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The Esquire Theater!! Construction Begins...

post #1 of 1757
Thread Starter 

EDIT: 95% of the way there!  As of March 14, 2013 I am spending most of my time enjoying movies.  However, there are a few items that are still in the works for the next few months: I will be finishing the entrance to the HT and adding a projector hushbox.  In addition, I will be adding a ticket booth and another poster frame or two.  I am starting to enjoy obsessing about the small decor details.  Uh oh.  :)


A preview of the almost but never finished product:







The panel on the equipment room door at the back of the theater...need to fill some nail holes!




Yes the alarm keypad is installed and painted black now.  :)



Please excuse the ridiculous shadows here...I need to take some better pics!




A not-so-good panorama.



Poster frames and the entrance to the HT...still under construction.  I am hoping to put a name above the door around the marquee but there will be very limited height on the face of the marquee.  Here are two pics of the entrance coming together...

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), default quality






Current Equipment List:


120" wide 2.37:1 SmX screen (CineWeave HD)

Runco LS-5 projector

Panamorph UH480 lens, motorized transport

22" Samsung LED 1080p 60Hz equipment room monitor


PSB Image Series T65 fronts, C60 center, S10 rear surrounds

Triad OnWall Bronze/4 side surrounds

Danley DTS-10 Sub eek.gif


Oppo BDP-93 Blu-Ray player

Marantz AV7005 pre-pro

Emotiva XPA-5 amp

Integra ADM-2.1 amp

Behringer FBQ1000 Sub EQ

Behringer EP4000 amp

APC H15 power conditioner

APC J10 UPS power conditioner & battery backup

iRule remote software (iPad and iPhone)








First, I’d like to thank everyone here for inspiring me to take on this massive project. I do not have any construction/building background, and I do not come from a household of handy people (I grew up with a screwdriver and a hammer and not much else). However, I have gained what I could here and there, purchased a few tools over the years, and am generally handy. I am looking forward to learning a lot and having a lot of fun throughout this building process. I have spent an absurd amount of time researching and reading through most of the build threads on this board over the last 4 years or so, and am finally settled in my first house, so I’m ready to start!

I feel like I know the basic layout rules etc., but really didn’t want to botch anything, so I purchased the Pro Layout service from Dennis E., which I highly recommend. Just knowing that someone with Dennis’ level of expertise looked it over went a long way in terms of giving me the chutzpah to begin this process. A portion of my basement is finished, and I originally wanted to build there to save some cash, but after Dennis drew everything up and I realized how much of the finished basement I would have to destroy to get what I wanted, I decided it would be better to build in a similar but unfinished area. So we are in the process of modifying the plans (sorry Dennis!) and now I am ready to get started…

A little about the project:
The room is going to be 14.5’ by 25’ (length subject to change), with the ceiling at about 7’3” after clips, hat channel, DD etc. I am currently waffling back and forth regarding sound isolation. If I do end up going for it, I’ll likely do hat channel on the ceiling with GG + DD. However, I live alone and am not planning to go entirely crazy with it. I guess that’s what’s leading me not to attempt it at all – I understand that if you don’t go for it full tilt, any effort you do make could turn out to be fruitless. I’m confident in my ability to hang 2 layers of drywall with some green stuff slapped in the middle, but backer boxes for light fixtures, putty pads, dead vents etc. are another story (and will increase the build cost substantially).

The only design element that was essential to me in planning was that there be four seats in the front row. (My girlfriend and I usually have another couple or my parents over for movies, and I think it would be awkward if we couldn’t all sit in the same row.) I’m mostly an audio guy, but have been becoming more interested in video over the last year. The video setup will be acoustically transparent 2.35:1. The gear is:

Blu-Ray: Sony BDP-350 (to be replaced by Oppo 93)
Processor: Marantz AV7005
Amps: Emotiva XPA-5, Integra ADM-2.1, Behringer EP4000
L/R: PSB Image T65
C: PSB Image C60
Side Surr: Triad OnWall Bronze 4
Rear Surr: PSB Image 10S
Sub: Danley DTS-10 (aka Monster)
Projector: Sony VPL-HS10 (to be replaced and anamorphic lens added)
Screen: 92” 16:9 Da-Lite PermWall Hi-Contrast (to be replaced by 130" 2.35:1 AT screen)
Power Conditioner: APC H15

As far as estimated completion date, I think I am starting from a pretty good clean slate, but I am a new attorney working a lot of hours, and don’t have construction experience, so I bet it’s going to take a while (understatement of the year). It’s far more important to me to do this properly than to do it quickly. So, my goal is 1/1/2012, but I recognize that’s probably unrealistic based on many of the other theaters here put together by people with far greater skill than me.

Soooo…here we go! Pics of the unfinished space:

Annoying duct I will have to deal with...

EDIT: SUCCESS! Now my photos are appearing...

Edited by AirBenji - 2/21/14 at 11:54am
post #2 of 1757
I have seen Ben's space. The room has probably 40-50 feet in length, so it will be interesting to see what he decides to do with all of it. You could easily go 3 rows with the last row being barstools.
post #3 of 1757
Looks like a good space to work with, and a nice project. What seating distance are you planning? Just curious, because the screen size seems a little on the small size for that size of room.
post #4 of 1757
I think that is just the size of the screen he has currently set up in another room. I'm sure he will go as big as he can....or least I hope so!
post #5 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Yes, that 92" screen would definitely be too small. The original plans called for a 118" screen, but now that I am going to build in this larger space, the room will be almost two feet wider than originally planned, so I'm hoping we can squeeze in a slightly larger screen. I'll talk to the boss (D.E.) and let you know!

This weekend's project: lots of Drylok!
post #6 of 1757
Thread Starter 
So next week's project is insulation and I have a few questions. Specifically, the insulation currently in my basement (in the pictures above) is that scary type that is very prone to mold, so I'm planning to switch to the pink rigid foam using the method in the picture below.


Here come the questions:

1 - The big one: Do I need to switch from what' in there now? (I think that anser is yes.) And assuming the answer is yes, is the method in the picture the right one to use?

2 - I spoke wth my local inspector and the required R value for insulation for basement walls is 11. If i use the 1" stuf, the R value is 5. But then I'm planning to put unfaced fiberglass batts into the wall - does that satisfy the required R value?

3 - What's the right adhesive to use to glue the rigid foam to the cement? I'm putting Drylok on the walls tomorrow, so I'm just wondering what's the right thing to put between two surfaces that won't absorb any water...

Thanks all!!
post #7 of 1757
I just have a couple of general comments:

1) I think you mentioned a 118" screen. With a 14' x 25' room, you should be able to handle that size easily, if not more (if you're going 2.35:1). 80% of the room width is 139" (some people use 80% as a max. sizing estimate). I'm not sure I'd go that large, but something between 120 and 130 should work fine. 92" is way too small.

2) With a short ceiling (around 7 foot), you'll have some issues with the ductwork on the one side. It would be worthwhile to move that short duct somewhere else so that you can retain as much headroom as possible.

Good luck with the project.
post #8 of 1757
You know my answer to #1. #2: you should ask your inspector, but you'll be putting at least R-11 in the walls, so I don't know why you couldn't use more (in the form of the rigid insulation).

#3: I think you could use regular construction adhesive. I don't see why not.
post #9 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Thanks Drew! I am really excited about getting started on the project tomorrow (and it also happens to be my 31st birthday!). And I agree about the screen - I want it to be as big as possible, but I'm leaving that decision to Dennis- he's the pro!

Re the ductwork, yeah, it's definitely gotta go. I'm going to try to get in touch with a HVAC guy this week. It's just a return duct and my floor plan is very open upstairs, so I'm hoping there's a decent compromise we can come up with.
post #10 of 1757
Looks like a great project. If you add standard unfaced batts (R13) to your foam panels, you'll have R18.
post #11 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jeff! I didn't know if you could simply add the R values if the two types of insulation were placed next to each other or if there was some other way of computing it in that scenario. Will it make any diference if there is a small airspace between the foam and the unfaced batts? (Say 1/2 to 1 inch?)
post #12 of 1757
Thread Starter 
FWIW, I'm not pulling permits for this project because I don't have a second route of egress. However, I want to do everything ele as close to code as possible. Therefore, if you see something that looks suspect, PLEASE speak up because it's likely that I am not aware of it. Thanks!!

Regarding the thinner/thicker insulation, I'd prefer to use the thinner stuff plus unfaced batts as long as its not going to adversely affect my heating bill or compromise the vapor barrier. The thinner stuff is less than half the price. (But the difference is only $300, so if it's going to adversely affect my heating bill, it will be more money in the long run to use the thinner stuff I think.)
post #13 of 1757
FYI regular construction adhesive is not appropriate for foam boards - it will eat it over time. There is a specific adhesive for foam board (I think called PL300?)

For a little extra cost I might suggest using spray foam instead of foam board - it does a much better job of sealing up all those little air gaps.

Also if you do 2" of foam that is also your vapor barrier - no need for a poly vapor barrier. If you are only trying to hit R11 2" should do it. For soundproofing you would want some extra fiberglass insulation so you would be comfortably above that.
post #14 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply kromkamp - I'll do a little more research on that one and I'm sure I can figure out exactly what the name of it is.

Any idea how much 350 sq. ft. of spray foam might cost me? I have no experience with it and didn't really consider it as an option because I figured it would be cost prohibitive. And I'm assuming you're talking about the stuff where I'd just hire someone to come in and do it?

Thanks! - and sorry if these questions are elementary - I'm uneducated on this topic!
post #15 of 1757
Originally Posted by AirBenji View Post

Thanks Jeff! I didn't know if you could simply add the R values if the two types of insulation were placed next to each other or if there was some other way of computing it in that scenario. Will it make any diference if there is a small airspace between the foam and the unfaced batts? (Say 1/2 to 1 inch?)

I'm not a building science expert (or an inspector), but I'd say you're probably fine. I'll bet a building science expert would tell you that all that matters is that first layer of insulation, but I think in reality the "dead" space between the foam and the wall won't matter much--as long as your sills are well insulated.

How are your sills insulated? Fiberglass batts? Spray foam? Foam panels? You might want to be sure they're well insulated before you put walls up--preferably with spray foam. Houses lose a lot of heat through the sills.

As far as inspections go, in the past I also avoided permits. Until I sold my last house, and had to get permits after the fact. I did things pretty much up to code, so it was more a hassle than a problem, but the inspectors could have required me to tear everything apart for inspection. I'll always pull permits from now on. In my new house (the one I'm in now), the inspector helped me find some problems that I would have missed had he not been there. If you're making any structural or mechanical (electrical, HVAC, or plumbing) changes to the house, I highly recommend that you pull permits... But of course, it's your choice.
post #16 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Jeff. I'm thinking now that I should just cough up the extra $250 to use the 2" rigid foam (or spray foam, which I will look into tomorrow). For that amount of money, the 2" stuff is R10, and will likely give me much greater peace of mind for the long term.

Regarding permits, I wish that were an option. Another uneducated question: am I correct in thinking that I can't get any permits at all (electrical etc.) because of my egress issue?

My local code requires a 5.7sq. ft. window no more than 44" from the floor, and a 36" deep window well. Altering the foundation of my house is a deal-breaker for me - I'm just not interested in getting into that. Luckily, there's really not much that needs to be moved (other than that one duct). The natural gas line for my heat and fireplace runs along the ceiling in my space, but it's pretty much up against the joists, so I think that once the hat channel and clips are up, there will be enough space for the pipe to run between the cieiling joists and drywall.
post #17 of 1757
In Toronto 2" of spray foam is about $2.50 sqft, whereas 2" of foam board is about $1.50 sqft. So yes it costs more but I would still classify it as an incremental cost, and well worth the piece of mind. (vs cutting, fitting, taping, gluing those foam boards)
post #18 of 1757
Ontario building code only requires an egress window if the room is considered a Bedroom - otherwise its not required. Might be the same in NY?
post #19 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, when I spoke to my inspector, he said that the egress window requirement applies to any habitable living space in my area. I told him I was considering a theater and he said that the requirement would apply to that. However, I always thought that what krompkamp said is correct and I really would prefer to have permits if possible...maybe I'll call back on Monday just to double check.

Wow - if NY is anything like Toronto, I had no idea spray foam was so reasonably priced. I was planning to do exactly what you said in the sills...cut, fit, glue, tape, and then fill the remainder of the rim joists with Great Stuff. By the time I'm finished with all of that work, including purchasing glue, tape, and Great Stuff (which gets expensive quickly if you need any notable quantity), the costs are pobably only $150 apart. I didn't plan on the insulation costing $900, but it's probably an area where I shouldn't skimp...I do NOT want mold.

Thanks again for the good info!
post #20 of 1757
Don't forget to insulate rim joists too.

Pull the permit if you could. Construction permit should include opening new egress, so with or without existing egress, you could get permit.
post #21 of 1757
It only took me a couple of hours to do my sills/rim joists with rigid insulation and expanding foam. It was pretty easy since the foam doesn't have to be perfectly cut as the expanding foam seals it tight. Spray foam is the bomb though. I think I paid about what krompkamp quoted for our attic.
post #22 of 1757
When I built my house, I agonized over insulation. Started with spray foam as the ideal, found it to be significantly more expensive than most alternatives. As much as two to three times as expensive. Moved on to research cellulose. I almost went with it, but then found that the dense pack stuff is sprayed in wet, and can take a LONG time to dry out. Ultimately went with blown-in fiberglass on first and second floor walls and in the ceiling, and I'm very happy with it.

I had the insulator spray closed cell poly foam in the rims. It seals everything up real tight. Foundations have 1" of Foamular 150 attached outside the walls, with a layer of platon outside the insulation, and Foamular 250 beneath the slab, on top of a 6-mil vapor barrier. So I'm just going with fiberglass batts in the basement walls, no sealing paint or vapor barrier on the inside. I'm happy with R13 on the basement walls. That being said, the real experts on the subject recommend a different and more expensive approach. Take a look at Basement Insulation Systems.

If you really want to go with spray foam on the basement walls, you could do it yourself with Tiger Foam. Remember that when they specify square feet, it's square feet of wall space. So in a 14x25 basement with , 8' walls you'll need to buy enough to spray foam on about 600 sq ft of wall space, not 350 sq ft of room space. I found that Tiger Foam was about half the cost of having a contractor do it.
post #23 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Hi Walkinator - I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about permits and egress - I could get a permit without the egress? Or do you mean that I can get a permit as long as I'm planning to add an egress (which is not in the cards for me)? Can you explain a little more? Thanks! And yes, there are unfaced fiberglass batts in the rim joists now.

Jeff - I have read that doc you linked to and it is very good. That's actually where the pic above came from. After thinking about it a little (and I'm 99% sure I read somewhere on AVS that spray foam isn't as good as batts with regard to sound isolation) and doing a little reseach, I'm thinking I'm going to go with 2" XPS against the concrete and in the sills, plus Great Stuff for in the gaps (same method Andreas used). It seems like that will get me the R value I'm looking, will provide a good vapor barrier, and will be reasonable cost-wise. But if anyone has input/advice, I'd still love to hear it as I'm not going to buy my insulation for a couple of days...

post #24 of 1757
Originally Posted by AirBenji View Post

Hi Walkinator - I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about permits and egress - I could get a permit without the egress? Or do you mean that I can get a permit as long as I'm planning to add an egress (which is not in the cards for me)? Can you explain a little more? Thanks! And yes, there are unfaced fiberglass batts in the rim joists now.

You can always get permit as long as you plan to add an egress, that is required by code, when you submit application, you need to draw a job site layout and you need to show where is the egress going to be.

As for rim joist, you need to use rigid foam board cut into smaller pieces fit to the rim joist and the use the Great Stuff expansive foam to seal the edge, then put the fluffy fiberglass batts back, this way, your rim joists are air tight, no moisture can get there to grow mold. Check my thread and you can see how I did it or read this:
post #25 of 1757
Thread Starter 
I'm not planning to add an egress window, so I'm pretty sure permits are out. But I'll call the inspector again tomorrow morning just to be sure there's no way around it.

Thanks for that link - that's exactly what I was planning to do...except I wasn't going to stuff the fiberglass back in there afterwards...I thought that had potential to get moldy. But I guess it certainly wouldn't be any worse than the unfaced batts in there now, and that has been in there 9 years since the house was built. Thanks again!
post #26 of 1757
Thread Starter 
OK so now on to the basement floor...there are some cracks. However, they are so straight and in such a perfect X shape that it seems that they must be intentional?? Should I seal these up or let them go? I do have a 1" trench around the entire perimeter of the foundation (you can see it in the pics below). Does that have any effect on the cracks?



Sorry for the crappy pics! Couldn't get a decent shot of the cracks with the flash on...
post #27 of 1757
The 1" stretch around the foundation wall is for condensed moisture to get under slab drain system to your sump well. You need to fix the cracks, I had similar cracks and I used a bottle of Quikrete concrete crack sealer from HD to fill the cracks, you need to wire brush the cracks and clean the debris before use it: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053
post #28 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Awesome- Thanks again for the info. The more I thought about it, the more hesitant I got aboout not filling those cracks. I am planning to use the Drylok version of that stuff for the floors (assuming it's the same stuff) and the FastPlug for a small issue in the wall.
post #29 of 1757
Originally Posted by AirBenji View Post

I'm not planning to add an egress window, so I'm pretty sure permits are out. But I'll call the inspector again tomorrow morning just to be sure there's no way around it

I managed to get a permit without an egress window / door - just a double door entry, no windows. Maybe it's up to the building department's discretion? Initially they wanted the windows, but I guess I whined until they gave in, who knows.
post #30 of 1757
Thread Starter 
Hmmm that's interesting. A portion of my basement was finished when I purchased the house (it's about 9 years old) and I know the previous owners hired a contractor to do the work. I was assuming it must have been done without a permit, but there are double doors in the finished area, so maybe they were able to get a permit that way. Another thing to ask the inspector I guess...thanks for your input Brad!
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