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Steelkilt's Theater/Foosball/Guest Room Build

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

First off, thanks to everyone that is part of the AVS forum. You have been the best source of information during my research over the past year. Which leads me to my announcement of my own build! Yay

Some background: I'm an architect - I love to draw and design. I know how things get built. I see people building things almost daily out in the field. Trouble is, I have yet to really test my own building skills. So this build will be pretty straight forward. I can't wait to get started!

Some basics about the build: We finished building our home a little over a year ago. A modest sized bungalow with some updated twists and features. We left the basement level unfinished because we didn't have the cash or the time to really figure out what we wanted. Now that we've been in the house for a while, we're ready to take the plunge.

The space needs room for the TV/Theater, some extra room for overnight guests, and a spot for the foosball table. With a finished area of roughly 500 sq. ft. we'll need certain areas to be serve double duty.

Well, that's it for a quick intro. I'll follow up with some images of the design shortly.

Equipment List:

Display - Samsung 46" LCD LN46A650
Receiver - Pioneer Elite VSX-92TXH
PVR - Motorola DCH3416
DVD - Pioneer Blu-Ray BDP-51FD
Game - XBox
Game - Wii
Music - Sonos (3 Zones)
Remote - Logitech One

5.1 Speakers/Sub - TBD
post #2 of 35
Do not purchase a TV, utilize a projector.
post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 
We already have an LCD TV we'll be using for the display. While it won't pack the punch of a projector/screen setup, it will keep the wife and kids happy as it will be the main viewing room in the house. Remember, this won't be a dedicated theater.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 

Floor Plan

Rear Elevation showing acoustical panel mosaic layout

Elevation of display wall
post #5 of 35
Even if you don't do a projector now, consider running the electrical and some 2-3" conduit to a possible future projector location.
post #6 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamis View Post

Even if you don't do a projector now, consider running the electrical and some 2-3" conduit to a possible future projector location.

Good point...I'll add that to my wiring plan/diagram. Thanks for the tip!
post #7 of 35
Looks like it's going to be a great room and fun project. Are doing all the work yourself?
Nice detailed drawing btw.
post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Javatime View Post

Looks like it's going to be a great room and fun project. Are doing all the work yourself?
Nice detailed drawing btw.

The plan is to do most of the carpentry items myself. We have the electrician and mechanical contractor that did the work for the original house lined up. Still contemplating sub'ing out the blue board/skim coat plaster vs. DIY tape/drywall. Sub'ing that out will be far superior quality and done in a fraction of the time so it would be money well spent.

I spent a quick sec looking at your build Javatime; you are a very skilled woodworker! Want to come build me some casework? Here's what I'm thinking for the TV/equipment storage...
post #9 of 35
Sweet...I love that a foosball table area is a must. I'm assuming you have one already, what brand is it? I used to be a fanatic back in the day, still think about trying to find a Dynamo somewhere. Good luck with the build.
post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swamdog View Post

Sweet...I love that a foosball table area is a must. I'm assuming you have one already, what brand is it? I used to be a fanatic back in the day, still think about trying to find a Dynamo somewhere. Good luck with the build.

Can't beat a good competitive game of foos! We do have one already, its a Shelti Pro Foos II. I think it was the first peice of equipment out of the entire build. It plays very similar to a Tornado table, but with a little more ball control. Thanks for the well wishes!
post #11 of 35
GUESTS
Put a Hide-a-bed sofa in the "Media Room" for guests.

This will clear space for two back-to-back pin games along that wall with the Foos table. Get at least one pin game - they are just as fast and fun in a home game room as the Foos.

MEDIA ROOM
If you have at least a 13 ft. clear throw distance in your "Media Room" then think projector and screen. IMO - no matter how good or big the tv is a 720p PJ and screen will give you, family and guests a Theater experience instead of watching trelevision - Creativity and Craigslist might put you into Home Theater a lot cheaper than you might think - our first used PJ cost around $400 and screen was $50.

Appreciate your love of the "Foos". We bought our "mint" early 80s Tournament Tornado about 15 years ago and it still looks and plays like new - what a great table!
Enjoy your Space!
post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
Spent a couple of hours cleaning up the basement and hanging temporary poly construction walls. 2" XPS and framing lumber will be delivered today. Hammer drill and Tapcons are ready as soon framing layout is complete and insulation is hung.

Speaking of which, can anyone offer some tips for hanging the 2" rigid insulation? Mechanical fasteners (2-3/4" tapcons with 1" washers) vs. adhesive (PL300 for Foamboard)? Maybe I'll need a couple of fasteners to hold the board while the adhesive cures anyway?
post #13 of 35
I just used the adhesive and had no problems. As you go you'll get the hang of how much you need and how long it takes before it bonds reasonably well with the wall. And remember, once the framing is in that will serve to hold things in really snug as well. Those boards won't be going anywhere.

I've never heard of anyone using tapcons for this purpose.
post #14 of 35
Thread Starter 
Is it seconds or minutes for the adhesive to setup? Reading the label on the adhesive it mentions to provide bracing, so I just assumed a couple mechanical fasteners would do the trick.

The other concern I had was the adhesive being able to bridge around the concrete 'snot' that is there from the concrete forms. You know, the excess that was squeezed out at joints, or the small relief at panel joints. If the adhesive is fine by itself that is good, I just didn't want to be there stuck holding each board against the wall for 15 mins a pop.

The 2x4 wall framing will be held 1/2" from the foam board, so I can't rely on that to hold the insulation boards in place.
post #15 of 35
Not sure about the concrete "snot" you mention - maybe you could include a couple photos of your walls? My experience was as long as the walls were fairly clean (I have 60-ish year old cinder block walls and just swept them down good) you should be fine. I believe I let the adhesive sit on the boards for a minute or so, then held it up against the wall and within a minute or so it was sufficiently bonded to at least hold its own weight in place. Remember that if you cut them down some to fit the height of your ceiling that also adds another method of tension to hold them in, as it was generally a snug fit between the floor and the joists.

Also, that red tape for taping the seams came in handy for holding the occasional board in place in more awkward spots, like over the tops of windows, etc. I just put the adhesive on, then temporarily taped the board in place (by taping to the surrounding joist/ceiling/whatever) until the adhesive dried. Don't mess with duct tape - it does not adhere well long term to the boards, whereas the red tape made for that application stays well. I had to re-do some seams because of that.

Finally, having a small gap between the insulation boards and the framing is no problem. My buddy showed me a great cheap trick where we got one 1/2" board which we just broke up into smaller pieces, and then simply inserted those pieces like shims between the framing and the insulation as and where needed. The result was a nice, snug pressure from the framing to the boards.

Hope that helps. I'll see if I can find any photos that might show this better and add them if I do. Good luck.

EDIT: Not great photos, but here's one showing the boards held snugly between the joists and the floor, before adhesive, tape or framing.



I couldn't find one showing a good shot of the poly board shims, but this shot below kinda shows a bit the small gap between the framing and the boards where I simply placed them as needed. Plus as a bonus you can see my daughter's attempt at Christmas decorating in the job site.

post #16 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hanesian, thanks for taking the time to explain your install and including some images. Hearing that the set-up time of the adhesive seems manageable, I can now go into my project with confidence that using only the adhesive will be necessary. We'll see how it goes when I encounter the aforementioned concrete 'snot.'

Here's what I mean:
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
First delivery of the build did in fact come yesterday, and I spent a good 45 mins hoofing it around the side and throwing it through the basement window. Need to get it organized, and start the wall layout on the floor.



Horrible picture I know...left the camera in the trunk over night and got some lens fog, oh well.
post #18 of 35
Personally I wouldn't worry much about that "snot." It's not like the insulation is ineffective if it's not adhered to every single inch. Plus, I also then added some unfaced fiberglass bats between the framing just for a bit more thermal insulation, so small imperfections with the poly board won't matter so much.

If you just experiment with a small area I think you'll see it's easier than you fear.

Good luck.
post #19 of 35
Thread Starter 
Good to know, I tend to over think things at times. I will let you know how it goes.

I won't be going with the batts between the studs, as we already have 2 1/2" of XPS on the outside of the foundation wall giving us a total of R22.5.

FYI - we also have 2 1/2" of XPS below the floor slab, so we won't be floating our floor on any insulation to save headroom.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelkilt View Post

Good to know, I tend to over think things at times. I will let you know how it goes.

I won't be going with the batts between the studs, as we already have 2 1/2" of XPS on the outside of the foundation wall giving us a total of R22.5.

FYI - we also have 2 1/2" of XPS below the floor slab, so we won't be floating our floor on any insulation to save headroom.

R 22.5 on basement walls and floor - that should be nice and toasty! Sounds really good ... as we endure this tropical weather right now.
post #21 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well Hanesian, you were right on target with regards to squashing my concerns over the concrete 'snot'. It was a total non-issue when it came to adhering the insulation to the wall. Apply generous amounts of adhesive, slap it against the wall, hold for 30 seconds, then move on to the next piece. Simple as that.

Here's a couple of boring progression photos from the first real day of work:

Rear wall insulation progress:

Spray foam sealing sill plate gaps:

Shot looking toward future display wall:
post #22 of 35
Looks like you got a good start on things. What size foam board are you using?
post #23 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stromhouse View Post

Looks like you got a good start on things. What size foam board are you using?

2'x8' tongue & groove Dow Styrofoam in 2" thickness
post #24 of 35
Thread Starter 
So I've spent the occasional weeknight and a 1/2 day during the weekends getting the framing started. After working out some kinks and issues I think things are going smoothly. One issue to contend with was framing the rear wall without a top plate. The goal is to align the bottom of the soffit with the head of the windows, so there is no need to jog the soffit when it runs by a window. I couldn't use a top plate due to the mechanical duct held tight above the floor joists - that is without framing the walls further from the face of foundation. I didn't want the walls to eat into the livable area anymore than they had to. To get around this I anchored a PT 2x to the wall with tapcons and added an outrigger to faster to the wall stud. Slower going than typical, but the end result will give me all the floor space I can get and get the proper look at the windows. Here are some photos:





post #25 of 35
Why couldn't you just cut the studs shorter by 1.5" to add the top plate? No top plate is an issue for fireblocking? What keeps the fire from going straight to the floor joists above?
post #26 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Photos View Post

Why couldn't you just cut the studs shorter by 1.5" to add the top plate? No top plate is an issue for fireblocking? What keeps the fire from going straight to the floor joists above?

The top plate serves no purpose as fire blocking. I'll stand corrected if someone can put their finger on the mass code reference...I'm by no means a building inspector. But I've been an architect for 10 years and this is the first I've ever heard of such a thing.

If I cut the joists 1 1/2" shorter and installed top plate it would have to be "dead nuts" on to align with the finished window opening to get the proper look. I can come back later and install a 2x on the vertical face at just the elevation I need it for the soffit. Either way that doesn't allow me to secure the top plate to the floor joists (thus allowing me the convenience of building the wall on the floor and standing it up), and I still end up doing the outriggers.
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
What would people recommend for component location?

Currently I plan on placing them below the TV in the casework (modified with exhaust fans, etc). I was planning on an IR extender system so they could be controlled even with the doors closed. The concern I have is that our 6 month old will hit that phase where every door needs to be open and buttons need to be pushed. I guess I could put a lock on the door to be safe.

The alternative is to put everything in a Middle Atlantic rack over where I have the internet switch and patch panel. On the plan this is noted as Data in the back, unfinished portion of the basement. This would make me happy as everything would be consolidated in one spot. The door to the back part would be easier to control access from the little bugger. If I were to locate it there, should I finish that area to some degree? I'd like to keep it some what dust free, but at the same time maintain enough air flow around the unit as to avoid any local temp control other than the pretty constant 55-60 F temps I get in that area now.

Any thoughts?
post #28 of 35
Any updates?

Great design and I'm curious to see how it turns out.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
Thanks for checking in!

Framing is now complete, with the exception of the soffits. I've been procrastinating, as I'm not 100% certain on how to approach them. I'm going back and forth between building a 2x ladder on the floor and raising/nailing it in place vs. plywood face with 2x blocking/nailers.

I managed to splice in an extension for an 8" flex duct to get it out of the way for the door - I was proud of my diy solution, as it allowed me to keep framing and not have to rely on the HVAC contractor to come and do such a small amount of work. We all know how responsive contractors can be when so little work is involved.

But the next step after the soffits (hopefully I can get started on those this weekend) is to get the HVAC guy in to run a couple of supply lines and a return.

I'd also be curious on people's recommendation on doing my own wiring. The lighting and power isn't overly complicated. I have a friend of a friend that is a licensed electrician that said I can save $$ by running the wire myself, and then calling him in to make the terminations at the panel and devices. I'd have to go through a refresher on the rules of thumb; # outlets on a circuit, lights, what to daisy chain, etc. I'm the adventurous type, so I might give it a shot.

Has anyone had any bad experiences with running their own wire they might be willing to share? Soffit building tips?

Thanks!
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelkilt View Post

I'd also be curious on people's recommendation on doing my own wiring. The lighting and power isn't overly complicated. I have a friend of a friend that is a licensed electrician that said I can save $$ by running the wire myself, and then calling him in to make the terminations at the panel and devices. I'd have to go through a refresher on the rules of thumb; # outlets on a circuit, lights, what to daisy chain, etc. I'm the adventurous type, so I might give it a shot.

Has anyone had any bad experiences with running their own wire they might be willing to share? Soffit building tips?

Thanks!

For most of my basement project, I pulled the wire myself after first bringing in an electrician I had used before with the prior understanding that I would pay him his regular hourly rate to consult and help as needed. We took a half an hour to walk through, I explained what I intended to do I the rooms, and he told me what type of wire to pull, where to run it, and so on. I did that, and he came back and inspected it before drywall went up. I also paid him to connect everything to the main electric box, because I didn't feel like messing with that.

It can work great and save you money if you find a willing electrician.
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