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The Plains Theater - Page 4

post #91 of 1535
Thread Starter 
I have a question for all you DIY experts and anyone else that wants to chime in as well. We are within a couple days of backfilling around our house and making the waterproofing final. Our lot has lots of trees and I started wondering about root intrusion into the drain tile. Because of the design it's not possible to rod it out later, so I've been thinking about how to deal with any roots. The only thing I've come up with is to put in some 1-1/2" PVC from the footing up to grade in a few places around the house. The bottom of the pipe would have some holes drilled in it. A couple times a years can pour some copper sulfate down the pipes to kill any roots. Then I just have to hope it will actually flow down the tile and not just soak into the ground at the bottom of the PVC.

What do you guys think? Any other ideas? I'm running out of time to come up with something. Apparently the waterproofing has been holding up the framing so we are itching to go!
post #92 of 1535
Hi JPA. You don't have anything to worry about and no "root killing" pipe access is needed. Most of the trees around your property are really nowhere near your house. Second, roots tend to stay superficial to absorb all the water from rainfall and don't go deep. The only reason roots from a very large, very old tree would go deep is if moisture is detected in the soil. However, your weeping tile is going to collect and remove water from around your foundation, leaving the soil at that depth drier than the soil above so the roots will have no interest in getting to your weepers. Third, DEFINITELY make sure your contractor uses sufficient compacted base (rock) and the drainage pipe with the filtration sock as pictures here http://www.betterhomeinspections.ca/weeping_tile.htm This sock is absolutely critical to allowing water in the pipe, but no dirt. Weeping tile drains are put in level with no slope. The water dissipates slowly into the soil below (which does not affect your foundation, fyi) or allows for the water to escape through a single protrusion somewhere away from and on a downslope away from your home. So this drainage pipe will ring your home and be connected at a "t" and then this single pipe will run away from your house on the walkout basement side of your house and just dump into the woods if there happens to be that much water accumulation.

I see your red soil - you must live here in the South like I do. One word of advice, especially for your size of home - when they go to do the gutters and downspouts, definitely make sure you use seamless gutters, 4 (or 5) inch downspouts and have these downspouts go into a system of underground CLOSED pipes with a slight slope around the back of your house and discharge into the woods. This practically guarantees that you will never have water issues.

We just built our second home so I am filled to the brim with useless knowledge, so feel free to ask away with any other questions.
post #93 of 1535
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback TMcG! Your points certainly make sense. I started worrying about it after reading horror stories online where people's drains were stopped up by a neighbor's tree. I also have several sweet gum trees that are rather close to the house, 20' I think is probably the closest to a drain, and apparently sweet gum trees are on the list of worst offenders for trees with roots that ruin drains.

The soil being dryer at the footing really makes sense, and there hasn't been any water collecting at the base of the footings over the past few weeks, so that certainly makes me feel better. Most of the roots seem to be in the top 6-12" of soil as well.

We're also using an engineered drain tile that has the filter sock included. One of the delays we had was for me requesting to have gravel put down on the drain tile where the waterproofers said native solicit would work. I figured an ounce of prevention at this point!

I really appreciate the input here, and any advice from past experience is welcomed!
post #94 of 1535
There is a newer version of this weeping tile pipe where the sock is essentially filled with styrofoam around the pipe. I believe the advantage is that you don't have to lay the rock base, just drop this pipe assembly in position (these new pipe assemblies are about a foot in diameter) and then dump a bunch of 3/4" crush on top of the pipe to keep it in place. But don't quote me on this. I just know it goes down faster, obviates the need for a compacted 3/4" crush base and generally can save time and money - although this is something that a contractor may not share with you!

There is WAY too much advice to just share, but if you have a specific question, just let me know. What area of the country are you located by the way? This would make a difference on the recommendations.

It is probably too late for you at this point given your building contract, but I would have used SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels) for the exterior walls and roof assembly, gone with a tankless hot water heater, looked more seriously at a heat pump for the heating/cooling system and gone with insulated garage doors for a large number of reasons. If the design of your house is like mine and you have living space above the garage, I would DEFINITELY use a closed-cell spray foam insulation on all sides (underneath, walls, ceiling, etc.) to keep this area roughly the same temperature as the main part of the house instead of being very affected by temperature changes.

Yes, there are many, many changes I would have - most for convenience and improved energy efficiency - which don't really cost too much to have during the building process and many which end up actually saving $$$. Good luck!
post #95 of 1535
I found this little nugget from a professional tree guy in Tennessee:

"I was in tree removal for 22 years in central fl . when they are young I'd say less than 12 inches in dia they are ok . after the get bigger they tend to rot from the heart of the tree to the out side . you will never know when it has rotted to the danger point . if it is near any thing that can be damaged from falling .I''d say cut it down now . also the maple tree's tend too send the roots to the surface after they get bigger you wont be able to walk in your yard because of the root's system.the gum and the maple is a bad choice for any tree you can have in your yard . also never plant or have any tree's near your septic system H T S"

Aside from exposed roots and the inability to grow any grass or plants underneath the tree, many people complain about the large spikey seed balls which fill the gutters and yard, and the invasive nature of the roots if you have a septic system. Other people seem to love the trees because of their ability to provide shade with a dense canopy and fall foliage. I don't know what I would do....perhaps consult an arborist by phone who can lead you in the right direction while the heavy earth-moving bulldozers are still on-site, which can also be used to remove the stump should you choose to get rid of the tree because apparently the stump WILL regenerate unless it is removed. I would be interested to know what you end up doing.
post #96 of 1535
Thread Starter 
I'm in the Southeast near Auburn, Al. We're planning to use open cell spray foam throughout the house. I did quite a bit of research on it before deciding to go that route, and it seemed like there were pros and cons to both open cell and closed cell. In this part of the country, I think the general wisdom is to use open cell to allow a path for water vapor to get out of your walls. In much colder climates the additional R value that a closed cell provides is more attractive. I had not thought about insulating the garage, but I will definitely follow up with my contractor on it. Thanks for the tip! He may already be planning to do that, I just don't know.

It's also interesting that you mention the tankless hot water heater. We really wanted to get one, but our subdivision does not have natural gas. So the options would be either an electric or propane unit. Since propane is just as expensive as electric now, we decided to go electric on our appliances (propane is likely to keep getting more expensive, and we won't have to deal with keeping the tank full). When I started researching electric tankless water heaters, pretty much everyone/everything said to stay away from them. So, we went with two conventional tank water heaters instead. hopefully we'll have more options one day.

Keep the tips coming. Unfortunately, this is one of those things where sometimes you don't know what questions to ask. It's like insulating the garage. That's a great idea, and now that you mention it it seems like common sense. I just hadn't stopped to think about it.
post #97 of 1535
Thread Starter 
After quite a bit of deliberation. I decided to go ahead and put some pipes in so that I can get some copper sulfate down to my drain tile. I think TMcG is absolutely correct that it's not necessary, but it's one of those things that only takes a little time to do now, and would be near impossible to do later. I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

All I did was get some 1-1/4" PVC and drill a bunch of holes in the bottom 6" on one side of the pipe. Then I stood the pipe up on the footing with the holes facing the drain tile, and covered the bottom with gravel. The idea is I can pour copper sulfate down there and it will drain out through the drain tile and kill any roots that have worked their way in. Again, I'm doubtful it will even work, but it sure can't hurt. Heck, I might even be able to use these to see if there is any water standing at my footer later. here's a couple of pics of the pipes installed, and yep, we've had quite a bit of rain so it's extremely muddy!

Front of the house near the woods

Back of the house near the woods

Back of the house near the garage

And here's the part that will likely make the whole waterproofing business actually work. Here's the gravel that will be used to backfill around the base of the walls. There were four big trucks that showed up while I was there, and I'm sure there were at least that many that had already been. This is a lot of gravel!!!

post #98 of 1535
Definitely the right move with the open celled foam for the whole house. The insulated garage doors really help to keep out the heat / cold, including the radiant heat transfer from the sun if your garage doors will face the sun at some point during the day. I would likewise stay away from the all-electric tankless. I believe the problems are linked to mineral build-up over time, particularly if you are on well water.

Let me see, what would I do / do differently? Here are some of the top items:
1. Use all engineered I-joists for the floor joists and no natural timbers for a dead-level, strong and even floor
2. Use 3/4" tongue and groove plywood vs. OSB for the subfloors (much stronger)
3. Increased the amount of low-voltage wiring in the house, including a Gigabit network (Cat-6 wire) at every network port and two at every TV location for future use
4. Installed a chandelier lowering motor in the attic for our entryway chandelier to be lowered for bulb replacement/cleaning
5. Use a jackshaft garage door opener vs. the standard - http://www.liftmaster.com/consumerwe...px?modelId=834
6. Install networking wires at your thermostat and security panel locations!!!
7. use open cell foam on the backside of the ceiling drywall (i.e. the second floor ceiling) to an R30 level, then blown in insulation to top everything off to an R-50 to prevent air escaping and resist heat in the attic from coming into the top floor
8. If you have a gable roof....getting 3/4" plywood flooring down and access to some of the attic space for extra storage
9. A dedicated sub-panel for the basement actually located in the basement
10. Underground piping to clear collect downspout roof run-off and discharge away from the house
11. Adding 2" rigid foam and/or radiant barrier on walls behind the brick (with a small air gap if possible - this is a HUGE thermal load of sun-heated brick trying to transfer heat into the house. These methods will help kill a lot of this heat load before even reaching the open cell foam in the house
12. If I wasn't using SIPs, then use 2x6 framing at 24" OC (known as advanced framing techniques) to increase insulation depth (5.5" vs. 3.5") and amount (through less vertical studding). Uses about 15% less total lumber as well.

Those are the main tips of if I were to build a house again. If I think of any others I will let you know but these are the primary energy efficiency / convenience / preventative / upscale features I would have for building the house again.

When are they delivering / installing the weeping tile pipe? I don't understand exactly how your vertical piping system will reach into the weeping system and kill roots. If the plan is to use some sort of "T" connector between the 1.5" PVC and the weeping pipe, you must make sure that the connection is also covered by the protective sock as to not allow soil infiltration that will clog your weepers. Anyhow, good luck over the next week with the backfilling!
post #99 of 1535
Just a quick comment regarding the use of foam. Fantastic insulator but IF soundproofing is a goal, you would not use in in the theater ceiling or walls. Use plain-ol' fiberglass.
post #100 of 1535
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

When are they delivering / installing the weeping tile pipe? I don't understand exactly how your vertical piping system will reach into the weeping system and kill roots. If the plan is to use some sort of "T" connector between the 1.5" PVC and the weeping pipe, you must make sure that the connection is also covered by the protective sock as to not allow soil infiltration that will clog your weepers. Anyhow, good luck over the next week with the backfilling!

Great list! Thanks for taking the time to do that! I've got several of those checked off already, but some some of the others I'll mention to our builder. I'm afraid we may be a little too far down the road for some of it, however.

The drain tile is actually already in place. It's the dark black band at the bottom of the walls. It's an engineered product that's not like a typical drain pipe you would see in most installations (here's a link). I'm just guessing, but I'd say it's about 6"x1.5". It's similar to the dimpled membrane, but with larger raised portions plus it has a geotextile filter fabric wrapped around it. They make a special connector that you can use to connect a pipe to this, but they're a bit tough to get. So I just set the pipe next to the drain tile, and I'll hope that any water I put down the pipe will take the path of least resistance through the drain tile. It's not a perfect solution, but it's the best I could come up with. Originally I thought they were planning to use an actual pipe, and I intended to do exactly what you mentioned above.
post #101 of 1535
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ted White View Post

Just a quick comment regarding the use of foam. Fantastic insulator but IF soundproofing is a goal, you would not use in in the theater ceiling or walls. Use plain-ol' fiberglass.

Thanks Ted! My understanding is the plan is to spray the rim joists and leave the ceilings uninsulated for now. Later we'll put the fluffy stuff in Soundproofing is definitely the goal. I'd like to be able to crank it to 11 without disturbing the rest of the family!
post #102 of 1535
THat's the ticket!
post #103 of 1535
Thread Starter 
They were supposed to finish backfilling today, and framing should start tomorrow!!

I wasn't planning to post any pics of the backfilling because it's the same pictures except with more dirt, but I know how you guys are! So, here's the back corner near the garage.

And here's the front near the walkout end of the basement

post #104 of 1535
That drainage board is pretty slick - and I can see where it would be a big advantage (from a time and materials standpoint) vs. a traditional weeping tile pipe. I have bookmarked this product as a potential "required material" should I ever build again.

The house looks great so far! I bet it only takes them about two weeks to get the house under roof. It's really amazing how fast those framing guys can fly!

Keep up with the pictures!
post #105 of 1535
Yeah, pictures of DIRT! Awesome. Oh, now come on, I'm just messing with ya. Congrats on the moving forward with the framing. That should go pretty quickly. I too want to see the pictures continue of your over all project. Glad that everything appears to be going smoothly.


post #106 of 1535
Looking good! Glad to see you are posting lots of pictures and detailing the whole experience.
post #107 of 1535
Thread Starter 
auburn008, glad to have a fellow enthusiast in the area! Looking forward to you getting a build under way so I can get my theater DIY fix on someone else's dime I enjoy doing construction projects, and my wife prefers I do construction projects at someone else's house, so you'll have some free labor when the time comes
post #108 of 1535
Thread Starter 
So here it is! The post that's not just about dirt!

Today is officially the second day of framing, but they got a late start yesterday, and spent most of their time laying out where the bottom plates would go. Today, however, they got most of the basement framed And it was only 3 guys! They said half their crew was at another job, so they were moving a little slow..... Wow!

Without further ado, here's a pic looking at the walkout portion of the basement

Here's another looking over the basement standing in the garage. It's a bit hard to get oriented in the picture, but the garage where I was standing to take this picture is up 9' or 10' from where all the framing is. The horizontal board at the bottom of the picture is actually the top plate for one of the walls in the basement (one of the outside walls of the theater, actually).

And here's a shot standing at the back of the theater looking at the screen wall..... It's not much to see yet, but I'm still proud

The first thing I noticed when I walked around the basement today, is I'm really glad we went with 9' walls. It makes the rooms feel larger than they are. So, as everyone on the site has pointed out, it's a good idea to have the ceilings as high as you can afford (within reason of course).

The next, is the stairs come out a little closer to the exterior concrete wall than I would have hoped. The hallway between the bottom of the stairs and the entrance to the theater is going to feel a little tight. The gears are already turning, and I'm thinking about taking some space out of the media closet to open up that area a bit. I'll have to play around a bit with my Sketchup model and see how it looks.
post #109 of 1535

As you can see the framing should go pretty quickly. If the crew knows what they are doing it is very interesting to watch them work. A kind of poetry in motion shall we say. Congrats on the next phase of your build.


post #110 of 1535
Keep the updates coming!
post #111 of 1535
post #112 of 1535
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by auburnu008 View Post

Keep the updates coming!

Don't worry. I'll stop by this afternoon to get pictures. Unfortunately, it's supposed to rain the rest of the week, so I image there really won't be any updates after this one until after Christmas.

Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post


Glad to have you along for the ride! Don't be shy, either. I'm open to all the feedback I can get! I'm open to suggestions on everything from theater topics to the type of grass in my lawn (I do need help on that actually )
post #113 of 1535
Just read through your thread. Looking go so far. Your gonna love that 9' deep basement. Had one in my last house then moved back to an 8', sure miss it.

Saw your rocks and wanted to make sure that you have figured out where you want to stash those before you're done with heavy equipment in your yard. I had one that I moved about 30' and it was all my S-10 Blazer could do to wrap chains around it an pull it by rolling it. It wouldn't even begin to move it by dragging it. I would guess mine was probably 3' in diameter.

Originally Posted by J_P_A View Post

I think we'll just push them somewhere on the lot and plant some flowers around them now

post #114 of 1535
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reminder! I'm planning to get them moved when they do the final grading..... It would be a bad day if I forgot! There's a few of those that the dozer had to push because they were too big for the bucket. So you're right, there's no way I could push, pull, drag, or roll one of those things myself.

I've got a couple of places in mind for them....... I wonder if they could build me a stone snow man? It's the closest thing we'd get this far south
post #115 of 1535
I so love the framing part of home construction. So much fun to watch and witness.... keep the pics coming!
post #116 of 1535
Thread Starter 
Well, we've run into our first frustrating snags in the build. Before we get to that, I'll give you a few progress photos, though

Here's a picture from the garage. Directly in front of where I'm standing is the theater room.

Here's one looking at the walkout portion of the basement. Really the only addition is the engineered flooring system.

Now for the bad news. First the framers decided to build the landing at the bottom of our steps a little different than the plans called for. Our plans showed two steps and then the landing going from the basement floor up. This put one step down from the landing going into the theater. Here's a shot of the layout to make it a little more clear.

They decided to move the landing down one step to eliminate the step down going into the theater. The downside to that is it makes the landing pretty short at about 38".

Here's a photo of the offending opening. What you see is the corner post of the media closet, but that gives you a good idea about the space the landing will have. So when you come down the stairs you'll be staring at the wall on the right. Thoughts on which alternative you would prefer, anyone? I've got another thread going as well, but I still haven't made up my mind.

The next thing has my blood pressure through the roof. Apparently the engineered flooring designer decided that we needed a 24" beam going through the theater room to support a point load on main floor. The other beams that you see in the pictures are 16". This means that there would be 8" of beam hanging down into my 9' ceilings! Nobody bothered to ask if I was OK with that, either. After I mentioned it to our builder, they went back to the flooring designer and they've decided they can get by with an 18" beam there, so I only lose 2" of head room. The only other alternative would be a steel beam, but we'd have to have another company design it.

Any thoughts?

Sorry I don't have any pictures of today's progress. It's been raining and I didn't want to take my camera out in it. It probably wouldn't have been good for me to have something to throw either
post #117 of 1535
My plans call for notches in the garage wall. The trusses (presumably) will sit on the garage slab at the top of the concrete basement walls instead of dropping into the room. The depth of the engineered trusses don't matter at that point (mine are 20") because it just raises the first floor instead of lowering the basement ceiling. I still loose 4" from the basement floor slab, though.

I think if the sub-contractors aren't following the plan, your builder needs to take responsibility and insure that they do (including redoing things if necessary). Easier and cheaper for everyone if you accept their mistakes, but I don't think you have to.
post #118 of 1535
Correct the stair framing errors, Mistakes happen, it is your job to demand they be fixed according to plans, I suspect the builder has a sub doing the framing, in that case the correction isn't going to cost him a nickle.

If you think it is narrow now imagine what it will look like if you finish the wall facing the concrete.
post #119 of 1535
Thread Starter 
I actually considered raising the first floor, but because no one bothered to let me know ahead of time, it's really too late. It would require tearing down all the beams and adding 8" to all the walls in the basement. With the 18" beam alternative, once I add clips and channel on the ceiling I'll only be losing 1/2" rather 2".

With regard to the steps, on one hand I'm glad the framers were paying attention to what they were doing and trying to make a change that would benefit us. On the other, I wish they'd asked ahead of time. Because as you said, right now we are strongly considering having them rework it to match the plans.
post #120 of 1535
I don't know anything about construction, but I wonder if they could add more trusses (tighter spacing) to avoid having to run a beam?

My trusses are supposed to span 22' 6" without a beam... maybe I should triple check that.
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