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Garage conversion...anyone got some top tips??

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by bertha, Dec 31, 2002.

  1. bertha

    bertha
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    As I imagine most people in 'modern' style houses I never park my car in my garage for 2 simple reasons 1 it is constantly stuffed with crap & the other the only way to get my car into the garage is to let the handbrake off & push it in! So I have got to dreaming...mmm home cinema...


    So I'm looking for any advice please - possible pitfalls from anyone who has already done this..planning permission..cabling..sound proofing..adding value to property (over having a useless garage?)..anything else that you didn't think of but you went "Doh!" at the time...all comments/ advice welcome..I'm on a tightish budget..the house is only months old & the builders are still nearby I could probably get a few homers done etc..anyway thanks in advance


    Berth
     
  2. LDR

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    First thing to check is whether there is a time frame set out in your purchase of the house..new housing estates are generally not allowed to be altered externally for 3 years, ie removal of garage door and construction of wall/windows..due to the fact that the developer wants them all to look a similar style whilst they are still building on the site so prospective purchasers are not put off.
     
  3. Garrett

    Garrett
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    Hi bertha nothing personal.
    But why do people store rubbish in their garage worth hardly anything yet leave what may be there second most expensive purchase outside, being invited to be stolen, vandalized and to the elements.
    I thought the shed would be a better place for the rubbish.

    If you are converting it don’t forget the central heating.
     
  4. Squirrel God

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    I couldn't agree more. I'd love a garage to store my car in :(
     
  5. bertha

    bertha
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    erm..maybe my post was a bit cryptic..but I can't actually get my car into my garage and a quick glance around my neighbours tells me that they can't get their cars in either..I did think about this when I bought the house and a straw poll from friends & family who have garages generally only really use them in the winter when they are not too lazy to stick it in the garage..this was why I was thinking it may serve more purpose as a home cinema than a big cold box..

    Good point LDR about the 3 year time limit, my brother mentioned this also but there is a chap around the corner from me who has already converted his but I'll check my documents before I check with the homes company..the remaining plots are all sold around here & the builders will be shipping out early in the year..so hopefully they won't care too much..

    I'm still interested to hear if anyone has attempted / succeeded in a similar conversion ..so please any comments thanks


    Happy New Year to all when it happens


    Berth:)
     
  6. bertha

    bertha
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    sorry all - started this thread in general chat without checking this section..it was kindly moved here for me and now that I've seen Shokabu's thread I feel like a nonce...carry on don't mind me....:blush:
     
  7. Garrett

    Garrett
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    Apologies to you if I seem to be getting at you I wasn’t I was getting at those that do what I said in my post. Or what is even worse is leaving the car in the road when they have a drive.
    Back on topic sort of.
    I understand a lot of builders build un-suitable garages to save a foot so they maybe can get an extra house on the row, and sod the poor house holder. Anyway I wish you every success with you project bertha.
    I wouldn’t mind a dedicated room myself.
     
  8. bertha

    bertha
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    No apology necessary..I know these forums are good spirited...


    thanks just now

    & have a good new year - I'll post here with my progress


    Berth
     
  9. Garrett

    Garrett
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    Same to you, and every success with the dedicated cinema room.

    Regards Garrett
     
  10. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    I had just the same thoughts when I converted my attached garage a year ago. Our house has a showhome, so the garage already had plasterboard on the walls and ceiling.

    As this was already done, I was not able to get insulation slabs between the plasterboard and single skin brick wall. I didn't want to re-do the plaster walls, for sure. I got a few down from the loft but is was really hard work, hopefully these helped make the room a slap dead as it is.

    I also put a low of loft insulation to reduce vertical heat and sound loss.

    A single garage is quite a nice acoustic shape, as they go apparently.

    It would have been nice to have some condiut at skirting board height to run behind screen lighting mains, subwoofer audio and mains power, speaker and IR receiver wiring in from the equipment at the back to the screen at the front, both sides ideally to minimise speaker cable lengths and keep the wiring symetrical. I didn't have this, so I run the speaker wiring in to wall blanks and up the the loft cavity, along to the back and back down to the equipment. Cable needs to be longer this way, is more expensive and probably changes the sound slightly, even though I bi-wire things.

    I already had a motorised garage door, so I added an insulated frame on to the back of the door, floating on rubber gromits and added two layers of sound insulating supermat pink. I edged it with self expanding foam. a 6mm mdf front on this was too heavy for the door to still lift, so I faced it with 3mm alu backed foam (usually used under wood flooring) and painted the same colour as the wall.

    Intalling the door motor mechanism originally was harder than it looked, insulating a working metal garage door and making a tight seal for it to close to was even harder, but worth it in my eyes.

    Acoustically, this is a great, dead sounding wall and makes the sound system in the room sound great to me and a few others who have heard it to compare. I think it's one of the acoustically kindest places my modest Linn Index 2 speakers have ever been!

    It also makes the system inaudiable from outside the garage, unless playing at above about -7db (below reference THX 0db levels). The sub is what leaks the most when it's really loud.

    My father is a retired engineer and was able to work with me to design a hinged screen frame, so the screen can fold in to the wall to allow the door to still open.

    I bet Roland from B4 Projection had never seen one of these before when he came for his second visit!

    I think I've brought the shopping in through that garage door 5 times in the past year! I currently work from home mostly, so don't have to get in a cold car early in the morning.

    It is nice to know I can roll the carpet back, stack the chairs at the back and still get the car in if I want to avoid cold frosty early starts or if the car was ever a noticed by the wrong people at night.

    Oh and also, technically I have merely insulated the garage, so no planning issues to worry about. Heating is provided by the dragon portable 1KW electric oil-filled radiator with climate control, plus plenty of warmth off a Barco projector once warmed up for an hour or so!

    Plus I use a small, cheap oil-filled radiator at the side of the room, permanently on through a thermostat so slow the room cooling down if not in use it kicks in of the room dips to 12 degrees or so.
    This is to ensure no frost or damp issues for anything in there.

    A cheap offcut of red carpet and thick underlay make the concrete floor bearable if not wearing shoes!

    I also wired the pair or double mains sockets through a large 30 or 40A cooker type mains switch, so that I can turn everything off in one go.

    I wish I had added another non-switched for the pilot heating and my AV amp, as I think it may forget some surround settings if turned off for more than a few day, but I'm not totally sure on that one. I now leave it on standby now anyway.

    I generally go out there, turn the main switch on, this boots the pc wich starts the Barco projector warm-up. I set the heater climate control to 18 degrees and come back on 40 minutes. The room and projector are then nicely warmed up!

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  11. sheggsl

    sheggsl
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    Great post Rob, out of interest what are the physical dimensions of your garage?
     
  12. rob.e.taylor

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    I converted mine a couple of years ago - see my gallery page for details. Comments/questions are always welcome.
     
  13. mike.hutch

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    rob.e.taylor been looking at your web page, nice room, how big is it?




    :)
     
  14. mjwhitehouse

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    I converted my garage about 2 years ago but because I only rented the property I basically built a box within the garage. I lost about 6 inches in total from the width and length as a result. The box is only attached via about 10 rawlplugs but is incredibly strong. Insulation was more of a problem and I used the wrong thing in polystyrene foam but otherwise it is brilliant. It gives the best of both worlds because if you want to sell the house but keep the cinema equipment you simply dismatle the box, stick it in a skip and somebody will take it away for you. The box ismade from chipboard but you can use mdf if you want.
     
  15. rob.e.taylor

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    The garage was approx. 3.7m by 4.35m.
    Rob
     
  16. mike.hutch

    mike.hutch
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    Cheers Rob, that's about 12' x 14' by my reckoning - a bit bigger than my 8' x 12' project.
     
  17. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Sorry, I didn't recall the room sizes and only just got around with a tape measure!

    5.25m L x 2.85m W x 2.4m H
    Erm, thats about
    17.5ft x 9.5ft, internal.

    Add about 40mm each wall taken up now by plasterboard and gap.

    Main speakers at front, either side of 7ft wide 6mm MDF screen, center on top of screen, front edge level with front of screen. This makes a really nice baffle and improves depth and clarify of centre speaker. Surprisingly the sound doesn't appear to come from the top of the screen.

    Another plus of this sort of layout is that the main L + R speakers are in the standard hi-fi triangle with the listener, slightly toed in, etc, etc.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  18. WBC

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    Any pictures????

    Stace :D
     
  19. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Nope, but I will try to take some soon.

    regards,
    Rob.
     

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