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post #1 of 32 Old 01-02-2014, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings all. After several other failed attempts to begin building, one of my Christmas presents from my wife was the go-ahead to actually get going on my project that I've been thinking about and envisioning since we got married 3.5 years ago. We moved into our house 2 years ago and have an unfinished basement. Up until now I have had a "theater" set up in our lower level, but it is basically just a projector and 7.1 sound. No wall treatments, no light control, and less than ideal room dimensions. It still got all the oohs and ahs from friends and family, but it is not what I want. I don't have the mega-budget like many builds are blessed with on these forums, but I still desire a very nice room that hopefully will inspire the others who are building on a tighter budget. So, that being said, let's get into some details.

Current gear:
Marantz sr5007
Polk Monitor 70 FR/L
Polk CS2 Center
Polk Monitor 40 surround and surround back
HSU VTF 15h
Epson 3010 projector

Desired upgrades for the build:
New speakers to hide within columns, still undecided
HTPC running XBMC
2nd HSU VTF 15h
Upgraded 3d projector

Our house is a 5 level split. Theater room will be built in our basement level, which has foundation wall floor to ceiling on 3 of the 4 walls, and half of the 4th wall. I have free reign over the space with the exception of one corner that houses the furnace, water heater, etc. Due to budget limits, I don't plan to do much soundproofing beyond typical insulation between ceiling and kitchen upstairs. I know it's not great, but I'll take what I can get. My biggest challenge up to this point has been figuring our how to deal with the layout, and brings up my first request for help. Below you will see a layout of the untouched room, followed by the first layout design. It's not the ideal rectangle theater builders strive for, but I would like it to be as big of a space as possible.


Basic Layout of the space


First layout design



What do you guys think? I am more than willing to make changes. Hopefully more sets of expert eyes will see a layout possibility that I haven't thought of. Thanks for any help you guys can offer! I am looking forward to getting this build started!
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post #2 of 32 Old 01-02-2014, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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One thing that is not included in the layouts is a support beam located in the middle of the LVL beam. Is it possible to add several more LVL beams and remove the support beam? Or am I stuck with a beam right in the middle of my room?
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post #3 of 32 Old 01-03-2014, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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After doing some more research regarding that support post and beam, it seems unsafe to redistribute the weight supported by the post. Therefore, I have rearranged the layout and will have to deal with the post being in the room. I have attached another layout with dimensions for review. Let me know what you guys think. Any input - positive or negative - is appreciated. I would rather be told I am an idiot in this stage instead of hearing it at the end of the project. Thanks again!

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post #4 of 32 Old 01-08-2014, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Got started with some demo tonight. Cleaned up the room a bit and moved things around to have more work space. Then took down the existing 24" OC framing and insulation to star fresh and new. Got 1.5" XPS foamboard to attach to the exterior walls. It was a bit surreal to finally be starting work down there, even though it was just tearing stuff down. Can't wait to start putting it back together! Pics below of the starting "canvas" and then post-demo.






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post #5 of 32 Old 01-09-2014, 10:58 AM
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Keep up the great work and the pics.

Epson Pro Cinema 6030 | OPPO BDP - 103 | Pioneer Elite VSX 70 | Definitive Technology PM 1000 (L/R) | PC 2000 (C) | SR8040BP's (7.1) | Rythmik LV12R | Carada Criterion Brilliant White 118" | URC MX 780 & MRF 350 | ATS Acoustic Panels | Sanus AV Rack | DirecTv | Roku 2 | Monoprice 12AWG |
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post #6 of 32 Old 01-10-2014, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got my XPS foam board up and the bottom caulked against the floor and seams taped. What is the best way to seal the top edge?
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post #7 of 32 Old 01-12-2014, 01:55 PM
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I used this to seal mines up

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post #8 of 32 Old 01-28-2014, 09:31 PM - Thread Starter
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So I'm near done with the framing stage, but have one area I'd like some advice/input.

Because the entrance to the theater is at the bottom of a staircase, I needed to build a platform to match up with the bottom step so to make it easier to open the door. Essentially with the way it was previously, if the door was shut, you had to stop at the second to last step and bend down to turn the handle. Now, the platform will match the last step and will allow me to push the door in a bit so that there is roughly a foot and a half to two foot landing allowing easier door access.

What is the best way to secure this to the floor? Is it as easy as just using Liquid Nail between the wood and concrete? Also, once its down, I plan to put down 1/2" XPS in the cavities on the floor, then pink fluffy on that. Is this correct? Or is there a better way to do it? Let me know what the experts think. Below are some pictures for reference.


Platform in place with XPS in cavities and conduit run for step light wires.

Pink fluffy filled

platform sitting on top.

All pieces are unfinished and can be changed easily at this point. Let me know if this looks right or if I should make a change. More pictures and the framing to come tomorrow evening when I have some more time to get things cleaned up a bit. Thanks!
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post #9 of 32 Old 01-29-2014, 06:20 PM
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Ever consider going narrow, with the AT screen?

That rear stair landing could be braced cross width and the wall beside the stairs could be removed. Some of the stairs could be
disguised by a soffit. Then stick the av rack out of the room.

How tall is the basement?

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post #10 of 32 Old 01-29-2014, 06:29 PM
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and on second thought, maybe flipping the room hides the stairs and all, up front....

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post #11 of 32 Old 01-29-2014, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Tedd!

My plans have actually changed a bit from the floor plan above. I didn't really see a workaround to get rid of the small wall to the side of the stairs as it is supporting another flight of stairs. I now plan to use that wall as the AT screen wall, which after framing and drywall gives me roughly 20 inches from wall to screen. Tight fit, but given the challenges of small space and obstructions, I think it made the most sense. I finished the step tonight and will post pictures of that with the permit floor plan.
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post #12 of 32 Old 01-29-2014, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
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There is 8'3" from cement floor to bottom of floor joists above.
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post #13 of 32 Old 01-30-2014, 03:09 AM
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I saw that wall might be adding a little bit of stiffness to the landing area but that was just the cheapest way for the builder
to do so. The floor joist could be sistered to replace the stiffness and you could actually add another beam beneath, that
drops below the bottom of the joists and a soffit up top could disguise the beam.

I hear you about tight spaces. Your room is actually pretty spacious compared to mine. I have zero complaints about
my small room as every obstacle has become a feature.

Looking forward to seeing what your new plan is.
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post #14 of 32 Old 01-30-2014, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the "permit plan" and the most recent photos. Framing is 98% finished. Just need to finish the entry door rough-in. I'm not a fan of entering on the screen wall, but I'll have to live with it.

AT Screen wall will be at the bottom left, rom the outside wall to the staircase.


Step platform complete. 2x6 from on top of #30 felt underlayment. 1"XPS between "joists", pink fluffy, two 1/2" layers OSB, one 3/4" OSB, each with felt underlayment between. It is rock solid and has absolutely no thud sound when jumping on it.


Looking toward screen wall from back wall.


Standing in snack bar area towards front.


In front screen wall corner looking towards back of the room.


Standing in front of the window towards the snack bar/door to mechanical room. My rack will be in the wall between the snack bar and the door.
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post #15 of 32 Old 01-31-2014, 06:06 AM
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Why not just finish the door in the same wall fabric as the AT space? And use drywall J channel as a flat
finish trim for the door opening (no wood trim). There's even door handles with a black finish out there.

Why not extend the entry landing to room width, so it acts as a stage?

I'd also get rid of that wall up front, in the AT space by sistering the floor joists, and creating a soffit over the
screen wall. This would support the side of the stair landing just fine.

I also have to wonder if sistering those rear floor joists would allow you to tuck that drain at the back of the room up
into the joists cavity?

just throwing ideas at you...
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post #16 of 32 Old 01-31-2014, 09:23 AM
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Congrats on a good start... Just curious after seing your floor plan and stair layout... how hard is it making that turn in the stairwell to get full size sheet goods into the basement?

My Basement HT Construction ~ Faster than the speed of Dark

"I've cut that piece 3 times and its still too short..."
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post #17 of 32 Old 01-31-2014, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

Why not extend the entry landing to room width, so it acts as a stage?

I'd also get rid of that wall up front, in the AT space by sistering the floor joists, and creating a soffit over the
screen wall. This would support the side of the stair landing just fine.

I am a pretty handy DIY guy, but by no means a professional. It looks to me like that wall is supporting the stairs and may be resting on footings. Can you tell from the pictures? (Sorry for quality, cell phone pics in a hurry)




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Originally Posted by KNKKNK View Post

Congrats on a good start... Just curious after seing your floor plan and stair layout... how hard is it making that turn in the stairwell to get full size sheet goods into the basement?

It's no problem at all, other than its usually by myself. My brother has already volunteered for sheet rock day though, so that's nice. The room is 2 levels below entry level in a split level, but each level has 20 feet out from staircase to opposite wall. This pic is from my current "theater" room looking downstairs to the dedicated space. More than enough room to turn the corner.
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post #18 of 32 Old 02-01-2014, 05:13 AM
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That is exactly what you think it is. It is both the cheapest solution and a logical solution, since most people would hide the
stair intrusion in the space, in a closet anyways.

It could be re-engineered. Whether it is worth it, is debatable. Are you pulling the screen wall forward along with the door?

I see why you laid out your side surrounds that way, but are you going to use them 7.1? That might be a potential issue.
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post #19 of 32 Old 02-01-2014, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post

.
Why not extend the entry landing to room width, so it acts as a stage?

I do plan to extend the step platform across as the future stage, but was going to wait for sheetrock so that I could leave a gap between stage a wall. the step needed to be built now so I could frame the door on top of it. Was almost done with that...and ran out of wood. Picked up some more so I'll hopefully be finished with framing this weekend and start electrical next week. *Fingers crossed*
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That is exactly what you think it is. It is both the cheapest solution and a logical solution, since most people would hide the
stair intrusion in the space, in a closet anyways.

It could be re-engineered. Whether it is worth it, is debatable. Are you pulling the screen wall forward along with the door?

I see why you laid out your side surrounds that way, but are you going to use them 7.1? That might be a potential issue.

That was what I was afraid of, and the reason I hadn't planned to change it. Same reason I have a silly support post in my room, not in the budget to make those kinds of changes.

I'm not decided yet on whether to keep to wall as far back as possible, or bring it forward. I am leaning towards leaving it as far back so I don't surrender any more floor space and seating distance only to hide more space behind a screen. By not having a 25' long room, I can't be as generous with space, even if it's only a few inches.

Those rectangles on the floorplan represent possible columns. I would house the surrounds in the back set, then place the rears on the back wall. Front set of columns would just be for visual, but may be taken out. Still debating on a fairly flush mounted sconce on them or just the speakers inside. Right now I am considering replacing my Polks with HSU inwalls to save on space.
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post #20 of 32 Old 02-09-2014, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Had the inspector by on Friday to check the framing and gave me the go ahead. I was pretty nervous about it because this is my first time doing a project like this and all my knowledge is either what I consider to be common sense or watching/reading others do it. After hearing horror stories about people having inspectors taking out random screws in places to make sure they are the proper length, etc., I didn't know what to expect. He was in and out in ten minutes. Perhaps the 3:30 Friday afternoon time slot had him ready to get an early start to the weekend. smile.gif

Anyways, I was able to ask him a few questions and HVAC and what was needed. I got that figured out and after 3 trips to buy/return/rebuy supplies, I got what I needed and hooked up. It was a pain to try to find a way to tap in to the existing system as all the convenient spots were already taken or unusable. First time doing any HVAC work and while I can't say that I hated it, I wouldn't want to do it every day either. Two supplies on one side of the room ceiling, one return opposite near the floor. I think it will do a good job of controlling the room.

As it sits now, framing is basically done with the exception of the stage and riser after drywall is up. HVAC can be considered done as well. Plan for my free time this week is to potentially start electrical, but may resort to just continuing research on electrical plan and execution, DIY speaker upgrades, final décor plan, etc. We will be on vacation next week so I don't know if I want to be in the middle of a big project.

Here are some photos of where it stands now.

Standing on entry step looking toward back corner

Standing in mechanical room door looking towards side wall. Screen wall on left.

In snack bar towards entry/screen wall. (I hate that post)

In back corner. Snack bar far left. Media rack will be between snack bar and mech. room door.

Corner of screen wall where right channel will be.



Thanks for looking!biggrin.gif
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post #21 of 32 Old 03-14-2014, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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It's been over a month since last update. Unfortunately not a lot has happened in that time. Vacation and side work had been in the way. I was able to get my HVAC done, as well as electrical. Electric inspector signed off on everything first try yesterday. I was pumped about that since I had never done anything electrical and felt like some of the stuff I did was fairly advanced. Last thing before I can start closing up is to get one more inspection for HVAC and insulation, which leads me to a question for you all.

I called the local inspector to find out what the requirements are for insulation and vapor barriers. I'm in Minnesota so temperatures vary from -40 - +100. There are other threads here about the code for MN being poly on both sides of insulation between studs. When I told the inspector that I put 1.5" XPS foam on outside walls, then framed around that, he told me not to put anymore insulation in... just to sheetrock over the studs without any fiberglass or vapor barrier. I find that very strange and never heard of it from an insulation/climate control aspect. I know that I cannot do as he says and leaves all the wall studs open in a home theater; what a headache from an acoustic standpoint. What should I do? Call a different inspector and get a second opinion? Just wait for the inspection on Monday, get cleared, then fill with fiberglass and cover with sheetrock? Any Input is much appreciated! Thanks

Here are some pictures of where the room stands now.






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post #22 of 32 Old 03-15-2014, 03:48 AM
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I think the inspector is telling you that you have met vapor barrier and insulation requirements.

If you fill the stud cavity with insulation, you have just built a very cost effective high performance insulated wall.
That is what I have in my basement. with similar temperature swings. Foamed rim joists and the tapped XPS panels
create the vapor barrier, so the insulation is not faced with a plastic moisture barrier.

Are you sure about the poly on both sides of insulation? That is a recipe for trouble. Moisture that gets into that wall has no way to
dry out.
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post #23 of 32 Old 03-15-2014, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Are you sure about the poly on both sides of insulation? That is a recipe for trouble. Moisture that gets into that wall has no way to
dry out.

I agree that that would be great cause for problems. However, that's the way my basement was before I tore it out when I started this project, and I have seen other posts in the forums regarding MN'S ridiculous idea of handling vapor barriers. I think I'll just leave it with xps for the inspection, as that is what I was told by inspector, then stuff with fiberglass. Should I then skip a poly vapor barrier between fiberglass and sheetrock, eliminating acting the double vapor varrier?
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post #24 of 32 Old 03-15-2014, 09:09 AM
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I would (and did) skip the vapor barrier the fiberglass insulation and sheetrock. And do the fiberglass insulation installation,
after inspection.
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post #25 of 32 Old 03-18-2014, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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If I am not dealing with any soundproofing, is there any reason why I should be waiting to build my stage and riser until after drywall is up? Seems like most wait so that they aren't touching the main structure. Even without DD +GG, is there still going to be a benefit of waiting?
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post #26 of 32 Old 03-18-2014, 03:14 PM
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It is a hell of a lot easier to drywall if the irregular shapes of a stage and riser aren't in the way. Ever try to notch a piece of drywall to fit a stair? You'll need to do that for the platform at the bottom of your stairs. Gonna need to add some blocking to anchor the right hand side at the bottom, One other reason is if you or the next owner decide to re-purpose the room it would be nice to have complete walls.

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post #27 of 32 Old 03-18-2014, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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One other reason is if you or the next owner decide to re-purpose the room it would be nice to have complete walls.

That was one of the things that I had considered. I will probably hold off until drywall so it can be removed without much destruction to the room.

Another question regarding the stage though. Would it be possible/recommended to only have the stage built in front of the AT screen, leaving the space behind the screen the normal floor. Then, building small platforms filled with sand for the speakers and subs? If I can avoid building the stage all the way back to the wall, where it will never be seen, and filling it all with sand, that would save some money that could go elsewhere. Thanks.
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post #28 of 32 Old 04-12-2014, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Things are moving along with the build. Nearly done with drywall and mud. Goal is to get final coat on in the morning and sanded by end of the day, which means primer Sunday. I always think things will go faster beforehand though, so hopefully I am not overestimating my ability. Ill get some pics up when I get a chance to cleanup some of the sheetrock dust. Its amazing how getting to this stage gets your excitement level up. The room actually takes shape. After looking at my plans on paper for a couple months and wooden studs, to actually see the 3d room with walls is awesome. I was worried at first that it would be a small room. It is compared to many others on the forum, but I think it will be just right for us.

I was able to pick up some Berkline 12011's from a fellow AVS member this past week. They are practically new, power recline, in a |O|OO| configuration. I would have preferred 3 straight across, but the price is right and it will save a little width. Also, the wifey wanted a loveseat, so its a win win I guess. Pics of those tomorrow as well.

Off to bed, its a full weekend of work in the room. Hoping to get a lot accomplished!
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post #29 of 32 Old 04-12-2014, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Will finish drywall and priming tomorrow. I think it has taken me longer than it should have. Being a perfectionist, I am trying for the smoothest finish I can get, even though almost all of it will be covered up by wood or panels. Oh well, its good practice for the next project I guess. Here are pictures as promised. Please excuse the mess, I didn't quite finish sanding yet so I haven't cleaned up the dust.

Berkline 12011's. All with power recline and tray tables. I was very happy to find these from a fellow AVS member locally. Prior to these being available, I was considering a road trip to Michigan, Milwaukee, or Des Moines, as those were the nearest locations people were selling their seats. I ended up driving 45 minutes each way to get these. Nearly new condition.


From back corner looking to entrance and screen wall.


From screen wall corner towards seating.


Looking towards snack bar.



Thanks for looking!
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post #30 of 32 Old 04-13-2014, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I plan to put Platon underlayment covered with OSB as a subfloor in the room. Should I lay that throughout the whole room and the build stage and riser on top of that, or build stage and riser first, then put the subfloor up to that?
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