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What I'd do differently next time.

post #1 of 814
Thread Starter 
This is a thread you can use to post your "oh oops" and the things you'd do differently the next time around.

Let people know what box canyons or lessons you learned so we can avoid the same mistakes.

Have fun...and keep it fun.
post #2 of 814
Be careful in planning your first screen size. If all you have watched is a 27-32 inch CRT for 25 years, mocking up a screen on the wall with blue tape will seem huge.

We did and now it's a tad too small. Oh well there is always HT2.0.

Instead visit some other HTs or HT stores and study the size of the screen and your comfort level. Go to your favorite real theater and step off your preferred seating distance and the screen width and calculate that ratio. If possible get your projector and shine it on your blank wall and experiment with different sizes and different content such as 4:3 16:9 and 2:35. Consider the size from all seating positions. After all of that you will be in a better position to make the decision.
post #3 of 814
Honestly, I would have used DE or his associates from the beginning... I spent $1000 for DRAWINGS.....

No support, no contact-it was like pulling teeth just to get questions answered.

His answer to everything was acoustical panels over plywood.


I did notice his "company" went "T-U" not long after......
Live and learn, eh?
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I'm not bitter though!

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OK Well, just maybe a BIT!!!!!

Best,
Tom
Chinaclipper
post #4 of 814
Measure 3 times cut once Make sure the track your using for your fabric holds well for thinner cloth , Add on to the house and use poured walls and ceiling instead of working with a 12' wide room haha.

Seriously plan plan plan, get advice.
post #5 of 814
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaclipper View Post

Honestly, I would have used DE or his associates from the beginning... I spent $1000 for DRAWINGS.....

I was just coming here to post the EXACT same thing..like chinaclipper, I actually had a local "designer" (read: sales guy at an electronics store masquerading as a real designer) quote me $1,000..also for DRAWINGS. And, his initial drawings..well, let's just say they were so wrong as to not even be in the ballpark. Fortunately, I never hired him based on his draft and all around lack of confidence that he knew DIDDLY about what he was doing.

Unless you have HUNDREDS (and I mean HUNDREDS!) of "free hours" to spend reading, researching, analyzing, and all around tearing your hair out, I'd HIGHLY recommend hiring one of the experienced HT design people here on AVS FROM THE GET GO. Don't even TRY to DIY on the design unless you just have a ton of free time on your hands and a twisted interest/obsession to spend every night, every weekend, every free minute for the next 12-24 months obsessing over a project..

This stuff can get reasonably complicated and hard to get "right". There is absolutely no substitute for experience and knowledge.

I've pulled in some professional help at the tail end of my project here, but could have saved literally half a year if I'd done that earlier!

With that said, I'm < a month to construction, but it's been a real.. process.
post #6 of 814
Well, from the "Creating a HT with no budget" department.......and by no budget I mean just that. I have seen build threads for people who say they have no budget, but clearly spent well over $20,000!

Research is your friend. It sure saves tons of money to learn from others mistakes.

After your research is done....(is it ever?) then have a plan for the build/cost and do your best to stick to it. Yes there may be some changes here and there, but overall sticking to the original design is the only way to stick to your budget.

Be creative. Not everything in your HT needs to be brand new. What type of building materials can be re-used? What can you build yourself? Having said that, and to mirror what others are saying, don't be afraid to call in professional help when you need to such as an electrician for tricky wiring. Besides, that would have been in the original plan right?

Bottom line, if it weren't for all the cleaver folks on here who have shared their experience I wouldn't be even close to finished. (Still have to get those baseboards on!)

Cheers,
Jay
post #7 of 814
Never use blown in fiberglass in your risers. It's OK until you try to glue down the Advantech and get glue all over you, resulting in a tar and feather situation..
post #8 of 814
I'm not even finished, but I think I did my lights kinda screwy. I guess we'll see how bad it is when we're up and running.

Basically, I tried to get too complicated and my electrician is inexperienced with home theaters. I have 6 switches now on the wall when you enter the theater. They're for:

-- 4 house light cans
-- sconces
-- soffit/stage cans
-- rope lights for soffit
-- rope lights for risers/stage
-- I can't even remember what the other one's for now!

I read a lot of threads about how cool it is to have remote-control-controlled lighting on dimmers, etc., and I just got carried away. Now I don't even know if I'll be able to retrofit in a Grafik Eye or whatever when I do get enough money!

I went into somebody else's theater and he has one switch and a remote for it. It just controls all of the cans, which are the only lights in his theater. Very simple, but very effective.
post #9 of 814
- Research, research, research.
- Plan on every little aspect in advance... seating included. Order chairs in advance of finishing the project.
- Multiply the original budget by factor of 1.5
- Align you schedule with the inspectors, etc... plan additional 2 weeks in the build time just for inspections
- Put in more can lights than you think you need. If buying GrafikEye get more zones than you think you need.
- Consider things that you original did not consider. I am sad I did not put hide the speakers behind the false wall.
- Think outside the box - have people evaluate your diagram. I was stuck on the "front" of the room being on side psychologically, in retrospect it would have made more sense to have it reverse, could have built the false wall.
- It may be hard to get the significant others in your household to buy into the full HT idea, but trust me, once it's complete everyone is going to love it.

Good luck!
post #10 of 814
1. Never build anything, no matter how small, without a drawing. It's much easier to fix a problem when it's only on paper.
2. Deep pour basement.
post #11 of 814
If you use RSIC (sound clips) and metal hat channel to de-couple your double drywall from your 2 x 4 walls, make sure that your drywall contractor knows WHERE to place drywall screws into the metal hat channel.

Otherwise (as happened to me), installers will naturally try to put drywall screws where the 2 x 4s are, which means placing long screws will hit the front face of the RSIC clips, mechanically coupling the drywall to the 2 x 4s (and defeating the reason to use RSIC clips in the first place!!)
post #12 of 814
Deeper basement pour next time 7.5' for ceiling height is not optimal, thank gawd I'm only 5'8
post #13 of 814
I stapled an eight foot piece of 2x2 furring strip to my riser as I was hanging my first piece of Guilford of Maine Fabric. It took about 60 staples or so to attach the expensive piece of Carrena fabric to the furring strip. When I was done, I realized I couldn't budge the furring strip! I used the wrong size staples! I had to throw out the whole piece.
post #14 of 814
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstolzen View Post

Don't even TRY to DIY on the design unless you just have a ton of free time on your hands and a twisted interest/obsession to spend every night, every weekend, every free minute for the next 12-24 months obsessing over a project..

Doesn't that describe everyone posting in this forum?

I wish I had bought a pair of framing gloves a month or two earlier into the project. It would have saved me some skin.
post #15 of 814
Build my next theater in a house we have built, rather than in an existing house we've bought. Retrofitting the 20-year old open concrete basement space has taken more time than anything else on the project.

This included:

1. cutting holes in the concrete foundation for
2. new footings for the
3. lolly columns I had to install to support
4. The cutout I had to make in the
5. existing main support beam to get enough height for the
6. code-compliant theater door.

And yes, I had a structural engineer run the numbers before I started any of that.

-drin
post #16 of 814
Buy all of the home theater building materials and equipment with a Rewards Card instead of paying cash. That way I can have a free vacation after the build is complete!
post #17 of 814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Wadsworth View Post

Doesn't that describe everyone posting in this forum?

I wish I had bought a pair of framing gloves a month or two earlier into the project. It would have saved me some skin.

Actually it describes ME perfectly, I have nothing but time, and that is what I have spent it on for the past year
post #18 of 814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don_Kellogg View Post

Deeper basement pour next time 7.5' for ceiling height is not optimal, thank gawd I'm only 5'8

This was by FAR my biggest gaffe. Our house is coming up on 5 years old. When we were having it built I could have had full 9' ceilings for another 10k. At the time it seemed like a stupid thing to spend money on. But looking at it now I could have designed the theater much more efficiently. I spent a LOT of money moving mechanicals around to try and overcome the fact that we only have 7.5' ceilings (and I'm 6'3").
post #19 of 814
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_brew View Post

This was by FAR my biggest gaffe. Our house is coming up on 5 years old. When we were having it built I could have had full 9' ceilings for another 10k. At the time it seemed like a stupid thing to spend money on. But looking at it now I could have designed the theater much more efficiently. I spent a LOT of money moving mechanicals around to try and overcome the fact that we only have 7.5' ceilings (and I'm 6'3").

Yeah, I'm not looking forward to this one either...
post #20 of 814
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Don't try to estimate how big a screen you want based only on a mock-up, particularly if all you've ever seen is a 27-32 inch CRT for 25 years.

I did and now it's too small. Oh well there is always HT2.0.

That was my main fear. I ended up buying the projector first and made sure of the image size before I even ordered the screen.

Splotto
post #21 of 814
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.)
post #22 of 814
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.

Just make sure they are the same make/model. I've learned the hardway when for the life of me I could figure out why my cuts were always a bit off. Turns out the two tape measures were an 1/8 off from each other.
post #23 of 814
Keep your ideas and to-do's on a master list, not just the closest piece of paper.
I meant to put a beam up between my floor joists to isolate the mount from the floor vibrations above, wrote in down on a sheet that is lost. Now the ceiling is in (luckily it is a drop ceiling), the proj and mount are here, but I have to wait to solve a problem that is now bigger.
i would keep a master list on your PC desktop.
post #24 of 814
Keep in mind that GOM fabric is transparent and that anything behind it will be seen. I cut the sound panels rather rough and you could see all my bad cuts thru the fabric.

Also, use higher quality ferring strips to stable the fabric too. The cheap 1x2's I bought made my corners rather nasty.

Boils down to don't assume the next step will cover the sins of the previous.
post #25 of 814
I wish I would have put my equipment rack at the back instead of the front side. I really knew better from reading on here but due to the layout of the room it was the best place for it with rear access. Its amazing how much light all them little blue lights put out in a dark room.

On the plus side I knew I wanted a theater when I built the house so I had 9 foot ceilings and clear span trusses, so I had no posts or heat ducts or anything else to move before I could begin construction.

Phil
post #26 of 814
I wish I would have thought to isolate the bracing I installed between the joists in the ceiling for my projector mounting area. after all the sound proofing (double sheet rock w/Green Glue) there's now way to go back. When my family walks, or in the case of my kids, runs/jumps across the family room directly above the theater it shakes the projector. It's actually quite annoying.
post #27 of 814
Quote:


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.

Nice idea but won't work. I have three tapes and still it is they are all in the same room sooner or later!

Fabric panels are nice but we have 62 panels of various sizes (all but 9 done now). Each panel has 4 joints, each joint has 2 cuts. Figure it out. So far 2 months just building panels (and I am retired)!

Galaxy Theater
post #28 of 814
Not take the electrical inspector's word for it that the rough-in was OK, only to have him come back out and contradict himself for the final.
post #29 of 814
I would have made more room between my front wall and screen wall - right now the subs are jammed in there pretty tight and I don't have as much freedom of movement as I'd like. An extra 3" would have made a huge difference.
post #30 of 814
Another one just came up in my HT thread - make sure you wire your PJ outlet so you can use a UPS!! I missed that one completely.
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