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TOPIC: Wall drapes?

Wall drapes? 15 Sep 2012 04:05 #39194

  • Andrew Thomas
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We are knee deep in remodeling and my wife asks me "Do we need wall drapes?"

I hadn't ever considered NOT. Pros/cons?
Do you have them? Yes/No? Why/why not?

Thanks!
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Wall drapes? 15 Sep 2012 12:47 #39195

  • lionheart
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I installed wall drapes in my theater when I remodeled. The theater in it's previous incarnation did not have them. But there were two reasons I felt they were needed. First, the walls were not very nice looking. We had rebuilt walls and built new walls that were blank. We had also left some old walls in place with little more than a new coat of paint. The old walls looked old. The new walls were blank and without character. And neither matched the other, except in color. So the first reason is for appearance. The new drapes are beautiful. I received many compliments. If you can imagine royal blue drapes hanging on all walls except the screen walls. We bought fabric on rolls, sewed the drapes ourselves and created our own system of hanging them. They have rods at the top and bottom to keep them fairly taught and from moving about much, such as with customers trying to look behind them.

The second reason is for sound quality. Bare walls will probably give you some noticeable echoes. Drapes aren't the only way to deal with the sound issue. You may also be able to use specially constructed sound panels. You might be able to put carpet on the walls. Be aware that results will vary with each method. There is a specific amount of gathering recommended when using drapes. You will want to use enough fabric to cover one and a half the distance of wall you need to cover and then gather it to the correct length. This is physics. It's not just for appearance. This "fold" in the drapes will help to trap sound waves when they enter and not allow them to leave so easily. Thus, you will have no echo, or at least much less.

Cost is also a consideration. I was able to buy inherently fire retardant fabric and install them myself for less than the cost buying fire retardant commercial carpet. I don't know what the cost of panels would have been, but since they are usually just strategically placed and don't cover the entire wall like other methods, I was concerned with effectiveness. I didn't want to consult any sound professionals, other than my cinema equipment dealer/installer, so I ruled this one out. Besides, I would still have had unattractive walls showing.

You don't have to have really heavy fabric, although heavier might work better. Howewver, heavier costs more. I don't remember the name of the company I bought my fabric from. I believe they were in Dallas. They sell big rolls of fabric. Some of it is used for creating exhibit booths at fairs, conferences, and conventions. So, if you've seen that kind of thing, it would probably work.

I love my drapes. They added so much class to the theater. I have no regrets. It was a pain setting up scaffolding to do the work. If you have seats already in place, it will be a greater challenge. But, the results can ve very rewarding.
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Wall drapes? 15 Sep 2012 21:41 #39196

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Thanks for the thorough reply. If you find it, would be interested in that supplier out of Dallas.
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Wall drapes? 15 Sep 2012 23:09 #39197

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I can't find my records on who I bought my fabric from. I did a bit of searching and I came across this web site which seemed familiar, but they are located in California, not Texas.

www.sewwhatinc.com/eswatches.php

Maybe my memory isn't too sharp these days. Could it be that they just shipped to me from a warehouse in Texas? Anyway, I'm not sure if this was the place, but they seem to have everything you need. Once you see the kind of fabric and terminology they use, you could search for other companies for comparison.

The link I provided shows a list of fabrics they sell. You will want to choose from the ones that are marked IFR (inherently fire retardant). If it is only FR, that means you will periodically have to retreat the fabric to maintain it's fire retardance. And if it's NFR or something else, you can't use it.

Don't get too hung up on the pictures, they don't do justice to the fabric in your hands. You can request sample swatches from those fabrics and colors you are interested in. I do remember my fabric was 100% polyester. It seems this is an IFR fabric. It is not going to be as heavy as some others, perhaps medium weight, but it hangs and looks great. I believe it is also mold and mildew resistant, which is important as well.

You will probably need to call them for pricing. This would help in comparison shopping. I'm not sure who else does this though.

Also, when it is time to hang the drapes, I recommend you consider using simple conduit for rods. Nobody is going to see it anyway. We connected sections of conduit by inserting pieces of 3/4 round wood molding into the end of each piece of conduit to form even joints. I think we used 3/4 inch conduit, which would make sense. Check fit before using though. Maybe a 6 inch piece of wood will insert into the ends of two pieces of conduit to form the joint. We also custom made our own own brackets from 2x4 or 2x6 boards. They were cut with an electric scroll saw I believe. They look kind of like an odd shaped "Y" using curved lines on one side, and a flat side to go against the wall. These will not be very small, or they will probably break. We painted them black and secured them to studs with long screws. At the bottom of the drapes, we did the same thing except that the "Y" was upside down. This way the drapes were secured, and could be stretched a bit. You may need to pre-drill holes before putting in screws. Working with 15 or 16 feet long pieces of fabric on rods on top of scaffolding was interesting.
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Wall drapes? 16 Sep 2012 06:10 #39200

  • slapintheface
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Big fan of wall drapes -- I use Lewis theatrical-- great price nice work .
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Wall drapes? 21 Sep 2012 01:38 #39231

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Am going to renovate auditorium as well, and am planning on using 1.5 PCF 1" X 47" ductliner on side and back walls, covered by heavy commercial 10'W muslin, painted with fire retardant paint. Holding that in place will be cut sections of 1/2" MDF also painted in art deco patterns. Being the part time manager of the theatre, I have also been for many years a decorative painter, so will do all the painting myself. I was fortunate in having written 2 grants for $15,000 grant, and $6,000. that will cover this.

I would be interested in any thoughts on this plan.
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Wall drapes? 21 Sep 2012 11:19 #39232

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I looked up the duct liner material proposed for sound dampening material. I came upon a website that offered a link to the MSDS (material safety data sheet). I suggest you read it, if you are really considering this. In one place the MSDS says, "This material is considered hazardous by OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)".

While the base material is probably not hazardous, it also contains such things as formaldehyde. It can cause skin and throat irritations. Although it's not flammable, it will emit ammonia and other nasty chemicals during a fire.

I don't think I would want to use this. It might be overkill anyway. You don't need the place to be like a recording booth with negative sound. You just don't want echoes. Most people tend to agree that the room should be a little "live" anyway.

I put a foam material behind the drapes and on the ceiling of an entry hall/ramp to elminate sound carrying into the common area beyond, but this was only in a small area. You can feel the negative sound effect as you pass through. I can't imagine wanting a whole auditorium to feel like that.

I didn't check any prices, but I suspect you can do a great job using more traditional materials for less than $18,000. I get the painted muslin idea. Sounds fine. But, I've got doubts about your material choice to go behind it. I wonder how it compares to other materials on cost and health hazards.
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