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post #1 of 279 Old 09-14-2016, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Cinema Midwest 2.0

Well it's happening. We are looking to move and build a new house. Thankfully we won't be going far, and are staying in my current town. (What can I say, I like it here.)

Now I won't be doing any work on starting the theater for probably at least a year, but there's already a couple questions I'd like to ask the crowd here, because we're meeting with the builder next week.

The new size I'm working with is (tentatively) 26.5 ft x 15 ft x 8.75 feet. I THINK I could get away with three rows with this much space.

But boy, it'd be awesome if I could sink a section of the foundation a foot lower. That would give an almost 10ft ceiling in a good portion of the room. See attachment for what I'm thinking about.

Option A - This keeps the back row from being to close to the back wall. It shrinks the space between the front row and the screen.
Option B - This pushes the back row to being closer to the back wall, probably causing exaggerated bass energy for them. It gives the space between the front row and the screen a larger area though, and that'd be great for the times people want to karaoke or play with the XBOX Kinect.
Option C - Only two rows and bar at the back, but gives lots of space at the front.
Option D - Ugh, I hope not. Even with ceilings that are 9 feet, three rows of seating would eat that up. If anyone has ever been in a 9ft ceiling theater with three rows, lemme know how it felt.

Anyone ever ask their builder about sinking a portion of the foundation and how much it costs? Issues it might cause on down the line? Also any opinions on the options are also welcome. Thanks!

UPDATE Sept 21st: These options are now out of date. The new room size I have to play with will be a 30 x 19 x 11 concrete shell. I'll post new plan ideas when I have them.
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post #2 of 279 Old 09-14-2016, 08:18 PM
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I'm a fan of the two row plus bar. It allows you get the back row a little closer to the screen making it a little easier to find a suitable screen size for all three rows. You only need two levels and you don't run out of headroom as fast.
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post #3 of 279 Old 09-14-2016, 09:30 PM
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post #4 of 279 Old 09-14-2016, 09:36 PM
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C........

My build thread: The Unprofessional Build
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post #5 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 06:50 AM
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Haha, I gotta go with C too. I would be doing C if I had taller ceilings.

I would also see what you can do with making your stage be an extension of where your recessed portion comes back up. It might cause your second row to need to be 6" higher, but the less stage you have, the more room you have for a bigger screen

As far as issues with a sunk section. The only thing I can think of is water issues. Maybe it wouldn't be a big deal, I don't know.
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post #6 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 06:54 AM
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On digging down, you need to be 100% sure where you want it, best to oversize and fill the extra in with an extended riser. Even better to dig the whole room down then build your risers as needed, that gives you the most design flexibility.
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post #7 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 07:51 AM
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Maybe you should just get an estimate for taller ceilings throughout your entire basement? I don't think anyone has ever said "These ceilings are just way to high down here."

Edit: Wait....is this a new build?
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post #8 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
On digging down, you need to be 100% sure where you want it, best to oversize and fill the extra in with an extended riser. Even better to dig the whole room down then build your risers as needed, that gives you the most design flexibility.
Thanks for the opinions everyone. I'm leaning towards B and C at the moment. I wish I had the width for a love seat configuration in one of the rows, but I don't think I can do a 4 wide theater seat configuration with a 15ft room, right?

One other thing I think I need to be aware of is where the doors open on the sides, and to make sure the door swing is level to the rest of the foundation. See attached to see what it looks like from above.

The darker blue is the proposed sunk down area.
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post #9 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JDontee View Post
Maybe you should just get an estimate for taller ceilings throughout your entire basement? I don't think anyone has ever said "These ceilings are just way to high down here."
I suppose (in this instance) asking questions is free. :P ^_^

We're also going to ask the builder about a 3 zone system, one for each level of the house.

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post #10 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 10:06 AM
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I think you would be hard pressed to do 3 rows of reclining seats, and what appears to be a screen wall a few feet in front of the front of the theater... I think the option C is your best bet.

I did option C in mine... I had a total of 22 1/2", and am very tight... and my 'screen wall' is only about 10" from the front wall, enough to surface mount 'in wall' speakers on the front walls, and use an AT screen, but my sub-woofers are in front.

I would definitely talk with the builder on 'where' they are thinking any support poles are going to be as well as utility locations (i.e., electric box, sump pump, etc), to make sure that type of stuff doesn't get in the way of your theater. In my theater, I have a support column in an acceptable, but not ideal place. The 'spacing' of the I-beam was a smaller span than another location in my basement, so, I talked with a structural engineer... who had me look at markings on the I-Beam... turns out in the theater area, it was a different 'strength' of I-beam. Had I known to ask before being built, I would have beefed it up and avoided the support column, but doing that'post build was (for me) cost prohibitive. Another consideration depending on were HVAC/ Plumbing runs need to be, is they could likely beef up the floor joists (maybe LVLs, or floor trusses vs dimensional lumber) and get away from an Ibeam all together. Again, something that they would have to run the numbers on - but maybe a consideration.
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post #11 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
I did option C in mine... I had a total of 22 1/2", and am very tight... and my 'screen wall' is only about 10" from the front wall, enough to surface mount 'in wall' speakers on the front walls, and use an AT screen, but my sub-woofers are in front.
22 1/2"?! No wonder it's tight! ;-)

Hmmm. So even with 4 extra feet it'll be cramped? Darn. I might need to break out the 3D program to nail down the details on spacing I have to play with.


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I would definitely talk with the builder on 'where' they are thinking any support poles are going to be as well as utility locations (i.e., electric box, sump pump, etc), to make sure that type of stuff doesn't get in the way of your theater. In my theater, I have a support column in an acceptable, but not ideal place. The 'spacing' of the I-beam was a smaller span than another location in my basement, so, I talked with a structural engineer... who had me look at markings on the I-Beam... turns out in the theater area, it was a different 'strength' of I-beam. Had I known to ask before being built, I would have beefed it up and avoided the support column, but doing that'post build was (for me) cost prohibitive. Another consideration depending on were HVAC/ Plumbing runs need to be, is they could likely beef up the floor joists (maybe LVLs, or floor trusses vs dimensional lumber) and get away from an Ibeam all together. Again, something that they would have to run the numbers on - but maybe a consideration.
Thankfully I haven't seen any I-Beams for this floor plan in any finished variants I've walked through, but I have seen the support pole as marked on the attachment in post 8. I'll be adamant about knowing placements.
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post #12 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 11:38 AM
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Looks like you are going to have a good size room. Have fun with building your new home. We are doing the same thing only we are leaving Las Vegas to build in WA State. We will also be building room 2.0, it's an exciting adventure. Good luck and have fun with your new home and room.
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post #13 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 11:42 AM
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Hmmm. So even with 4 extra feet it'll be cramped? Darn. I might need to break out the 3D program to nail down the details on spacing I have to play with.

Thankfully I haven't seen any I-Beams for this floor plan in any finished variants I've walked through, but I have seen the support pole as marked on the attachment in post 8. I'll be adamant about knowing placements.
Is the 26.5' from the very front wall to the rear wall, or from the screen wall to the rear wall? I have a bit over 21 1/2' (oops before!) from screen wall to rear wall. I can't exactly tell scale, but if yours is from front wall to rear wall, and the screen wall is 2 1/2' from the front wall, then really you are looking at 24' of room.

If you are looking at upright chairs, then probably more do-able. If you are looking at reclining chairs, that will be tough. I think for reclining chairs the recommendation is 6 1/2' minimum space between rows, ideally 7'... but let's say 6 1/2', if you have seat backs of the first row at 9', then you are looking at 15 1/2', and 22', so, not impossible by any means... and if you go with a more shallow screen wall, certainly more doable.

I guess it partly depends on how far back your front row is... mine is about 9' from my screen, which is a 132" wide 2.35:1 screen. This makes the screen big enough for the 2nd row & bar, and a tad big for the 1st row - but I prefer the 1st row to the 2nd row.

Now that I look at your attachment closer, looks like the Sump pump is out of the way, and the support column is out of the way (although, I would have thought you would only need the support column if you had an I-beam... )...

In terms of width of seating, I see your notes about 8 - 8.5'. That would give you call it 3+' on each side of the aisles, which is great... but not required. I think I have about 2 1/2 feet, and don't perceive it to be the cramped... in which case with a 15' wide room, you could push 10' wide seating.
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post #14 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
Is the 26.5' from the very front wall to the rear wall, or from the screen wall to the rear wall? I have a bit over 21 1/2' (oops before!) from screen wall to rear wall. I can't exactly tell scale, but if yours is from front wall to rear wall, and the screen wall is 2 1/2' from the front wall, then really you are looking at 24' of room.

If you are looking at upright chairs, then probably more do-able. If you are looking at reclining chairs, that will be tough. I think for reclining chairs the recommendation is 6 1/2' minimum space between rows, ideally 7'... but let's say 6 1/2', if you have seat backs of the first row at 9', then you are looking at 15 1/2', and 22', so, not impossible by any means... and if you go with a more shallow screen wall, certainly more doable.

I guess it partly depends on how far back your front row is... mine is about 9' from my screen, which is a 132" wide 2.35:1 screen. This makes the screen big enough for the 2nd row & bar, and a tad big for the 1st row - but I prefer the 1st row to the 2nd row.

Now that I look at your attachment closer, looks like the Sump pump is out of the way, and the support column is out of the way (although, I would have thought you would only need the support column if you had an I-beam... )...

In terms of width of seating, I see your notes about 8 - 8.5'. That would give you call it 3+' on each side of the aisles, which is great... but not required. I think I have about 2 1/2 feet, and don't perceive it to be the cramped... in which case with a 15' wide room, you could push 10' wide seating.
Thank you so much for the clarifications and feedback. Posts like this are why I love this place! ^_^
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post #15 of 279 Old 09-15-2016, 01:19 PM
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22 1/2"?! No wonder it's tight! ;-)

Hmmm. So even with 4 extra feet it'll be cramped? Darn. I might need to break out the 3D program to nail down the details on spacing I have to play with.
22.5 feet is about what my room is (including the 28" behind the screen). I think an additional 4' would be plenty enough to add a bar.

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post #16 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 06:29 AM
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22.5 feet is about what my room is (including the 28" behind the screen). I think an additional 4' would be plenty enough to add a bar.
Agree with two rows and a bar, should be plenty of room... three rows of recliners, I think would be tight - but not impossible!
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post #17 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Edit: Wait....is this a new build?
Yuppers. New home. It does not yet exist. ^_^ LOL.
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post #18 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 11:26 AM
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I like C also but something to consider is water drainage from the lowered area as I see you have a sump
Typically weeping tile is run around the perimeter of the foundation walls and drain into the sump.... if you have a area lower how will the water get away from that slab.
Where I live we have pretty high ground water so its a paranoia of mine.
Not sure what you ground water situation is... just something to consider or talk to you contractor about

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post #19 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 11:51 AM
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Dig down as deep as you can afford. My biggest "if I could do over" is dig down and widen the room. My room built from the ground up with no limitations back in 2011 is 34'x18'x10'.

I could have easily dug down 3-5' and even built the ceiling higher without much extra cost at all. I was already using concrete as my pad so just the yardage and backhoe time costs there- maybe $1000. Then I could have used longer studs which would have basically only cost more for framer because of scaffolding being needed, so maybe $500. Then Sheetrock maybe $1000 finished and all.

Going wider would have cost a bit more than going up just because that would be more block, forming, concrete, lumber, shingles, larger joists, Sheetrock, and sqft for both framer and taxes but it still would have been a small upgrade cost that would be well worth it in the end. All my planning and drafting was done before ATMOS was in the picture or I am almost certain I would have done both height and width.

Also make sure whatever you do your seating has a center seat. This is sometimes overlooked just because room boundaries don't allow enough space for 5 wide and the owner chooses 4 wide as a compromise. I myself would rather have 3 wide for the money rows and then add more for the back row without a center seat if just need that extra amount of seating.

Going 3 wide in a room wide enough for 4 wide will do two things. It will give better surround and also allow for more wall treatments. Deeper diffusers could even be used since the seating would be farther away.

If you have the height you could also go IMAX screen floor to ceiling with higher risers. That is really really engaging both during content watching and aesthetically bold.

Just my thoughts. Take them how you wish. And good luck!!!

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post #20 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 02:51 PM
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Yuppers. New home. It does not yet exist. ^_^ LOL.
I think I edited my post right as you posted details that made me realize it was a new build. I was going to only suggest digging if the house was already built. Then again, you could just build above the garage like Rob Hahn. He has the three rows that you want...
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post #21 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 03:29 PM
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With those dimensions, definitely 2 rows and maybe...maybe a back bar for overflow seating.

I would also echo BIG's previous comment about digging out the ENTIRE area, not just one spot. Getting all the height you want is not really the problem, just make sure you have great drainage underneath since it will be the lowest point of your foundation. 10' from concrete to joists is great....12' and you can live like a king. Makes a HUGE difference in how spacious the room feels, headroom all around (even on the riser), projection site lines (i.e. put the projector higher than the screen with less chance of heads getting in the way), and better 3D audio with the added ceiling speaker distance.

Have you considered digging out under your garage?? I'd put in a triple car garage and use spancrete (or similar) to give you a great sized room of any depth you want. When I build my next home, this is exactly what I am doing. Plus, if you think about it, the room is already mostly decoupled from the main home and buried on 3 sides by Earth.
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post #22 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Have you considered digging out under your garage?? I'd put in a triple car garage and use spancrete (or similar) to give you a great sized room of any depth you want. When I build my next home, this is exactly what I am doing. Plus, if you think about it, the room is already mostly decoupled from the main home and buried on 3 sides by Earth.
Dang... Hmmm. This suggestion is pure evil. And by that, I mean it's really interesting.

They actually already partially excavate under the garage, pour support pillars, and then fill it up again. Currently there's a support beam that runs the span of the garage, and there's a support column where the second and third car garage sections are. I wonder if spancrete would be strong enough for that. If there was any need for support beams in the basement under the garage, it would be a non-starter.

Looks like I've got some reading to do. @_@
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post #23 of 279 Old 09-16-2016, 09:01 PM
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I've come to know most support columns in the middle of a span can be eliminated by beefing up the steel beam and sending the load to the outer walls. Assuming you are working with an architect, I have every confidence a structural engineer could figure out a way to make it happen.

There are naturally going to be *some* additional costs with this approach, but you get a return on your investment in spades because you are adding livable square footage. I've seen a few guys do this and the total additional cost was anywhere from $12k - $15k. If the garage is 22' deep by 30 feet wide, you get 660 square feet of livable space and the cheapest livable square footage you'll be able to add to your home. Instant equity. The additional excavation is a minor cost. A 10-12' foundation wall, the Spancrete itself and the crane rental for placement are your biggest expenses. As and FYI, you'll need a 1/2 day crane rental, but that shouldn't be more than $500-$900.

One theater example is here: DIY ConcreteBunker Rustic Dream HT - 11'scrn, 11.2chnl, 8x18 IBsubs, 28.8kw/FINISHED

If you go this route, I'd HIGHLY recommend going full tilt with 12' ceiling height before interior construction begins.
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post #24 of 279 Old 09-17-2016, 08:21 AM
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There is no span too wide in most residential construction for lvl or steel JFYI. No columns ever needed if beefed up properly. That was one of my favorite courses in engineering. Calculate the most cost efficient beam for "X" amount of space.
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post #25 of 279 Old 09-20-2016, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for chiming in here. I spent a few hours reading up on insulated concrete forms and other various techniques. Will bring all of this up with the builder tonight and see what kind of blank stares I get. Sounds like it's a more common idea where I live so hopefully he'll be game for at least an estimate.

I admit, I get greedy at the idea of a 20x30x10 theater. That'd be positively HUGE!

How do you finish the ceiling on the underside though? You can't go drilling into a concrete ceiling, so how do you span across to finish the ceiling in the theater room? I tried looking up the theaters on AVS that were finished under the garage and they either don't show this, or the project was never documented to completion.

Also, how would everyone else attack the HVAC in that kind of situation? A mini-split? Sounds weird, but if I had a mini-split, I might try hiding it behind the screen as opposed to out in the open...

Worse case scenario, I have option C and a 26.5 x 15 x 8.75 room, which is still way better than what I have now.
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post #26 of 279 Old 09-20-2016, 04:09 PM
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Thanks everyone for chiming in here. I spent a few hours reading up on insulated concrete forms and other various techniques. Will bring all of this up with the builder tonight and see what kind of blank stares I get. Sounds like it's a more common idea where I live so hopefully he'll be game for at least an estimate.
ICFs are indeed fairly common and a very good option to get a thermal break with raw earth, but a standard poured wall no different from the rest of your foundation will also work just fine.

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How do you finish the ceiling on the underside though? You can't go drilling into a concrete ceiling, so how do you span across to finish the ceiling in the theater room? I tried looking up the theaters on AVS that were finished under the garage and they either don't show this, or the project was never documented to completion.
Let's say you have 12' from slab to underside of the Spancrete. You build your walls *about* 11' high, 12" on center and use engineered joists, called TJIs to rest on top of your walls and span across the room. They make special metal brackets which physically bond the TJIs to the walls. Think of it as absolutely normal and typical construction between the first and second floors of a home, only without a perimeter rim joist which is not needed. Make sense? It's basically a room within a room concept only your outer room is pure concrete.

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Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
Also, how would everyone else attack the HVAC in that kind of situation? A mini-split? Sounds weird, but if I had a mini-split, I might try hiding it behind the screen as opposed to out in the open...
I would use a ducted mini-split. Penetrations in the concrete can get you two 8" supplies and two 8" returns between the TJI spacing (one duct per joist bay, obviously).

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Worse case scenario, I have option C and a 26.5 x 15 x 8.75 room, which is still way better than what I have now.
Blasphemy!!!
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post #27 of 279 Old 09-21-2016, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TMcG View Post
ICFs are indeed fairly common and a very good option to get a thermal break with raw earth, but a standard poured wall no different from the rest of your foundation will also work just fine.
Yeah, turns out, our builder is pretty awesome. He seemed to relish the idea that I could throw anything at him he wasn't already familiar with. LOL. And he's apparently done this more than a few times.

Quote:
Let's say you have 12' from slab to underside of the Spancrete. You build your walls *about* 11' high, 12" on center and use engineered joists, called TJIs to rest on top of your walls and span across the room. They make special metal brackets which physically bond the TJIs to the walls. Think of it as absolutely normal and typical construction between the first and second floors of a home, only without a perimeter rim joist which is not needed. Make sense? It's basically a room within a room concept only your outer room is pure concrete.
I felt so dumb reading this. It's like... DUH... now that you point it out. And I should know better, I've worked with laying TJI joists down before. (facepalm)


Quote:
I would use a ducted mini-split. Penetrations in the concrete can get you two 8" supplies and two 8" returns between the TJI spacing (one duct per joist bay, obviously).
That's where I'm leaning, towards the ducted mini-split. You are ahead of me in the knowledge game, so you mind if I ask what you mean by "penetrations in the concrete?" Usually I can visualize, but I'm tripping over this mentally.

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Blasphemy!!!
Worry not, it's all but a done deal. We met with the builder last night, and that speed demon got us bids already this morning for every item we came up with. Your estimate was SPOT ON. (Pat yourself on the back now! )

We're probably going for the traditional corrugated metal, pour, run i-beam underneath. I asked for them to dig an additional 3 feet down for this room vs the rest of the basement. So I have 12 feet from the base slab to the ceiling slab, then I lose a foot to the I-Beam and another foot to the TJI and drywall. That leaves me with about 10 feet for the ceilings. The ICF's were an additional $3k and I couldn't justify another $3,000 for one more foot of ceiling space (They wouldn't require an I-Beam) when the wife is sacrificing her sun room add on for this already. She'd have to give up a couple kitchen upgrades and I'd feel like a dick if I did that to her.

So there you have it, you just sucked $13,000 out of my wallet. Well done sir! Take a bow. ;-)

(And by that, I mean to say I'm so glad you posted this idea, it will make the rest of the basement so much better!)
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post #28 of 279 Old 09-21-2016, 10:52 AM
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Damn that's exciting.

So what are your final dimensions sounding like? Concrete all around? Dream theater territory for a lot of us

Edit:

I agree about the ducted mini split. That's what I'm shooting for in my theater. You will most likely have to have some option for introducing fresh air into the mix though. In another theater. The guy has his handler hooked up to the outdoors to pull in some air. That might be sufficient. I'm looking at exchanging the theater with the neighboring room which is connected to the rest of the house's system. Hopefully it all works!!
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post #29 of 279 Old 09-21-2016, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I think I edited my post right as you posted details that made me realize it was a new build. I was going to only suggest digging if the house was already built. Then again, you could just build above the garage like Rob Hahn. He has the three rows that you want...
You were close! Below instead of above. ^_^;
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post #30 of 279 Old 09-21-2016, 11:01 AM
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here is that other theater I mentioned. Doing something that I will be doing as well, only his exchange room is much smaller. Hoping the theory works the same for me:

Deadwood Theater Comes Alive
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