Thanks for all the comments! I'm definitely not doing this on my own especially as I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to being handy around the house. So I've got a contractor overseeing this reno, a structural engineer to design the underpinning and complete the permit drawings in order to get the permits from the city. We're talking about the foundation of the house, so I don't think this is a DIY project for most people.Day 1 - Breaking up the concrete floor
This is a highly labor-intensive job especially as we're going from 6'4" in height to about 8'6". Of course they'll have to dig deeper than that to accomodate the new concrete slab as well as an insulation layer and another 4" of granular. All the digging is done by hand with the help of a jackhammer. The dirt is loaded onto wheel barrels, carried to the conveyor belt, which shuttles it out the window to the driveway.Day 2 - Conveyor belt
If you're really interested in the nitty-gritty, they have to excavate in sections around the perimeter of the basement so that the house doesn't collapse! That's why they have the "1-2-3" numbers sprayed on the wall - they dig all the section 1's, pour the new concrete footings, wait 24 hours for the concrete to dry, then apply the concrete grout to fill in the gap. This sequence takes 5 days, then they move on to section 2 and then finally 3. Each of the section is 3'4" in length. The first week was spent demo'ing the whole room, breaking up the concrete floor, removing drywall, insulation etc. Depending on soil strength and the make-up of your walls, they might have to do a 5-stage underpin design, which means it's a sequence of 5 sections instead of 3!
So we're in week 4 and they will have all three sections completed by Friday. Then they'll get ready to pour the new floor and locate the drains for the toilet, sink, etc. We had a lot of rain over the weekend so it's pretty muddy down there right now. Luckily, the weather has been warm, because they had to disconnect my boiler. They were originally going to suspend it to the ceiling, but the boiler is heavy. They did suspend the hot water tank, which is electric, so that makes it easier.Interior area being dug out (4' in width left around the perimeter)
The steel angles you see from the photo in my first post are required because we went for a height higher than 8'. So the steel angles are there to prevent the walls from buckling inwards.
I'll post more in the coming days but, yeah, it's a HUGE job and one wonders whether it would've been easier to just buy another house with a higher ceiling basement instead of going through all of this!
Oh well, there's no going back now! And now that the underpinning is almost done, I have to get ready to make some decisions related to the home theater soon because they'll be moving onto the finishing stage of the reno.
I'm not getting a lot of responses to my questions in the other forums, so perhaps I'll ask some of them here in case you can shed some light:
1) What size of screen should I get? If I watch a mix of HD sports, blu-ray, lay PS3 games, is 16:9 the way to go or is 2.35:1 more suitable? I've never owned a projector/screen before so anything bigger than my 50" plasma will seem HUGE
I'm planning to get the Panasonic AE4000 projector.
2) Should I bother with 7.1 for the size of the home theater area? Or is 5.1 sufficient given that it's not a huge area. I can't put the surround speakers on stands and one side of the room is open so mounting surrounds on the walls won't work. So my idea is to mount Mirage Nanosat's or similarly small speakers on the ceiling - good idea? I think they'll sound better than in-ceiling speakers, right?
3) I'm still debating soundproofing, but I've got too many potential areas where sound can leak through so the recommended solution of dd + gg +hat channels will be compromised. Besides, I don't want to lose any more square footage so I'd only be able to soundproof the ceiling. I may just go with Ted White's suggestion of attaching hat channel directly to the joists and then hang 2 layers of drywall off that. I don't think I'll bother with green glue. What do you think?Original post (and how far down they had to dig!)