PDA

View Full Version : wall and ceiling construction need advise



fearforyourlife
07-01-2012, 03:49 PM
I'm about to begin building my house and need some advise from seasoned pros. It is a 4500 sq ft unit (3500 being used for the haunt build). It's a warehouse with an office in the front. The ceilings in the warehouse are about 20-25ft high. I'm going to build the haunt about 8-10 feet up.

1. What do you guys use to construct your walls and studs? (not what tools, but what type of stud and wall)
2. What do you use for your ceiling to ensure sprinkler systems above the unit are still effective? (my sprinkler will be 10-15 feet above the haunt ceiling)
3. How do you run wiring to pass code? Do you run wiring to a multi-outlet?
4. Do any of you use anything for the floor to have grip?
5. Lastly, how do you attach the studs to a cement floor? (tapcons or Hilti gun)?

Thanks guys. I'm about to start my build and need all the tips you can throw my way.

Pennywise
07-01-2012, 05:16 PM
The easiest way to build modular walls is by using 4'x8' plywood or OSB and 2x4 studs. You screw one 8' 2x4 to each edge of the plywood, then cut 3 more to 45 inches and screw one horizontally across the top, middle and bottom of the plywood. I have been doing it this way and also using pallets screwed together. To brace the walls, I use 2x3 or ripped pieces of pallet planks across the top of the walls to hold them upright and support them. it makes them really solid. You can drape cloth or camo netting over the braces to create a ceiling. Hope I've helped some.

BrotherMysterio
07-01-2012, 06:54 PM
I'm about to begin building my house and need some advise from seasoned pros. It is a 4500 sq ft unit (3500 being used for the haunt build). It's a warehouse with an office in the front. The ceilings in the warehouse are about 20-25ft high. I'm going to build the haunt about 8-10 feet up.

1. What do you guys use to construct your walls and studs? (not what tools, but what type of stud and wall)
2. What do you use for your ceiling to ensure sprinkler systems above the unit are still effective? (my sprinkler will be 10-15 feet above the haunt ceiling)
3. How do you run wiring to pass code? Do you run wiring to a multi-outlet?
4. Do any of you use anything for the floor to have grip?
5. Lastly, how do you attach the studs to a cement floor? (tapcons or Hilti gun)?

Thanks guys. I'm about to start my build and need all the tips you can throw my way.

I sent you a link in PM. Go to that page and download "How to Build a Portable Modular Dark Attraction.pdf". That's JB's classic book, and he explains everything in detail.

Btw, the one thing you don't want to do is use OSB. That's all he had available to him at the time, but it is really heavy, and what you save on cost per sheet, you spend on paint trying to make it look like anything other than OSB. Instead, Lowe's has a 5mil plywood (close to 1/4") that goes for about $10 a sheet. I would send you a link, but their website sucks and I can't find it. Anyway, that stuff is as light as OSB is heavy, and makes an excellent alternative. Everything else should be as the book explains.

He also gets into wiring, lighting, sound systems, all that.

As far as attaching the wall panels to the cement floor, you don't want to get too stud-happy with that, because you want to keep a certain amount of flexibility in case you have to jockey a few wall panels around.

Do you have your floor layout yet?

C.

PS. - This might be it (http://www.lowes.com/pd_12549-99899-12549_0__?productId=3603000&Ntt=plywood+4+x+8&pl=1&currentURL=&facetInfo=) as far as the plywood goes. My local Lowe's had it right next to the OSB.

fearforyourlife
07-01-2012, 08:05 PM
The easiest way to build modular walls is by using 4'x8' plywood or OSB and 2x4 studs. You screw one 8' 2x4 to each edge of the plywood, then cut 3 more to 45 inches and screw one horizontally across the top, middle and bottom of the plywood. I have been doing it this way and also using pallets screwed together. To brace the walls, I use 2x3 or ripped pieces of pallet planks across the top of the walls to hold them upright and support them. it makes them really solid. You can drape cloth or camo netting over the braces to create a ceiling. Hope I've helped some.

Sounds easy enough. Thanks for the insight Pennywise :)


I sent you a link in PM. Go to that page and download "How to Build a Portable Modular Dark Attraction.pdf". That's JB's classic book, and he explains everything in detail.

Btw, the one thing you don't want to do is use OSB. That's all he had available to him at the time, but it is really heavy, and what you save on cost per sheet, you spend on paint trying to make it look like anything other than OSB. Instead, Lowe's has a 5mil plywood (close to 1/4") that goes for about $10 a sheet. I would send you a link, but their website sucks and I can't find it. Anyway, that stuff is as light as OSB is heavy, and makes an excellent alternative. Everything else should be as the book explains.

He also gets into wiring, lighting, sound systems, all that.

As far as attaching the wall panels to the cement floor, you don't want to get too stud-happy with that, because you want to keep a certain amount of flexibility in case you have to jockey a few wall panels around.

Do you have your floor layout yet?

C.

PS. - This might be it (http://www.lowes.com/pd_12549-99899-12549_0__?productId=3603000&Ntt=plywood+4+x+8&pl=1&currentURL=&facetInfo=) as far as the plywood goes. My local Lowe's had it right next to the OSB.

Many thanks for sending me that book! That will definitely help out a lot. I do have the floor plan drawn out and am in the process of finalizing it to bring to the county to get my building permits. I hear what you're saying about not getting too stud happy, but my real confusion is what to use to attach to the cement floor. Are you guys using tapcons, or are you guys renting Hilti guns and using those?

Flexibility is definitely important so good point on that.

How many haunts have you done so far?

Jim Warfield
07-01-2012, 08:37 PM
Anticipate where the customers might be hitting those walls hard and build those pieces of your wall thicker than 1/4 inch if that is to be your norm.
Also the walls should be stronger if you are mazing and have a scare in a dimmly lit area because they might not see the wall and run into it full speed.
I have gotten away with very thin maze walls but I had nothing happening to propell them into any of those thin walls.
Another possible problem to think about. If you have lax security, gangs as customers, or just a rough crowd, they will be punching walls, kicking walls trying to leave their "Mark" Thicker plywood all a round if this may be what might be happening. Some will just punch and kick for exercise, many more will do this if they become bored or frustrated or think they deserve to do such things because you are not providing them with enough of a show for what they just paid you.
A time consuming method to make something as thin as 1/4 inch withstand a max. amount of abuse requires blocking in the wall 2by 4;s even 2by 2's will do alot when placed at average punching and kicking levels, and of course screw everything together, fill in the screw holes with Elmer's wood putty, make it smooth, then paint.
I love bulding but I don't love repairing. Make it strong going in and free up yourself to enjoy your haunt more.

BrotherMysterio
07-01-2012, 09:15 PM
Many thanks for sending me that book!

Personally I've never had to deal with cement, per se, but usually if the rest of the structure is rigid, then the whole maze works as a unit, and is quite durable and won't move too much. That requires a lot of top-bracing. However, that said, if you know you have key-juncture points where several of the wall panels will join together, then you can put a few bolts into the concrete at those spots.

Greg Chrise works with concrete in his day job, and would be the expert when it comes to that. Of course, he's built haunts for 20 years, so he could tell you straight up.

C.

fearforyourlife
07-01-2012, 10:32 PM
Anticipate where the customers might be hitting those walls hard and build those pieces of your wall thicker than 1/4 inch if that is to be your norm.
Also the walls should be stronger if you are mazing and have a scare in a dimmly lit area because they might not see the wall and run into it full speed.
I have gotten away with very thin maze walls but I had nothing happening to propell them into any of those thin walls.
Another possible problem to think about. If you have lax security, gangs as customers, or just a rough crowd, they will be punching walls, kicking walls trying to leave their "Mark" Thicker plywood all a round if this may be what might be happening. Some will just punch and kick for exercise, many more will do this if they become bored or frustrated or think they deserve to do such things because you are not providing them with enough of a show for what they just paid you.
A time consuming method to make something as thin as 1/4 inch withstand a max. amount of abuse requires blocking in the wall 2by 4;s even 2by 2's will do alot when placed at average punching and kicking levels, and of course screw everything together, fill in the screw holes with Elmer's wood putty, make it smooth, then paint.
I love bulding but I don't love repairing. Make it strong going in and free up yourself to enjoy your haunt more.

Yes very good points. I am doing a lot of mazing with walls in near zero lighting. I definitely need them to withstand someone running directly into it. So what is the best route for that?

As for damage If my calculations are correct there should always be eyes on people regardless of where they are in the haunt so I'm hoping that will keep vandalism at a minimum.



Personally I've never had to deal with cement, per se, but usually if the rest of the structure is rigid, then the whole maze works as a unit, and is quite durable and won't move too much. That requires a lot of top-bracing. However, that said, if you know you have key-juncture points where several of the wall panels will join together, then you can put a few bolts into the concrete at those spots.

Greg Chrise works with concrete in his day job, and would be the expert when it comes to that. Of course, he's built haunts for 20 years, so he could tell you straight up.

C.

That's good to know. How do I get a hold of Greg Chrise? Does he frequent this board?

BrotherMysterio
07-02-2012, 12:36 AM
How do I get a hold of Greg Chrise? Does he frequent this board?

He's on here a lot. I'll give him a shout out.

C.

savageroad
07-05-2012, 08:07 PM
This year we are using the material for our ceilings that you would find on the bottom of your sofa or chair. We found a local upholstery shop that gets the stuff they use for under the seats in small airplanes. It is flame retardant, lets air and water through but keeps out a lot of the light. We get a 36" x 300' roll for about $60 bucks. We should be able to do most of the rooms in our 8,000 sq ft haunt with about 3-4 rolls.

Greg Chrise
07-05-2012, 09:01 PM
Once all the wall panels are screwed together and top bracing in place, the wall system will not move on concrete. As the walls square up to each other you will have the occasional hanging wall, to remedy this you have wooden shims and pound them under the walls to insure they have wieght on the floor.

Each wall single sided wieghs about 45 pounds, if double sided about 85 pounds and putting them together becomes one big multi ton mess. The absolute best is if it does fit your theme to have carpet lid down first and then walls. So many places you set up are not intended for construction to be done, putting nails or things into the floor, so you do it with weight. You also put props in areas and hand rails so the walls are not where 6 heavy framed customers do a rhino dive. Customers can become like the football defense line and so those particular areas you might even get crazy into 55 gallon plastic drums with water as weight or sand. The occasional raised stage that is also attatched to walls helps.

A heavy central corridor that everything is built off of adds to the structure.

The one point not mentioned is that the top 2x4 should go on top of the verticle lumber so it can carry weight of various things, from walking the walls to how the overhead bracing is attatched and does have some weight, cable bundles with lots of connections can become heavy. The bottom two horizontals can be inside the lumber.

Use screws instead of nails and figure out how these all attatch together properly.

Over head bracing is more than just a corner here and there, it may actually end up being an entire grid of lumber every 8 feet or less or totally free style but a lot more weight and amount than you would think. You literally go through and wiggle and test things once it is all up.

Greg Chrise
07-05-2012, 09:07 PM
Anywhere there is a doorway into a room or hall is a good place to put an overhead panel that is 18 inches by 4 foot as a super gusset and in appearence is a header panel with decor on it, mainly it is structural gussets and not relying on just over head bracing and standing T shapes.

People tend to grab wall edges and a human adult leg can easily thrust 500 pounds so 6 people can be pushing 3,000 pounds, so you make sure your system wieghs about 4,000 pounds in an over view locally. Plus you try not to create the situation where it is 6 people pushing one of those football sleds in the way you get people to keep moving. Yucky looking things and textures will also make people want to stay off the walls. If there really is a people are going to hit the wall, that can actually be an entirely seperate sled kind of wall that is padded and weighted down but when hit does not take the whole haunt and move it one way or the other.

fearforyourlife
07-06-2012, 10:17 AM
Savageroad... very good idea on the ceiling. I never thought of that as an alternative. I'll definitely be looking into that!


Greg Chrise.... Wow, tons of info there, so much so I needed to wait a day to process it and read it again. That definitely helps out a lot. If you don't mind I may have further questions about what you wrote once I begin building in the next week or two. There is one question I still have. You mention the whole of the unit should be heavy enough to not anchor into the cement, but if the unit was anchored at the four corners of the haunt and one place in the middle wouldn't that alleviate the probability of people knocking down the walls? Again, I'm not expert...just thinking out loud.

Greg Chrise
07-06-2012, 10:00 PM
If you don't anchor it, the whole system, with everything tied into the top, will correct itself if a few walls are moved. They will spring back and center themselves. If you anchor the bottom it you may have a place where instead of being able to do slide break dancing and remain all these t shapes it gets bent into permanently screwed up W and M shapes. Then you are forced to rebuild things by disconnecting completely and rebracing instead of just kicking it back and adding a wedge under something.

Over all it depends on how permanent your set up is going to be. Removing things shot into the floor is not fun and ends up destroying the anchored wall. More repairs that can be avoided by not doing something. Even permanent haunts change 3 or 4 rooms completely per year. Even if it has the same maze lay out, sometimes it is best to take things to another area to make a mess or dust in the off season.

Even if you put one tag in the middle the stressed out structure will be some place else far away and take maybe a whole row of walls off center with it. Too many heading into a lean, and they start ripping all the fastners to each other. Not only customers but you have actors beating on walls chewing away at structures like beavers. You never know about it until things begin to walk. You don't go more than about 3 panels with some other wall at a perpendicular or a triangle. It might be on the other side in an opposite room but avoid long running walls unless they can be tied into a side wall, even then it is also at the top, not at the floor level. No trip hazards and all the structure in the over head bracing system of strange crazy triangles and cross ties that are also using the top of the wall as a matrix.

There all of a sudden you are in the matrix.

Greg Chrise
07-06-2012, 10:08 PM
Tons of information. More than a ton per 1,000 SF. 50 to 60 panels, maybe 2500 pounds for single sided walls. Also when moving this crap, don't overload truck rear axles and trailer axles. You can get 6,000 pounds on a 4,000 pound trailer pretty easy or load up a pickup truck and also put a trailer on it and be doing an axle rebuild on Saturday night instead of haunting. Of course not everyone knows how to rebuild a rear end and press new bearings. It is better if you just know the rules of physics and don't violate them just because you can fix anything. It costs more to bend the rules of physics.

fearforyourlife
07-09-2012, 11:46 AM
That makes a lot of sense Greg. Is a building permit still required if it isn't anchored? I know when I used to build closets for a living it required a permit if it was anchored, but did not require a permit if it wasn't. Will it pass code unanchored?

BigT
07-09-2012, 02:10 PM
We just finished getting our walls up, using the same methods outlined in a couple of different postings I have found. Basically using the "tongue and groove" approach to our walls, but modifying the materials slightly. I did use OSB despite the weight factor for one reason - the strength of OSB is actually higher than plywood because of how it is constructed. When you have 4x8 sheets, front and back of each panel, they do weigh a lot and you'll be sore after lugging these things around for a few days but I am hoping the extra strength and weight will work to our advantage.

I substituted 2x4 with 1x3 and saved about $400 in cost. This also reduced the weight some. I dont see any issues in durability and tested several of the walls myself (I am 275 pds, and they didnt budge under my weight). We did anchor the tops to increase strength and stability.

I didnt do anything with the concrete floor. It doesnt appear we are going to need to after putting these things up. I think again the weight of the OSB worked in our favor.

BTW, the OSB here in NC/VA was cheaper than plywood by about .30 - not a lot but when you are buying 110 sheets of the stuff it adds up quick!

BigT
07-09-2012, 02:11 PM
Forgot one more thing about OSB - there are two sides to teh sheets. One side is smooth and the other is textured and rough. If you paint the smooth side it paints real well, and doesnt look like OSB. The smooth side also uses less paint for some reason (this comes from my painter who paints for a living).

Greg Chrise
07-09-2012, 06:53 PM
I don't know the codes in Florida. You aren't building anything, you are assembing a temporary modular wall system. If similar to anything conventional is more like do you need a building permit to assemble cubes in an office building. It is not a permanent structure unless you build it like a conventional building interior walls with no panel joints. If it is continuous anchored walls, you are into building something. Then they will say it needs to be metal studs and drywall and pre approved layout and there is no alternative to the codes or the wiring that is supposed to be inside the walls instead of just run along the top.

You are just doing it like everyone else does it in the rest of the country. The codes are federal in base but local in enforcement. If there is a problem with that, move to where people are smarter and are not just making up rules as they go to sound important.

Alas a modular wall system is designed to move or be in any shape necessary or be modified in layout to comply to access standards. It can move across the floor or across the State or accross the country.

Haunter
08-13-2012, 02:17 PM
This year we are using the material for our ceilings that you would find on the bottom of your sofa or chair. We found a local upholstery shop that gets the stuff they use for under the seats in small airplanes. It is flame retardant, lets air and water through but keeps out a lot of the light. We get a 36" x 300' roll for about $60 bucks. We should be able to do most of the rooms in our 8,000 sq ft haunt with about 3-4 rolls.

Does it rip easily or anything? I've never thought of using this... just out of curiousity have you tried lighting a small piece on fire to see how it reacts? Also have you experimented with fog machines with it yet?

Sorry so many questions I'm just very interested in this idea. :D

Ryan

savageroad
08-13-2012, 04:51 PM
The stuff is called cambric and it lets just enough overhead light in so when your house lights are on you can see but it keeps most other light in or out of the room. When you light it on fire it shrivels up but does not ignite. Just to be safe we are spraying it with flame retardant. It does not rip easy (it is like landscape fabric) and it will keep the fog in your room for the most part and still lets air in and out.

Haunter
08-14-2012, 10:01 AM
The stuff is called cambric and it lets just enough overhead light in so when your house lights are on you can see but it keeps most other light in or out of the room. When you light it on fire it shrivels up but does not ignite. Just to be safe we are spraying it with flame retardant. It does not rip easy (it is like landscape fabric) and it will keep the fog in your room for the most part and still lets air in and out.

Wow, sounds like you've found some great stuff! I'm going to have to give this a try. I'm so tired of putting walls up to the ceiling to keep out the lighting from other areas of the haunt. Thanks for the informatioin!

Ryan

savageroad
08-14-2012, 10:54 AM
If you have low ceilings in your building use black plastic from the top of the wall to the building ceiling. I know the industry standard says plastic is a no no but our fire inspector is fine with it as long as it is not used to drape across a room where if it melts it would come down on people. When we build pallet walls we use the plastic also to cover the back of the pallets so customers cant see through them.

quakehaunt
11-25-2012, 12:15 AM
What about:

Instead of using all tongue and groove and having to actually make each panel, how about using a steel u channel sign post, kindorf? It is about $3 - $5 per foot depending on the weight. Put a strip down the top of the wall section and the bottom connecting multiple walls. They make 'L' brackets for them to create bends. I'm not sure if that is cheaper or more expensive than building each panel tongue and groove style, but I am sure it will be much quicker to place a ply wood sheet up and bolt kindorf into the back.
Has anyone every tried this or thought of doing this for their haunt walls?
I know it works and is very sturdy even when barring weight for I have built entire rooms this way layered with 28 seamless monitors creating a complete 360 picture, or 112 individual videos. (It was really cool to play games on hah)

-Nick