help haul crap.

"oh btw since I've got you all here...." worked over but just need to make sure I had different ppl every time or they might have caught on to my plan.

So whats your plan for wireing? How are you going to be pulling all the cables you need from the equipment closet to the speaker and projector locations? Is there access from the attic or something? Plan on doing any conduit runs?

Aslo about the second window just make sure it doesnt get too hot and you have some sort of ventalation in there as I've seen where a window was trywalled over like that, and condensation built up on the window which made it look nasty as hell, specially with all that humidity you ahve down there might be something to consider.

Other than that, lookin good so far, keep us posted.

- Josh
post #27 of 451
So, is the issue that you don't have the time to work on it or the money or what? If it's time and you want it done, either hire it out, or have friends help you so it gets done faster (it helps if your friends know a thing or two about contruction and carpentry).

I did my theater on my own, except moving heavy stuff, and getting some help from my buddy with fabric and a few other things. It took me about 6 months of weekends and every-other-Friday working on it.
post #28 of 451
Thread Starter 
The current cable plan is to run cable through the risers or the not yet existing wall where necessary.

I hadn't really considered the condensation as being an issue for the windows. There's plenty of instances where condensation drips inside a house. Also, I'm reasonably sure that fiberglas isn't a vapor barrier.

The big issue with working on it is getting time. Other projects keep getting thrown at me by MrsGeek, and a pretty firm pattern of not working on it is developing. It probably isn't helping that the room is up and out of the way. If it were the family room that were trashed beyond recognition then I'm sure this would have a little more focus.
post #29 of 451
Thread Starter 
We took a circular saw and some crowbars to the floor tonight. I wanted to post pictures, however MrsGeek didn't want there to be evidence of any of this. The OSB floor is tongue and groove so drastic measures were necessary. We ran the saw along the floor and pulled up a 10 inch strip of wood.

Turns out there's zero insulation of any kind in the floor, just OSB, 1 foot of air, and then drywall for the ceiling below. I also have an insulation blower at the ready as well as 20 bags of cellulose insulation. The goal is to fill the space as best as possible, but that's tomorrow's goal. A secondary goal is to not wind up looking like the guy who was just returning the insulation blower. Regardless, this is going to be messy.

Additionally, it sorta feels pretty bad to pay about $200 for old shredded newspaper, but part of that bill includes a pretty spiffy flashlight (damn you impulse buys!) so that offsets things a bit.

MVP for the night, the prybar. While the circular saw did go through a nail without hesitation of any sort and leave a shiny smooth surface, but the $10 prybar took the lead.
post #30 of 451
You will find that interior walls and floors/ceilings are rarely insulated. Sometimes a good builder will do certain areas (like a master bedroom wall or bathroom wall) but not normally.

Good to see you're back to work...
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