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Need a riser for my home theater


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 04 2011 - 01:05 AM

Over the last year or so I have created a home theater room in my finished basement. I did everything myself and since i am not very "handy," it wasn't what many would call "professionally done". There wires were hidden in the drop down ceiling but some are still exposed, the screen was painted on with screen goo, the surround speakers are not installed into the walls but instead are supported by small wall shelves that i got from home depot. I have two rows of seating but they are not true theater seats, but instead are nice reclining leather sofa and love seats. In other words, i did my best. It doesn't look perfect but all in all think my theater looks nice and is good enough for me.

Now for my question. The one major thing my theater does not have yet is a riser for the sofa in the second row. I have searched the web and the two options that i have come up with are

1) buy one for around 700 to 1000 dollars. I am not going to do this way too rich for my blood.
2) build my own. And the problem with this option is, again, i am not very handy at all. I realize that this is a pretty simple project for many of you. It seems pretty daunting to me and i'm pretty sure i would screw it up. Can i get someone else to do it for me, if so who should i ask? i'm afraid if i ask a contractor, i'll end up spending bucco bucks again. Are there any plans out there for a very simple riser that i could handle building myself (i am not interested in carpet or a step or anything like that. just a platform to raise my rear sofa).






#2 of 14 OFFLINE   johng316

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Posted April 04 2011 - 07:41 AM

Hello Aslam!


I think I can help, since I have built three risers now for three separate home theaters.   I'll give you a pretty simple plan that I hope you can follow.


You need to decide how High your riser should be.  I'd recommend 8-10".  For the purposes of this, let's say it's going to be 8".  You also need to decide on general dimensions.  If your HT is 11 feet wide, your couch is say 3 feet deep (you want to account for both leg room and also enough walking depth for people to get through in case they have to come/go during a movie).  So, let's say you want 11 feet x 7 feet for your riser that is about 8" tall.


To keep it simple, I'm not adjusting for the thickness of the top.  This should add about 1" or a little more to height if you carpet it.


For a very stable / solid riser, build a box out of 4 pieces of 2x8 (two sides 11' long, two sides 7' minus the width of two 2x8's).  Screw these together with 3.5" decking screws (you can drill pilot holes if you want, but I don't).  Make sure this is as square as possible.


From there, cut more 2x8's to serve as ribs.  Make sure all lumber you select is free from bows (side to side or flat).   Your "ribs" go front-to-back and are the same length as your side pieces (7' minus width of the 2 2x8 front/back pieces).  Put in a rib about every 20-28".  Attach to outer box (front and back pieces) using 3.5" deck screws the same way you attached the side pieces of your "box."


When this thing is finished, it's going to be heavy, so make sure you're building it not far from where you'll be using it.


You can optionally strengthen this structure by installing corner brackets or L brackets inside the box where ribs and sides attach, but that is optional.

From there, cut a top to fit.  To cover 11 x 7, you'll need 3 pieces of 3/4" plywood (4x8), which you will cut to fit.  If you want a "lip" on the edge, leave 1" overhang (these are good for mounting rope lights underneath the ledge for down-lighting).  Screw the top down onto the ribs and sides using 2" deck screws.  3/4" is probably overkill, but it's what I use to make it feel very stable.


IMPORTANT:  When cutting and fitting your top pieces, make sure an edge lines up in the center of a rib.  This allows two top pieces to join right over a rib so if someone steps on the edge of one of these pieces, it won't flex down between ribs.  Always line your top edges up with RIBS so the edge rests on a rib at center.


Once your riser is complete, you can put a couch or two on it, and guests can enjoy it.  When you have the money, go to a discount carpet place and have carpeters come out and carpet the thing for you.  I have done this myself and it always looks better when a professional carpeter has done that part of the job.


My latest riser has a 10" front riser and a 20" back row riser with a stair @ 10" high.  Looked great!  For the 20" riser, I used 2x6 ribs and used deck hanging hardware to position the ribs.  The sides were 2 2x10's stacked and connected with decking hardware.  This worked out very well and was extremely stable.


Hope this helps,


John



#3 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 04 2011 - 01:52 PM

thanks so much for your help John. you explained this in a way even i could understand! :D I think i'll give your plan a try. Wish me luck. :P

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   johng316

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Posted April 05 2011 - 04:53 AM

Good luck!


You can cut costs by using 2x4's as ribs and hang them with deck hanging brackets onto the outer side of the box, but I've always been happier spending a little extra coin so that the ribs rested on the floor (same height as the outer box).  When I went to a 20" riser, 2x20 was not an option (even 2x12 are expensive), so I decided to hang 2x6 ribs.  Worked very well.  Kids jumped on that drum all day long with no problems.  Don't skimp on the top.  Get 3/4 inch, and it will feel extremely solid when you walk on it.


If you allow the 1" or so of overhang, attaching rope lights under the lip make a nice downlighting effect and help your guests to stay safe when they are walking around in the dark.  I used cable ties with the screw-attachment-holes to attach the rope lights to the riser lip.


Post some pics here as you are building if you get the chance!



#5 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 06 2011 - 09:29 AM

thanks again. yeah, i'm thinking of including a lip so that i can add lights. I was looking around the internet and some guys use wood glue in addition to screwing together the wood. do you think that's a good idea? i'm thinking that might make it easier so that the pieces don't move out of place while i'm screwing them together. especially since i'm going to be working alone on this.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   mikemsd

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Posted April 08 2011 - 12:46 AM

Wood glue works very well for further security, however the set and dry time is quite long. It's usually backwards, in that the screw is holding the wood pieces together while the glue dries. Something to keep in mind though is that wood glue is extremely effective at gluing wood. If you ever need to disassemble your riser, your going to have to break it apart. I actually used some wood glue once to attach a cross beam to a couch so that I could install a seat shaker. We needed to remove it, and after removing the screws, we literally had to break the 2x6 apart to get it off the couch.


I'm about to start building on my riser. Luckily I have a friend who is a carpenter, and another that is a mechanical contractor, so they are going to help me out. My plan is to build in sections. I believe the current plan would involve using wood glue in each section, but then just screwing the sections together then they are installed. The overall idea is that if I ever need to take it out, I should be able to just back out the screws for the flooring, back out a few connection screws, and take it apart. My theater room is being assembled upstairs, so I have to navigate small doorways and tight stairs.



#7 of 14 OFFLINE   johng316

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Posted April 08 2011 - 11:46 AM

Yeah, to pile on to what Mike is saying, wood glue is overkill IMO.  If you are using enough screws, this should be very secure and stable without glue, and you'll be able to disassemble at some future point much easier if you decide to sell the home or make a change.


He is also right that the glue will not dry quickly.  You'll want the screws to hold you in place rather than the glue.  Glue just makes the top sturdier, but really it will be SOLID if you're using 3/4 inch and 2" deck screws on every rib.


You can use a snap-line to mark the position of the ribs on the top once you have one screw in place.

You shouldn't have much problem building this by yourself.  It's good to have a helper, but it can be done solo.  I'm not a carpenter by any means (I'm a cheapskate office executive who always does things himself to avoid paying someone else).  hahaha.



#8 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 10 2011 - 09:13 AM

thanks you guys. you've been really helpful. i think i'll go with just screws. will probably get the wood this week and work on it this weekend. I'll post pictures after i'm done!

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 17 2011 - 09:49 AM

Well I did it! Finished the riser today. Thanks to you guys for your advise, everything went very smoothly. http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted April 17 2011 - 10:00 AM

Nice job. Didn't you carpet it? Doesn't the couch want to slide when you sit or get up?



#11 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 17 2011 - 11:06 AM

Nope, the couch doesn't budge. It does way a ton, though.

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   johng316

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Posted April 17 2011 - 02:15 PM

that looks really great!  I'll bet the view from the back seat is now very good.  :-)  How high did you decide to make it?  Looks like 6-8"?  The rope lights under the lip for nice down-lighting add a very nice effect.  Some wow factor as well as safety for your back-row guests.

Congratulations!  Feel sturdy?


John



#13 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 17 2011 - 03:01 PM

Thanks John. I'm super thrilled about how it turned out. Yes, very sturdy just like you said.

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   asazad

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Posted April 17 2011 - 03:04 PM

Oh, and it's 8 inches high.