View Full Version : How many panels does it take? Ideas/

11-20-2008, 03:43 PM
Hey everybody
i am writting up a buisness plan and figure out estimated finances for next year's haunt. however the order in which things have to work dosent leave me with many options. We need to figure out how many wall panels are going to be required for us to construction a tightly cramped and very well designed haunt that is 6000 square feet.
Just wondering if anybody has anything i can compare to, or if anybody just has some educated guesses or estimates.
thank you

11-20-2008, 03:53 PM
Draw your maze by quarter inch scale and count a wall for every four feet.

I realize thats not the answer you want, but it would work.

11-20-2008, 04:06 PM
thats the problem, we just need rough estimate for our finances which have to be finished soon, and then detailed plan later.

i estimated around 350.
does that sound right

Jim Warfield
11-20-2008, 05:11 PM
could be 150 4 by 8 sheets plus 225 2 by 2's since every 4 foot of maze equals 2 sheets but then designing it using mostly double-sided...hhmm??
Better take the time to draw it out hallways should be 4 ft. wide too.
Have the emergency exit every 50 feet or more?
It's labor-intensive, sure you wouldn't want to just build a real house instead?
Make it smaller but have more happening in what you build and the customer's ped-o-meter won't be looked at if they are entertained, not that entertaining people is always easy....
Small but intense versus large and time-killing? Which would the customer rather see?
Which will they remember favorably?

11-20-2008, 07:23 PM
A good estimate of the price of a wall is about $40 a wall... you can go cheaper, or more expensive! But I agree, draw your plan, then count your walls.

... and what is the 350? -Tyler

11-20-2008, 07:31 PM
350 panels,
i drew some estimate plans plus with last year being 1800 and we used 90 to 100 and it was fairly open we want it a lot better designed and stuff.
also how 40 a panel?
are you including paint and everything?
we are doing 3/8 luan with 2 by 3 or 2 by 4 frame with board in the middle.
also i completely forgot about double sided.
hmm i got to think about that. that like doubles the price

11-20-2008, 07:38 PM
Yes, I'm including paint (flat black on all sides) and using plywood, not luan! We build our panels to LAST YEARS... so we use 2x4 (3 verts, and 2 horizontal) frame, plywood sheet, drywall crews, paint on all sides (flat black), then depending on the scene/theme... a "detail panel" of luan. Remember to build for a perm. attraction, but design modular!

So, based on what you've mentioned... I'd estimate a cost per wall (cpw) of $26, times that by 350 and that equals $9100:

350 x $26 = $9100

... Now, if i'd were me... I would just round that to $10K... BUT, if you want a REAL number, you MUST figure up the cost of every panel down to the last screw!

Also keep in mind this is just walls, not overhead bracing, more paint, details, props, decor, etc. etc. etc.

Hope this helps? If you have any more questions just ask or PM me. -Tyler

Greg Chrise
11-20-2008, 08:41 PM
Very tight? I have triangular grid and use 55 on average per 1,000 SF. That's as tight as it gets. Take away a thousand square feet for emergency egress in the form of outter edge full wide access or central corridors. A panel count includes header panels, emergency exists, actor entrances and crazy panels. A crazy panel might be a window, drop panel, pleiglas, mirrors, a hole with wire over it, jails cells made of metal, duck panels and Willy Wonka doors. All based on a 4'x8' size.

So for 6,000 SF it could require as many as 330 panels. A square layout with a few rooms with size might only use 200 panels. Singles cost $30 with hardware to fasten them together, doubles cost $40. Wall systems with decorative skins cost $40 to infinity.

As I have to carry them alone lots of times a single weighs 60 pounds and a double weighs 90 pounds. I'm not going to take any performance enhancing anything so they are all singles.

One strategy is to make 330 single sided panels and then every year up grade them to double as you get rich and famous. I have instead of going double paneled have triangles on the back corners of plywood. Then this would be a black wall system with thin plywood for either side that has the fancy designs. To the customer there isn't an unfinished wall showing but, there struturally is no reason to have doubles back stage and inside actor paths.

If all the panels are uniformly single sided there is no sorting and this has to go here and wheres the other one that goes with these? Hey the pattern on the ack doesn't fit the next room.

I also have panels 2 1/2 in. by 4'x8' that are solid gold castings. You have to check into the stock market to see how much they are worth at any given moment and it requires a crane to lower them into place. I then roll a coat of flat black paint on them and no one knows where my stash is. They will look everywhere and just see dumb walls. (This was a test to see if anyone really reads anything?)

The tighter the maze, the harder it is to get an exit every 50 linear feet. Something really tight is built of chunks 1000 SF each where as something large and open might be chunks of 5,000 Sf each.

If you are getting a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, I would say at least $60 a panel so you have lunch money included. This would be the repacement cost if you insure your stuff, the property (a seperate issue from liability) or somehow sell it to a rich person where money is no object.

So, 330 panels at $60 each? $19800.
Real reasale value $30 each? $9999.99
It has been in septic and diesil flood waters for 2 months? It is more than 10, 20 or 30 years old? $3300

11-20-2008, 09:09 PM
Check with your state as to how wide the aisle ways must be. In Indiana, they only have to be 3 feet wide, you can go down to 2 feet wide for a length of 4 feet I think, but then you need to have at least 50 linear feet of the wide aisle before you can go back down to 2 feet.

Also, in Indiana, you need to have a smoke alarm every 25 feet and they must be interconnected.

Jim Warfield
11-20-2008, 09:26 PM
Or make your hallways 10 inches wide and raise chickens!
Don't forget to throw a canvas tarp over it to keep the rain out.
If your maze is long enough by the time the chicken comes out he will be mature and ready to ship to market since Col. Sanders doesn't make house calls anymore.

Consider toughness of various wall designs and put stronger walls opposite the areas where the customer might get a big scare, conversely you may get along just fine with thinner, weaker walls where nothing scary is supposed to be happening.
Always have your first walls thick for the wall-testers who have to punch or kick the first wall they are next to.
I would think painting the one-sided walls black showing the exposed 2 by4 to the customer in a wide hallway where no interaction is happening would be all right, just remember:"No actors chasing there.

11-20-2008, 09:36 PM
Definitely go with plywood. I use 2X3s instead of 2X4s when I could get them on sale because it saves a little on weight, something Greg touched on. I helped someone this year who used 1-inch plywood and some type of hardwood taken from pallets and the things weighed a ton.

One person couldn't move them. Well, you could, but only one then you had to take a break. If you had to move them all (about 20 I think) you had to have help and a dolly. Definitely something to think about when you are talking about 350 panels. Every little bit helps by the end of the day.

11-20-2008, 09:39 PM
For your business plan, figure out how many panels you're going to need, and then add 50%. It's better to have overestimated and wound up shooting for too much financing than to underestimate and find out you need to skimp somewhere because you needed a few more panels. Realistically you could probably get away with adding only 25%, but in my opinion it's better to err in the safe said. This could also accomodate for a possible rise in lumber prices. although I don't think inflation will be THAT bad in a year....but you never know. and then once you're hurting for money just ask the government for a bailout. when is uncle sam going to bail out the haunt industry? sure the auto industry may employ a couple million people, but how many of them can scare you into pissing yourself? probably only a handfull.

11-21-2008, 12:57 AM
Something else to consider in the whole thing is how much of the work you will actually be able to do yourself. Even with help from family and friends (who all work and/or go to school), will you be able to build all the panels, props, facades and costumes you need by next September without hiring outside labor? It's less than 10 months away.

11-21-2008, 04:41 AM
wow this has been extremely helpful! thank you all so much.
so about the plywood instead of luan, how much does it cost and how thick would i get. also i believe im going with 2 by 3's instead of 2 by 4.
AND i like the idea of adding 50% at the end.
i think were going to factor in about 350 panels on top of the 82 we allready have.
should be plenty. ill get an exact amount here soon.

Secondly it took 4 people around 4 afternoons to construct 82 panels but they were heavy and it was 100 degrees outside. So were going to try and invest in 8 good quality drills and then devout 8 people to making the panels. With luan you can move them by yourself so its easier. And the labor we are taking care of, we got a bunch of people lined up as employees.

Our goal is to start construction in february. Does that seem like enough time?

11-21-2008, 05:52 AM
The only problem with luan, is that your customers and actors WILL go thru it. All our panels (around 1200 of them) are 1/2" plywood, 2 x 4 frames with a center brace. Even built like this, over active actors have still worked holes thru them, and the ocassional very scared customer group has still blown out a wall or two. Build everything in your haunt to handle 600 pound gorillas and you will have limited destruction.

Jim Warfield
11-21-2008, 06:41 AM
You get that 601 pound gorrilla!
I took the time to put headers inside my 1/4 luan walls in the common kick and punch landing zones, never had penetration......(OOO what a werd!)
OSB= 12 coats of paint, still looks like crap. Luan= one coat of paint ..looks good.
OSB= wood chips forever, saw it better wear a full-face shield. Luan = sawdust when you cut it. You can suck it up your nose for weeks before having to pick!
You can slightly bend Luan (she's flexible!) Making curves and unusual wavey walls, which I think is fun for everyone.
If you have so many spooky helpers that your entire place ellicts fearsome reactions then have super strong walls everywhere as previously suggested...

11-21-2008, 09:54 AM
I also have panels 2 1/2 in. by 4'x8' that are solid gold castings. You have to check into the stock market to see how much they are worth at any given moment and it requires a crane to lower them into place. I then roll a coat of flat black paint on them and no one knows where my stash is. They will look everywhere and just see dumb walls. (This was a test to see if anyone really reads anything?)

Nice! You could also get some of your treasure converted to cash, and then use it to stuff dummys. You could have a gypsy palm reader working the cue line, and sew real diamonds into her costume! The ways to hide the loot are endless!! :D

11-21-2008, 01:50 PM
Quick tip for hoofing walls around. Pick up one of these if you don’t already have one, it make it a ton easier. I thought everyone knew about them and showed it to a friend that has been doing haunts for years and he had never used one. He loved it too!

They have them at most hardware stores but here’s a sample:

Also I hope you’re using a jig to make the panels, I had it down to about 5 min a panel working by myself using jigs with both the saw and to hold the lumber in place. A drywall autofeed screwgun helps too.

11-21-2008, 01:56 PM
wow that is a great product right there!

tell me about the jig a little bit.

damon carson
11-21-2008, 02:05 PM
For some strange reason this post reminds me of an old tootsie roll commercial. Remember that one with the wise old owl.?!

11-21-2008, 02:07 PM
A woodworking jig holds the lumber in place where you need it so you don’t have to measure each time. If you’re cutting the horizontals with a chop saw you have a piece of wood under the saw with a stopper on the end so it only slides in as far as your cut is needed.

Wall jigs are built like a table again with pieces of wood screwed in place to hold your braces in the correct place and square. Hope that make sense. You could also do a Google search on woodworking jigs

11-21-2008, 02:15 PM
For some strange reason this post reminds me of an old tootsie roll commercial. Remember that one with the wise old owl.?!

How’s that joke go about being old and slow??? Had nothing to do with a turtle either. hahaha

Greg Chrise
11-21-2008, 02:28 PM
A jig is a platform that has stops made out of lumber attached that you throw your lumber into the slots and it is lined up. Just holding the lumber against the edge of a plywood sheet still allow for being out of square. An entire panel might be a diagonal rather than a rectangle by as much as 1/2 inch with a resulting gap where panels go to gether.

The other thing I keep seeing is perhap anal retentive, but I paint or prime the lumber and the sheeting seperately before they get screwed together. I want it to last many years in any kind of storage conditions or even set up as outside displays on a hayride or trail. If you don't seal the wood entirely you may be replacing lumber every 5 years. As far as rot goes, the 2x4s rot first. If it is sealed you can also incorporate used lumber and extend the life of it.

The lumber to one of my haunts is actually A building we tore down expressly to get the lumber. It helped an old woman clear her property of an eyesore and gave us half off the money value building the haunt.

What's funny is this lady is one of the people who regularly bitches about any community eye sore or event on the highway, so I took her building and made it into what she hates most. Pretty much this enabled us to build 2,000 SF of a haunt for $600. The building was made out of wolmanized lumber with steel on the outside panels and roof. I have projects that will also use the steel in the future.

This is all a longer time process than most have done but, we were immediatley into profits to a degree instead of paying back some huge debt.

We bought a used attraction that was double paneled, made it single paneled with the added lumber and doubled the number of panels for one of the lower income producing charities.

Almost every storage situation is not environmentally controlled for humidity and temperature. It condensates and is slow to dry out again. This equals rot unless it was sealed to begin with.

11-21-2008, 03:19 PM
cool thank you

11-21-2008, 03:29 PM
How much would fire retardend cost and how much would we need for 400 panels?

Jim Warfield
11-21-2008, 03:56 PM
I just use a big old crowbar to hold the sheet while I carry it. (wear goves)
Never sew diamonds and precious stones into your clothing. The poor girls of the last Russian Czar couldn't be shot and easily killed because of all the diamonds and emeralds sewn into their chest area of their clothing so they had to suffer repeated abuse of an extreme nature before they were actually dead.

11-21-2008, 09:38 PM
Oak Island paint additiive and you are supposed to add 16 oz to 1 gallon of paint. We used a wagner spayer to paint our walls and I think we were getting 12 walls, thats both sides done per gallon of paint. You do the math....

11-22-2008, 05:34 PM

You are in Ohio right? If so, I'll help build it for free. Just let me know.

11-22-2008, 05:36 PM
Well send me an email. at undertakerha13@aol.com
we would love to have your help!

11-22-2008, 09:36 PM
I am going to disagree and say $75.00 per duble sided wal panel
why electricity/labor/nails-srews/glue/wood/paint/detail work-wallpaper-molding-etc. that is a good modest estimate but it all depends on the business plan and how you have your construction needs broke out. if a wall panel is to include a finished product hen you need to add lighting wirering, paint, labor, power, pictures/ hardware/etccccc so you realy have to look at the business plan and what youare trying to ask for and what should be addressed in what sentions.

just m own two cents! and best of luck!

Greg Chrise
11-23-2008, 01:17 PM
I have some walls that certainly cost $58 that way including labor. They could have been done better. If you add the cost of off site storage as well I come up with $78 per wall.

Paying a real artist to add detail with materials can easily add $160 per wall per side at $5 per SF More for props. New total $238 per wall. That's approaching $30 per square foot.

I would consider the wiring harness and lighting as seperate catagories. As would fire suppression systems. These can all be expressed per square foot.

In comparison, some well decorated retail locations including shelving and fixtures estimate out at $150 per square foot with no products yet. Some high dollar Mc Mansions easily approach $300 per square foot.

I saw a billboard for a home builder saying they build homes starting at $48 per square foot. So I got this idea to just buy properties. Like one at the lake, one where the haunt will be maybe a winter spot somewhere way from it all and the haunt has multiple purposes. It would be like a haunted Mcmansion that only appears then dissappears from a lot every 3 months. No storage expenses and you get to enjoy it year round.