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post #1 of 25 Old 11-05-2012, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone,

I've been a lurker for quite some time on AVS Forum, especially in this particular forum and figure it's time to start my own theater build thread.

This is a build that will progress over time, but before I can lay out a solid plan and idea of where to begin I'd really like to pick your brains to get some ideas on what I can do in my basement to create a nice theater room for myself, wife and baby due in April next year. Yay!

I was blessed to be able to purchase a home a few years ago, however the basement was already "finished" and so I just put together a makeshift theater that has been sufficient, but now I'd like to take it to a whole new level and put together something a little more thought out.

This is the current layout of my basement space. Hopefully its not to confusing it was my first time using Google Sketch. The measurements are not exact but very close.



Some things that I'd like to shoot for in the basement space:
2 rows of seats
Theater room sound proofed to the best of my ability ( I know there are methods such as staggered stud wall, decoupled room etc... that will help with this) I'm not sure how big of a room to go with because I'd also like room for the following:
Area for kids to play
Bathroom
Keep office/bedroom or relocate it

One of the biggest cons in my basement is the ceiling and the HVAC The ceilings are 7ft and in areas it drops down due to some HVAC running here and there. There is also a beam that runs right down the middle of the basement splitting it in half.

Here is one pic I have, but I'll post some more pictures to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.



I'm thinking that the room will end up being 10' x 15' or maybe 12' x 15' something with those types of dimensions.

I'd really appreciate any feedback from you guys. I've been really inspired by a lot of your build threads.
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-06-2012, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-06-2012, 04:48 PM
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It looks like you've got a great space to work with here blobula.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that you are going to have some trouble fitting two rows of seats in the space that you have proposed. Planning for a 6.5 foot wide riser would put your front row at about 8 feet from the screen. I sit about nine feet from my 92" 16:9 screen and I wouldn't want to go much closer. Plus, a 92" screen would likely be too small for your back row. If you use more traditional theater seats that don't recline then you'd have a much easier time making two rows work, but those may not fit your design ideas. Another quick idea would be to do one row of seats and a bar with stools behind them.

I think the biggest issue with your current layout is that there are a lot of rooms in a space that might be a little too small. Do you plan on having a bed and desk in the bedroom/office? It seems like you may have trouble fitting that in?

How about looking at a layout like this?



The theater would be on the left side and the right side could be a play area. You could even include a desk in the play area to also make it an office space. Maybe in the alcove next to the shower? This would also put the window in the play area.

It looks like from your first diagram that the width of the theater in this configuration would be just over 12 feet. This would be a great setup for two rows with a false wall and an AT screen.

Also, where are the stairs in your basement?

I'm looking forward to following your build!

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post #4 of 25 Old 11-06-2012, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your feedback.

Your idea of splitting it down the middle is sorta like how it's set up right now. There's only 5 stairs going from the family room down to the basement, because the house is split level design. When you come down the stairs and look to the left the ceiling drops downs several inches to cover up HVAC which makes the ceilling < 7'. Grabbed my wifes iphone and got a panoramic shot of the basement as best as I could. Pretty cool!






So making the room sound proof I'm thinking I just don't have enough height to make it work. Also running down the middle of the room is a structural support beam. If I got rid of the bedroom/office what do you think I could do with the space in the back? There isn't a lot of obstruction in the ceiling with HVAC there.


I updated the current layout to show the stairs and also to show a small closet, cubby hole that exists.
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-12-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking about this some more and just wanted to make sure I'm on track or if I'm off base.

Two of the walls in the new theater room willbe concrete foundation walls. It's my understanding that a stud wall 1" from the foundation wall is decoupled. So double drywall with GG between should be sufficient on those two walls. The two other walls that would separate the theater from the other rooms would also have a double layer of drywall + GG. r13 insulation in the walls all the way around as well. Is this correct?

Due to my low ceilings would the following improvements help in keeping sound more isolated to the basement?

Put mdf + GG + 5/8 drywall in between floor joist of the theater room. Then stuffed with r19 insulation. Covered with 5/8 drywall for the ceiling? I can't use resilient channel because my ceilings are already low (at least I don't think so). With drywall on the ceiling it would be a height of 7'.

I took this from the Sound Proofing Company website, however what I'm thinking wouldn't have the isolation clips/furring channel or extra layer of 5/8 drywall on the ceiling.



I could do this possibly but since I'm not not really going for complete sound proofing this may be overkill.

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post #6 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone? Do I need to post more information that would help?
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
I could do this possibly but since I'm not not really going for complete sound proofing this may be overkill.

I'd argue that it would NOT be overkill. Remember, you want to lower the sound floor IN the room as much, if not MORE, than worry about sound getting out.

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post #8 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I was looking at the floor separating the basement from the upstairs living room and it looks like when the house was built they shot nails into the subfloor which protrude through. See pic below.



Is it ok to slide 1/2" piece of rigid foam cut to fit (Owens Corning Foamular 1/2 in. x 48 in. x 96 in. Squared Edge Insulating Sheathing) between the joists and push up to cover the nails protruding through which will give me a flat surface to place a piece of drywall against?

I also could slice a 2 x 4 and fit it between the joist just under the protruding nails and attach drywall to that. I assume I'd then fill that small gap with insulation?
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-16-2012, 10:43 AM
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You can just hammer them over and pound them (relatively) flat. That's what I did and has been done on other theaters as well.

Putting insulation up and then attaching DW to that doesn't sound like a good idea to me. I've never seen it done before.

Also keep in mind the floor covering above. If it's carpet, you will need to be very careful not to let the screw heads protrude up through the subfloor.

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post #10 of 25 Old 10-30-2013, 04:51 AM
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Or put a cutting disc on a dremel and just cut them all off. The protruding part has no function anyway.

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post #11 of 25 Old 10-30-2013, 06:55 AM - Thread Starter
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That's a good idea. Another tool that's probably worth having around.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-03-2016, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I have been learning Sketchup these past couple days and here's an initial design that I've come up with.

I think the space is decent, but I'm just curious what everyones opinion is of the screen wall. I'm dealing with a column and a header in this location. I was thinking of putting an AT screen on the front of the columns and then have the speakers behind in the space between the concrete wall and column.

The red portion is 1" rigid insulation. With a 2x4 stud wall in front. I'd put r13 or roxul between the studs.

Would I be ok doing 3/4 rigid insulation"? Cheap white 3/4 rigid insulation is what was on the wall already. Furring strips were also screwed to the concrete and the drywall attached to that.





I could use the area that is 9' x 13'2" however the area up toward the stairs is where most of ceiling drops even lower for HVAC giving me about 6' 10" of room floor to ceiling and not sure how much more room it would take to soundproof all of it. I know my current old projector couldn't be ceiling mounted that low and project an image. If possible I could go that route as well.


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post #13 of 25 Old 08-03-2016, 05:04 PM
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Ceiling height isn't a huge issue with a single row of seating...

8' wide is seriously narrow, even with an AT screen. (And that's coming from a guy at 9'5" wide...)
You might see screen weave at the shorter seating distance.

And with the 84" of headroom, I expect you may find a stage will emphasize the height. I did a sand filled stage behind my
AT wall as I suspected my soffits at 80" plus a low stage would just emphasize the 7'1" ceiling height.

Can't say I am a fan of an 8' wide room, for what that's worth. (This is a tough space.)

How deep is the closet, and is there a support post buried in one of those walls?
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post #14 of 25 Old 08-03-2016, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Ceiling height isn't a huge issue with a single row of seating...

8' wide is seriously narrow, even with an AT screen. (And that's coming from a guy at 9'5" wide...)
You might see screen weave at the shorter seating distance.

And with the 84" of headroom, I expect you may find a stage will emphasize the height. I did a sand filled stage behind my
AT wall as I suspected my soffits at 80" plus a low stage would just emphasize the 7'1" ceiling height.

Can't say I am a fan of an 8' wide room, for what that's worth. (This is a tough space.)

How deep is the closet, and is there a support post buried in one of those walls?
Thank you for your thoughts. When you say closet are you referring to the space in front of the bathroom? If so its about 21.5" deep.

There are only two column supports that are holding up the beam spanning the basement as well as sitting on the concrete wall. These columns are wood from what I can tell and have a concrete base.

Is it ok to move the column in the theater space over 24"? I'm no engineer, but I can't see how that would affect anything.

Is this the type of column support needed? I could see adding two of these on either side of the theater space and taking out the wood support. Does any GC do this type of work?

http://www.menards.com/main/building...52695932787496

Last edited by blobula; 08-04-2016 at 11:14 AM.
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post #15 of 25 Old 08-05-2016, 07:06 PM
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Moving that support post could very much affect the integrity of your home. An engineering report would be the first step to safely explore that.
I wouldn't go to the expense and work for an 8' wide space though.

I wonder if you could rework the circulation areas of your basement? Not sure where that 2nd support post is, but I wonder if a partial rebuild and some
new walls might be an option? As for those ceiling drops, they might just be lacking a little creativity to work with them, and make them a feature. Something like this
be a possibility? Rework the utility/Laundry room wall and create a hallway, and basically use the current orientation of your space?

You could also flip that space end for end, and instead of a ninety degree corner at the hall, you could do an angled wall, and disguise that with the AT space. Might be an
option depending on that utility room/laundry room layout.
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post #16 of 25 Old 08-06-2016, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a new updated design that I'm feeling really good about. It wouldn't require any column support removal. There's also no drops in the ceiling due to HVAC or the header running down the middle. About the only thing is a portion of the concrete wall that juts out.

Below are a few pics of the new design that I have put together. I have also attached the Sketchup file in case someone wanted to edit. Final results should be a 10W' x 12L' x 7H'. I could probably squeeze out more width and length but I wanted a decent size hallway leading into the play area. I ended up at the minimum a 3' hallway/opening.

The screen wall would be against the concrete wall. Do I have enough room to do a false wall with 24" of depth shrinking the room to 10'? The screen could be inset into the false wall giving more viewing distance.

I also have the equipment closet in the back of the room. I had it over by the support column originally and moved it. Which would be best?

For the interior walls I may do staggered stud walls since I have the inches to do so.

Also, is the placement of the 36" door a good location or should I enter from the rear of the room?

Another thing is I could swap the screen wall/viewing area if needed. Thank you!

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]
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post #17 of 25 Old 08-07-2016, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Any thoughts on the initial layout and questions above? Thank you!
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post #18 of 25 Old 08-07-2016, 01:20 PM
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So there's a second support post at the common bath room and utility/laundry room then? Which means no wiggle room to rebuild that
section?

I can't help but think your original layout is the best layout, and that maybe a set of surround sound headphones might be the soundproofing answer
you seek?

10x12' is seriously small. And that's a fair amount of work and expense for something so small. I was looking at trying to expand the room's footprint,
in order to keep seating off wall boundaries and the surround speakers.

You could go a little longer, and wider, and take the hallway, and simply do symmetrical soffits down the sides of the room. The screen could stay at the
outside wall, it is currently on. The theater would be a "hallway" for the bedroom/bath room, but that also gets you a wider and longer space. I'm not really
a fan of using a theater as a passageway, but that does allow for a boost in room length, width, and volume. And that gets the seating off the walls, and further
away from the surround speakers.

The bedroom door could even be hidden if you did fabric panelled side walls, and the door could be worked into the frames.

The av rack could use some of the leftover closet depth, if you went small and vertical along the lines of a Middle Atlantic Slim5 rack, as a small footprint
rack, or something custom built along the MA Slim5's compact dimensions. Or the av rack could go into that small storage bump out and be completely
out of the theater. That would remove noise, and electronic display pollution, from the theater.
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post #19 of 25 Old 08-07-2016, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
So there's a second support post at the common bath room and utility/laundry room then? Which means no wiggle room to rebuild that
section?

I can't help but think your original layout is the best layout, and that maybe a set of surround sound headphones might be the soundproofing answer
you seek?

10x12' is seriously small. And that's a fair amount of work and expense for something so small. I was looking at trying to expand the room's footprint,
in order to keep seating off wall boundaries and the surround speakers.

You could go a little longer, and wider, and take the hallway, and simply do symmetrical soffits down the sides of the room. The screen could stay at the
outside wall, it is currently on. The theater would be a "hallway" for the bedroom/bath room, but that also gets you a wider and longer space. I'm not really
a fan of using a theater as a passageway, but that does allow for a boost in room length, width, and volume. And that gets the seating off the walls, and further
away from the surround speakers.

The bedroom door could even be hidden if you did fabric panelled side walls, and the door could be worked into the frames.

The av rack could use some of the leftover closet depth, if you went small and vertical along the lines of a Middle Atlantic Slim5 rack, as a small footprint
rack, or something custom built along the MA Slim5's compact dimensions. Or the av rack could go into that small storage bump out and be completely
out of the theater. That would remove noise, and electronic display pollution, from the theater.
Thank you once again for your thoughts and ideas.

Do I only need to be 3' off the back wall if I'm trying to go for a 7.1 speaker layout or higher?

There is a second column in the laundry/mechanical room area. However I don't want to mess with the bath and mechanical room area due to the amount of HVAC ducts, low ceiling, water lines, etc... However looking at the bathroom area if I converted the bath from a full bath to a 1/2 bath that would certainly free up some room. However, that would take convincing and it's nice having that shower down there.

I'd like to try and stay away from using the theater as a 'passageway' into another room as well. Primarily the other area will be exclusively for the kids and I don't want them running in and out through the theater area constantly. Maintaining a hallway is a must I guess you could say.

Does the room need to be perfectly square or rectangle? If not I could gain more length by jutting the room in a little to maintain the hallway. That might throw the seating off i think.

Perhaps an open ended room would be better and that pretty much does away with the soundproof idea. I know when I used to have my setup down there and you watched a movie the whole house would rumble.

I'll keep trying to come up with something, but I welcome the feedback. Thank you for your time!

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post #20 of 25 Old 08-07-2016, 02:54 PM
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Wasn't suggesting you touch the bathroom, nor make it a 1/2 bath room, but those water lines can be hidden by the soffit.
Soffits can be a design detail and can hide room issues such as plumbing. I have soffits at 80" in my room, and they hide HVAC,
plumbing, central vac and electrical wiring. One soffit also defines the false screen wall location in my space, as it hides an S curve
in the HVAC trunk.

I'd steer clear of a square room, due to nodal issues. Rectangular would be my preference. Wider and deeper are also nice pluses to have, if you
care about audio. You can make a smaller space look very nice, but the audio side of the equation gets tougher to do well.
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post #21 of 25 Old 08-07-2016, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Wasn't suggesting you touch the bathroom, nor make it a 1/2 bath room, but those water lines can be hidden by the soffit.
Soffits can be a design detail and can hide room issues such as plumbing. I have soffits at 80" in my room, and they hide HVAC,
plumbing, central vac and electrical wiring. One soffit also defines the false screen wall location in my space, as it hides an S curve
in the HVAC trunk.

I'd steer clear of a square room, due to nodal issues. Rectangular would be my preference. Wider and deeper are also nice pluses to have, if you
care about audio. You can make a smaller space look very nice, but the audio side of the equation gets tougher to do well.
One more floor plan I've put together that will increase the length of the room. However, one corner is slanted for a potential entrance.

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post #22 of 25 Old 08-08-2016, 02:50 PM
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Any idea what is the minimum code for hallway width where you are? That 2' 11" 5/16" might not quite cut it...

I do like the extra depth, but I wonder about the door swing if it is placed in that angled area?
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post #23 of 25 Old 08-09-2016, 04:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not to sure on the code. I'll have to look that up.

Perhaps two slightly angled walls in the rear to match each other and move the door to the side.
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post #24 of 25 Old 08-10-2016, 06:23 PM
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Greyskies did two angled back walls in his space. He might find your space interesting, and have some useful input.
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post #25 of 25 Old 08-12-2016, 04:00 AM
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Hi blobula,

Thanks for your PM and I think I might as well answer your questions here in your topic.

I think you got a nice space there, lots of potential! Subscribing to your thread .

I like the extra depth you get using the angled wall in your latest design. But, depending on what you would use the bedroom for, I would go for the route to maximise space and forego the hallway, just like Tedd suggested. Will the entrance to that bedroom really be high-traffic?

The extra width (and possibly depth too) that you get by doing this really helps with placement of seats and speakers and might be just enough to squeeze some extra in there. I love my own small room, but the downside is that it is "just right" for my GF and I. There's no real room to have other people over. So considering you originally wanted to fit in more seats, I'd try to maximise the space you have .

Screen size and distance:

We sit about 2.6-2.8m (depending on the position of our recliner) from a 102" 16:9 screen and wouldn't (can't really) go bigger in this setup. It's the biggest that I could comfortably fit in the room and viewing angle is about perfect. The leftover width on the side are used as corner bass traps and for speaker placement.

If there was room for an AT screen setup, I'd have gone wall-to-wall 2.35:1. In your case I believe you have that possibility if you don't choose for a hallway.

Soundproofing results:

Your question about soundproofing results is really a hard one to answer. I honestly don't know for sure what the results are. I didn't do a full soundproofing solution, and "treated" only the surfaces flanking my neighbours side. It did certainly help with keeping most noises (children playing) out of the HT, but I am not sure how much sound is still leaking to my neighbours. On the other hand I haven't had any complaints at all (nighttime movie watching at -5dB), so I presume all is well considering their side is the son's bedroom.

Sound from the HT does get around in the house though. Weakest point in the link are the doors and depending on how you will handle that, you will probably get similar results.


Hope this helps and good luck with your build !
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