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post #1 of 200 Old 01-07-2013, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, after lurking for almost 6 years, the missus and I are embarking on finishing our basement. We're adding a full bath, a legal bedroom, a craft room, and a home theater. Our house is about 9 years old, and we're pretty excited to finally get started. I've got a contractor coming out to cut the foundation wall for installing an egress window, and I'm trying to come up with the best design for the home theater. The two issues I face are relatively low ceilings (7' 8" from floor to joist) and my wife not really wanting a door in the theater room. I've included some sketchup drawings of what's currently in place.

I plan on using a projector and an AT screen. I don't think I have enough room for a riser, and my wife really would prefer a sofa type seating arrangement instead of theater chairs. I want to keep as much sound in the basement as possible, but I know that without a door, I might be fighting a losing battle. There is a door at the top of the stairs, but that's usually open, and with the basement finished, will probably be open all the time.

Please let me know what you think. I'll post pics in the next day or so, and hopefully I'll get the rest of my Sketchup renderings done so you have a better idea of what I'm aiming for.







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post #2 of 200 Old 01-07-2013, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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The second pic is focused on where the theater will be. I plan to put a false wall with the screen right in front of that I-beam. There will be a bedroom behind the theater, and a bathroom to the left of the stairs.
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post #3 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 08:54 AM
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Have you shown your wife any pictures of the theater seats in a love seat configuration? That might be a good compromise. With regard to the door, do you have any kids in the house? Do you intend to watch movies when there are other people in other parts of the house or when your wife is trying to sleep? What about watching a movie while the clothes are in the washer or the dishes are being run? Nothing ruins a good sob story like the clothes washer kicking on the agitate cycle just as the sparkly vampire professes his undying love and you miss it (miss might be the wrong word there), how about you can't hear it. There are a lot of good arguments to be made for soundproofing, and only a few against. Perhaps a nice wide door that can be left open except when you want the sound isolation. Lots of trim to dress up the casing to add to the visual appeal. Again, I'd look for a compromise that you both can live with there.

How many seats do you want in your room? How far does the beam drop below your 7'-8" ceiling? I'm interested to hear more about your plan. My first thought is you are giving up a lot of space behind your false wall. If it's not too low, you might move your screen further back or consider flipping the room 180 and put the screen on the other wall. That may nor may not work depending on the depth of the beam.

And finally, have you started considering HVAC? That's generally one of the biggest concerns early in a design.
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post #4 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying!

The two I-beams are roughly 11", so if I flipped the room, it would seem really cave like at the back. My flooring will steal about 3", and the ceiling another inch or so. The other beam is going to be where a studwall goes to divide off the bedroom, so I really wouldn't gain much space, especially after putting in the false wall for my screen.

I do have two kids, and we do a lot of our movie watching after they go to bed. My biggest concern isn't noise entering the room, it's low frequencies rumbling throughout the house. My understanding from reading here is that unless you can do a lot of soundproofing, it's not worth the $$ and effort. I won't have room for isolating the walls very well because of the staircase location, though I could probably decouple the ceiling. I do plan on putting bass traps in the corners behind the screenwall, and anything else that seems like it'll give me the most bang for the buck.

As for seating, I'd like to be able to have four at a minimum, plus maybe some bean bags for kids when there are parties/sleepovers. I'll have to look for a love-seat style arrangement. I'd love to have some type of reclining arrangement, but it'll obviously have to pass the WAF.

I'm having the HVAC guy and electrician come out next week to give me some ideas and estimates. Luckily I don't have any existing ducting that'll be in the way of this room, but I do need some relocated where the bedroom will be, and obviously want to make sure that all the rooms have enough heat/cooling. I'll probably need to have the electrician put in a sub panel, and if so, I may put a surge protector in that panel.
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post #5 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 03:38 PM
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Is that 11" below the the other joists? So floor to ceiling under the beams is 6'-9"? What type flooring are you planning that will require 3"?

If you are thinking one row of four, depending on the seats you pick, it might be tight along that 14' dimension. Looks like fusion lagoons' in a love seat configuration in the middle come in at 118". That will only leave around 51-52" for aisles. Off hand, I can't remember what the recommended minimum aisle width is. If you are going for two rows of two, then there's a whole other set of problems with your ceiling height. I wonder if putting the screen on the long wall and having a single row of seats would work well in this setup. Just thinking out loud at this point. Thinking outside the box and all that.

With regard to the sound isolation, I was just trying to give you some ammunition for your debate with SWMBO. Soundproofing works in both directions, while it's great to keep sound in so you can watch a movie without waking the kids, it's also beneficial in keeping sounds out so that you don't have to turn the volume up and down between quiet and loud scenes. Also, you may be aware of this already, but bass traps are for smoothing the in-room bass response, not for keeping the bass in the room.

For HVAC, unless you get extremely lucky, and the HVAC guys is a HT enthusiast, he will likely underestimate the HVAC requirements for a dedicated space. It's been suggested on these boards in the past to size the theater like a kitchen for heat loading, and you also need to keep the velocities below 250 fpm.

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post #6 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, the I-beams are 11 below the regular joists. So that back beam's height before any flooring etc is 6' 7"

For the flooring I'm going to put down 2" rigid foam topped by 1/2" OSB. Carpet and pad will add about another inch or so. The walls are also going to use rigid foam (either 2" where it'll work well or 1" where space is tight) then the normal 2x4 framing.

Spacing is going to be tight either way I spin it!

With the HVAC, it really depends on if the wife caves on a door. If the room is open to the rest of the basement, then airflow will be much easier.

There are a million details to worry about, and I really appreciate you pointing out different ideas.

I need to figure out what to do about that window too. I'm worried that with it and an open room, ambient light might be a pain with a projector. Too bad I can't get one of the new gigantic LCD displays into my basement.
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post #7 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 04:31 PM
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I assumed you were planning to plug and cover the window. It may compromise your soundproofing otherwise, although it's mentioned before that windows are bass traps smile.gif

I'm subscribed. Interested to see how things develop.

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post #8 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 05:00 PM
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Greedo,

What are the dimensions of the room? I might have missed them.

So you were planning to have the rear wall be along the beam? Is there any way to eat into the next room to make the room larger?

Like JPA said: The beam in the front being 11'' from the ceiling is significant. Mine is 9.75'' and it is wreaking havoc. I am doing 2 rows so if you only do one row there won't be an issue with the second row viewing angles. Flipping the room could solve this problem though. You won't care about the "cave" effect when the lights are off.

If you can convince your wife to put in a door it would be huge. I am just like you in that I want to do most of my movie watching after the kids go to bed. And I like it loud. Be prepared for constant frustration with the volume control if you do not have a door or soundproofing. And I think it is true what you said about the low frequencies and the difficulty keeping them contained. However, I find that if a moderate low rumble goes through the house it does not wake up my 18 month old boys if they have a fan on in the room. I would try to soundproof if it is within your budget to keep a low noise floor in the room as well. You can definitely take care of the high frequencies. I found Ted White (and John) at thesoundproofingcompany to be very helpful. I decided not to soundproof at first because of budget but I slowly came around. After hearing the results for myself in a soundproofed theater at the Omaha theater tour lately I am glad I did. If it is not in the budget then just be happy with what you have.

If you do not have any walls down there you can build them so they do not touch the foundation walls, then clip and channel the ceiling and you will be miles ahead.

Love the name of your theater!
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post #9 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 05:17 PM
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+1. Without a door, I would probably get a nice pair of headphones, and wire appropriately. Don't read that as me being a d-bag, I'm serious. That's the only way I watch movies after bedtime now. I got tired of the volume shuffle. It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing. I can't wait to get my theater done, lthough, and I'm going to be very disappointed if the soundproofing isn't good enough to let me watch a movie with the kids in bed.

Before I gave up, I'd certainly try to find a creative door approach that would please the wife.

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post #10 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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The wife insists that the window be left alone, though I can probably put some type of window covering/pull down. She wants to be able to have it light and airy when we're not watching a movie. I'll definitely be tinting it to cut down on the amount of light, though it doesn't get much direct light since our neighbor's garage is right next to it.

I do have a door at the top of the stairway, so hopefully that will help keep some of the sound in the room, though I know that's less than ideal, and really won't affect the low frequencies.

The room dimensions (not including the area behind the screenwall) will be roughly 14' x 13'. I can't steal room from the other area (past the 2nd i-Beam).

Here are some photos:



This is facing what will probably be the screen wall.



This is facing the "back wall" of the theater. The far window is being cut out and an egress window for the bedroom that'll be there.



This is facing the stairway. If i can't extend the wall and put in a door, I'll probably cut more of the wall away on both sides to open things up more.



And this shows the beam from hell. At least it'll give me a lot of room for speakers etc.
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post #11 of 200 Old 01-08-2013, 07:11 PM
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It really sounds like step one is to decide if you guys want a dedicated space, or a more general purpose entertainment room. Of course, there's nothing to say you can't have a window in a dedicated space, but it does raise some issues with sound containment and light control. You will also need to keep in mind where you will put your side surround if you cut that stairway wall back considerably.

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post #12 of 200 Old 01-09-2013, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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After looking at Roman's site, I think the Fusion Jive might be good. I can get four seats with the two in the middle in a love seat arrangement, taking either 109" or 115" depending on whether I have them curved. The Lagoon's would be 118" or 126". I'll need to sit in some chairs with the differing widths to see how comfortable they are. The diff is 3.25", and while that may not seem much, might be irritating down the road. The extra space required might make it unworkable though.
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post #13 of 200 Old 01-17-2013, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a two soundproofing questions. First, on one of my walls, I was thinking of using a staggered stud construction to decouple, but wouldn't the bottom and top plate defeat this? Second, I have a window that I can't cover up. How can decouple it so that I don't have flanking occurring there?
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post #14 of 200 Old 01-17-2013, 08:19 AM
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Using IB3 clips to attach the top plate will decouple the top. You can also put the drywall on clips and channel. On the wall. build a beefy air tight removable window plug that attaches to the decoupled wall. Just another note, staggered studs serve no purpose on exterior perimeter walls.
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post #15 of 200 Old 01-17-2013, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Big! I've managed to convince the wife that a door and sound isolation will be well worth it, so now I want to make sure I don't make dumb mistakes.

With IB3 clips, how do you handle firestops or whatever they're called? The picture below shows how I was going to originally connect the top plates, with the 1x8 sealing off the wall for code reasons. Obviously that would couple the wall to the joists. I'm not sure how to handle satisfy the code while still decoupling.



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post #16 of 200 Old 01-17-2013, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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About DD and Green Glue. I'm pretty tight on space. I don't know if I have the space to put two 5/8 sheets of rock up. I had originally planned on 1/2 rock. Would it be better to put up two 1/4" sheets with GG, or just one 1/2 board?
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post #17 of 200 Old 01-18-2013, 08:52 AM
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With sound proofing, as with all things in life, bigger is better. Having the thicker sheets of drywall would be better. Someone else might chime in here - but would three layers of 1/4" be possible? Still thinner than two 5/8", but with the additional layer of greenglue means additional soundproofing.
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post #18 of 200 Old 01-18-2013, 09:01 AM
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I'm not sure how three layers of 1/4" with GG between each layer would compare to two layers of 5/8" with GG as I have never seen lab data directly comparing those, but my gut tells me that you'd be losing something with the drastically reduced mass you'd get from the 1/4" assembly. Not to mention that it would be much more expensive to do it that way.

Regardless, the difference between one layer of 5/8" and two layers of 5/8" is 1.25" along the length of the room. I understand conserving space, but that is hardly significant.

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post #19 of 200 Old 01-18-2013, 12:23 PM
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1/4" drywall sandwiches will flop around. Double 5/8" would be better.

I'd rather see you use two sheets of 5/8" and 1 layer of damping, rather than three sheets of DW and 2 layers of damping. Save your cash...

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post #20 of 200 Old 01-19-2013, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
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The 2" foam is for moisture barrier as well as insulation. And with plywood on top, it'll feel more like a floor and less like concrete slab. I'll have to see how it'll work with two 1/2 sheets. 1/4 will be a lot of work for not much space saving. I'm not worried so much about the walls as I am the ceiling. I also plan to put rock and GG between my joists to add some mass to the floor above. I guess it's kind of silly to worry about 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch of ceiling.
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post #21 of 200 Old 01-19-2013, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Can anyone point me to some good threads or sites for learning about acoustical treatments? After reading a lot of the stuff at the Soundproofing Company, I think I understand the basics of sound isolation, but in room treatment is next on my list.
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post #22 of 200 Old 01-19-2013, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I also spoke with a contractor who's helping me with the bathroom install. He said not to worry too much about the fireblocking. I'll probably do it around the basement, just bypassing the theater. He did ask me about the I-Beam that'll be right behind my false wall. After I explained a lot of the sound isolation techniques that I hope/plan to use, he pointed at the beam and asked how I was going to decouple that!

I think the only thing I can really do is to build a soffit around it that doesn't touch it at all, and then hope that the soffit will absorb some of the low frequencies... Ugh.
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post #23 of 200 Old 01-19-2013, 06:14 PM
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Soffits are not the best to absorb low frequencies. I wouldn't even consider that a factor in the grand scheme of things.

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post #24 of 200 Old 01-19-2013, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm screwed? That beam touches about 10 joists, so any low frequencies will hit it and then propagate throughout the whole house.
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post #25 of 200 Old 01-20-2013, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greedo View Post

I also spoke with a contractor who's helping me with the bathroom install. He said not to worry too much about the fireblocking. I'll probably do it around the basement, just bypassing the theater. He did ask me about the I-Beam that'll be right behind my false wall. After I explained a lot of the sound isolation techniques that I hope/plan to use, he pointed at the beam and asked how I was going to decouple that!

I think the only thing I can really do is to build a soffit around it that doesn't touch it at all, and then hope that the soffit will absorb some of the low frequencies... Ugh.

Don't worry too much about it? Wow.

Mineral fiber and fiberglass batts are both approved for use as fireblocking. Just tightly fit the area between the wall-ceiling connection with either and you're compliant.

If you decouple the GWB from the beam with clips and do the two layers of drywall with GG I think you'll be fine. Many of us have areas like that.

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post #26 of 200 Old 01-20-2013, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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GWB?
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post #27 of 200 Old 01-20-2013, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greedo View Post

GWB?

Sorry, Gypsum Wall Board.

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post #28 of 200 Old 01-20-2013, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't see how I can use clips with this beam since it's steel, not wood.

I think you're right about the contractor though, reading more online I can't see how it isn't going to be enforced. In his defense, he was a plumbing contractor, but still..
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post #29 of 200 Old 01-20-2013, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greedo View Post

I don't see how I can use clips with this beam since it's steel, not wood.

I think you're right about the contractor though, reading more online I can't see how it isn't going to be enforced. In his defense, he was a plumbing contractor, but still..

You can either block out between the flanges with wood or secure wood to the bottom flange (but you lose head height with that method).

Assuming you pack out between the flanges, you would attach the clips to the wood blocks, then use a 20ga angle ("L") or a block of wood (ie a 2x2) to create the bottom corner. The drywall below the beam would attach to that, not the beam.

A good ramset will secure wood to the beam (ie a Hilti, do NOT try with some cheap Home Depot gun), or you can use TEk screws, or you could just glue 2x with PL, use a clamp to secure both sides at the same time. Remember, you only need a block every 2'.. you don't need a continuous piece of wood the entire length.

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post #30 of 200 Old 01-20-2013, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim View Post

.........

Mineral fiber and fiberglass batts are both approved for use as fireblocking. Just tightly fit the area between the wall-ceiling connection with either and you're compliant........

Am I reading this correctly that fiberglass batts in the wall cavities is sufficient for fire blocking?

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