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Discussion Starter #21
Is there a standard riser height? What are some common heights?
12 3/4 inches is pretty common 2x12s (11 1/4) and two layers of 3/4 decking. But screen size, position on the wall, and seating row distances are all part of the geometry equation that has to be solved to plan a theater properly. What is worse is the online calculators have gone silent.
In my theater, would screen position on the wall be the primary driver of determining riser height?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
That and style of chairs, now high are the heads when seated?
I guess a plus is that we get to determine that. Are some chairs better or worse for a lower ceiling?

It terms of seating, I prefer simple and compact to large and elaborate. Good style is important to my wife and me. In our case, it would probably make sense to find seats that maximize our seating height.
 

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Classic bolt down theater seating sits higher than recliners and can help with unobstructed viewing from the back row. A well thought out plan is always recommended before construction starts. It also conserves floor space and can sit closer to the front row, another plus for the sight lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Classic bolt down theater seating sits higher than recliners and can help with unobstructed viewing from the back row. A well thought out plan is always recommended before construction starts. It also conserves floor space and can sit closer to the front row, another plus for the sight lines.
Thanks for the tip. I agree about planning. I plan to plan the entire thing before I start doing any construction.

For bolt down, a quick search led me to liking the look of Octane The Oscar seats. Do you know if anybody has used these in a theater? Any idea on where I can buy them? Any other seats like them?
 

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You mentioned that you have decided to do 200A or 320A service, but didn't post the actual outcome.

If you went with 320A class, good job!

If you went with 200A service, have you considered the needs of electric car charging? If you charge two electric cars that adds at least 64 amp of continuous load to your house, and could easily be more like 96 amps. It is something to consider even if you don't currently have electric cars as the cost to go to 320A is about $600 more if you are already replacing your meter panel and main box. The big costs are the labor to replace the meter panel.

Just a thought...
 

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Discussion Starter #31
You mentioned that you have decided to do 200A or 320A service, but didn't post the actual outcome.

If you went with 320A class, good job!

If you went with 200A service, have you considered the needs of electric car charging? If you charge two electric cars that adds at least 64 amp of continuous load to your house, and could easily be more like 96 amps. It is something to consider even if you don't currently have electric cars as the cost to go to 320A is about $600 more if you are already replacing your meter panel and main box. The big costs are the labor to replace the meter panel.

Just a thought...
I'm still deciding on 200amp vs 320amp. We have 5200sq house with two kitchens and 1200sq garage with 220v lines. No electric cars now, but maybe in the future. I'd like to go 320amp.

The first bid came in just over $6k to go 320amp. I'd like to get a couple more before work begins.
 

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I'm still deciding on 200amp vs 320amp. We have 5200sq house with two kitchens and 1200sq garage with 220v lines. No electric cars now, but maybe in the future. I'd like to go 320amp.

The first bid came in just over $6k to go 320amp. I'd like to get a couple more before work begins.
On the $6K I am guessing that must include replacing the service feeders to your house. I don't know about where you live or your service feeders, but at my house I called my electric company and asked them if the feeders were fine or not, and they checked on it and told me they were fine up to 400A (Class 320 service). It limited the work to just three guys for one day for the actual service upgrade, and no heavy equipment. They dug up the meter box and replaced it with the bigger version, and also added a second 200A panel next to my original one. The labor cost me $3000. I provided the meter panel and additional breaker box so they matched perfectly. They also provided the conduit parts and the 3/0 copper wire.

$6000 seems high unless they are replacing a feeder or something more involved. It took three guys a whole day to do the work, but it was done that day.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
On the $6K I am guessing that must include replacing the service feeders to your house. I don't know about where you live or your service feeders, but at my house I called my electric company and asked them if the feeders were fine or not, and they checked on it and told me they were fine up to 400A (Class 320 service). It limited the work to just three guys for one day for the actual service upgrade, and no heavy equipment. They dug up the meter box and replaced it with the bigger version, and also added a second 200A panel next to my original one. The labor cost me $3000. I provided the meter panel and additional breaker box so they matched perfectly. They also provided the conduit parts and the 3/0 copper wire.

$6000 seems high unless they are replacing a feeder or something more involved. It took three guys a whole day to do the work, but it was done that day.
I think it is high. I'm getting a few more bids. I'd have to replace my current panel and add a new one.
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)
After discussing things with our carpenter, we determined that this layout is our best option in terms of features, cost, time, etc. Now we need to figure out seating. Any thoughts as to these options?

Option 1
Pros: 6 seats, easier to run power from wall outlets on the wall to the seats, more seating for friends, easy to sit in second row
Cons: have to build a riser, unlikely to be able to match current carpet, possible tripping hazard for crazy kids, more seat budget, seats near wall don't have as good an experience


Option 2
Pros: 6 seats, easier to run power from wall outlets on the wall to the seats, more seating for friends, don't have to build a riser, no tripping hazard
Cons: more seat budget, harder to get into seats, seats near wall don't have as good an experience


Option 3
Pros: don't have a build a riser, lower seat budget, better audio for all seats, no tripping hazard
Cons: 4 seats, harder to get into 2nd row, fewer seats for friends


Option 4
Pros: easier to get into 2nd row, walking row on the side, better audio for all seats, lower seat budget, smaller riser to build
Cons: possible tripping hazard for kids, likely can't match carpet


Option 5
Pros: easier to run power from wall, easier to get into seats, lower seat budget
Cons: more complicated riser build, possible tripping hazard for kids, likely can't match carpet
 

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I think it is high. I'm getting a few more bids. I'd have to replace my current panel and add a new one.
OK, hardware wise, new 200A panels are about $125 each. If you can keep the same brand as your current panel you can reuse the breakers for all of your existing circuits.
The Meter panel for 200A is about $100 where the 320A unit is between $400 and $600. That means the hardware differences are about $700. If you are replacing your main panel and your meter panel already then the labor to upgrade to 320A should be negligible. There is a bit more copper involved, but that is a rounding error compared to the labor on this job.

Good luck and happy hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter #36
OK, hardware wise, new 200A panels are about $125 each. If you can keep the same brand as your current panel you can reuse the breakers for all of your existing circuits.
The Meter panel for 200A is about $100 where the 320A unit is between $400 and $600. That means the hardware differences are about $700. If you are replacing your main panel and your meter panel already then the labor to upgrade to 320A should be negligible. There is a bit more copper involved, but that is a rounding error compared to the labor on this job.

Good luck and happy hunting!
I have an old FPE panel with stab-lok breakers so everything would be brand new. New panels, new breakers, everything.
 

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I would go for the 6-seat riser config, personally. But that mainly depends on your family size and viewing habits. If it's just 1 or 2 of you most of the time it may not make sense. If you think you'll often have guests over for movie night (and why wouldn't you after building an awesome theatre!?) then you'll appreciate having 2 more good seats instead of putting people on folding chairs.
 

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Discussion Starter #38
I would go for the 6-seat riser config, personally. But that mainly depends on your family size and viewing habits. If it's just 1 or 2 of you most of the time it may not make sense. If you think you'll often have guests over for movie night (and why wouldn't you after building an awesome theatre!?) then you'll appreciate having 2 more good seats instead of putting people on folding chairs.
We're a family of four, but our kids are 9 and 4 so I'm guessing they will have friends coming over for many years. For all serious viewing, it will just be two or three of us most of the time.
 

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We're a family of four, but our kids are 9 and 4 so I'm guessing they will have friends coming over for many years. For all serious viewing, it will just be two or three of us most of the time.
In that case I'd definitely plan for 6 proper seats. We're also a family of 4, and I wanted to be able to have another family over for movie nights, so my target was 8 seats. I don't think that will happen in my small room, so I'm going to settle for 7 actual seats, but with a centre loveseat in the back row of 4 that could probably fit 3 little ones in a pinch, giving me 5 "seats" in that row. Bean bags in front are always an option too if required.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
We're a family of four, but our kids are 9 and 4 so I'm guessing they will have friends coming over for many years. For all serious viewing, it will just be two or three of us most of the time.
In that case I'd definitely plan for 6 proper seats. We're also a family of 4, and I wanted to be able to have another family over for movie nights, so my target was 8 seats. I don't think that will happen in my small room, so I'm going to settle for 7 actual seats, but with a centre loveseat in the back row of 4 that could probably fit 3 little ones in a pinch, giving me 5 "seats" in that row. Bean bags in front are always an option too if required.
We'll have plenty of seating with kids on the floor, bar stools, and other random stuff.
 
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