The Thanksgiving Deadline Project - Home Theater/Kid's Play Area/Guest Room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 153 Old 09-16-2010, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Goal: To remodel our finished basement area (13' X 35'). Half will be a dedicated kid's play area, plus a craft table & desk. The other half will be a modest home theater setup. This will also serve as our guest area when family is in town. We've set a deadline of Thanksgiving so we can host my sister-in-law's family for the weekend.

This will be my progress tracking thread, with several pictures/drawings along the way. I figured if I got my thread started now, it would help me stay motivated to hit our deadline. Obviously, the drawback is if 11/25/10 rolls around and we aren’t done, I’ll probably get a lot of good-natured ribbing from the group on here.

Here are the basic steps:
1. Fixed outside water/drainage issue
2. Rewire portions of basement (low voltage & line voltage)
3. Add recessed lighting
4. Paint
5. Replace carpeting and add Dri-Core subfloor
6. New furniture

Equipment list (at the start of the project):
- 32" Mitsubishi tube TV (circa 1997)
- Yamaha RX-V595a receiver (circa 1998)
- Sony DVD player (circa 1998)
- Yamaha 5-disc CD player
- VCR
- PlayStation 2
- Main Speakers: Polk RT800's
- Center Speaker: Polk CS400
- Surround Speakers: Boston Acoustic HD9's
- Subwoofer: Polk PSW100

Since this project started so long ago, we've picked up the following along the way:
- 54" Panasonic S1 plasma TV
- Panasonic Blu-ray player
- Wii
- Xbox 360
- Polk f/x 500's (found a used set to replace the Boston Acoustic HD9's - I've been wanting to do this for about 10 years)

Attached is a drawing of the layout before we started the project and also a couple pictures of it when we moved in so you can get a sense of the space. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find pictures of the area with all of our stuff in it, so the drawing will have to suffice for now.

Feel free to chime in with questions, concerns, and advice along the way. I will do my best to stay on top of this thread. As of now (9/16), we have finished the first three steps of the plan and are in the process of prepping the walls for painting (paint colors have NOT been picked out).

For those of you interested in the project’s back story and progress up to now, stay-tuned. Over the next week or so, I’ll document the progress that we’ve made so far, along with proposed layout plans. I tend to get a little wordy, so be fore-warned. I'll try to include as many pictures as possible to help keep the people who are "just-browsing/skimming" interested in my progress.

Current Layout


Facing west toward stairs:


Facing east:
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post #2 of 153 Old 09-17-2010, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Now that I've set up image hosting and am able to embed photos into my text instead of attaching them, I'm ready to move on. Looks like I'm ready for the 21st century.

Since the home theater, kid's play area, and guest room functions are taking priority at this stage in life, the pool table was the odd one out. Plus, with a more dedicated kid's area in the basement, my wife and I get to reclaim some of main living area upstairs, which is currently populated with building blocks, dolls, a plastic kitchen, books, and Disney Princess stuff. Ah, the joys of having two little girls at home.

I don't have too much time to write today, so I'll leave you with a proposed layout for the area (this is probably revision #7 - the first 4 versions still had the pool table involved) along with a Sketchup model.

Unfortunately, there won't be any time to work on it this weekend since we are visiting the aforementioned sister-in-law and family in Minneapolis.





I'll get you up to speed on our drainage problem/solution next week.
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post #3 of 153 Old 09-18-2010, 08:30 PM
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Have you ever tought about swaping the room over?
The way it is designed right now, every time you are watching a movie or something and someone gets down to the basement will automatically get in your way. Plus, with this left channel speaker right beside the stairs, I bet my paycheck that within a year, you'll come down there and it will rest on it's side...

Brigning the home theater to the other end of the room (right side) would eliminate that traffic issue plus the risky left speaker position..

My 2 cents!
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post #4 of 153 Old 09-19-2010, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peteluke View Post

Have you ever tought about swaping the room over?
The way it is designed right now, every time you are watching a movie or something and someone gets down to the basement will automatically get in your way. Plus, with this left channel speaker right beside the stairs, I bet my paycheck that within a year, you'll come down there and it will rest on it's side...

Brigning the home theater to the other end of the room (right side) would eliminate that traffic issue plus the risky left speaker position..

My 2 cents!

X2

I agree, you have two doorways through the viewing area, one being the stairs.

-------------------------------------------
My basement home theatre build thread

Check out this nifty 3D panorama of my home theatre!
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post #5 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
if 11/25/10 rolls around and we aren’t done, I’ll probably get a lot of good-natured ribbing from the group on here.

Good-natured? You make me lol out loud. Brutal is the better word. Already you can't get any work done because of other things getting in the way. You're gonna need some motivation my friend, and I know where you can find it.

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http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1014847

An as-yet un-named theater designed by Big-WarrenP-BritInVA
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post #6 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

X2

I agree, you have two doorways through the viewing area, one being the stairs.

X3

...and I'm the one who designed it.

You both noticed one of the issues that I tried to overcome. But in the end, it really needs to stay where it is. The girl's bedrooms are right above the east end of the room (stairs are on the west end), so one of the major reasons for the layout was noise. There was no plan to add noise insulation to the basement ceiling, so I tried to keep the TV area underneath our living room so we wouldn't wake the girls if we watched a louder movie or had people over.

I had never really thought about the traffic going through the area before, but I guess it's not a major concern. This isn't really a dedicated theater - it's basically a much better family room than the one we have upstairs, so a little traffic isn't a big deal. Plus, most of the time, both my wife & I will be watching at night after the kids are in bed, so there won't be anyone left to walk in front of the TV.

My biggest concern was exactly what Peteluke mentioned - the risky position of the left front speaker. It still is a concern, but I'm starting to feel better about it. As I was doing some planning, I moved all of the equipment down to that end and set it in place to make sure there wasn't anything I was missing. It was a little disconcerting at first to come down the stairs and have the speaker right there around the corner, but after a couple of days, it became second nature to change our path. Now how do we train our guests? Once the room is finished and I'm still worried, I'll take a look at somehow securing it so it doesn't fall into our TV.

Thank you both for your input. Since this is my first foray into a project like this, I appreciate the different points of view and noticing things that I hadn't thought of.
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post #7 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

Good-natured? You make me lol out loud. Brutal is the better word. Already you can't get any work done because of other things getting in the way. You're gonna need some motivation my friend, and I know where you can find it.

Nooooooooo! Have I just been LOGANED?

Just kidding - welcome aboard. I've followed your thread on and off for the past year or so. I ran across it when I was researching Dri-Core. I just hope my project gets finished before this thread reaches 2300+ posts. I know it's never "finished", but I'm going for "serviceable" by Thanksgiving.

See, I've already tempered expectations, and I'm only on my 4th post of the project.
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post #8 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Before I go any further, I want to thank all of the people that are regular contributors to this forum and the Dedicated Theater forum. I have learned so much over the last couple of years, and also gained the confidence to tackle some of these tasks myself.

Long backstory (see the "I tend to get a little wordy" warning above):

Our ranch house has total basement dimensions of 46' X 26', with a long, narrow finished area of 13' X 35'. It was "professionally" finished by the previous owners a couple of years before we moved in during the summer of 2005. But as my father-in-law said a couple of days ago when we were working on the drywall, "Just because someone was paid to do the job, doesn't necessarily mean it was professionally done." Words to live by, I guess. Anyway, it's not because of the shoddy workmanship that we are remodeling. That facet will just come into play as we get further along in our build.

This project actually started about 2-1/2 years ago, although not by plan. During a torrential rain storm that dumped several inches of rain in a matter of hours, our sump pump and drainage system became overwhelmed and our basement got pretty wet. Not standing water, but enough to soak our carpeting and many of our belongings. At this point we decided to start planning to redo the area. Since we lived at the bottom of the hill in our neighborhood, we figured there was a good chance it could happen again.

We weren't in a big hurry since we didn't use the basement very often, so it didn't really cramp our style too much. Plus, we knew we had to fix the water/drainage issue first before we invested in new carpeting.

Well, a year came and went. In the meantime we had a baby and finished redecorating our kitchen. But no planning went into the basement. We didn't have an idea on what to do with the water issue, so we were thinking about ignoring it and just replacing the carpeting since what are the chances that another 100-year storm rolls through Wisconsin in the near future? Well, we got an answer to that in the spring of 2009. About a year after the first flooding, we got hit with a similar storm and had water in the basement again. It wasn't as big of a storm, but we got rain on and off for about a week, and eventually things got wet again.

So we started getting quotes. The cheapest was around $2,000 to create a swale to divert a good portion of the water that was coming at us downhill and direct it around the sides of our house. The pricier quotes were around $6,000 to dig a 2' deep trench around our house and put in a perforated drainage pipe.

The $2,000 option didn't guarantee results and the $6,000 option seemed too expensive. So I started investigating doing it ourselves. After a lot of research, surveying our property (with stakes, string, levels, and a tape measure - nothing too fancy), and the realization that winter was right around the corner, we picked out a weekend last November to tackle the job. I rented a sod cutter and a ditch digger, and bought a few yards of drainage gravel, 250' of flexible drainage pipe, and some landscape fabric. Then we got to work.

Ariel view of house - yellow line is the trench (200' long!!!) and the yellow star is the high point of the trench:


Removed strip of sod around the house:


Then the fun began - digging a 4 wide trench.

First my father-in-law:


Then I took a shot at it:


And finally my wife wanted a turn:


Next we laid down landscape fabric, put in some gravel, put in the 4 drainage pipe, more gravel, then covered it with the fabric and secured it. Then we filled in the last few inches and rolled the sod back onto it.









What a weekend! Final cost for rentals and materials was less than $500. Add that to a tough weekend of labor and it sure beats $6,000.
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post #9 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I bet you're wondering if it worked. Yes, we made it through another wet spring without any water in the basement. Then we had another 100-year storm this summer (yeah, they should stop calling them that). Very high winds and a downpour that dropped 8-10 inches of rain in a matter of 3-4 hours, if I remember correctly. Attached is a picture of a Cadillac Escalade that got swallowed into a sinkhole at a relatively busy intersection in Milwaukee during the storm.
 

Created by AccuSoft Corp.

 

 

Our basement stayed dry except for water that came in through a window well on our unfinished side, which is about 5 feet from a floor drain. No big deal, although I've already addressed that situation, too. All that's left to do is to potentially mudjack a small patio slab in the back which has started to pitch toward the house. Luckily, instead of having all the water flowing down from the neighbors, onto that slab, and toward our house, with the help of that trench, the only water that running toward the house is the rain that falls directly on that patio.

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post #10 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Now that the water issues were taken care of (I hope and pray every time it rains), it was time to start focusing on the basement and my home theater plans. I can't tell you how excited I was to start researching televisions, speaker placement, and wiring as opposed to drain pipes, ditch diggers, and trench slopes.

Lo and behold, about two weeks after the ditch project, the TV I was keeping my eye on went on super sale at Sears, so with my wife's blessing, we went out and made an impulse purchase of a 54 plasma TV. Up to this point, I was looking for something in the 50 to 58 range (knowing that anything larger would be out of our budgeted price range). I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to settle for 50 because I couldn't justify another $600-700 to gain only another 8. But then the 54 went on sale for only $100 more than the sale price of a 50 (and $500 less than a 58), so we bit the bullet. Since we don't have any ambient light in our basement, the potential for glare issues with the plasma was not a factor, especially since that seemed be the only downside for me in the LCD vs. plasma debate.

Now that I had the TV dimensions, I could start laying out the components & wiring on the west wall. I went ahead and ordered a wall mount from Monoprice (it was the first of about six orders I've made to them since last fall). I also started researching equipment stands, with the specifications of being approximately 50" wide, 20" tall, and 20" deep. My wife really wanted something with doors on the front to give it a cleaner look, which I was okay with. Oh, and we didn't want to spend an arm and a leg for it. Luckily, as I was browsing these forums, I ran across this unit from Tech-Craft. It was just about the perfect size, it had doors, and it came in under $300. We haven't purchased it yet, but mostly because we don't have any place to store it during our remodeling process. Also, we still may opt for the black finish instead of the wood finish.



 

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post #11 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, so I've got the TV & wall mount purchased and the equipment stand picked out. I'm not planning to make any other major upgrades to the rest of the electronics & speakers in the near future, so I'm ready to start planning the layout and wiring. I planned to pull the paneling off the wall underneath the stairs so I can do in-wall wiring for the new lighting and electrical, home networking, and home theater wiring.

Once I get the ideal layout completed on AutoCAD, I pull out my stud finder to find out in reality where I can mount the TV. Unfortunately, I apparently have stud centers that are over 30" apart. So I've got two obvious choices: 1) attach some boards/plywood to the existing studs on the wall, and then attach the wall mount to that, or 2) tear off the drywall and start from scratch.





I gotta say, option #2 sounded like a lot more fun (other than the eventual drywalling, taping, and mudding). Plus, this way I didn't need to pull the paneling off the wall under the stairs. I had full access to the front to do whatever I needed. And let me tell you, once I started to add wiring from the switches to the new recessed lights, this approach saved me several headaches.

The next step was adding in studs on standard 16 centers. I then had to re-layout my line voltage and low voltage boxes on AutoCAD since the ideal plan needed to change a little bit.

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post #12 of 153 Old 09-20-2010, 08:53 PM
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How about a layer of 3/4 ply over the wall, glued and screwed , rather than add studs, braces the wall and never need to be limited by stud centres again
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post #13 of 153 Old 09-21-2010, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll take a quick break from the wall to talk about lighting. I absolutely hated the overhead fixtures that were in the room (see picture in my first post). Plus, the glass cover kept binding up when I needed to change the bulbs that I sometimes ended up twisting the whole fixture off the ceiling box. I really wanted to add a couple zones of recessed lighting to the room and then change out the current overhead fixtures to something else. After I surveyed all of the ceiling joist cavities above the drywall, I came up with a plan for the recessed lighting.



There are six 5 cans on the west side (TV side) of the room that are on one switch and then nine 5 cans on the east on another switch. I'm keeping the three overhead fixtures down the middle, but just replacing them with something different. I also added two 4 cans above the plasma TV with a wall wash baffle/cover to provide backlighting behind the TV when needed. I put dimmer switches on all of the lights.

Some notes on the materials that I used:
I ordered the 4 wall wash lights from USA Light & Electric online. I read some decent reviews on this forum about them and their prices couldn't be beat. I couldn't find a similar product anywhere for less than $100 for the pair. The customer service was awesome. The quality of the lights was decent. Not outstanding, but great value for the price.



I purchased the Lithonia 5 remodel cans & baffles from Home Depot. I was very happy with the quality and ease of installation of these recessed lights. I would easily get these again if I had another project. I don't have a picture, but I just used a standard white baffle trim.

I borrowed my father-in-law's Roto-Zip for this project, and I went out and bought the CRCT4 circle cutting guide attachment for it since I had 17 holes to cut. One of the best $14 tools that I've ever bought.

I used the Lutron Maestro series dimmers for the two banks of recessed lights. I used a remote controlled dimmer for the west bank and a 3-way dimmer switch for the east bank. I haven't used them enough to have an opinion, but they better be good for as much as I paid for them.



You guys still awake out there? I promise I'll be getting to the fun home theater part of the project pretty soon, although I can't promise it will be as exciting of some of the other build threads on here. There is some pretty cool stuff going on. Did you see the guy in the "dedicated thread" who excavated his entire basement to gain a couple of feet of headroom? And he and his fiance did all of the work themselves. Amazing!
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post #14 of 153 Old 09-21-2010, 05:58 PM
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It's not clear to me why you are not trying to incorporate some of the "unfinished" space in this basement remodel for adult purposes.
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post #15 of 153 Old 09-21-2010, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

It's not clear to me why you are not trying to incorporate some of the "unfinished" space in this basement remodel for adult purposes.

Thanks for checking out my build. Two reasons:

1) This was the space that was already finished and we weren't looking to sink more time & money into expanding at this point. Also, since our mechanicals are not very well consolidated, there wasn't a nice chunk of space to incorporate into our plans. The layout of the furnace, water heater, chimney/exhaust, laundry, water softener/pressure tank, and sump pump didn't make it feasible.

2) We need the storage space on the unfinished side. Even if we finished more of the space, it would just be storage shelves and things like that.
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post #16 of 153 Old 09-22-2010, 07:29 AM
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Quote:


What a weekend! Final cost for rentals and materials was less than $500. Add that to a tough weekend of labor and it sure beats $6,000.

Sweet. As a home owner who does 90% of my own work due to cost, I love hearing stuff like this. Score 1 for the little guy.

Looking forward to seeing how your project shapes up.
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post #17 of 153 Old 09-22-2010, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I needed to clean up the branch circuits that fed different areas of my basement. I wanted to isolate the circuit that would be used for my HT area. Currently, the overhead lights, water softener, and basement refrigerator were on the same circuit as the receptacles on the west wall. I split the lighting onto their own 15A circuit. Then I combined the fridge & water softener with a very under-utilized 20A basement circuit. Now the receptacles on that west wall were dedicated to electronics.

I also decided to build my own Powerbridge solution so that I could provide surge protection for my new plasma TV. I wasn't necessarily building my own to try to save money (although that was a nice added incentive). I needed my power inlet (the male prongs sticking out of the wall) to be a Decora-style so that I could mount it in a double-gang box next to my normal receptacle behind my equipment stand. So I bought a recessed double-receptacle from Home Depot for about $10 (for behind the TV), a MIDLITE 4642-W Single Gang Décor Recessed Power Inlet from Amazon for about $27, and a short 2' extension cord from Monoprice for $1 (to connect the power inlet to the surge protector). I also needed the electrical boxes, NM cable, and Decora 2-gang face plate to finish the job. In the end, I probably saved about $5-$10 versus the official Powerbridge, but I got exactly what I needed when I was finished.




(Obviously, the recessed receptacle goes in the upper box behind the TV. I just forgot to snap a picture before I removed it for drywalling. And yes, I pulled the slack out of that NM cable before I drywalled.)

I also added (2) double receptacles on the back side of this wall (under the stairs) for a network switch, two coax cable splitter/amplifiers (one for the antenna/one for cable), and a NAS if I decide to eventually go that route.

At this point, the line voltage wiring for the basement was complete. Next up, low voltage wiring and networking
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post #18 of 153 Old 09-22-2010, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Sweet. As a home owner who does 90% of my own work due to cost, I love hearing stuff like this. Score 1 for the little guy.

Looking forward to seeing how your project shapes up.

Thanks. I guess technically I should have added the $100 worth of grass seed and top soil that I had to buy this spring to my total, but it was still worth having a sore back for a week and being indebted to my father-in-law for his help versus $6K.
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post #19 of 153 Old 09-22-2010, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Before I could get started on the low voltage wiring in the basement, I had to turn my attention to the antenna, phone, and DSL connections upstairs.

First off was the antenna. About two years ago I installed a rooftop antenna. I remember it well because we had just bought our first HDTV (a 37 Samsung LCD) and put it in our family room upstairs. We subscribed to analog cable when we moved in because we couldn't get decent network broadcast reception in our house, but now that wasn't sufficient since we had a new TV. So I experimented with a couple of different indoor antennas, but didn't have a whole lot of luck. The Summer 2008 Olympics were right around the corner and I was excited to watch them in HD. So I went to Radio Shack and bought a $40 rooftop antenna, bought 100' of coax cable online, and got to work. Since I was in a hurry, I did not think about centralizing and distributing my antenna signal throughout the house. We didn't have any other digital TV's, so the basic analog cable was fine for the rest of the house. The HDTV in the family room was on an outside wall, and the way the basic cable was distributed to this room was via the outside of the house and then in through the wall right behind the TV. The family room was on a concrete slab with no basement underneath, so it made perfect sense to me. So I thought I'd do the same thing with my antenna signal. I ran one cable from the antenna straight to the hole in the wall, with only a grounding block along the way.

To this day, we still have not upgraded to digital cable, so OTA networks are our only source for HD content. So I needed to get the antenna signal into the basement. Long story short (unless you count that rambling paragraph up above), I drilled another hole into our house to bring the coax cable to our basement. I terminated it under the stairs and will work on distributing the signal from there.

Same basic story with our phone & DSL. I had to replace a lot of the cable, so I went all the way back to our demarcation point in the basement and started from scratch. I used Cat6 Ethernet cable along the way to make sure I was getting the best possible signal to our router and then back out to a network switch. Like the antenna, I terminated the main DSL line under the stairs, and I will distribute from there.

Eventually, I will do the same for the cable signal and distribute it from under the stairs, but since all of those cables are currently exposed and easily accessible in the basement, I'll worry about that later.

I should mention that along the way, I've picked up a few new skills. For this portion, I got fairly proficient at making Ethernet patch cables, terminating Ethernet cable into keystone jacks using a punch down tool, adding F-connectors to bulk coaxial cable, placing orders to Monoprice, and so on. I also learned a lot about twisted pairs, POTS, RG59 vs. RG6, Cat5e vs. Cat6, and network switches. I have a feeling that I'll be utilizing these new skills quite a bit in the future once my family and friends find out how much wiring I did for my basement project.
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post #20 of 153 Old 09-23-2010, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Now that I've got my antenna signal and DSL into the basement, I was ready to finalize which connections I needed to make. Here was my final list:

Network:
1X Gigabit 8-port network switch under stairs
4X Cat 6 from switch to behind equipment stand (Blu-ray player, Xbox, eventual HTPC, and ???)
2X Cat 6 from switch to behind TV (no need at this time - TV does not have network in)

Antenna:
1X 4-way splitter/amplifier under stairs
2X coax from splitter to behind equipment stand (HTPC and ???)
1X coax from splitter to behind TV

Cable:
1X 4-way splitter/amplifier under stairs
2X coax from splitter to behind equipment stand (HTPC and ???)
1X coax from splitter to behind TV

Speakers:
5.1 distribution face plate behind equipment stand
In-wall wiring for all channels except center

A/V Cables between equipment rack and TV:
2X HDMI (Blu-ray player & Xbox currently, need to change once I get an HTPC)
2X Component A/V (Wii & PS2)
1X Composite A/V + S-Video (in case I need to hook up a VCR or something else vintage)
1X Toslink (optical) digital audio (from TV to receiver for 5.1 surround on broadcast TV)

Eventually all of these A/V cables will be overkill, but I have no idea when I'll ever upgrade my receiver so I can have a single HDMI from my equipment rack to my TV. Better safe than sorry at this point.

Picture of network & antenna distribution under the stairs (the cable distribution is already pre-wired and ready to go - it's just hidden behind the white coax cables on the keystone face plate):


View from the other side:


Here are the network, antenna, & cable connections behind the equipment stand:


And here's the entire wall

Before:


After (I didn't take a picture with all of the face plates attached):


The mass of black A/V cables will be terminated behind the equipment stand using a 4-gang low voltage bracket (tough to find, although now I see old work brackets sold on Monoprice) and some various wall plates. This picture shows my original plan to use an orange 2-gang bracket from Home Depot with a couple of single gang extensions. The extensions didn't stay attached (as shown) and they bowed out quite a bit, even after some extensive Dremel tool work.


It probably would have been okay once I got the drywall up, but I didn't want to take any chances. So right before I put up the drywall, I replaced it with a 4-gang bracket that I found on Amazon for $10. In retrospect, I probably should have just taken a line voltage 4-gang box and cut off the back to get the same result. Not sure why - it just didn't cross my mind back then.


Behind the TV, I will use a 2-gang bulk cable face plate:


I'm almost ready to start drywalling
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post #21 of 153 Old 09-23-2010, 08:37 AM
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Looks like you have already committed and filled that 8 port switch. I find that I am always regretting not providing for expansion. I also made sure there was a wireless access point hooked into the basement switch. My house is brick like yours, and I find that the access point in the family room at the other end of the house is not reliable down in the basement. With all the ipads, iphones, netbooks around today, reliable wireless access is a must.
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post #22 of 153 Old 09-23-2010, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for taking a look. There actually is 1 port left on that switch just for that very reason (I thought 8 ports was overkill when I bought it - I almost bought a 5-port switch instead to save $15). We get decent wireless reception down there now, but I may want to add a WAP down the road. Plus, I think I can always add another switch if needed more ports, correct?
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post #23 of 153 Old 09-23-2010, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewersfan73 View Post


Man, your wall looks a lot like mine did!



I'm about to try and figure out the nitty gritty of some of the same wiring you mentioned you just worked through, especially OTA antenna/RG6 & cable runs. I've got the cable all pulled to my central equipment closet, but now I need to disperse it to feed my PJ and a (soon to be) TV in an adjacent room. I may need to pick your brains on crimping and amps and whatnot soon.

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post #24 of 153 Old 09-24-2010, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Man, your wall looks a lot like mine did!

Wow, we must have had the same builder. Unless that's just the standard way of adding wood paneling (which is what I assume is on the back side of your wall, just like mine).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

I'm about to try and figure out the nitty gritty of some of the same wiring you mentioned you just worked through, especially OTA antenna/RG6 & cable runs. I've got the cable all pulled to my central equipment closet, but now I need to disperse it to feed my PJ and a (soon to be) TV in an adjacent room. I may need to pick your brains on crimping and amps and whatnot soon.

No problem - feel free to ask. I've learned so much from these forums, I'm very, very eager to send out some advice for once.

I gotta say, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your build thread. Very entertaining stuff. I started reading it because you were also dealing with water issues.
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post #25 of 153 Old 09-24-2010, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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So now was the moment of truth. I tested all of the cables before I installed them, but I wanted to test them one more time with everything in place before throwing up the sheetrock. So I hauled the majority of the equipment down to their new home and started hooking stuff up.

As you can see from my TV, I hooked everything up the night of the All-Star game. I even got the surround speakers mounted on the side walls, so I treated myself to a couple of action movies while I was testing the system for a couple of weeks. No wonder this build is taking so long.



Everything worked as planned. Network, A/V cables, speakers, and antenna all checked out.

Although I already talked about it above, I didn't actually install the recessed lights until the low voltage wiring & networking were completed and tested. I finished the lighting & dimmer switches by the end of August.

Looks like it's time for a trip to Home Depot to pick up some drywall.
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post #26 of 153 Old 09-24-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Drywall went up a couple of weeks ago, and I'm on my second layer of mudding. Probably need to do one more and then go around the rest of the basement and fix a few other issues before it's time to paint.


I think we are going to pull off all of the crown molding and baseboard trim because the professionals couldn't do something as simple as miter joints along the way. Sorry, it's hard to see in this picture. This was actually one of the better joints, but I had already pulled a couple pieces of crown molding down to fish some wire, and they were much worse.


And I don't have a clue what they were thinking with this piece of baseboard:


The drywall butt joints were done very poorly, too. They look worse than this picture shows in normal light, but I'm hoping that if I use matte paint it will hide it a little better.


And here's a picture of the shoddy paint job on the ceiling. It's not quite as noticeable in normal lighting, but very noticeable nonetheless. You can also see the paint job on the crown molding picture above.


Here's a picture of the corkboard that they put behind a dartboard:


And what it looked like after I pulled it off the wall (plus another nice picture of the ceiling paint job):


I've got this sealed up already - now I need to try my hand at matching the rest of the wall texture. I think the room is considered a light orange peel, so I'll try some of that texture-in-a-can from the hardware store and see if it works. I already tried using a sponge and thinned out drywall compound as suggested by different websites, but it didn't give me the texture I was looking for. I also tried the thinned drywall compound and a standard paint roller, but that didn't look good either. I'll let you know how it goes. Or if anyone has any suggestions, that would be great. Feel free to chime in. I'll also need to do the same on the new wall we put up.
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post #27 of 153 Old 09-24-2010, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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My build thread is now current as of today. My postings will probably slow to a trickle at this point.

Looking back on my progress thread now, it seems like everything is flowing along pretty well. But in reality, it's been a slow process. I was originally hoping to be complete by June so I could enjoy the summer without having the basement project hanging over my head.

We tore down the wall in January, and by the beginning of September, I had only added studs, redone the line voltage wiring, added low voltage wiring & networking, and installed new lighting. I had a lot of drilling through ceiling joists & studs that couldn't be done after the kids were in bed, so I had to pick and choose my work hours carefully. That slowed me down a little bit. But in reality, I didn't have nearly as much time as I was hoping to work on this project. Now I understand how some of the builds on these forums last several years, especially when they are starting from scratch.

I've got exactly two months from today to finish everything up. Here's the list of major things left to do (assuming nothing else pops up along the way):
  • Finish mudding/sanding the drywall and fix other small problems on the walls & ceiling
  • Figure out what to do with the water pipe that traverses our ceiling (move it, enclose it, or just paint it)
  • Pick out paint colors
  • Paint the ceiling and walls
  • Finish the wiring on the new wall
  • Figure out what to do with baseboard trim, crown molding, and the doors
  • Pick out and install new overhead light fixtures, including the small globe light at the bottom of the stairs
  • Rip out the carpeting (and hopefully we do not need to deal with a mold problem once we get a look underneath the carpet pad)
  • Install Dri-Core subfloor
  • Pick out and install new carpeting
  • Purchase and assemble entertainment stand
  • Move all electronic equipment into place (this is the fun step, right?)
  • Pick out and purchase new furniture and shelving
  • Watch the inaugural movie in our newly completed basement
  • Host family for Thanksgiving weekend
  • Start thinking about upgrading the home theater
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post #28 of 153 Old 09-25-2010, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewersfan73 View Post

Wow, we must have had the same builder. Unless that's just the standard way of adding wood paneling (which is what I assume is on the back side of your wall, just like mine).



No problem - feel free to ask. I've learned so much from these forums, I'm very, very eager to send out some advice for once.

I gotta say, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your build thread. Very entertaining stuff. I started reading it because you were also dealing with water issues.

Yes, that is the back side of wood paneling from the adjacent room. That must have been standard construction procedure for wood paneling back in the day.

Glad you enjoyed reading about my water (mold) issues, as it sure wasn't a ton of fun to live through them! I'm trying to put all those memories out of my mind. I find alcohol helps with that!

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post #29 of 153 Old 09-25-2010, 02:02 PM
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Not sure if it is to late but I would find a drywall mudder and have him float all the walls and ceiling and then add a nice rich texture. It is amazing what a pro could do to make your walls look better and I estimate it at less than 500$.
It would probably take him 3 separate trips and you would have some drying time. THe schedule would take a 5- 7days slide but you will regret it if you dont. Not sure who painted but I suggest a darker warmer color and put on the primer and paint correctly.
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post #30 of 153 Old 09-25-2010, 02:19 PM
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Nice work so far. As someone who has had water problems in the basement it is a very good thing that you went the extra to take care of it. You'll rest much easier knowing that water won't be a problem. Keep up the good work.

Regards,

RTROSE

My (slower than molasses) HT build here.
Now a Certified Carpet Counselor and Plumbing Counselor (Self given titles - pay no attention).
Enjoying my "almost done" theater.
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