Billybar's Basement Theater etc.. Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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It has been about a year and a half since I started this project and I have finally gotten around to starting a thread. I wanted to make sure to contribute a thread and my experiences to this great forum that inspired me to do this project in the first place and for giving me so many ideas to work with. Thank you to all who have taken the time to create all these amazing build threads because without them there is no way ever I would be doing anything like this. This place is truly inspiring!

Please feel free to offer any advice or ask any questions of anything you see in this thread. I am learning this stuff as I go and I'm having a great time with it. You will see based on how much I've completed in the last 18 months that I'm in no rush. I do a little here and there as time/budget permits. Except for carpet installation I intend to complete this entire project on my own and yes, that includes even mudding and taping

Ok so here it goes:

My Basement:I have about a 1250 sq ft basement to work with. I will be finishing 3/4 of it and leaving the other 1/4 for storage and a workshop. I am going with an open floor plan concept in the finished space which will include a theater / game room area, wine cellar, gym and 1/2 bath. I am basically going the "dedicated theater" route minus the 4th wall and the soundproofing. We entertain a lot and my wife, kids and I discussed the best approach to the basement and this is what we came up with. (When I say "came up with" I mean argued about, changed our minds about 10 times, and took 6 months to come up with a floor plan.)

The floor plan in a nutshell:



Since starting about 18 months ago I have completely insulated the basement and rim joists with 2" extruded polystyrene, installed a water powered backup sump system, installed an active radon mitigation system, fixed a stubborn crack with polyurethane foam injection and now I'm about 60% done framing the basement. The theater, game room and bathroom are completely framed and I am moving into the gym area now. I will be uploading all my photos very soon within the next day or so to get this thread up to speed of where I am in the project.


 

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post #2 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 10:14 AM
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looks like its going to be an incredible room. Lets see some more pictures!

What software did you use for that floorplan? I have seen it used a lot here and looks nice.
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post #3 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 10:20 AM
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Wow - looks like a really nice layout. How close are the seats in the front row and what is the overall size of your theater area?

I'm also curious about the software...
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post #4 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you! I used floorplanner.com for the layout. It's a free site and pretty easy to learn.

The layout isn't perfectly to scale so the seats look closer to the screen then they actually will be. I'm not even sure if I will be able to fit 8 seats the way I have them shown there but I'm hoping I can. I guess it will come down to what I choose for seating but there will be at least 6 for sure.

I don't have exact measurements for the theater yet but the rough measurements are about 14 1/2 feet from screen to back wall (maybe a little less depending how far I bring screen wall will out from the framing). The front row will be about 8 feet from the screen and the second row about 13 feet from the screen. I plan on using about 16-18 feet of space for the width of the seating before the game room starts. I'm hoping for a 120" or larger screen. I like big so I may go larger than most would given the same seating spacing.
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post #5 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Some more pictures taken before any work was started:

The Junk!


The 1/2 bath rough in added when house was built and my abandoned rock band gear.


 

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post #6 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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The Prep:

The Subpanel: I hired out to have this installed a few years ago since I knew I would be finishing this space someday. My main breaker box is in the garage and is a 200 amp service. This is a 100 amp sub panel with 8 slots I had installed to make wiring the basement as easy as possible. I also like the fact I can turn off the juice from the main panel while working with this one. So far there is only one 20 amp circuit wired which is being used for my workshop. Now my air compressor has the juice it needs to fill up without tripping a breaker!


Crack Repair: This was the only place in the basement that I had a water issue. There was a small crack right below the window sill that extended to the floor. It would leak when there was a heavy rain or a large thaw. I used hydraulic cement and drylock to correct. My deck is also above this window which shelters the window from water somewhat and I also added a window well cover. Unfortunately, as you will later see later on, all of this was not enough


Radon Mitigation: My house was built what passive radon mitigation by code which is just a pipe from the foundation up through the roof. I did a test and it came out at 2 (pCi/L). The EPA recommended action guideline at the time was 4.0. While 2 isn't that bad I thought I could do better. I decided to buy a radon fan and install it in the attic crawl space. It was only about $100 and about an hour of my time. The builder had already roughed in an outlet up there to plug the fan in also so it was just a matter of cutting the pipe and adding the fan inline. I tested the radon again once the fan was running and this time the test came back < .5 (pCi/L) which is comparable to outside air. Peace of mind for $100 = priceless!! This is a picture of the manometer gauge that shows there is pressure which indicates the fan is running. Of course I can just put my ear to the pipe and hear the fan as well. I didn't ever get up into the attic to take a picture of the fan installed but if anyone is dying to see it let me know and I will make the trip up there and snap a few photos.


Water powered backup sump = More Peace Of Mind: I don't think I've ever heard my regular sump even come on. My property was graded well and the basement has been bone dry since the house was built 5 years ago (other than that one problem crack mentioned before). But I thought I could still make it better. If I'm going to spend all this time and money making this space nice then why not make sure it doesn't get wet if for some reason the sump pump fails (which by the way is one of the most common reason basements flood). I added a water powered backup sump system. It cost about $300 and 3-4 hours to install (most of that time was getting the plumbing to it) and the thing works awesome!







Storage: First things first. I needed to get rid of a lot of junk and make room for the junk I decided to keep. I built 3 8'X8'X2' shelves and arranged them in a U shape. These suckers created A LOT of storage at a minimum footprint and I couldn't be happier with them. Here is the lumber and one of the shelves put together and the beginnings of the insulating phase.






Time for a glass of wine. More to follow soon!

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post #7 of 211 Old 12-21-2010, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barlav View Post

It has been about a year and a half since I started this project and I have finally gotten around to starting a thread. I wanted to make sure to contribute a thread and my experiences to this great forum that inspired me to do this project in the first place and for giving me so many ideas to work with. Thank you to all who have taken the time to create all these amazing build threads because without them there is no way ever I would be doing anything like this. This place is truly inspiring!

Please feel free to offer any advice or ask any questions of anything you see in this thread. I am learning this stuff as I go and I'm having a great time with it. You will see based on how much I've completed in the last 18 months that I'm in no rush. I do a little here and there as time/budget permits. Except for carpet installation I intend to complete this entire project on my own and yes, that includes even mudding and taping

Ok so here it goes:

My Basement:I have about a 1250 sq ft basement to work with. I will be finishing 3/4 of it and leaving the other 1/4 for storage and a workshop. I am going with an open floor plan concept in the finished space which will include a theater / game room area, wine cellar, gym and 1/2 bath. I am basically going the "dedicated theater" route minus the 4th wall and the soundproofing. We entertain a lot and my wife, kids and I discussed the best approach to the basement and this is what we came up with. (When I say "came up with" I mean argued about, changed out minds about 10 times about, and took 6 months to come up with a floor plan.)

The floor plan in a nutshell:



Since starting about 18 months ago I have completely insulated the basement and rim joists with 2" extruded polystyrene, installed a water powered backup sump system, installed an active radon mitigation system, fixed a stubborn crack with polyurethane foam injection and now I'm about 60% done framing the basement. The theater, game room and bathroom are completely framed and I am moving into the gym area now. I will be uploading all my photos very soon within the next day or so to get this thread up to speed of where I am in the project.


Here is one of the before pictures just as I had started insulation and got one storage shelf built. Many more to follow soon but I have to get back to work...lunch hour is over:




alittle off topic, is that your hospital tank for your salt water setup? it be killer if you can some how incorporate your tank in your new all purpose room. use just the tank and mount in the wall somehow...
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post #8 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 03:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Goingpoor, the sad truth is that was my salt water setup after being neglected. This was the day before I took it down . I was an aspiring reef keeper and had plans to setup a nice SPS tank and build it into the basement somehow but after a lot of thought and realizing that the basement was going to be a huge, expensive and dusty project I couldn't justify keeping it going any longer. I am hoping that someday I will have the time to get back into it. You're right, it would be awesome to be able to incorporate a salt water tank into a wall and that still could be a future possibility.
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post #9 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 08:16 AM
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Goingpoor, the sad truth is that was my salt water setup after being neglected. This was the day before I took it down . I was an aspiring reef keeper and had plans to setup a nice SPS tank and build it into the basement somehow but after a lot of thought and realizing that the basement was going to be a huge, expensive and dusty project I couldn't justify keeping it going any longer. I am hoping that someday I will have the time to get back into it. You're right, it would be awesome to be able to incorporate a salt water tank into a wall and that still could be a future possibility.


I had a a tank setup for for 5 years and took it down. main reason was the extra 600.00 a month on the electrical bill was not worth it.
LL
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post #10 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I had a a tank setup for for 5 years and took it down. main reason was the extra 600.00 a month on the electrical bill was not worth it.

Nice setup, before I moved to the reef idea I had a 75 gallon tank with nothing but triggers, puffers and hawk fish and someday if I return to the hobby I will most likely keep it simple and go with those kind of fish again. They were great to watch and very active!
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post #11 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Some more pictures.

Storage complete and floorspace cleaned
Finally some space to work with!


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post #12 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 09:54 AM - Thread Starter
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The insulating phase - I used great stuff foam to adhere the panels to the wall and to spray around the pieces in the rim joists. It was quick, easy and effective. I started using red duct tape for the seams between panels but then came to find out this wasn't correct and that I needed to be using a building wrap tape (like Tyvek) instead. So I yanked down most of the duct tape and replaced with Tyvek tape. The only place I still have duct tape is back in the storage area/workshop but I will change this over someday too. Not too worried about it since this area won't be finished anyway but I will do it nonetheless.

Doesn't this look fun?














I insulated all the rim joists as well


The insulation job is complete and I was happy to have this behind me. I can't say it was the most exciting job but progress is progress. The reward for finishing this is that I got to build some walls finally!

Framing pics coming later tonight but back to work for now.

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post #13 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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The beginnings of the framing: It was nice after all that insulation work to get back to using the power tools. I screwed everything. Tapcons for the pressure treated sole plates and deck screws for the rest of the studs/plates.

The first wall under way which will be the back wall of the theater and game room:












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post #14 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
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A couple more walls started and some soffit work under way. The theater and game room ceiling will be surrounded with a tray ceiling where I intend to put up a couple levels of crown molding and rope lighting. I wasn't sure if using 2X2s for the soffit work would be strong enough but once I got the first one up and secured I tested it out by doing pull ups on it and it didn't budge so that was good enough for me.













The top and bottom plate for the wall that will be the screen wall




A pointless picture from within the soffit but I thought it looked cool
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post #15 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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More framing and soffit work












A few soffit pieces ready for hanging



Behind the screen wall





I had to move the vent from the hot water tank to do get things the way I wanted them here


Improvised here to prevent having to move a water line. I wanted my tray ceiling soffits to be uniform around the whole room and this top plate fell right over a water line so I built the wall a little shorter and put the top plate between two other top plates to get it done.


The sump pit which will be in the left back corner of the theater. My plan is to trim this into a nice little shelf with a removable top so I can get at the sump if ever needed. I plan on using the top of this shelf for a popcorn maker or something.


That's all I have left in me for tonight. I have a few more sets of framing photos that I will try to get posted soon that will take this thread up to where I'm at now. It's amazing how fast 18 months of work can be chronicled into a thread! I hope the photos are ok so far?

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post #16 of 211 Old 12-22-2010, 07:40 PM
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Looks like a fun build. Great idea getting the sump backup in place early on and an active radon system in place. That planning software is awesome and has some of the best graphics I've seen. Keep the pics coming.
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post #17 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Javatime, I just went through your build. What an awesome space you have! It's things like this that motivate me to move faster because I can't wait to have a space like that to entertain. It's nice to see another open floor plan. How does the theater sound in your space? Also, did your fireplace need to be vented? I was thinking about a fireplace somewhere in my space but where I would want it wouldn't be practical to vent but if there are vent free units that could change things!

- Bill
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post #18 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Some more framing:

Theater/game room framing complete. I still need to add fireblocking but I will leave that until later and do it all at once.



The soffit work over where the screen wall and stage will be






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post #19 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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The stupid water meter - The water meter is right near the stairs. Really bad placement for this if you ask me. There is no way I was going to deal with moving it so I framed around it and am planning to trim it out nicely and give it an access panel while trying to make it look like it belongs there at the same time. I am going to put a touch screen above where the framing bump out stops that is going to function as a jukebox so maybe that will take eyes away from it.









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post #20 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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The rest of the framing up to today:

The bathroom layout and framing





The soffit completed all the way to where the bathroom starts


A view of the really freaking long soffit:

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post #21 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is where I'm as of today. I am starting the soffit work in the gym. The gym area has all the duct works, gas lines, etc.. so there will be quite a bit of soffit work. I am going to have 2 soffits. One will box in the beam and the duct work and will be the lowest hanging one. There will be about 7 feet of head room under that one. Another will connect up to the first one about 6-12" closer to the ceiling that will cover some drain lines and then there will be a section with just some furring strips so I can have maximum height for the smith machine I have in there. The one I have started in this photo will be the lower hanging one and then there will be one that attaches to that is a bit closer to the ceiling that will box in that drain line in the photo.




So that's it! Everything I've done up to today. I hope you enjoy and I will post more as soon as I have it. Since it's Christmas I probably won't have much done until after the first of the year. Happy Holidays Everyone.
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post #22 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, I also wanted to mention the wine cellar. The photos below are the inspiration for the wine cellar I am going to build. I can't remember where I found these photos but as soon as I saw them I instantly thought how perfect something like this would be in my basement. I would love to talk to the creator of this cellar if anyone knows who that is?

I am a huge wine enthusiast and I would like to expand my collection and this is the perfect solution for that and will add a unique flare to the basement. I am also going to open up some of the other side of the stairwell so you will be able to see into the wine cellar from the theater/game room as well.

As you walk down the stairs into the basement there will be a window on the left that is about 4'X3' where you will be able to look into the wine cellar. It will look very similar on the inside like the pictures do here. I ordered a window about a month ago and I should be getting it in the week or so. The window is a picture window with double paned tempered and insulated glass. I will post a picture of the window when I get it.

This will be the wine cellar but it will be right on the stairwell wall. I plan on using the same kind of door and cooling unit.


The window will be framed into the stairwell wall so that you can see into the wine cellar as you walk down the stairs to enter the basement. My window isn't this big but will be big enough to get the same effect I hope.
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post #23 of 211 Old 12-23-2010, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks Javatime, I just went through your build. What an awesome space you have! It's things like this that motivate me to move faster because I can't wait to have a space like that to entertain. It's nice to see another open floor plan. How does the theater sound in your space? Also, did your fireplace need to be vented? I was thinking about a fireplace somewhere in my space but where I would want it wouldn't be practical to vent but if there are vent free units that could change things!

- Bill

Bill,
We love the open space/floor plan and glad we didn't add a 4th wall to section it off completely in order to make a dedicated theater room. We had plenty of space to go that route, but couldn't imagine sealing it off behind a closed door just to watch movies, sports, or TV while others are at the bar, sitting around the fireplace, or playing in the game area. I remember reading through RobZ's thread when I was planning. He used to have a dedicated room in his previous home as I recall, and his girls were scared to go in there. Somehow that always stuck with me even though my little ones are now young adults. Anyway, a dedicated rooam just didn't work for us and we've never looked back. You'll enjoy the feeling of having an open space. Everyone seems to like it that visits and it's easy to mingle.
I don't have anything special, acoustically speaking, except for regular insulation and single sheetrock and the audio is awesome. My A/V receiver came with Audyssey and does a great job with only a slight bit of tweaking to get the sound just right; I'm still amazed at the sound and video quality.
I had the same dilemma where I wanted to put the fireplace so I had to go with a ventless. My brother in law does HVAC and I asked several others about going ventless, but they put a lot of my fears to rest having never owned one. It really worked out well and is very efficient; puts out a lot of heat compared to vented. I added an optional fan at the bottom, but don't use it too often because it's not very quiet, especially when watching movies.
Love the climate controlled wine cellar. Your basement looks very familiar...I think we might have the same builder.
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post #24 of 211 Old 12-27-2010, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Javatime, thanks. I am relieved to hear how much you enjoy the sound of your theater with the open floor plan! That is great that there are ventless units out there. I had no idea. I'm glad to know that I have that option now.

- Bill
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Things are looking good and I have to admit the wine cellar down there is a GREAT idea!! Cant wait to see more progress. I do have a question. You stated (top of post #18)that you still need to add fireblock, what are your plans for doing so? I am in the midst of insulating my new theater build (still need to get around to starting another build thread for this room but thats another story) and considered using foam board as you did with spray foam to insulate up above the walls but since that stuff is flammable I was curious what others that were doing the foam board were using as a fire block?

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post #26 of 211 Old 12-28-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Things are looking good and I have to admit the wine cellar down there is a GREAT idea!! Cant wait to see more progress. I do have a question. You stated (top of post #18)that you still need to add fireblock, what are your plans for doing so? I am in the midst of insulating my new theater build (still need to get around to starting another build thread for this room but thats another story) and considered using foam board as you did with spray foam to insulate up above the walls but since that stuff is flammable I was curious what others that were doing the foam board were using as a fire block?

Thanks Iusteve, the fire blocking I'm adding is just to be code compliant so a fire in the wall wouldn't be able to move vertical to horizontal. I believe the foam board just needs to be covered by a thermal barrier such as drywall between it and the room to be compliant as far as fire codes go. For the fire blocking I'm adding, I am staggering blocks about 3/4 up the wall and then, for the outside walls, I will be stuffing in some fiberglass insulation between the wall and the foam board (looks to be an acceptable practice in many areas) since there is about an inch gap between the wall and the foam board. I am also going to add a vertical board every 10 feet or less such that it is attached to the back of a stud and extends to almost where the foam board starts and then spray the fire rated foam between it and the foam board and where it meets the back of the wall stud on both sides. This is to keep the maximum run behind the wall at 10 feet or less. I don't even know if this is something is required in my area but it's easy enough to do so I'll do it.

Btw, that copper bar of yours is sick! Nice job!
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post #27 of 211 Old 12-28-2010, 06:03 PM
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Thanks Iusteve, the fire blocking I'm adding is just to be code compliant so a fire in the wall wouldn't be able to move vertical to horizontal. I believe the foam board just needs to be covered by a thermal barrier such as drywall between it and the room to be compliant as far as fire codes go. For the fire blocking I'm adding, I am staggering blocks about 3/4 up the wall and then, for the outside walls, I will be stuffing in some fiberglass insulation between the wall and the foam board (looks to be an acceptable practice in many areas) since there is about an inch gap between the wall and the foam board. I am also going to add a vertical board every 10 feet or less such that it is attached to the back of a stud and extends to almost where the foam board starts and then spray the fire rated foam between it and the foam board and where it meets the back of the wall stud on both sides. This is to keep the maximum run behind the wall at 10 feet or less. I don't even know if this is something is required in my area but it's easy enough to do so I'll do it.

Btw, that copper bar of yours is sick! Nice job!

Thanks for the response. Is this something you are planning on doing in the near future? If so maybe a few extra pictures to document your procedure?!?! I am watching and need a solution.

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post #28 of 211 Old 12-28-2010, 08:49 PM
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Nice build so far. Curious as to what you are going to do with the Workshop. Thats gonna be the first priority for me, and it will require planning, space setup, and sound insulation from the rest of the house for me. (who wants to hear a screaming router or tablesaw while watching a movie or doing homework?)
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post #29 of 211 Old 12-29-2010, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iusteve View Post

Thanks for the response. Is this something you are planning on doing in the near future? If so maybe a few extra pictures to document your procedure?!?! I am watching and need a solution.

I was planning on doing all the fireblocking at once after all the walls and soffits are done but I will try to fit this in sooner than later and will get some pictures up.
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post #30 of 211 Old 12-29-2010, 03:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FusionRx View Post

Nice build so far. Curious as to what you are going to do with the Workshop. Thats gonna be the first priority for me, and it will require planning, space setup, and sound insulation from the rest of the house for me. (who wants to hear a screaming router or tablesaw while watching a movie or doing homework?)

Thanks FusionRx, The only plans I have for the workshop is to improve dust collection as well as adding an air purifying system to keep dust at a minimum through the rest of the space. I have enough room in there and a 4'X8' table that is big enough to do most of the things I need. It will no longer be big enough for larger projects so I will be using the garage for things like my table saw in the future.
 

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