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Old 08-22-2014, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Home Theatre Room Design

I'm in the process of designing my custom built home. In my plans I have had the builders include in the design a HT Room in the basement. Room will be 21 X 14 X 8. The perfect dimensions!!! I was planning on having the builder finish the room at a cost of $9000 and change. However it just occurred to me that the finish room at the price, probably will not include sound proofing, acoustic panels and all the other things to make the HT a HT as opposed to a just a finished room. Or would I be better off using the $9000 in another matter to finish the room

I recently came across the website cinemashop.com, and while I have not had a chance to price and compare their website or to fully examine what their packages include, I did notice that they have packages that range from 5K-38K. While I highly doubt I will be buy package from them, it does serve as a starting point.

So my questions are do I let the builder finish the room or do I just have them leave the space and hire a separate contract to finish the HT? Do I let the builders finish the room, but work in conjucntion with them to sound proof the room myself with products that I purchase and then let them hang the dry wall. If I do choose to work with the construction team, where exactly do you recommend I go to purchase items, such as sound proofing materials, acoustics panels etc. As a matter of fact, is there a good guide to assist with a complete HTPC Build.

Thanks
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:25 PM
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You are right. Really what you are paying for are the basics. Overhead lighting, Drywall, outlets, paint, and carpet. Builders usually all do things one way. Even if you say it is a "theater", that may only mean that they add wall sconce lighting and put speaker wire in the walls. If you want to do the best&cheapest soundproofing, don't let the builder do it. Since you are posting here, you are at least interested in the concept of soundproofing and panels, so that may be an indicator do hold off. Seeing as it is a custom house, unless it is something you have to have done when you move in, I'd suggest leaving that space unfinished. Try to think of other things too, like HVAC, or where your equipment will go. Because you will need power there, and room to store it. You may want to pre-wire CAT6 in certain places or have conduit put in from the areas of your house where your power or network feeds into that space. It isn't always just the space of the interior of the room itself, but the cooling of the room, the doorway, where your equipment rack might go, if you have a projector hanging and where, etc.

Now... all of that aside, some people are also perfectly happy with a normal room with a projector on the wall and surround sound. It definitely costs a lot less! I'd really stop and think what you really want out of the space and what you would be willing to pay for it. As you are building the house now, it is cheaper to do nothing at this point than to pay to build something you will just rip out.

You have enough posts here that I'd say you should have a pretty good idea of things. Read a few build threads, and you will see what goes into the process and what options people normally have. Sites like soundproofingcompany show examples of different levels of soundproofing. The home theater book by WarrenP also has a lot of stuff crammed into one place. For soundproofing though, usually basic insulation + some sort of decoupling (such as staggered studs, double walls, or clips and channel) + double drywall with green glue is the easy standard.
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Old 08-22-2014, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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You are right. Really what you are paying for are the basics. Overhead lighting, Drywall, outlets, paint, and carpet. Builders usually all do things one way. Even if you say it is a "theater", that may only mean that they add wall sconce lighting and put speaker wire in the walls. If you want to do the best&cheapest soundproofing, don't let the builder do it. Since you are posting here, you are at least interested in the concept of soundproofing and panels, so that may be an indicator do hold off. Seeing as it is a custom house, unless it is something you have to have done when you move in, I'd suggest leaving that space unfinished. Try to think of other things too, like HVAC, or where your equipment will go. Because you will need power there, and room to store it. You may want to pre-wire CAT6 in certain places or have conduit put in from the areas of your house where your power or network feeds into that space. It isn't always just the space of the interior of the room itself, but the cooling of the room, the doorway, where your equipment rack might go, if you have a projector hanging and where, etc.

Now... all of that aside, some people are also perfectly happy with a normal room with a projector on the wall and surround sound. It definitely costs a lot less! I'd really stop and think what you really want out of the space and what you would be willing to pay for it. As you are building the house now, it is cheaper to do nothing at this point than to pay to build something you will just rip out.

You have enough posts here that I'd say you should have a pretty good idea of things. Read a few build threads, and you will see what goes into the process and what options people normally have. Sites like soundproofingcompany show examples of different levels of soundproofing. The home theater book by WarrenP also has a lot of stuff crammed into one place. For soundproofing though, usually basic insulation + some sort of decoupling (such as staggered studs, double walls, or clips and channel) + double drywall with green glue is the easy standard.
Hey thanks for the feedback. I see we are neighbors. I live in woodbridge too, on RT 1 near the Walmart. It seems as thought while I may not have the builder finish the room, I should have them add a HVAC vent in the room and tons of out lets. I guess the question is, can these things be added without the room being framed. The builder does cat 5...i didn't even know CAT 6 existed. I'm going to make sure I ask for that.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by stamina1914 View Post
Hey thanks for the feedback. I see we are neighbors. I live in woodbridge too, on RT 1 near the Walmart. It seems as thought while I may not have the builder finish the room, I should have them add a HVAC vent in the room and tons of out lets. I guess the question is, can these things be added without the room being framed. The builder does cat 5...i didn't even know CAT 6 existed. I'm going to make sure I ask for that.
Hey neighbor! Ok, now you might want to also stop again. While true that you will want HVAC and outlets, you likely won't want the builder to do those either. For instance, if you are going to soundproof your room, HVAC is a common place where sound exists. Those things are usually all planned out, otherwise the sound will exist through your HVAC vent and right into the rest of the main level of your house. There are more things to consider than that. Outlets as well. Putting outlets on the walls means places to cut holes with drywall in the future, and you might not want them where you put them now.

You're in the process of building, so of course you feel rushed, but planning is where you need to be. Figure out how you want everything laid out, where things will go. What is your budget? Some things later are very difficult if all surrounding walls are finished. If for instance your theater room space is adjacent to an unfinished area like a storage space that could be a big plus for you.

I'd suggest posting a floorplan, and then where things are, like the electrical breaker boxes, the HVAC system, etc. Then what your theater budget is and people will be able to provide more input.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by damelon View Post
Hey neighbor! Ok, now you might want to also stop again. While true that you will want HVAC and outlets, you likely won't want the builder to do those either. For instance, if you are going to soundproof your room, HVAC is a common place where sound exists. Those things are usually all planned out, otherwise the sound will exist through your HVAC vent and right into the rest of the main level of your house. There are more things to consider than that. Outlets as well. Putting outlets on the walls means places to cut holes with drywall in the future, and you might not want them where you put them now.

You're in the process of building, so of course you feel rushed, but planning is where you need to be. Figure out how you want everything laid out, where things will go. What is your budget? Some things later are very difficult if all surrounding walls are finished. If for instance your theater room space is adjacent to an unfinished area like a storage space that could be a big plus for you.

I'd suggest posting a floorplan, and then where things are, like the electrical breaker boxes, the HVAC system, etc. Then what your theater budget is and people will be able to provide more input.
Well I guess I should perhaps start over. I know what I want in a HT, I want what I see in some to those pics, folks with an actually movie theatre in their house....a dedicated room with a cinema experience. I also know that I do not want to disturb the rest of the house. I do know that with the current floor plans, the with the exception of the door and an additional 3ft of space, the entire HT would be surround buy one side of storage space and the other 3 will be the earth. Above the HT will be the Master Bedroom and MT Bath.

So I know what I want, but getting there and how to get there is where I need help. For example, I did not think for a second about not having an HVAC vent, but then this would affect the sound proofing of the room, So how do you get around the sound proofing of a room and a A/V rack? Where do I purchase the material to sound proof. etc

Thanks
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:18 AM
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How far along are are you?

Planning stage is most vital aspect of build.....

I disagree partly with some recommendations......if you have a flexible contractor who is willing to work with you, you can save yourself time and effort working in conjunction with GC to finish framing, electrical, low volt wiring, HVAC, etc.........the biggest labor intensive aspect of build. Once shell is done, you can do rest of room on your own on the cheep.

Problem is finding that contractor who's willing to work and listen to you........totally custom home building now seems a foreign idea. Heck. I dumped 1st GC mid-stream in planning stage due to guy not following my directions and ideas. Finally found a GC at church who would listen, accept unique construction requirements, and felt confident in working side by side with me.

If you can't find that GC with fore-mentioned qualities............then forget about it......leave room as a shell and figure at least two years to finish!

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Old 08-23-2014, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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How far along are are you?

Planning stage is most vital aspect of build.....

I disagree partly with some recommendations......if you have a flexible contractor who is willing to work with you, you can save yourself time and effort working in conjunction with GC to finish framing, electrical, low volt wiring, HVAC, etc.........the biggest labor intensive aspect of build. Once shell is done, you can do rest of room on your own on the cheep.

Problem is finding that contractor who's willing to work and listen to you........totally custom home building now seems a foreign idea. Heck. I dumped 1st GC mid-stream in planning stage due to guy not following my directions and ideas. Finally found a GC at church who would listen, accept unique construction requirements, and felt confident in working side by side with me.

If you can't find that GC with fore-mentioned qualities............then forget about it......leave room as a shell and figure at least two years to finish!
Ok Check. I think I have a contractor, that will work with me....at least for a price, but what I do not is what you mentioned, what questions to ask. In other words, I know what I want, but what I don't know how to get there and what questions I should as the GC to get there. These questions are what I am looking for to ask/tell my GC.

For example, I new from research, that I need a room that was 20x14x8 for the best acoustics. If I didn't tell him that then the default media room would have been a square. So now that I have the room size set, what is the next question or direction I need to tell my GC?

Thanks
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:45 AM
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Here are some topics you need to discuss with your contractor, there is a good chance he will either stare at you like a deer in the headlights, or tell you none of this is necessary. You need to be prepared to educate an uneducated contractor on theater building techniques and not give in to the "well I've never done it that way, TRUST ME, my way will work"

Sound isolation requirements
for the space and construction methods to be used to acheive your goals. these may include

Isolated framing methods
Insulation
Clips and channel isolation
Extra massive and damped drywall, two layers of 5/8 drywall with Green Glue for example
Sound Attenuating duct work and isolation from the rest of the house
Beefy door with perimeter seals
All wall and ceiling penetrations (Lights, wall switches, outlets etc) addressed with backer boxes or Putty pads.
Stages, Soffits and riser built after drywall is in place

Pre wiring requirements

speakers, lighting, projector etc, use of conduit for at least the projector signal feeds (cable standards change over the years)

HVAC

Sealed sound isolated Theaters are high load areas and must have dedicated supplies and returns to handle th load. The velocity of air through a vent should not exceed a velocity of 250 ft per min this usually means over-sized vents for both the supply and returns. Too small and they will be noisey.

Interior finishes and acoustical treatments

TBD
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Old 08-23-2014, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Wink

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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
Here are some topics you need to discuss with your contractor, there is a good chance he will either stare at you like a deer in the headlights, or tell you none of this is necessary. You need to be prepared to educate an uneducated contractor on theater building techniques and not give in to the "well I've never done it that way, TRUST ME, my way will work"

Sound isolation requirements
for the space and construction methods to be used to acheive your goals. these may include

Isolated framing methods
Insulation
Clips and channel isolation
Extra massive and damped drywall, two layers of 5/8 drywall with Green Glue for example
Sound Attenuating duct work and isolation from the rest of the house
Beefy door with perimeter seals
All wall and ceiling penetrations (Lights, wall switches, outlets etc) addressed with backer boxes or Putty pads.
Stages, Soffits and riser built after drywall is in place

Pre wiring requirements

speakers, lighting, projector etc, use of conduit for at least the projector signal feeds (cable standards change over the years)

HVAC

Sealed sound isolated Theaters are high load areas and must have dedicated supplies and returns to handle th load. The velocity of air through a vent should not exceed a velocity of 250 ft per min this usually means over-sized vents for both the supply and returns. Too small and they will be noisey.

Interior finishes and acoustical treatments

TBD
Or since you are in NVA like me, I should just call you
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Old 08-23-2014, 10:21 AM
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My dance card for hands on construction is full for the remainder of 2014, I do however have time for both on-site and Skype teleconferencing consultation. I can train your contractor assuming they are open minded and can communicate well..
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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My dance card for hands on construction is full for the remainder of 2014, I do however have time for both on-site and Skype teleconferencing consultation. I can train your contractor assuming they are open minded and can communicate well..
Do you have a website?
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Old 08-23-2014, 12:19 PM
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No but I have a computer, if you want to see my work visit the links in my signature, the last three were selected as Home Theaters of the Month.

Last edited by BIGmouthinDC; 08-23-2014 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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No but I have a computer, if you want to see my work visit the links in my signature, the last three were selected as Home Theaters of the Month.
So in the building the room, how do you work around/with the HVAC do you put in the room or not?
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:29 PM
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very carefully...............

actually since I haven't seen your space it is hard to say, many times they are tucked in a side soffit and one is build on the other side to balance the room, Size and location are big determining factors.

If you want better feedback, post a floor plan of the space and some pictures
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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very carefully...............

actually since I haven't seen your space it is hard to say, many times they are tucked in a side soffit and one is build on the other side to balance the room, Size and location are big determining factors.

If you want better feedback, post a floor plan of the space and some pictures
What's your email address, all I have is a PDF.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:24 PM
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PM sent when I get it I will convert to a JPG and post here.
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Old 08-24-2014, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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PM sent when I get it I will convert to a JPG and post here.
I sent you the e-mail. I look forward to your response.

Best
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Old 08-24-2014, 05:20 PM
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raw space:

Here is a shot of the raw space I included the adjacent room for discussion.

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Old 08-24-2014, 05:49 PM
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OK the good news.

it is 14-1 x 21-1
no apparent windows to cover
no support columns noted in the room
Room for two rows of seating, the rear should be elevated.

then the not so good news

with out knowing more specifics of the finish specifications $9000 for a builder grade plain jane finished room is on the high side. That is $30 sq ft.

I hate the door placement it is tucked right at the corner, if you wanted a stage it has to go on the far end, with a 36 inch in swinging door that requires at least a 38 inch aisle on the side and that limits your rear row seating configuration a bit, Best case solution is to shrink the furnace room and slide the door further away from the corner, if you had at least two feet up front (left of the door) you could do a nice stage and false wall with an acoustically transparent screen and all front speakers hidden. Three feet better.

You could angle the door at a 45 degree and use an out-swinging door, not everyone considers and out-swinging door acceptable for a theater space (it could get blocked on the outside) some inspectors frown on the notion. But that would decrease your aisle space requirement directly inside the door, maybe down to 26-28 inches.

Sound Isolation has two problem areas., you will probably be a single layer of drywall away from the furnace and they can be noisy. If they use the only 1/2 inch drywall on the market it will be that Ultra lightweight. This room is directly under the master bedroom and ceramic tile master bath. If you want to crank it at night and the Mrs. wants quiet time, you will be wearing headphones. Both of these can be mitigated by aggressive sound isolation building techniques.

where is the duct work that concerned you?

Last edited by BIGmouthinDC; 08-24-2014 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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OK the good news.

it is 14-1 x 21-1
no apparent windows to cover
no support columns noted in the room
Room for two rows of seating, the rear should be elevated.

then the not so good news

with out knowing more specifics of the finish specifications $9000 for a builder grade plain jane finished room is on the high side. That is $30 sq ft.

I hate the door placement it is tucked right at the corner, if you wanted a stage it has to go on the far end, with a 36 inch in swinging door that requires at least a 38 inch aisle on the side and that limits your rear row seating configuration a bit, Best case solution is to shrink the furnace room and slide the door further away from the corner, if you had at least two feet up front (left of the door) you could do a nice stage and false wall with an acoustically transparent screen and all front speakers hidden. Three feet better.

You could angle the door at a 45 degree and use an out-swinging door, not everyone considers and out-swinging door acceptable for a theater space (it could get blocked on the outside) some inspectors frown on the notion. But that would decrease your aisle space requirement directly inside the door, maybe down to 26-28 inches.

Sound Isolation has two problem areas., you will probably be a single layer of drywall away from the furnace and they can be noisy. If they use the only 1/2 inch drywall on the market it will be that Ultra lightweight. This room is directly under the master bedroom and ceramic tile master bath. If you want to crank it at night and the Mrs. wants quiet time, you will be wearing headphones. Both of these can be mitigated by aggressive sound isolation building techniques.

where is the duct work that concerned you?
Thanks for all the feedback. 30 dollar a sq foot is par for the course with this builder. I wasn't really concerned about the Duct work, I made sure to tell the builder to give me a space where I did not have to worr about that. Perhaps I missed understood your point of the A/C vent. I thought you mean the acutally vent that the air comes out of and not the duct. I sure feel like a donkey now.
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Old 08-25-2014, 06:49 AM
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back to the vents then , yes you want them in the theater, you want supplies up front, returns in the rear, Builder basic HVAC will be woefully undersized if you intend to fill the room with 6-7 of your friends, turn on a space heater (Projector), and close the door. They may not even install a return and expect the return to be the gap under the door.
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