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All About Home Theater Construction


Resource material and home theater construction how-to's to help the do-it-yourselfer

You don't have to be a pro to get into home theater construction. Even the novice handyman can start and finish a home theater project they can be proud of, and on a budget.

One of the many decisions that go into home theater construction is whether to use an existing room or to add some new space to your house. We're not going to cover the building of an actual addition to your home because of the magnitude of such a project. But something like partitioning an existing space in a basement or remodeling a family room will.

Basements: The perfect blank canvas!

One of the more popular places to build a home theater is in the basement. You don't necessarily need to know how to finish a basement, but knowing how to build walls and other structures gives you a lot more freedom to make something cool. Many new and existing homes have an unfinished basement making it the perfect blank canvas to work with.

Most guys can also find it easier to convince their wives to go with a basement home theater. After all, setting up shop in the basement basically means you won't be touching anything upstairs -- a domain whose decor is usually decided by women.

Others have decided to convert their garage into a cool media room. If your kids are out of the house and on their own, have to considered knocking down that wall between their old bedroom and the spare room?

There's really a lot you can do when it comes to home theater room design. There are basically two kinds of home theaters; the dedicated home theater which only has one function and that is to enjoy movies. They offer a big screen, big sound, and complete privacy. The other is a multi-purpose family room where you and your family can together enjoy high-definition TV, movies, music, and video games.

Most articles available in this section can be applied to either style of home theater construction project, and others are more specialized. The construction phase of any theater project is where your home theater plans pretty much get written in stone. The good news is that basic basement remodeling isn't that hard at all.

This section contains articles that will help you do such things as build walls, install drywall, build soffits around ductwork, install lighting fixtures, and putting in a suspended ceiling.


Introduction to Wall Framing for Home Theater Builders

home theater lumberSome home theater projects require the addition of extra walls or other structures. You may want to finish a basement, convert an existing room, or build a small stage where your screen will be mounted. No matter what your design calls for, the science of wall framing is actually quite simple once you understand the basics.

The internal structure of a typical wall consists of three main parts, the bottom plate, the studs, and the top plate. The bottom plate is usually a 2x4 which rests on the floor "wide-side down". The studs stand on end on top of the bottom plate, and the top plate is attached to the other end of the studs. The top plate then generally comes into contact with the bottom of the ceiling joists (or floor joists if you're in the basement)...

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Things You Learn When Building Your Home Theater

bandaidIt's surprising how many things home theater builders have in common.

We bang a finger or two with a hammer. We get paint exactly where we don't want it. We take so many trips to the hardware store, the cashiers start thinking we're contractors.

Here's a funny look at stuff most of us have done or can relate to during our quest for home theater goodness.

  • Once you've built and mounted a soffit form, the chin-ups begin less than 10 minutes later.
  • Somewhere, somehow, at least one of the 2x4's in the room has your blood on it.
  • ...

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Mind The Gap: Improve The Look Of Your Home Theater By Fixing Baseboard Gaps

If you installed new baseboard trim along the walls of your home theater, its possible you've ended-up with small gaps between the top of the baseboard and the wall. These baseboard gaps are easily fixed with crack filler. Walls aren't always going to be straight, especially in a basement where the floor isn't always level so small gaps aren't unusual, but they look unfinished.

Get a small tube of non-shrinking, white crack filler. Cut the tip off about 1/6th of an inch. You can cut the tip off at an angle, but you'll have less control when applying the filler, so cut the tip off flat....

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Drywall 101: How To Install Drywall

drywall jobSo what is drywall anyway? Well drywall is usually made of gypsum with a sheet of brown paper on its back, and a sheet of soft, slighty fuzzy paper on its front. They usually come in a light gray color, but different applications (fireproofing, bathroom moisture, etc.) call for different types which usually come in other colors like blue or green. Drywall sheets are sold in pairs and are available in 1/2 and 5/8 inch thicknesses. 1/2 inch is good for walls, but the thicker 5/8 inch is best for ceilings and soffits.

There are basically two ways to hang drywall; horizontally or vertically. There are advantages to both depending on your situation. The main rule of thumb when hanging drywall is to get the absolute fewest joints possible....

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Learn How To Build A Soffit

basement soffit frameA soffit is basically a box framed with wood and covered with drywall that surrounds existing ductwork, piping, or beams. You'd usually see these in finished basements where various systems couldn't easily be moved. For example, the ductwork for my furnace stretches perpendicular to my home's floor joists, so the ductwork has to hang underneath. I built a soffit around the entire length of the ductwork and mounted some drywall. I also built another one around a beam that supports the floor above.

There are a few ways to do this which depend on what you've got in your basement. My ductwork stretched across 12 feet of open space, and then joined up with a wall I had previously built for another 15 feet. Here, I used two different types of formers that I'll explain shortly. A soffit former is basically a few pieces of 2x3's or 2x4's screwed together to form a U or L-shaped assembly. They're like the ribs that will make up the body of the soffit.....

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How To Draw A Floor Plan

home theater basement floorplanA floor plan is like a blue print that shows the location of walls, doors, electrical outlets, furniture, and anything else you may want inside a new room. You'd draw one to help you visualize what your new home theater will look like when its done. Its a great way to preview certain design aspects of your theater and make changes before you even start to build.....


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The ABC's Of Building Permits

home theater building permitIts a good idea to get the necessary building permits before starting any major home theater renovation. They are only needed if you're changing the structure of your home, such as finishing a basement or moving some walls around but always check with your municipality to be sure.

When applying for a building permit, you'll have to fill out whatever forms are required. You'll also have to provide a written description or a detailed diagram of the work you intend to do and a cost estimate...


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Protect Your Gear By Controlling Humidity

basement humidityHumidity can be a major problem for many home owners who decide on doing a basement remodeling project. The basement is one of the best spots to put a new home theater, but the threat from basement humidity and water seepage is too great to overlook.

Home theater or not, when researching how to finish a basement, its really a good idea to spend some time learning how humidity and water seepage can affect you....


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Make Your Basement Home Theater A Comfortable Place With Proper Ventilation

home theater ventilationWhen finishing your basement, its important to spend some time thinking about air ventilation. Most homes with central heating and unfinished basements have air ducts jetting out of the basement ceiling between the exposed floorjoists. Half of these ducts should provide an air supply and the other half would be cold air returns...


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Ideas For Building A Media Closet

media closetA media closet, or equipment rack, is an enclosed space where you can store all of your home theater gear. Many media closets are just that -- closets. They have extra shelving to hold an A/V receiver, amplifiers, power conditioners, DVD player, and anything else you may be using in your theater. You can build your own pretty much anywhere you want in your theater. But to build one that's friendly to you and your gear, you should keep in mind a few things...


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Drywall Pros and Cons

drywallHanging and finishing drywall is a really big job. It may not look like it, but trust me when I say that it is. I know this site focuses on doing stuff yourself, but I'll take some time to talk about typical do-it-yourself drywall pros and cons....


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Tips On Building A Home Theater Stage

home theater stageA home theater stage isn't only visually appealing, but it can also provide a very useful function.

A hollow stage will resonate if you put speakers or a subwoofer on it. You'll find this really distracting so solve it now during construction. If the stage is on a concrete slab, or in your basement, you can fill the stage with sand to weigh it down. Thats where you'll get most of your mass. Filling it with sand will absorb most of the sound energy driven into the stage....

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