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Pilgrims Pit - Design & Build

post #1 of 523
Thread Starter 


1.HVAC Move - More - Baffle Box -
2. H/W Heater Move
3.Sump Pump install
4.Water proofing - and leak!
5.Some framing shots - More - All framed
6.Plumbing - More
7.Soffit tips from Ruben - Some variations - more
8. Crude Sketchup attempts - More
9.CRT PJ Mount preparations - uni-strut mount
10.Rack Stuff - Plan - Rails in - Retrofitting the door - Trimming out - Door up
11. Big Winner
12.Sheet rock up - plastered
13. Blue LED Rope light - Installed
14. Marquee + Crown
15.Lighted Column Design - Roughly cut in - Sconce Cover Construction
16. Obligatory Sand in Stage Shots
17. reworking some of the carpenter's stuff
18.Finishing my coax wires (a tutorial)
19.playroom and Bath complete pics
20. Ripping down mdf/wood for the aborted fabric frames
21. Guess who is moving
23.Fabric cover for soffit bass trap
24. Carpetted
25.94% Done - 100%
26. Life Goes On - And On - And On

The Plan:


Projector - NEC 6PG+ CRT PJ
Transcoder - NEC 6010 Switcher w/Moome HDMI card
Screen - DIY Wilsonart laminate screen
Speakers - 5 Ascend HTM-200's (B-stock, purchased) 5.1 to start. Wired for 7.1
Sub - HSU STF-2 (purchased, B-stock)
Receiver - Yamaha V661 (didn't want to spend much here while things are in flux)
Amps - 3 Crown 402D amps, got too good a deal.
Sources - PS3 Games/Blu-Ray; Toshiba A-2 - HD-DVD; Sony DHG-HDD250 HD DVR; Monoprice 4-1 HDMI switch
Remote/etc - Harmony 890
Seating - A leather couch with two recliners

The plan is to finish a basement with a H.T., playroom and 3/4 bath. This is not really a DIY job - contractors will do the major build elements (I hope). I plan to do some of the finish work.

The H.T. will be about 17' by 13'. Ceilings are around 7.5' with some ductwork to work around (I think). Theater gets its name from the sump pit that is in the back corner. No floods for me in the 2.5 years I have been in my house, but neighbors were less fortunate. I'll be adding a primary and backup pump.

Sound isolation approach: staggered studs between H.T & Utility room, DD+GG, RSIC on the ceilings. Outlets and speakers in the columns. HVAC, still finalizing my thoughts, trying to work with flex ducts and bends, just need to map it out. Also need to work on my lighting plan.

Accoustic treatment: I have contacted Bpape about helping me with a plan. I intended to emulate the fabric frame look, using dazian janus to cover the frames. My company moved me before I had a chance to implement the accoustic plan.

First challenge: gotta move the furnace and the H/W heater. Builder put them in the cheapest and worst spots. In evaluating bids, it was only a bit more to run a zone per floor as it was to run a zone for the basement and the rest of the house (~2000 Sq ft, two story sideways colonial). So all the existing ductwork in the basement is coming down. The beams run where the lally's are, so the duct work will have to pop under that in places which may ugly it up in spots.
post #2 of 523
Thread Starter 
Here are some shots of the space



From the screen location - before


Furnace sitting where the door will go - before

After (looking the other way)

Here is a shot of the screenwall.
post #3 of 523
Thread Starter 
Just a side note for future reference - I made a few separate threads on a few topics to draw a wider net of opinions.

HVAC concerns and accesories here:

Here is a thread going on how to attach my CRT projector to the ceiling:

Water seal the walls / floors:

Types of Gypsum boards - - Drywall vs Blueboard for media room:

Thoughts on a soundproof door:

More feedback on a basic column:

How to terminate coax:

Table Saw tips:
post #4 of 523
Thread Starter 
HVAC guy is stopping by tonight. I need to propose some matters on the ductwork. In the existing layout there is a metal duct running the lenght of the bottom of the room. I think this is going away.

The design goal is to put insulated flex duct into the room, and get a few turns into the duct before it exits the room to reduce flanking paths. This was pointed out by Bryan Pape in a conversation I had with him. This is what I have come up with my initial thoughts on routing the ducts. The perimeter of the room will be soffited, so that will be the logical location for the duct runs.

Any comments on what I have come up with?
post #5 of 523
Hi Dave,

I like it. My only comments would be have you consider putting the equipment rack in the theater in a recessed opening? I often put in a SACD or DVD-Audio disc while watching HD football and like to be able to do this without much more then leaning out of my favorite spot (just one example). My point being how you think you might use it today might not be how you use it in the future.

Also before the walls go up consider some sort of video monitor for the front door or other area of the house. I often miss visitors and fear that the house could burn down and I'd never know. I have the wires in place I just have to hook it up. Overdo the wires, you can never have too many in my opinion.

Good luck with your project.

post #6 of 523
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the comments, my hesitation on the in-room rack is sound isolation. I guess I could box in the back, but then I'd have to think through boxing it in, ventillation and wire access. But its a valid point.

Another good point on the "outside world". Our doorbell doesn't ring in the basement. Found that out when we were down there with the electrician and a plumber rang the bell and we found out about it later on a phone call. So we'll need to figure out doorbells, smoke alarms and other essentials. Phones are already on a 5.8 ghz connection, so that's just picking up an extra handset. Same deal for the baby monitor. The low voltage is on my shoulders. I hope its as easy as people seem to say it is.

Two more carpenters coming this weekend to bid on the work. So hopefully the "romance" stage is coming to an end. HVAC guy I will be using is coming tonight, so I'll figure out as much as I can on that soon.
post #7 of 523
Thread Starter 
Wow- first quote for construction, including plumbing, but not electrical and HVAC - 43K.

post #8 of 523
I know it varies by area but that seems a bit on the high side - especially with no HVAC or electrical. Are you sure you don't want to just buy beer and steaks and do it with your buds?

post #9 of 523
Thread Starter 
Its about $72 per SQFT of finished space. I'd like to DIY, and we may get there if we keep getting quotes like this. The strike against is we turned a weekend project (chair rail + "frames" to make a faux wainscot) into about 5 weekends (and several wonderful tools). So efficiency and skills are lacking. Plus we bickered a fair bit during that process. A few more quotes like this, and I will get to DIY. It will take at least a year, I am guessing. Two more guys come this weekend, so we'll see.

I think I scared them a bit. I gave them a drawing, a page of written specs, another drawing of the house for reference, and then a 3 page print out from green glue and an 8 page printout explaining RSIC-1 clips. Quite a packet.

Got good news from my HVAC guy though. The legacy ductwork in the HT space is going away entirely. So I won't have to work around that.
post #10 of 523
If you have the ability, consider running extra wiring to support butkickers or other LFE devices the seating. Any wiring you think you'll ever need is often cheaper (and always easier) to run beforehand and leave in the wall than trying to run it after the fact
post #11 of 523
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

Another good point on the "outside world". Our doorbell doesn't ring in the basement. Found that out when we were down there with the electrician and a plumber rang the bell and we found out about it later on a phone call. So we'll need to figure out doorbells, smoke alarms and other essentials. Phones are already on a 5.8 ghz connection, so that's just picking up an extra handset. Same deal for the baby monitor. The low voltage is on my shoulders. I hope its as easy as people seem to say it is.

If you have not every looked at Smarthome.com, take a look at it. They have a lot of stuff related to doorbells, video monitors, etc. Should be able to solve your doorbell problem pretty easily.
post #12 of 523

Good luck with your build. I'll be keeping a watchful eye!

I agree with these guys as well. Prewire as much as possible, even if you don't use it later. Also, I added a wireless doorbell extender from Smarthome and it works great. There is always a way around things, but you're better off being planning way ahead.

post #13 of 523
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

Another good point on the "outside world". Our doorbell doesn't ring in the basement. Found that out when we were down there with the electrician and a plumber rang the bell and we found out about it later on a phone call. So we'll need to figure out doorbells, smoke alarms and other essentials. Phones are already on a 5.8 ghz connection, so that's just picking up an extra handset. Same deal for the baby monitor. The low voltage is on my shoulders. I hope its as easy as people seem to say it is.

I wired in a second doorbell in the HT room in parallel with the main upstairs bell. So when the one button on the front door is pushed it rings in both places. Works great and was cheap. I think I found the wiring method here in a post called "stupid doorbell" or something like that. It basically puts the two bells in parallel with each other.

I do plan to eventually wire in a camera to the front door, so when we hear the bell ring we can switch the video feed to the door cam and see if we want to bother answering it.


post #14 of 523
Thread Starter 
Had another contractor in today. Was pretty together didn't seem bothered by staggered stud, green glue, RSIC clips or anything like that. Hoping for a reasonable price. Definite front runner based on first impressions.

My wife is skeptical of the buttkicker concept. Maybe its the name. I'll pre-wire anyways. Low voltage is on me, so I need to focus on that plan soon. Definitely a doorbell. Definitely will spend time at smarthome. Need to decide on graphic eye vs Insteon. Off to lunch and a lead on second hand sconces.
post #15 of 523
Many times guys will give you a high quote if they just really don't want to do the job. I suspect that may be the case with your first quote. Also, you need to make sure you specify to them what materials you'll be providing like the Green Glue. Any time they provide materials, there will be a markup on them.

If you don't mind doing the leg work, if you can get them to provide a materials list, you can purchase the materials yourself and save some money.

post #16 of 523
Thread Starter 
I think you are right about that Bryan. I am guessing the guy saw green glue, RSIC, and decided he didn't want to deal with it. So he bid high. Got another quote in, its MUCH better. The guy apologies that it was a bit high (it is, a bit). But the specs I wrote up are pretty lengthy, which probably makes for higher quotes.

I attached my specs if any one wants to crib off them. Just construction/carpentry requirements, not utilities/electrical. Doc file, so open at your own risk (I don't think I have any macro-viruses, but you never know).

Things are moving pretty fast now.


Requirements.doc 26.5k . file
post #17 of 523

On your HVAC are you looking at a single supply line that then splits in the room to the supply registers. Same with returns?

Reason I ask is thats what I did on my supplies.....and nearly failed the inspection. Apparently was against code. Managed to swing the guy by explaining why I did it (i.e. noise reduction).

post #18 of 523
Thread Starter 
Mark - - that's more or less what I was thinking of. I guess we can do separate runs, but it needs to split off from the dampener at some point to be in the same zone, so I don't entirely see the difference, in my inexperienced opinion. There is no HVAC permits in MA, but some towns do mechanical inspections and some don't (I gather). Not sure if my town does, though I'd guess yes.

The one change to the drawing above is Bryan suggested in an e-mail that I bring the supplies and returns in at the same place to make it just one intrusion that needs to be sealed. Made sense to me.
post #19 of 523

From my understanding code has each register coming off the main trunk.

Its sounds stupid to me as my main trunk that feeds most of the the basement and 1st floor is 14"x8" so has cross sectional area of 112 sq in. It has has 7 x 8" (50 sq in each) supplies and 2 x 4" supplies (12.5 sq in each).....so 375 sq in.

And he was concerned about splitting a 8" in two !!!!!

Might be prudent to check with your HVAC guy.

post #20 of 523
Thread Starter 
Added the before pics to post #3.

The HVAC is now moved. Pics of that tonight. Ran into an issue regarding the height of the run going under the beams.

Also, have a thread going on whether/how my walls should be sealed.

post #21 of 523
I like how they did you HVAC runs that must prevent allot of loss in the feeds. Mike Homes would be proud of the person that did the install
post #22 of 523
Thread Starter 
Well, the supplies got ripped down in the Relo (pics soon, really), so that is no more. We're still not 100% back running since the beams got in the way, and I was going to lose too much headroom at the entrance - as in hit your head at the door.

When my guys ripped down the supplies they found out that no adhesive was used in joining the ducts together, except where they would be visible to the inspector. Apparantly there were 5" gaps at the joins after 2.5 years. No corner to small to cut.
post #23 of 523
Thread Starter 
Here are some pics of the relo so far. We had to rethink things on the fly, but everything is working out. Here are some action shots:



Crime scene

Episode IV - A New Home

post #24 of 523
dam that sucks That was one of the things I had my foot up the HVAC's arse about taping every joint. You loose I believe 15% on average HVAC, I purchased a really high output unit. I didn't want poor install screwing the gain up.
post #25 of 523
Thread Starter 
Don - the funny thing is our house is rated as a "energy star house" - - on the merit of the insulation and windows, I guess. Not so much on the quality of the install.

In other news, the plumber is in to work on moving the H/W heater today. The HVAC guys were supposed to leave a pan to put the H/W heater in. Didn't happen. The plumber is installing a device that will shut off the water to the H/W heater if the tank bursts. The pan was to contain the mess some. Since it was forgotten, I guess we'd have the mess to deal with if it happens. The sensor will still work and limit the problem, so its worth doing. I am not thrilled that there wasn't follow through. I can't hammer the HVAC guy too bad since I made him rework his design on the fly when we figured out the headroom issue, but kind of lame.

Carpenter comes to sign the contract today. Permits getting pulled. Framing is probably 10 days out.
post #26 of 523

Our installs are very similar, but I can not isolate my room like you can due to combustion air issues. You can see my drawing on my other posts and I will be starting a thread like yours soon. We are at almost the exact same point as well as I just finished the outside entrance install, bathroom rough in and H/W&Gas line moves. I am going to start framing next week. My bids came in at- High $39K, Low 27K and most between 27K-30K. I did not have enough money in my entire budget because of having to pay 6.7K for an outstide entrance and the desire to put 8K worth of cherry cabinets with grannite in. What I did was find a local handyman that does basements and other work for realtors as a very fair price. He came highly recomended from friends. He bid 10K, but I am pretty sure that was based on more common construction methods, but he did not flinch when I told him DD w/GG. I have already added other things and he keeps just adding very reasonable amounts like $500 here and $200 there. I figure that even if it ends up being double his original bid, he will do everything I need and it will be done the way I want and still be only about 20K. I took over the engineering (since I am a mechanical engineer) and also will buy all of the specialty materials (acousical panels, gg, etc).

I am interested in how much you paid for all that HVAC work as I might want some done. Your original house looks better constructed than mine in MD as I have no duct wrap or ceiling insulation yet either.
post #27 of 523
Thread Starter 
I'll drop you a PM Cherokee. Not sure I want to put all of my numbers up on a public forum. My ranges are pretty similar. Trying to get the room as right as I can. The equipment will have to be just adequete.
post #28 of 523
Thread Starter 
H/W Heater moved today. Some pics:


Pipes plugged up

Relocated next to the furnace

The shut off regulator (if the tank bursts)

The sensor for the shut off device
post #29 of 523
Thread Starter 
I know I should run a search - but thought I'd ask here.

Lighting control - Grafic eye vs Insteon. I am planning light rope in the soffit, plus sconces, and possibly a few recessed cans (need to get lighting figured out). So three devices to control, I'd want to dim any and all of them.

Seems like the graphic eye controllers run around ~$500-ish. Insteon is cheaper, but I can't quite figure out which devices I'd need to buy to control the devices. The eventual remote will be some kind of harmony product. I am hoping they make one for the PS3 for when I am ready.
post #30 of 523
Hey Pilgrim,

Been checking out your thread good stuff so far. Glad to see a fellow New Englander, Southern Mass to boot. I'm in West Bridgwater, and by your screen name I can kind'a guess where your at.

Question about that shut off regulator. Did you have it before you moved the H/W tank or did you have it added now? Did you install yourself or by a pro? and How much materials and labor if any?

My Tank is right next to my future HT and something like that would be nice to prevent future problems. Thanks.
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