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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy,

Last year I built some large entrance columns with a faux iron gate. I really want to incorporate them again this year but I want to add to them. I've been designing a arch piece that will sit atop the the entrance columns and create an entrance way very similar to Eerie's (can be seen here). Being the complicated individual that I am and just don't want a simple walk through archway but I want it to be the entrance point to a walk through crypt.

I don't really have enough level yard space to make the crypt very large so I'm aiming for about 7 to 8 feet wide by 12 to 16 feet long. The ToT's will have to enter the crypt then walk through the crypt in order to get the candy. Stationed inside the crypt the goal is to have several corpses (4-6) along with a live actor to startle them. Possibly some kind of bungee pull system to bring all the corpses to life ... sorry getting off point.

The question that I have is that I really want to build this structure complete with roof but I have a few things I need to address before the build starts.

Number One: It has to be portable and have the ability to breakdown for easy storage. I already have a storage shed (12'x16'?) that is full to the rim and double car garage that is busting at the seams. In a perfect world I would liquidate the contents of both locations of unwanted and unneeded items, but that is something that needs to be done but is VERY time consuming. Not something that can be done before Halloween in addition to prop building.

My thought is to take the walls and roof pieces and build them modularly as pieces then bolt them together in order to assemble them. For the roof which will more than likely be a 6/12 pitch I will also using a cross brace to strengthen the joint between the two overhead sections in addition to the bolts.

Number Two: It has to be cheap. Probably should have put this first because my budget for this build is actually ZERO. I have been fortunate enough to score a good deal of materials over the past couple months. Nothing is quite ready to be used as is. It has to be broken apart and/or ripped down. If need be I could probably spend about 30-40 dollars if I sold some unwanted stuff on ebay, but I'm trying to use what materials I have on hand or can scrounge up.

Number Three: It has to be safe. The last thing I want is to build some monstrosity and have the first ToT that shits themselves and turns and runs and hits a wall and have the whole thing come tumbling down on them and any of my helpers.

So keeping these things in mind, I think the standard approach would be to build the wall & roof sections out of 2x4's with sheathing (7/16 " OSB or 15/32" Plywood). Each wall section would be about 4'x8' and each roof section would be about 4' x whatever slightly less than half of the 6/12 pitch run is (iI don't have my notebook with my design plans in front of me at this time). Only problem is I don't have the required number of 2x4's. I have several 2x6's pressure treated that I'm considering ripping down to the 2x4 size (3 1/2"). But then I began to think about it. What about building the walls out of 2x3's or even 2x2's?

Steve Hickman from Terror Syndicate advocates building his outer walls out of 2x4's and OSB, but his 2x4's are laid flat (parrellel) to the sheathing and left overhaning so you can attach the next piece of OSB wall panel to the wall section. In my eyes it really doesn't seem much different then attaching 2x2's to the edge of the wall sheathing then bolting the wall panels together at the 2x2's at a minimum of at least 3-4 points.

The structure is not going to have anything on the roof aside from the sheathing (7/16" OSB or 15/32" Plywood) and some fanfold foam insulation (used underneath vinyl siding) cut to simulate scalloped shingles. No one will be walking on the structure.

Am I totally nuts to build the structure out of 2x2's as opposed to 2x4's?

Any input would be great, thanks.
 

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First consideration. Do you really need an enire 6/12 roof? You could easily create the front and back walls with the desired look of that roof, but between you could just use PVC, with a slight bow covered with a Tarp, or run 2x2 across the width and cover with a light weight material. This would break down easy enough and require very little storage. My main concern is weight. If you go trusses and heavy plywood, then I recommend walls at 16" on center 2x4 construction. Plywood sheathing, cut to tie to 2x4 to add stabilty. Without a full length roof cross bracing - diagonal 2x4 along walls maybe required.
Is there a floor? or is it just yard? If you can keep ToT's in center you maybe able to go to the lighter 2x2 construction with plywood sheathing, which some could argue that in this instance, properly tied together, is just as durable as 2x4 construction. Stop by a home depot and lowes and see how some of their sheds are built. By the way I would never buy or build a shed that way, but a halloween prop I might.

FYI 10 foot 3/4 pvc about $1.25 ea, Tarp the size you need $10 & up...

Did I miss anything?
 

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I've built an entire 3-room walkthrough on my driveway and front yard out of 2x2's and black plastic. it even held up to the wicked SOCAL October Santa Ana winds. I ensured to have planty of angle braces at the corners so the thing didn't topple. For safety I anchored it with a tent-like tie-downs at about 4 corners.

It held up even when a medium size mom was clutching her child, screaming as she backed up against the wall. I really thought it would collapse but it held up.
 

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I can only give my 2 cents based on Halloween last year for me.

I built flats (framed plywood) for a facade. I used 1x3's as frames and, in this case, I used the cheapest plywood there was (just a hair over $5 a sheet). It worked very well and will last meet quite a few Halloweens.

Here's a picture of the back... the front is flush with each other to make a smooth 'seamless' face (though the seam is slightly visible).



This is the front... 3 flats on the left of the pictures, a foam piece as the arch, and 1 flat on the right (never finished painting the gray section)



Each flat runs ABOUT $12 or so -- that's about $6 per plywood sheet, approx $5 for 3 1x3's, plus nails/glue.

Issues: Normally, a theater flat is made from lauan, not regular plywood - lauan is a really light, smooth 'plywood'... these are much easier to work with and a FRACTION of the weight. Howver, they're about $12 a sheet. I'd recommend these for the weight, smoothness (easier to paint), however, when cost is an issue, 'regular' plywood works just fine.

These are screwed together on the stiles (side pieces of 1x3) and supported, in my case, by some 2x4's and 2x6's (what I had around).

They did well in high wind, but had to be braced well.

Once broken down, I placed them behind my garage on some cinder blocks and wrapped in a tarp -- what's great, is even though each flat is 4x8 feet... the depth is only the depth of your stiles and thickness of the plywood... so mine were only 4inches... which meant 5 flats took up less than two feet of space.

If you did this method, I'd recommend bracing the mid section with another support so it doesn't bow, bend, or flex in the middle.

Anyway... that's what I did last year and I plan to add more this year... I know they'd work for your project, but only if you have the money or resources. I also think Hou's idea of a tarp/sheet/fabric as a roof is an inexpensive alternative that'd work.

Good luck.
 

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Your framing also really depends on what you want to cover your walls with. For our outdoor haunts we use 3/8" plywood with 2x4 frames. For our garage haunt we use thin OSB (Wafferboard) with 2x3 frames. For our Kiddy Kreep House we're going to use just plastic sheeting and 2x2 frames reinforced with plywood blocks at the intersections.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your input.

I thought about constructing only the front with the 6/12 pitch but since one of the sides will be in view nearly all the time I really want to try and have the structure's roof match the entrance's roof. Another thing I forgot to mention is that the structure will be standing for some time. Probably about a month starting the first week of October. Since we get some wicked winds here in coastal carolina I think I'd rather be safe then sorry and over build a bit wit 2x4's if I can gather enough materials for the right price.

Thanks again.
 

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Late to the party, but put it this way. Try and break a 2 x 4 over your knee, now try and break the 2 x 2 over knee. I would say that a 2 x 2 structure is going work most of the time. But all it could take is that 15 year old who plays defense for the local foot ball team to start running in the wrong direction.

Don't forget about your local home depot junk bin! You wont find full 8 foot lengths, but 4 foot 2 x 4's for 50 cents can be darn handy.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I've been dinking around with that thing. I have very limited experience with 3d modeling software, so the learning curve is proving to be a bit steep. When I get it modeled I'll probably post it to get some feedback. Beginning to lean towards 2x3's unless someone happens to lose a load of 2x4's on the road out front of my house.
 
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