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Theater Construction: Doing away with the Drop Ceiling?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by johng316, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. johng316

    johng316 Active Member

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    Hi everyone,


    I just moved into a new house, and it's time to build the HT in the basement. I've got 8' ceiling height, space is about 11' x 33'. Drop ceiling. Lighting in the area is also controlled by a separate switch already. I have a white drop ceiling in place, and if I removed it, I'll get another 8" or so of ceiling height. There are flourescent lights and two heating duct registers in the drop ceiling, and no significant obstacles like duct work to worry about.


    I'm planning to build two risers and have 3 rows of seating overall. Each riser will be probably 8-10" high (with the back one being 16-20". I've built risers twice before, so that is no problem for me.


    The question I have is how much of a pain in the rear is removing the drop ceiling and installing sheetrock? I'm assuming I can do most of this work myself (though never done it) and call in a professional drywall finisher to finish it up? How much is it going to cost to have a drywall finisher finish it to look professional if I install myself?


    If I go with the Sheetrock ceiling, I'm thinking of installing canned lights on dimmer switches plus several wall sconces.

    Going with the drywall ceiling would probably delay my theater by 2 months or more. Keeping the drop ceiling avoids this.


    I've painted a drop ceiling before, and it's a pain. Painting a drywall ceiling would be much easier.


    Any thoughts or advice? Should I just stop pinching pennies and contract out the whole job?


    Thanks guys,


    John
     
  2. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    I'm actually just about to start my own theater project (and document here as well, haha). My suggestion is yes, get rid of the drop ceiling and install sheetrock. You may also want to seriously think about implementing as much sound isolation techniques as possible. For instance, MLV, Cellulose Insulation, Isolation decouplers, etc.

    No use in going through all that trouble only to not do it right.
     
  3. johng316

    johng316 Active Member

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    Brian,


    Thanks for the thoughts. I'll google this stuff, but i'm assuming that Isolation Decouplers are something that goes between Sheetrock and stud to absorb vibrations?


    Is MLV and Cellulose Insulation some kind of sound-absorbing material I'd spray or install between the floor joists?


    I do think I'll go ahead and ditch the drop ceiling since I know I'd be long-term happier with it down. I'm not "excited" abou the project itself, but will be happy with the finished result.


    I've been looking at Moroccan wall sconces like this one:


    Many thanks,


    John
     
  4. Adam Gregorich

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    John, if you want that second riser (especially if you are hanging a projector), you will want that extra height. Whats above the room? if you are trying to keep it quiet, can lights are a bad idea, unless you install them into a soffit running around the room.


    Hangind drywal overhead is not fun. You will want to pay someone to do that and the texturing. You can do any sound isolation prep work yourself to save some money. I just replied in Brian's thread so this will be a bit of a repeat. I used RISC-1 clips and hat channel, followed by two layers of drywall. I installed the clips and hat channel myself and had the sheetrock guys just install over that.


     
  5. johng316

    johng316 Active Member

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    Adam,


    Thanks for the reply, and the pics of how you're doing your ceiling with the clips and channel give me some perspective. I have two bedrooms above the theater, so making in quieter would be good. have you considered using Green Glue between your two layers of drywall to improve the sound absorption? I've read that this can be effective. I'm also considering using QuietRock, but I hear it's very expensive stuff. I'm a terrible tight-wad.


    Good advice on hiring the hanging of the sheetrock on the ceiling. I'm starting to believe it's foolish to attempt myself. But doing the clips could work out just fine.


    I hadn't thought that canned lights might make things loud. Hmmmm.....
     
  6. Adam Gregorich

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    I did my drywall work almost 10 years ago, and Green Glue wasn't around or at least discussed at the time so I didn't know about it. If noise control is important minimize the holes in the ceiling, and that means no 6 inch holes for can lights. It defeats the purpose of everything else you will do to control sound.
     
  7. Brian Dobbs

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    Isolation Decouplers (http://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/rsic_clips/risc_dco4.htm?d=46)

    You'll have to be creative with these. I plan on using them a certain way for my theater, but it doesn't mean you'll have to do the same. Basically these are good for when you have to attach two potentially vibrating assemblies but want to minimize the transfer of the vibrations.


    IsoTrax (http://www.isotrax.com/)

    You can also think about using a system like this. This is just one brand. Lesser expensive products out there.


    Mass Loaded Vinyl (http://www.acoustiblok.com/instal.php)

    Acoustiblok is a brand name. There are lesser expensive MLV products out there.


    Cellulose Insulation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFBVc8S6cJo)

    Has a higher STC rating than fiberglass. Also insulates better.


    Quietrock (http://www.quietrock.com/quietrock-drywall.html)

    Yes, definitely consider using this product, at least for the ceiling assembly. I think I'll get some for myself.


    Green Glue (http://www.greengluecompany.com/)

    Yes, consider using this product as well, in between two layers of drywall.


    Also no recessed lighting in the ceiling. You should minimize the cutting of holes in the drywall too. Sound passes easily through wall outlets and switches.


    Here's a good resource to take a look through - http://www.soundisolationstore.com/
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

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  9. Jon_B

    Jon_B Well-Known Member

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    MLV has been tested by many independent companies and has been shown to do very little for sound isolation. The gain you do get from it is not worth the price.


    Closed Cell Spray Foam insulation is awesome for keeping a room warm, not as good as regular ole' fiberglass insulation at reducing noise in/out of a room.


    Quietrock is basically 5/8 sheetrock with a damping material in between the layers. Green Glue is a damping material that is recommended to be used between two(2) layers of 5/8 drywall. For sound isolation, more mass is better.


    Check out: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/
     

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