Basement (Underpinned) Rec/Media Room Build - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 115 Old 05-04-2010, 11:08 AM
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Excellent progress, as another said it does not even look like the same basement. Which is really a stupid thing to say because if it did look the same you definitely did not get your money's worth! Ha! I too am sorry that you had a bad experience with a HT "professional" that kind of sours you on things like that for sure. Chin up it WILL get better. I know all too well about contractors not caring or taking the easy way out (not all but some for sure) and not wanting to do what you want even if your the one footing the bills. Several years ago my wife and I owned a house that was built by the same company who built the neighbors. We both had door leaks that ruined the floor. long story short my wife supervised the floor install and ours was much better than the neighbors who were not at home at the time. My wife if pretty good at hawking over the construction guys. Even if she may not know how something is done she knows how it is supposed to look and she makes a point to tell em.

Your making excellent progress, don't let it get ya down.

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post #62 of 115 Old 05-04-2010, 05:31 PM
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dude, you could do the cat6 termination yourself. its pretty idiot proof and requires zero special tools.


just get keystone inserts that have a colour code. make sure you pick which method to use (they will have a "A" and "B" method. so long as you are consistant throughout it will work.


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post #63 of 115 Old 05-19-2010, 12:46 PM
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Any updates? Cant wait to see some drywall up!


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post #64 of 115 Old 05-19-2010, 01:19 PM
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Read your thread. Just fantastic, man. It's going to be great. I did not go thru the kind of major surgery you've dealt with, we just had to jackhammer out the perimeter of our basement and install a new drainage system and a couple sump pits and pumps a few years back...

You, my friend, are the King..

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post #65 of 115 Old 05-19-2010, 01:46 PM
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WOW. I was just referred here and all I can say is WOW. This is awesome. You appear to have roughly the same size house as I do (my footprint is 25'x25') and I am contemplating doing the same thing to my basement. This thread will be proof to my wife that I'm not totally crazy! My walls are not cinderblocks though - I have a combination of stone and brick with a layer of concrete kind of slopped on top - my floor isn't even remotely flat! The house is 100+ years old but hopefully there won't be any huge problems in doing something like this. I'll be following this closely and I may have some questions as I get ready to take the plunge (assuming I can afford it). Awesome stuff.
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post #66 of 115 Old 05-19-2010, 04:57 PM
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amazing project, much more than i think i would ever want to do, can't wait to see it finished
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post #67 of 115 Old 05-20-2010, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry, again, for the lack of updates. Life has been hectic and so has been the reno so If I don't post regularly, I'll eventually catch up and chronicle what remains of this reno.

We're at the home stretch now although the contractor isn't going to finish by the June 1st targeted date. We're basically at the trim stage now, so we're pretty close. We've still had to deal with a few headaches over the past few weeks and, let's face it, after 3 full months of this reno, we're getting pretty antsy and just want to finish so we can get back to our normal lives. And I wouldn't mind sitting back and listen to some tunes and watch some blu-rays on a big screen

The drywall guys were really rough and left a mess. Not only that, they cut some of my cat6 cables when cutting holes in the drywall. I have to terminate them anyways, so I guess it's not a big deal but....c'mon....how can you do drywall for a living and damage the cables?!?! I'm really hoping they didn't damage any of the other cables running across my ceiling. Also, I'm no construction expert, but does it make sense for them to put up drywall and put the short piece right across the middle of the wall like that??? Why wouldn't they have put that strip at the top of the wall? I know the plaster will cover it, but those seams are always going to be there....and right in the middle of the walls! Over the years, I worry that those seams will become visible.

Drywall Mess


Drywall strip in middle of wall? Is that how it's done?


Anyways, drywall is up, plaster guys came to do tape and mudding. We've popped new windows in, got the bathroom floor tile laid and got the colored concrete floor all cleaned up. They're going to apply a concrete sealant to it tomorrow so I'll come back with better photos on the weekend. The floor is pretty dark, a lot more so than we were expecting, but we took a chance choosing a colored concrete floor instead of the conventional choice like carpet or hardwood or tiles.






What's left to do is the glass shower in the bathroom and installing all the plumbing fixtures. The new stairs and exterior door should be done next week as well. Then it's onto trim, paint and, finally, electrical. I've already decided to go with a Cosmopolitan Electrol Da-Lite High Power screen and I just have to finalize the screen size. This is causing me a few sleepless nights because I need to carefully locate where the ceiling outlet needs to go as the screen motor hook-up is on the left end cap of the roller and it needs to be hard-wired, not just plugging it into an outlet. So I have to make sure I have the exact dimensions of the screen and roller mechanism and it'd be a lot easier if I had the screen on-hand.

I bought 4 Energy RC-Mini speakers, which will be paired with my Totem Forests and Hsu STF-3 subwoofer for my 7.1 set-up. I still have to get a Totem center channel speaker. I'm leaning towards the Pioneer Elite SC-25 AVR for the processing as well as driving the 4 Energy speakers, the center channel and subwoofer. I'm planning to use my Blue Circle BC28 2-channel amp to drive the Totem Forests through the AVR's pre-outs for the fronts. I was intending on going with separates for the HT set-up, but the Energy speakers should be very easy to drive and I can save some space with a 1 box solution instead of a 2 box solution. I don't think I'll give up too much in performance and clarity, you think? The ICE amps in the Pioneer SC-25/SC-27 get rave reviews.

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post #68 of 115 Old 05-20-2010, 09:02 PM
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Putting the seams in the middle of the wall is a Pro technique. When doing a whole house they try to use 12 ft sheets and then any wall less than 12 ft only has a seam at the middle of the wall. The advantage of the the seam at that level is the finishers can go around the room and tape and mud the seam at that height without standing on ladders or stilts. Horizontal seams are preferred over vertical for the ease of finishing.

As for the strip in the middle of the wall, that is exactly how I did a couple of walls. Again it is an easy height to work.


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post #69 of 115 Old 05-21-2010, 05:18 AM
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I would have thought that was weird too, having that strip in the middle of the wall, but if you've ever taped/mudded/sanded either bending over or on a ladder/stilts, it all becomes clear.


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post #70 of 115 Old 05-21-2010, 05:20 AM
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What kind of tile is that? I really like the color.

Also, are you keeping the bare concrete in your HT? If so are you concerned about the extra reverb from the hard floors?


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post #71 of 115 Old 05-21-2010, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Putting the seams in the middle of the wall is a Pro technique. When doing a whole house they try to use 12 ft sheets and then any wall less than 12 ft only has a seam at the middle of the wall. The advantage of the the seam at that level is the finishers can go around the room and tape and mud the seam at that height without standing on ladders or stilts. Horizontal seams are preferred over vertical for the easy of finishing.

As for the strip in the middle of the wall, that is exactly how I did a couple of walls. Again it is an easy height to work.

Ah, ok, now that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the reply! I've definitely learned a lot about renovation and construction from this project and the kitchen addition before that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by premiertrussman View Post

What kind of tile is that? I really like the color.

Also, are you keeping the bare concrete in your HT? If so are you concerned about the extra reverb from the hard floors?

It's a ceramic tile and the color is a cross between taupe and grey. The photo doesn't show the color very accurately but I told my wife you liked her choice of tiles

We'll be laying down large area rugs so that should help with the reflections off the concrete floor. Because we have in-floor heating, concrete floors make a lot of sense, and you save about $4-$5k from not having to lay tiles or engineered hardwood so that helps with the budget.

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post #72 of 115 Old 05-22-2010, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpw View Post

We'll be laying down large area rugs so that should help with the reflections off the concrete floor. Because we have in-floor heating, concrete floors make a lot of sense, and you save about $4-$5k from not having to lay tiles or engineered hardwood so that helps with the budget.



Makes sense to me, i was just curious. I'm doing the same thing in my HT. My theater is on the main floor of the house, and there are hardwood floors through out. (My build is a retro fit, not new construction.) So i have plans for a large shag area rug as well.


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post #73 of 115 Old 05-22-2010, 11:20 AM
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Man, you have come a long way. When that drywall goes up, you can really start to see the room come together. Exciting, isn't it..??

Uncle Willie



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post #74 of 115 Old 05-24-2010, 11:55 AM
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just went through this entire thread- that is insane man! great progress- a huge huge project - i would have just moved
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post #75 of 115 Old 05-25-2010, 11:52 AM
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They actually make 54 inch wide drywall now too, so it saves the need to install that center strip in houses with 9' or lower ceilings.

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post #76 of 115 Old 05-25-2010, 02:25 PM
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Holy crap! just took a loot at this project for the first time... Very impressive. I gotta say im very interested about the total price tag for this project, equipment and all. Looks awesome, and should be a very nice upgrade to the value of the house!
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post #77 of 115 Old 05-26-2010, 05:36 AM
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I believe if you read through the first two pages, we all asked him and I think he posted the price. Somewhere around 50 is what sticks out of my mind. (along with my eyeballs, trying to keep up with this build!!!)

Progress looks great though! cant wait for more pictures!

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post #78 of 115 Old 07-14-2010, 10:41 AM
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Helllloooo, anything going on in here?! Last time you had most of the drywall up...you should at least have some paint done!!! Wheres the pics?!?


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post #79 of 115 Old 07-20-2010, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I was going to hold off updating until this project was completely done. Of course, we're about 1.5 months past the original completion date, some of which was our fault, some (most?!) of which was the contractor's fault. Sigh, so typical of renovations.

Anyways, it's been pretty hectic around here as well, so I can only leave you with this teaser photo tonight. I'll try to post a massive update this weekend when I have more time. The good news too is that we should be 99% done with this basement reno by this weekend. Tonight did mark a more personal milestone for me with this project because the electrician finally wired up the Dalite screen, although I had to finish the job for them since they neglected to wire up the connections at the junction box end (!). I also had to terminate the cat5e cable I ran with RJ14 jacks to connect the up/down rocker switch. It was a thing of beauty when the motor whirred and the 110" HP screen came down I haven't brought my gear out of storage yet, so I just had my PS3 and I watched for an hour various blu-rays without sound. It was sweet.

More to come...


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post #80 of 115 Old 07-21-2010, 05:51 AM
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Consider me sufficiently teased!!


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post #81 of 115 Old 07-21-2010, 08:10 AM
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lpw,

Wow - what a change, Congrats!

Looking forward to more photos

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post #82 of 115 Old 07-21-2010, 08:55 AM
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You better not be like others around here, post a teaser pic like that then disappear for a week or two. We WILL hunt you down!

Looks amazing to say the least. Congrats on seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (and actually being AT the end of the tunnel) and being able to enjoy the end result even if it is without sound.

Looking forward to more pics for sure.

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post #83 of 115 Old 07-21-2010, 12:20 PM
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Wow, what a build! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to see the finished pics. I see you are using a 5DMKII! 16-35L for the lens?
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post #84 of 115 Old 07-21-2010, 04:20 PM
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WOW!

Thats one awesome change! Can't wait to see the "official" pics!
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post #85 of 115 Old 07-21-2010, 05:19 PM
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This was a hardcore renovation! Great job! Looking forward to the final pics.


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post #86 of 115 Old 07-22-2010, 05:49 AM
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I just read this thread from the beginning and I'm not really sure which part amazes me the most. Was it the underpinning or the fact that all of this was done in 5 months.... Amazing thread thank you for documenting so much of this build!

Just as a reminder of how far your build has come....




To this....


Thanks,

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post #87 of 115 Old 07-22-2010, 09:23 AM
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Wow... its amazing what a little imagination......and some money can do to a place... Nice job
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post #88 of 115 Old 07-22-2010, 03:52 PM
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Thanks for all the pics...it's great to see the entire project. I have a similar basement...but mine is wet all the time.

If I might ask...and I know it's totally rude...but how much of the build out was the engineering consult? You can use percentages if you don't want to give hard costs...and I'm okay with that....just gives me an idea.

Thanks again! Great space!
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post #89 of 115 Old 07-26-2010, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments guys.

@sparkewe - I think underpinning a basement is pretty standard stuff for structural engineers so the engineering cost is relatively small. In my neck of the woods, you'd be looking at $1500-$2000 for an engineer to do the underpinning design including the permit drawings. Then it's about $150-$250 each time you or your contractor wants the engineer on site to check on things or problem-solve as the reno progresses and surprises crop up. If you have a thoroughly competent contractor that you trust 100%, you may not need any on-site visits by the engineer once you have your permit. I definitely recommend at least 2 visits - once when demolition begins and a second time when the concrete is poured. We ended up calling the engineer for 5 visits.

@TUKIN18S - I see we have a photographer in the audience? Yes it's the 16-35, but it's the mk1 version, so it's not the sharpest lens Canon makes. There were only two 60w light bulbs lighting the whole basement throughout most of the reno, but the low light capability of current generation dslr's is nothing short of amazing.

Onto the update...

Concrete floor revealed


After the drywall, the next step was applying a sealant to the concrete floor. They had covered up the floor as soon as it was dry to protect it while the trades continued working. Concrete is supposed to take 30 days to cure and the color in the concrete is supposed to lighten up in color during this process. It looked pretty DARK and the color swatch we had was much lighter than what we were seeing on the floor, but I was hoping it was just the lack of lighting in the basement. I wouldn't find out until 2 months later. I was also unhappy that one half of the concrete was more smooth and even while the other half was the exact opposite. They poured the concrete in 2 sections, and you can also clearly see the line dividing the 2 sections. I'm not sure that this is how it's supposed to be, but it was pretty deflating.

For the sealant, we chose a low VOC version of the glossy sealant because we have a 1-year old, but the contractor recommended the regular version at the 11th hour because the low VOC version is water based and may leave white spots. We left all the windows open throughout the day while the sealant was being applied and when I came home after work, I couldn't smell any fumes at all. So I thought we'd be OK. In fact, I closed all the windows to turn on the a/c because it was a hot day.

Two coats of glossy concrete sealant


At around 10pm, I started smelling the sealant. It was subtle and yet not that subtle because I knew something wasn't right. Now, my wife was out watching the premiere of Sex and the City 2, so I wasn't sure what to do. She got home at around 12 and immediately noticed the smell. At this point, we quickly decided that we needed to get the baby out of the house. Luckily, I managed to book a hotel near the house and we were out of the house in 15 minutes!

We actually ended up staying at the hotel for 3 nights. Yes, the smell was that bad. And because it's a basement and the weather was hot and humid, it took a while for the sealant to dry. On the 3rd day, the contractor rented one of those industrial strength fans to help the drying process. It was a bit of an adventure, but with a young baby, we weren't going to take any chances! On the plus side, it was actually a fun little vacation within our city!

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post #90 of 115 Old 07-26-2010, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Actually, before the sealant, I forgot to mention some of the wood work. First, the stairs were installed. No adventures here, other than the fact that it was installed a week later than it was supposed to, which meant no work was being done while we waited!

Stairs (poplar) installed


You might remember that my wife absolutely did not want a projector hanging on the ceiling. I was OK with that because I had my heart set on the Da-Lite High Power screen, which works best when the projector sits close to eye level. So we designed a "projector niche" to house the projector, and where I could also place my rear surround speakers. Then my wife got the idea to add 2 floating boxes on the same wall. This solves the potential danger of someone walking into the sharp corners of the overhanging lip of the nicheand it also gives us some additional storage. They also look cool!

Projector Niche and Floating Boxes


We also decided to leave open the area underneath the stairs. Because of the new plumbing and, of course, the extra 6" of the new concrete footings sticking out, the depth is actually quite narrow if we had decided to close it off and use the area as a closet or storage space. Again, my wife designed this idea of slapping some mdf across and, voila, we have a functional desk. I have designs to put my vintage Commodore 64 there, but I haven't told her yet

Desk area underneath the stairs


Finally, I was thrilled to finally get the washer and dryer hooked up again! For 3 months, I drove up to my brother's house every weekend to do 3 loads of laundry. You have no idea how long laundry actually takes (wash/dry) until you have to do 3 consecutive loads in one sitting!

Washer hooked up (dryer would take another 2 weeks)

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