It's not a theater but I'll watch TV in it construction - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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As I am in the later stages of my basement development (first coat of mudding done) I felt I should start my own construction thread as kind of a catch all for all that I have learned here, mostly about in wall wiring.

Like the big guys in the other threads, I'll start from the very beginning. I bought a new spec. home in August. It is a bi-level, 1490 ft2 on the top floor, (two bedrooms above the garage), and when the basement is done it will add another 670 ft2.

I used the builders floor plan, as it was very well thought out, IMO.



My house is exactly the opposite, the media room is on the left.

Some before pictures:

From living room to bedroom



From living room into media room:



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post #2 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 07:57 PM - Thread Starter
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The plans:

The media room is the heart of the basement, where I'll be watching my plasma (when I get it ), and my 5.1 surround system that is wired for 7.1.

A sketchup of the plans:

(You'll notice from the unfinished pictures that the builders put a telepost 2' away from the outside wall. In the builders plans, they used this to kind of frame in the media room a bit. I stayed true to their plans instead of trying to frame in the telepost, or to move or remove it. Also there is a "buildout" , which is a perfect place for a gas fireplace.)

The plans:

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post #3 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I had never done any framing of any kind before this development, but I did a bit of reading and looked at the existing framing that I could see in the basement and got to work.

The builders had framed, insulated and poly'd the outside walls before I took possession. If I was to give any advice about using metal studs, It is DON'T USE THEM!!!

I know there are a lot of guys who prefer them, but I feel that so much time is wasted with wiring, using grommets, drilling holes and zip tieing wire on vertical runs, plus the general flimsyness of them, I would much rather use wood. So - Wood on the inside walls, metal on the outside.


Some framing around ductwork in the basement - I ripped OSB for ends of the soffits and used 2X2's reinforced from the ceiling with 2x4's, connected to 1x4's. One thing that I was unhappy with was once the bedroom ductwork was framed around, I only had room for a 78" door, where 80" is the standard height. So all three doors were framed for a 78X30 door.



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post #4 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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So I had mentioned that I had a buildout that would be perfect for a gas fireplace. I ended up getting a floor model at a shop downtown for $400.

Permit $150 (50 if you are a ticketed gasfitter, which I am not.)
Core in concrete wall for flue - $150 cash
G rated 1/2" copper gas line (50') - $100
Tools (flare, cutter, bender, etc.) wire, etc ~$75

I was going to hire a guy out to run the gas but they wanted an insane amount of $$ to do it. (lowest bid was $300 labour) I figured I'd give it a shot. Got the gas line hooked up, no leaks, inspector came in and passed it. Saved myself some cash and learned some stuff in the process. (and it works )

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post #5 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 08:21 PM - Thread Starter
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post #6 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I actually was going to leave the fireplace like that, hoping that it wasn't noticeable. It was driving me nuts with the mudding guy coming in to tape within a week. I decided to demolish and rebuild. This also gave me the opportunity to put 16" centers for the plasma mount, as I only had 12" centers before. (didn't think it out properly) Also with the 16" centers, I could fit an in-wall center speaker.


Edit: Hanging some pictures on my upstairs fireplace wall and realized that that wall is off center by 2"! One side is 4" longer than the other!!! I guess that it would not have been noticeable...and this is standard for all the homes built by this builder in this model...Wow...
The old wall:



The old recessed A/V wall for the plasma above the fireplace (only 10.5" wide) - Again, not thought through enough, it was very cramped.




Demolition


New wall - much better (and centered ):

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post #7 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Well like I had said in the title, this is in no way a home theater, however I did do some things for a nice clean 7.1 install.

The equipment that will some day go in here:

TV - I would like to get a panasonic 50" 9UK model. I love the clean look of them and they get great reviews from anyone who owns them.

Sound - I have matching towers and center channel. They were acquired from a friend in a trade for car stereo stuff. They are HECO. I can't get any information on them that is English... I think that they are German made, and sound Ok to me, good enough for now.

Surrounds - I am more form than function in the basement, I will sacrifice a bit of sound quality for a nice looking install. I bought a pair of Proficient audio in-ceiling speakers for the rear surrounds. They are cool in the fact that they are tilted 15 degrees to aim towards the listening area.

Subwoofer - I have a cheap POS right now, when I get some time I will build a serious DIY subwoofer.

I have a cheap Yamaha reciever... will be upgraded sometime.

All my equipment will be stored in the furnace room (adjacent to the media room and out of sight.) I plan to buy a harmony 890 remote to control everything.
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post #8 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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From what I have read, there are issues with heat when mounting a plasma over a fireplace. I think that this is moreso for a wood fireplace, but the issue still exists for a gas fireplace.

I am getting a walnut mantle shelf built. It is 8" deep and only 3" high. I think that mounting this shelf below the plasma will allow me to mount it lower than normal, as the shelf will protect the TV, directing the heat out and around. There is also a fan for the FP, which will blow some of the heat out. The fireplace switch will be on an electric timer so it won't stay on longer than an hour (plenty long, it's cooking after an hour) The center of the plasma will be at ~52", where I believe 45" is optimal.



Wiring to the plasma:

As I said earlier, all my equipment will be out of sight in the furnace room. I had bought all my in wall cables through monoprice.com, except for the S-Video... can't even remember where I bought them.

HDMI, Component Video, Composite Video, S Video and RGB ran from furnace room to terminate behind future plasma location above gas fireplace.

I ran a power outlet and installed a surge protection outlet... I didn't know these even existed, found them by chance at Home depot.



The wall plates (going to remove one of the RCA plugs on the RGB plate and install an S-Video bulkhead.)



The rats nest in the furnace room. I'm hooking these directly up to the components as they are in the furnace room, and astetics are not important in there. You can see my 7.1 termination box in there as well.

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post #9 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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My little Yamaha reciever only does 5.1, but the room is wired for 7.1. Proficient audio C650 in ceiling speakers. These will be my rear surrounds in 5.1 and 7.1. If I ever decide to go 7.1, the location of those will be inside the media room, in the ceiling, at the very back. I am going to go with an in wall center channel (Proficient, to match my surrounds, I like how they sound)

In ceiling speakers:



Insulated the whole ceiling with regular R20 ... seems to help a bit for sound reduction, but it by no means sound proofs the basement. The ceiling speakers recommend to have insulation in between the joists, and they actually sound pretty good...I am by no means an audiophile though.



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post #10 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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The speaker wire is all run to the furnace room as well, and all run in wall. The only speakers that are not in wall will be the 2 fronts and the subwoofer. Binding post wall plates for the speakers and RCA wall plate for the Subwoofer, in the same low voltage box as the right speaker.



Termination in the furnace room (not wired up yet), in a new construction low voltage box:



7.1 wall plates - need to install RCA post for subwoofer, has another empty outlet so I could possibly go 7.2.

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post #11 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Lighting was a major challenge, placement and circuit "balancing". It will be hard to see how it turns out until I get all the fixtures. Google sketchup was a major help in lighting placement... you can really see if things look goofy.


I pretty much have the basement separated into two rooms, the media room and the "living" room. Both rooms have two separate lighting circuits.

Living room: Main or utility lighting (in red) - 3 large bedroom style fixtures. 2 in the middle of the room and one in the hallway when you come down the stairs. Controlled by a 3 way switch, not dimmable.

Sconce lighting. (in metal) Sconce lighting on 3 out of the 4 walls in the living room. I couldn't find a way to put sconces on the fourth wall (the long one with the window), so I decided to have directional lights in the ceiling point at the wall, one receptacle on each side of the window. 3 way switch, on dimmers.



The media room has two circuits, the sconces and the pots. Both are dimmable.

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post #12 of 100 Old 01-10-2007, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Some pictures of where I'm at right now.

Installed the doors today, when closed you can't tell that they are shorter than regular (78 instead of 80"), but when the taller one is opened you can definitely tell, although it doesnt look bad

I'm not going to post any pictures of the bedroom (boring) or the bathroom (will do some tiling, but later on... will not be finished at the same time as the rest of the basement.)

Will post with updates, and of course more pictures.





First coat of tape on the living room (this and the carpet are the only things that I am hiring out.)


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post #13 of 100 Old 01-14-2007, 08:59 AM
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Nice work. I'll be watching this thread to see how it all comes together.
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post #14 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Scott View Post

Nice work. I'll be watching this thread to see how it all comes together.


Thanks for the reply, I've got a lot to update since last time.

A few pictures of the final tape job. This is the first job that I had to hire out, and the guy came through word of mouth. I had ~ 700 ft2, including a closet with many buildouts, mud and tape on the ceiling, then applying a knockdown texture. The price charged was 1300 bucks....He did such a beautiful job, I honestly can't believe that this is something that I did, he even sanded all the walls after the primer coat. I gave him a $50 dollar tip, and he's doing all my drywall work from now on. It looks like the exact same quality as the upstairs, something that I was shooting for but didn't think that I'd achieve.

Anyways, some mudding pics:






The closet:



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post #15 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, this may be boring, but I'm very proud of the way that these turned out. I have a very deep window casing, around 10". I have seen professionally developed basements and the casings look just like the ones upstairs, I wanted to achieve this look.

Started with 3/8" MDF, ripped it to width with my makeshift tablesaw, LOL. I would nail the 2x2 to the MDF as a fence, then rip it with the circular saw. Works great, I just had to fill the nail holes with spackle before paint.

Edit: Sorry about the terrible picture, the camera really picks up dust...I'm sure you get the idea!



Screwed the MDF to the window buck (I think that's what it's called )





Trimmed around the window with door stop trim - its the same stuff that they gave me with my pre-hung doors, looks good for this purpose as well.

Filled the corners with paintable caulk, ready for priming and paint. I used wood primer for the MDF, it worked great - I was a little worried as I had heard that MDF was extremely hard to paint, but it looks really good.

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post #16 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought that I hated painting before I tackled my basement, but actually it wasn't too bad...It was about 3 days from start to finish, which included 2 coats of primer on the ceiling, and one coat of primer and 2 coats of paint on the walls.

And I had some help...my mom came up to help me for the weekend, I hope that doesn't make me sound too much like a Mama's boy... The help was very much needed and appreciated.

Here's some pictures of the ceiling texture, It's called california knockdown, and it is pretty much drywall mud spattered over a primed ceiling, and just before it dries, it is "knocked down" by a large drywall trowel.

The pictures don't do it justice, it is a beautiful finish for a ceiling.

Here's the ceiling speakers, for my rear surrounds:

Without grilles:


With grilles



This was a very tricky spot to paint, cutting in on a rounded outside corner:
It ended up being a 2 person job, with one holding a trim guard, and the other cutting in... turned out really good, stressful, but good.

Trim guard, around 2 bucks from wal mart, the paint store had a metal one, I'm sure it would have worked a little better, but this one did the job.



The corner, paint meeting with ceiling:

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post #17 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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The A/V plugs for the future plasma location:




The ceiling in the bedroom, where the drop ceiling is going to go:



Looking up to the stairs:



And my pride and joy, the window casings (still needing another coat of paint, and I just held the trim up for the picture.


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post #18 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Boring, yes, but I think that it really helps to keep a basement warm. I couldn't bring the heating supply ducts to the floor, but they are far enough from the interior walls that I should get some decent circulation. I put one return in the rec room and one in the bedroom.

This is the hokeyiest thing in the basement development , I had no Idea how to do this, but the unsightlieness is hidden in the furnace room and the goal is achieved.

I used joist liner, attached to the studs on the furnace room, creating a plenum with the drywall on the room creating the fourth side... I had to cut in a 4" take off on the liner, as well as on the cold air return in the furnace room. I had to do this twice over...once for the rec room and once for the bedroom.






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post #19 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to achieve the same look as what the upstairs had, so the fixtures in the rec room were exactly the same as what I had upstairs. The ceiling fixtures were so cheap, 2 for $18! I can't believe what the builders charge for a house, then that's what they put in! Actually, they look pretty good. The wires hanging from the ceiling are for the track type lights that I want to put in...no stores have them in stock right now, I will find them eventually.



Sconces in the rec room, they are basically the same as the ceiling fixtures, just have the glass cut in half. (You can see in this picture one of the heating supplies, which is on the opposite side of the room of the cold air return)




In the media room I used a little different lighting...It is halogen pot lights and halogen sconces. The halogen definitely gives off a whiter light than the incandescent, and there is absolutely no hum when the lights are on dim.

The sconces are very cool, the one on the right side came with a broken glass cover, they were out of stock, I'll have to pick up another when they get more in.



The pot lights in the media room. They are 3" halogen. I don't know if I'd recommend these....they are extremely bright when they are not dimmed, and if you were sitting underneath one, I think that it would be distracting. They do look cool, though.

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post #20 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I know I'm not getting a pile of replies, but I hope that will change once I start picking out HT gear (seats, TV, remote, etc.) I will update once the trim is on and once the carpet is installed. Hope that you enjoy the build so far, there's more to come!
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post #21 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 09:48 PM
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Wow great project and coming along nicely.
Enjoy
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post #22 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 10:12 PM
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Where did you get you decora speaker wall plates?
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post #23 of 100 Old 01-22-2007, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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post #24 of 100 Old 01-23-2007, 02:13 PM
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Mullet -

Your basement looks amazing! Nice work! Please continue to update the forum so we can follow your work.

I'm confused too.

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post #25 of 100 Old 01-23-2007, 02:30 PM
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I am interested in this as well. My wife and I were just talking about finishing our basement, and it just might be a project that I would consider doing on my own--I have a friend who is a plumber and an electrician that would help me out on the hard stuff.

Anyway, you've inspired me!

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post #26 of 100 Old 01-23-2007, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djearl81 View Post

Mullet -

Your basement looks amazing! Nice work! Please continue to update the forum so we can follow your work.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Scherrer View Post

I am interested in this as well. My wife and I were just talking about finishing our basement, and it just might be a project that I would consider doing on my own--I have a friend who is a plumber and an electrician that would help me out on the hard stuff.

Anyway, you've inspired me!

Thanks for the comments...I will update with significant updates (just put the outlet covers on today, no pics yet )

I've been stuck working on some boring bathroom stuff (building shims for the tub surround, and my cordless circular saw only does so much on a battery), but it is progressing very quickly. It is at a very fun stage right now where everything that I do makes a significant improvement on the looks of the room, making it that much closer to being finished.

Steve, as for finishing the basement yourself, I would absolutely say go for it, if you have any kind of mechanical background, and are willing to do a lot of reading and research...It is a very rewarding thing to do. Look at amazon... I bought a lot of books from there, from the general "finish a basement" books to books specializing in drywall, electrical, plumbing, and painting...and most of the A/V stuff I learned from this forum.


Again, thanks for stopping by and I will be back with more updates.
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post #27 of 100 Old 01-24-2007, 04:55 PM
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It really looks great so far. I saw your mention of HECO speakers. Their website is available in English and if you have an older model perhaps it is one shown in their archives

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
-Bertrand Russell
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post #28 of 100 Old 01-24-2007, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trekguy View Post

It really looks great so far. I saw your mention of HECO speakers. Their website is available in English and if you have an older model perhaps it is one shown in their archives

Thanks. Do you have any experience with HECO? I was just wondering what they would compare to.
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post #29 of 100 Old 01-24-2007, 08:05 PM
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Sorry I've seen a pair but did not have a chance for any critical listening. I tried an on-line translation of one of the reviews; fun but difficult to evaluate. Here is a sample.

Result

Its instead of light - the Metas set maintains in the sound

the art of the dramaturgy, in the feature

those of the noblen Understatements. Knut Isberner

Evaluation

+ fresh, alive sound with stralenden

Tone qualities

+ generous space illustration

+ taut of basses, pegelfest

+ all Speaker can easily to the environment

are adapted



Knackig, dynamically, directly - the Metas know

no restraint

This resolving power and the very high Sprachverständlichkeit

did the set in Stereo such as Surround

for the advantage. Even if the models a tendency

for rather cooling sober ones did not hide. An error

that was not, there the Metas never pointed or importunate

sounded. Completely on the contrary it succeeded to them even, those almost

infinite variety in the play of Tubist Oystein Baadsvik

to show fascinatingly easily and fluffily, if that

its interpretation of the winter of Vivaldi (tuba Carnival /

UNTIL) gave. The disk is a treat for everyone

Music friend and via the Metas fireworks at facet

and file wealth. What does that lie? Technically come

the Metas from the more expensive Celan line, which

with unusual technical solutions out-stings.

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
-Bertrand Russell
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post #30 of 100 Old 01-24-2007, 09:51 PM
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Neat! I especially like the windowsill -- almost like a window seat!

What are you doing to manage the wall reflections of the fronts/centers?
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