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Basement Office/Media Room

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Long time listener, first time caller... smile.gif I'm going to make this partly a solicitation for advice and part build thread.

My wife and I are in the beginning stages of finishing out part of our basement as a home office/media room. We purchased the home back in November and are now needing the 4th bedroom (on the main level) I'm using as my office/kids game room to use as a bedroom. I had planned to do a bunch of the work myself (I'm fairly handy but never taken on anything of this magnitude) and then our 2 boys spring baseball schedules hit. With 5-6 days a week of games and practices, I've decided to concede and hire a contractor.

The room itself is ~13x27, but I decided I wanted to include the basement stairs to make the room feel more like a part of the house so that makes it a little larger. And, as a part of that my contractor is going to build a utility closet to house the water heater and furnace (which live under the basement stairs). I don't have exact dimensions on the utility closet, but it should be close to what I've depicted if I get my way which means it can also house all my AV gear.

I'm going to do my own flooring and of course low voltage cable. We're undecided on flooring -- we've gone around between laminate, carpet and most recently vinyl plank flooring. Pretty soon, I will need to make the decision so I'm prepared when the contractor is ready for me to put it down.

There will likely be a full tray ceiling in order to work around the HVAC ducting that's in that area of the basement, as well as 8 can lights on 2 dimmers (front half and back half, so that I can have my "office" lit without lighting the media area as well). We're also hoping to pick up at least a 3 row of some proper home theater seating. My dream is that one day I can turn the entire room into a "proper" dedicated home theater, so I'm trying to future proof it by running some conduit (unsure how large I'm going to run yet) and planning for things like a projector (which I don't currently have and isn't part of this round of build).

Here's a short equipment list of what's going in the room:
- Onkyo TX-NR609
- Onkyo HTIB Speakers and powered sub (from my previous surround setup, but a decent setup)
- Samsung 67" LED DLP HL67A750
- Xbox 360S 4GB w/ Kinect
- Wii
- Sony PS3 Slim
- DirecTV HR24 HD DVR
- Toshiba BDX2000 BD Player
- Mac mini running XBMC
- Apple TV Gen2

Without further ado, here is my currently floor plan with my wiring layouts indicated (at each lettered location). I THINK I've hit all of the things I'll need. smile.gif It's going to be a very busy room... Still lots of things up in the air and I'm working through with my contractor (such as bi-fold or standard interior door for the utility closet -- I'm just guessing on a lot of these things so I could lay out the room). Anywhere I've mentioned PowerBridge will be a PowerBridge-style outlet home-run back to the utility closet for future UPS or power conditioner.

I'd be interested in any suggestions on flooring (either something I could do myself or something I could hire out for a reasonable cost, such as carpet). We are likely going with a dark gray color on the walls, so we'd be looking for something that complements that.

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 10
Your basement looks a lot like my basement which is 90% done. I didn't want carpet in the basement but agreed to put it in about 1/3 of the area for TV watching. I don't like that it's hard to clean (and we own a rug doctor) and would wear down by the bottom of the steps. The carpet was attached pad and was very easy to install but that's only the case because the area is 11'6" wide and it came 12' wide. If I had to seam it no way I would have done that myself or with the attached pad. The laminate flooring is very easy to install. Both were installed on top of OSB which was on top of Platon which was a fantastic decision and really keeps the floor and room warm. So either way (carpet or laminate) I would float it above the concrete on something. Technically you can laminate right over Platon which would save time and money.

I wouldn't use a bifold on the utility room. Furnace blowers are loud. Someday when you have a power vent or on demand water heater those are loud too. Get a decent interior door and insulate those walls with fiberglass to keep that sound under control.

I ran 1-1/2 conduit, I would really recommend that. It was cheap and easy. Yes, have at least two zones of lighting. Consider some switched outlets as well. Read the "what I'd do differently" thread, that really helped me spend more money than I wanted to. I'm about 90% done, I need a desk, bultin media cabinet along the wall with the TV, a much larger tv or projector, new couches... etc. A lot of that will wait until fall. Our spring/summers are to busy to use the room much anyway.



post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bepperb View Post

Your basement looks a lot like my basement which is 90% done. I didn't want carpet in the basement but agreed to put it in about 1/3 of the area for TV watching. I don't like that it's hard to clean (and we own a rug doctor) and would wear down by the bottom of the steps. The carpet was attached pad and was very easy to install but that's only the case because the area is 11'6" wide and it came 12' wide. If I had to seam it no way I would have done that myself or with the attached pad. The laminate flooring is very easy to install. Both were installed on top of OSB which was on top of Platon which was a fantastic decision and really keeps the floor and room warm. So either way (carpet or laminate) I would float it above the concrete on something. Technically you can laminate right over Platon which would save time and money.

I wouldn't use a bifold on the utility room. Furnace blowers are loud. Someday when you have a power vent or on demand water heater those are loud too. Get a decent interior door and insulate those walls with fiberglass to keep that sound under control.

I ran 1-1/2 conduit, I would really recommend that. It was cheap and easy. Yes, have at least two zones of lighting. Consider some switched outlets as well. Read the "what I'd do differently" thread, that really helped me spend more money than I wanted to. I'm about 90% done, I need a desk, bultin media cabinet along the wall with the TV, a much larger tv or projector, new couches... etc. A lot of that will wait until fall. Our spring/summers are to busy to use the room much anyway.

Thanks! Good looking room. I think everyone's room on here is 90% done. :-)

The LVP (vinyl plank) says you can throw it right down on concrete (it's a floating floor, click-lock style) but I can see where that could be a potential mold problem. Doesn't look like there's anyone in my area that sells Platon specifically -- is there a similar product I can pick up at a big box store or the like? If not, I'll question my contractor about it. I've done plenty of laminate in my time but if I can save a whole step (and ~$0.50/sqft in cost) of putting down underlayment, the LVP is looking attractive. Looks like I can pick up enough 6 mil vapor barrier to do the entire room for <$50, but I can see that creating a mold problem also (just on the concrete instead of the flooring).

Looks like we're going with an interior door on the utility room, so I'm happy about that. All walls and ceiling are going to be fiberglass batt, so that should help with sound.

Did you use something like Carlon or did you run plastic/hard PVC conduit? Yeah, unfortunately my whole existence on this site is helping me spend more money than I want to.
post #4 of 10
I was very worried about mold and took a lot of steps to prevent that but I wouldn't worry about vinyl right on the floor. The advantages of floating the floor (in addition to making mold less likely) are that it's a lot warmer (maybe not an issue in GA, our basement floor is 50 degrees in the winter) and water can flow under in the event of a foundation leak or pipe bursting, bad sump pump... whatever. Platon is regional. In other places it goes by the brand Delta-MS and probably others. Otherwise DryCore or SubFlor are basically the same thing but instead of a roll they come in a 2x2 plate with the membrane already attached.

One thing I would do, if the floor isn't already painted, is to tape down a garbage bag for a few days and see how much moisture is coming up. If it's not moist then I wouldn't worry as much. I probably would put down some vapor barrier under the vinyl plank, though.

I used a resilient channel and R19 in the ceiling and the sound stopping is very good, it's possible to do two separate things upstairs/downstairs and not interfere. More sound comes through the basement door than through the ceiling. Unfortunately if someone jumps or whatever (I have three kids) you still hear the impact noise. For the price I think fiberglass in any wall cavity should be the default.

IMO flex conduit is for when you can't do things the right way. It's a lot smaller, it's harder to fish wires though, and it's much more expensive. I used regular plastic electrical conduit. The big radius bends make it easier to fish wires. The downside is you can't really run it horizontally through walls (unless you want to drill a 1-3/4 hole in a 3-1/2in stud), but the soffit for my HVAC made that a non-issue for me.

Before I read the "I wish I had" thread I probably wouldn't have drywalled or insulated or used resilient channel on the ceiling, I wouldn't have run the conduit, I wouldn't have installed a ceiling outlet (for a projector in the future). I broke things down into five lighting zones so if I need to dim things for a projector or just to have the theater feel I can, whereas if this was just a rec room I would have put them all on one or two.

It goes quickly, I started on Thanksgiving with concrete block wall and cement floor. I did everything myself but would have loved a handyman. I did an hour here, hour there, four hours on Saturday morning... etc and wouldn't have been able to work out a schedule with one. I did have my dad help me hang the drywall for one day as a second person really helps. Speaking of that, mold resistant drywall is a must in a basement but it weighs about 15 lbs more and you feel that after a day. I used "regular" for the ceiling or I'd be crippled by now.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeD1 View Post



The LVP (vinyl plank) says you can throw it right down on concrete (it's a floating floor, click-lock style) but I can see where that could be a potential mold problem. Doesn't look like there's anyone in my area that sells Platon specifically -- is there a similar product I can pick up at a big box store or the like?
Lowes carries it in the flooring section or they can order it for you. It's made by Cosella-Dorken and it is called Delta- FL which you can see at their website here . If you can't get it through a big box then call them directly to see if they have a local distributor. It is reasonably priced and allows air/moisture flow beneath if necessary. You can install a floating floor directly on top or a layer of OSB and any flooring you desire thereafter. I would never install anything directly over basement concrete unless you have done a moisture test on the floor as per bepperb's suggestion above and there is 0 moisture. It's just too risky now to gamble on mold issues especially with the increase in efficiency of the building envelopes in homes now. Even if you have an older home, you may be increasing the air-seal and efficiency of the home in the future to the point where basement moisture can become a potential issue. Keep in mind that your house is a system. Changes in one area impact every other area eventually.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeD1 View Post


Did you use something like Carlon or did you run plastic/hard PVC conduit? Yeah, unfortunately my whole existence on this site is helping me spend more money than I want to.

You can go with the rigid schedule 40 (it is gray in color) conduit with long sweep connectors for 90 degree bends as necessary. It's inexpensive. Some people go with the Carlon tubing which is flexible but it is more expensive and a little harder to find in the retail setting. Keep in mind that properly spec'd low voltage can generally be run without restriction in-wall./in-ceiling. The conduit suggestion is a result of well thought out planning which allows you flexibility to pull/re-pull cables in the future without tearing out drywall etc. In other words, it's an inexpensive way to give you flexibility in pulling cable in the future.

Finally, get a radon test done or get a DIY kit that you can send in to the kit's lab. Install radon mitigation if needed- it is inexpensive and generally consists of PVC pipe, an inline fan and a small hole in your basement slab and your rim joist. Your county is listed as a Zone 2 (moderate potential) meaning anywhere from 2-4 pCi/L is the potential result in your area. The Delta-FL properly installed and sealed will help here as well. I went from greater than 4pCi/ (highest exposure)l to undetectable with platon and mitigation in my basement.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhug View Post

Lowes carries it in the flooring section or they can order it for you. It's made by Cosella-Dorken and it is called Delta- FL which you can see at their website here . If you can't get it through a big box then call them directly to see if they have a local distributor. It is reasonably priced and allows air/moisture flow beneath if necessary. You can install a floating floor directly on top or a layer of OSB and any flooring you desire thereafter. I would never install anything directly over basement concrete unless you have done a moisture test on the floor as per bepperb's suggestion above and there is 0 moisture. It's just too risky now to gamble on mold issues especially with the increase in efficiency of the building envelopes in homes now. Even if you have an older home, you may be increasing the air-seal and efficiency of the home in the future to the point where basement moisture can become a potential issue. Keep in mind that your house is a system. Changes in one area impact every other area eventually.

Well, I called the Platon folks yesterday and asked them about vinyl plank on top of their stuff... After being mildly rude and sounding annoyed the entire time (partly because it sounded like he had no idea what a vinyl plank actually was or had ever seen one), he basically said "I don't think it's a good idea". The planks are fairly rigid and go down like a laminate, but they are somewhat pliable (I have a sample leaning up against a hutch in my living room and after sitting there fit a bit it does have a "bow" to it from leaning). The issue with Platon or Delta-FL is whether or not they will properly distribute weight (especially on the click seams) so they don't crush the dimples in the underlayment. The vinyl planks are recommended to be used with NO underlayment but I can certainly see where Delta-FL is reasonable to put down. I just don't want to screw up here, either from the aspect of ruining $900 worth of flooring, or ending up with a mold problem later. I've got my garbage bag taped to the floor, I'll give it 24 hours and see what I get. Though I have to say, I was clearing the area last night of boxes and other misc stuff and after having boxes, etc. sitting on top of it for ~3 months now (understanding you can't go on looks alone), that is one dry looking floor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhug View Post

You can go with the rigid schedule 40 (it is gray in color) conduit with long sweep connectors for 90 degree bends as necessary. It's inexpensive. Some people go with the Carlon tubing which is flexible but it is more expensive and a little harder to find in the retail setting. Keep in mind that properly spec'd low voltage can generally be run without restriction in-wall./in-ceiling. The conduit suggestion is a result of well thought out planning which allows you flexibility to pull/re-pull cables in the future without tearing out drywall etc. In other words, it's an inexpensive way to give you flexibility in pulling cable in the future.

Yep, I had looked up the Schedule 40 yesterday. Definitely going to run likely some 2" with a pull string for future proofing in addition to all the things in my original spec likely outside the conduit.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmhug View Post

Finally, get a radon test done or get a DIY kit that you can send in to the kit's lab. Install radon mitigation if needed- it is inexpensive and generally consists of PVC pipe, an inline fan and a small hole in your basement slab and your rim joist. Your county is listed as a Zone 2 (moderate potential) meaning anywhere from 2-4 pCi/L is the potential result in your area. The Delta-FL properly installed and sealed will help here as well. I went from greater than 4pCi/ (highest exposure)l to undetectable with platon and mitigation in my basement.

Something I actually hadn't thought about... Thanks for the suggestion. I'll get a kit picked up and stuck down there today before work starts.
post #7 of 10
If you can carpet over this you can use your vinyl over it: http://www.superseal.ca/carpetsubfloormembrane.html I've never seen it but Menards carries it online, maybe you can find it cheaper somewhere else:

http://menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/underlayment/plastic-underlayment/superseal-carpet-laminate-subfloor/p-1806549-c-5710.htm
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bepperb View Post

If you can carpet over this you can use your vinyl over it: http://www.superseal.ca/carpetsubfloormembrane.html I've never seen it but Menards carries it online, maybe you can find it cheaper somewhere else:

http://menards.com/main/building-materials/panel-products/underlayment/plastic-underlayment/superseal-carpet-laminate-subfloor/p-1806549-c-5710.htm

My closest store is in KY... smile.gif

However, they show the same thing on their site as Platon and Delta-FL (foam padding and laminate right on top). I don't see how this stuff differs from those 2 items which I might actually be able to find locally except that the Platon and Delta folks don't give me a lot of confidence in doing it. smile.gif
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Figured it was time to update this thread with some progress (Ok, I've been lazy).

We'll start with some before pics:
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And after the framing and HVAC:
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The county inspector complained about the soffit height... So, down they came:
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That passed... And made the room feel a lot bigger. So, it was nice. On to insulation:
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On to drywall/mud/tape:
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Sanding and trim install/paint:
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Paint:
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The original basement stairs had open risers, so I had to fix that up... And it was an excuse to buy a pneumatic nail gun:
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Flooring was a tough decision... We finally decided to go with a mix. I wanted carpet for the sound deadening properties, and my wife wanted some type of tile at the landing, since that is an entrance from the garage. We settled on some decent looking stick-down vinyl tiles for the landing:
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We toyed with the idea of staining the stairs, and ended up painting them:
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And yesterday, the carpet got installed and I finished up my low voltage trim out (electrical trim out happened up there ^^^^ somewhere):
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So, now I wait on final inspection, which should occur tomorrow! Excited to be able to start using this room...
post #10 of 10
Looks great!
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