The Garage Theater - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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The Garage Theater

This journey started for me about 25 years ago, with the latest chapter starting about 6 years ago, in my current home.

I'll try to summarize my current build, and what's happening next.

I would love advice, recommendations, etc, which is why I will share as much detail as possible (mostly visual). It makes it much easier to understand it, that way....
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post #2 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

This is how it started. A detached garage on a 1920's house. There was no way we were going to drive a modern car to the back of the lot and into this cramped garage on a daily basis. On the other hand, it was perfectly isolated by a very large infinite air space from the rest of the living space -- and the neighbors!
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post #3 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

First things first: Fantasy sketches....
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post #4 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

At this point, all we've really done is yank out some of the old shelves and cabinets, and (important!) had the old concrete slab replaced.

LESSON #1: A traditional garage concrete floor is sloped for run off. YOU DONT WANT THAT in a home theater (or, really, any domestic room). But I wasn't smart enough to know that's how they would pour the floor, so I wasn't smart enough to tell them not to.

In the end, the building itself was so unsquare (80+ years of settling will do that) that it wasn't a complete disaster since everything had to be custom measured and plumb was never the same as what gravity wanted, but it was a miss, and a lesson learned --

-- and it would have made the whole "room within a room" easier to keep level, plumb and square.
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post #5 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

Next: Time to clear the old drywall off, and check out the status of things.

The good news is that redwood last fovere so things were structurally okay.

But the electrical was not ideal (it would all have to be replaced). There were plants growing through one wall, due a neighbor's untended vines. There was some nasty insulation, ravaged by time and rodents. Etc. Etc.

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post #6 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

And then it was time to start framing the space.

First, killing one of the garage doors and turning it into a people door. Much more civilized -- especially since I got some friends to help!

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post #7 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

And then the start of the framing.

The general concept was "a room within a room".

It got a little complicated in some places, notably with the cross beams in the rafters of the garage. If we had simply made the roof lower than them, we would have had a room that was under 7 feet in height. NO GOOD.

So we went with a modified concept, where we built around them -- and the end result was that it looks like beams running through the roof of the room. Not bad. Rather proud of that solution, in fact.

Less clearly a win: Instead of just using the max space in the garage, which would have resulted in an essentially square room about 16' on each side, we carved out a space about 12' x 16' to get some rectangular-ness to the space -- thinking it would help with acoustics, and that the space outside the theater space would be a nice ante-rooom -- at first for a little exercise space, and the gear, and later (much later) for a lobby. I call this not clearly a win because I do feel a little space challenged into the room.

Not a win at all: The internal door. Well, the position is not too bad. But I made two follow on mistakes: I did not put the screen wall near the door -- which means the door is near the seats -- which means we that valuable space that could have been used for seats was needed for walking space. And the other mistake with the door: It opens INTO the theater space. Doh! The other direction, while non standard perhaps, would be far more space friendly inside it.

(Follow on lesson learned from earlier: The sloped nature of the concrete slab meant that the door could NOT be hung plumb because it would run into the sloped floor. Ugh! Of course, having it open the other direction would have solved that, too.)

I'll post photos in batches below, a bit later, illustrating this phase.
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post #8 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

And one of the first signs of the future...the wires from the house (ie, ethernet, coax, etc) coming out of the wall, from a conduit that runs under the yard.



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post #9 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

And the framing for the rest of the room's walls, including painting the old walls (exterior walls) with primer, adding spray foam to seal things, using flashing vapor barrier under the framing, padding places where metal met metal (like the simpson strong ties), etc.

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post #10 of 76 Old 02-27-14, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Garage Theater

And then those pesky ceiling beams. You can see where I would have liked to have put the ceiling.

And that I ran the main ceiling joists at that level.

I need to dig up the photos of what ACTUALLY worked -- to build something almost "around" the old structure, and not touch the new one at all. The contractor I hired to teach me framing and do a significant amount of the heaving lifting and work at this stage thought I was CRAZY at first, but gradually understood to the point where he has great ideas about how to achieve the decoupled goals in this odd situation.

You may wonder why I bothered to try to do it this way, given that I wasn't attached to a living space or sleeping space nor sharing a wall with a neighbor. But my goal was isolation from the outside, in addition to keeping sound from escaping. It mostly worked: Even at full tilt, if you are outside the garage, it just sounds like something faint in the distance. And when inside, if you have nothing playing, you'll not hear the outside world unless something is running a combustion engine very loud and very close.

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