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BasementHT5 04-22-2015 08:07 PM

Spartan Sports Den
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I've been following numerous threads and participating on the site for a couple of years while doing the renovation on my basement, but haven't started my own thread. So, here's nothing.

All of this work is DIY. I'm an attorney, so I haven't had any formal training. It's all from watching TV, research, and past renovations in my old houses and my current house. I didn't take great before pictures, so some of this will come peace-mail.

Unlike a lot of other builds, I actually had a "workable" semi-finished basement. What makes it worse is that we were already using the space for storage, parties, and working out. So, I couldn't afford to move everything out and start from scratch. My thread will summarize how I went from a 70's poorly finished basement to the Spartan Sports Den and entertainment space.

Here's an idea of where I started:

BasementHT5 04-22-2015 08:11 PM

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The walls were done in the 70's in a faux tudor style thin panel wallboard. It was only about 1/4" thick. There was no insulation in the walls and after moving in I had some water issues that were since rectified. So, the walls were really cold in the winter/spring/fall (most of the year) and bowed here and there due to moisture in the past.

The house had a full kitchen in the basement when we bought it. However, we soon discovered that mice had previously occupied it and the rod-holes on the exterior wall were not filled in a couple of spots in that area. To say the least, that had to be demoed.

BasementHT5 04-22-2015 08:15 PM

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After gutting the kitchen area, repairing the rod holes, insulating and repairing the drywall. I moved onto the bathroom. Hey...bonus basement bathroom. Except this one looked like it was redone in 1983. I wish I took more "before" pictures, but I'm not a big picture taker and spent more time demoing. :)

The brown toilet (not pictured) was removed first. The vinyl floor was fun to scrap off by hand, too.

BasementHT5 04-22-2015 08:22 PM

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Here's a view out from the kitchen (behind the bar area) to the space where I'll be putting the TV viewing area.

Please note, this house was built in 1976 and has numerous pipes, electrical connections, intercom system, water lines, gas lines, etc. running through the basement ceiling. There's no way I could comfortably close up the ceiling. So, I'm drywalling the exterior walls and replacing the office-style ceiling with a ceilume drop. I'm going to go with the tin-style in the kitchen/bar area and white on the remainder of the ceiling.

BasementHT5 04-23-2015 07:22 AM

The insulation dilemna
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I went back and forth on this forum examining the best methods of insulating the walls. I narrowed it down to 3 options.

Option #1 : spray foam

Option #2 : Use pink styrofoam-type board for vapor barrier, then put up R-13 between the studs

Option #3 : Use just R-13 faced insulation between the studs (facing acts as vapor barrier)

There was no insulation before the renovation, so anything I did would be an improvement. I just didn't want to do all the work and then regret not doing something down the road.

I looked at this thread for guidance:


I ended up doing the 1/2" rigid foam between the poured concrete walls and the existing studs. I cut it to size and glued it in the joist bays as well, then I either taped or spray foamed the joints to prevent air infiltration. I then insulated the space between the studs in the wall with R-13. The rigid was R-4, so I will be getting the equivalent of R-17 (I guess).

The basement is already warmer even though I haven't finished all the walls yet.

BasementHT5 04-23-2015 07:26 AM

Resist Destruction
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One of the hardest parts of my renovation was resisting the temptation to tear down everything and start from scratch. My goal was to save time and money and be smart about the construction process. So, I tried to keep as much of the material as I could. I didn't want to totally rip out all the studs and move the spaces, so I tried to keep everything where it was for the most part and work around it.

I watched alot of DIY shows and Holmes is one of my favorites, so I had to resist his philosophy.

BasementHT5 04-26-2015 08:21 PM

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I tiled the bathroom floor and kitchen floor w/ some porcelain tiles from HD. I went with a hopscotch pattern using a 12" tile and 6" tile. I've done 3 other floors before in prior houses and helping out my parents, but this is the first time doing this pattern. I must say that its hides some of the possible imperfections in lining up tiles very well.

I was able to recycle the old vanity, cleaned in thoroughly, lighted sanded and applied a stain/poly in one. Looks like new now with a new sink, countertop and faucet.

The drywall repairs in the bathroom were a pain! I hate doing drywall.

BasementHT5 04-26-2015 08:28 PM

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Here's some of the progress on the walls. I had to do the walls in sections as I'm only doing this part-time during weekends, holidays, and vacations (when I have time to spare with the family including 2 girls under 4).

The first 2 pics are looking towards the bar/kitchen area. That niche was a bookcase that I tore apart and made into a floor to ceiling inset area. My wife bought me 2 chairs from historic Tiger Stadium in Detroit when they tore it down a few years ago. I had them against a back wall, but that area will suit them nicely.

The other is the kitchen with the flooring and ceiling in. I got a great deal on the stove and fridge...cabinets will join them soon.

BasementHT5 04-26-2015 08:30 PM

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Here's the niche (after painting) with the 2 Tiger Stadium seats, me and my now 3 year old (this is about a year old).

BasementHT5 04-26-2015 08:36 PM

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I had 2 other niches in the basement. One is where my TV used to be (check out this monster) and the other where my new TV will be located. Directly across the other wall. I tried to eliminate the niches, but the electrical panel and a waste line was next to one, the other had the water meter and a cleanout flanking it. So, I decided to keep them, rebuild them and make them a decorative part. I am going to recess my TV (70" Vizio)

I reframed them with cement board and then bricked them with reclaimed brick face. It goes on like tile, but is kind of a pain to keep straight, clean, and fill with mortar.

BasementHT5 04-26-2015 08:43 PM

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Here's the TV area. I built in backer boxes behind the Polk built-in speakers since the wall was built out an extra foot from the wall. I thought that may impact the sound, so I used the guidelines set by Polk to build it into the stud area, caulk it, etc.

The cabinets on the right of the recessed area is hiding the water meter, so I decided to flank the other side with matching cabinets for storage (there's a water clean-out behind the far end of the cabinets. I got these from Lowe's unstained.

RTankster 04-29-2015 12:16 PM

Looking good so far.

RTankster 04-29-2015 12:22 PM

I've got a pair of seats from Spartan Stadium http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q...314_220125.jpg

You need one of these too.

BasementHT5 06-02-2015 07:46 PM

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Screen wall before work...and current (still in progress):


BasementHT5 06-02-2015 07:52 PM

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I had to flank the TV with cabinets on the right (see picture of water meter and service) and on the left (plumbing clean out and waste drain).

BasementHT5 10-09-2015 01:48 PM

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I've been slacking on this thread and the basement work since the summers are typically spent out poolside. Since the pool is now closed, it's time to get back to work.

I cleaned up some of the mortar from the bricks using an acid solution. That stuff tore through the tile sponge but it got off the mortar.

I also started staining some of the cabinets. Although I took the doors out to the garage, the rest had to be stained in the basement. It takes a while for the smell to dissipate. I think I'm going to add some crown at the tops of the cabinets to dress them up more. Here's the staining:

NosferatuOMeGa 10-09-2015 07:54 PM

I love the brick wall & built in speakers/tv.. Looks awesome!

pittsoccer33 10-13-2015 02:25 PM

When I was house hunting I thought I would do brickwork like that in parts of the basement. I was fortunate enough to find a finished one (with lots of pine woodwork) but I really do like the brick a lot.

I think the dark MSU green would look great as a trim paint color in there along with the wood shelves and brick (we did Pitt colors - darker blue and some yellow - as colors to match the pine in my room)

BasementHT5 10-14-2015 09:41 AM

[QUOTE=I think the dark MSU green would look great as a trim paint color in there along with the wood shelves and brick (we did Pitt colors - darker blue and some yellow - as colors to match the pine in my room)[/QUOTE]

Thanks...I still have to work on the ceiling where I built some closets and over the TV viewing area, the bar, and trim. Once I'm done with that, I'll look into introducing more colors. My wife doesn't want the space to be "too dark" since it is the basement, so I've been using more natural type materials (wood, brick, granite) to stand out.

BTW - I like your space...seems like a comfortable spot for entertaining and watching games.

BasementHT5 11-06-2015 02:52 PM

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My next step was to build some closets on the end of the wall where the TV was. I was intending to put my components in the shelves next to the TV, but changed my mind and went with a movable rack and build closets for storage on the wall.

Here's the slight before (after some demo):

BasementHT5 11-06-2015 02:54 PM

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After a run to HomeDepot (just to get stuff for building three closets lengthwise across the wall).

BasementHT5 11-06-2015 02:57 PM

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Progress...I still have to complete the ceiling of the closets (staying with the ceilume drop tiles and put on the doors). I'm going to go with louvered doors to increase airflow through the closets (eliminate odors and allow for ventilation of A/V equipment).

BasementHT5 11-06-2015 03:07 PM

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Here's my rack. I was going to buy a standard rack - middle atlantic style, but they're so freakin' expensive. Plus, I'm going to hide mine in a closet. What would I need that for.

So, some here suggested a medal rack. I opted to get the audio/video rack from The Container Store online and ordered wheels and another shelf. I think it turned out pretty well and can easily slide in and out for changes.

BasementHT5 11-06-2015 03:09 PM

Rough Plan
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Here's my very rough sketch of the basement layout. Please keep in mind that I'm an attorney, not an architect. Also, my skills are more of problem solving and building on the go vs. planning out all in advance. As such, sketches/drawings/etc. are typically on scrap paper or in my head.

BasementHT5 12-29-2015 10:35 AM

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Making some minor progress. I stained the cabinets on either side of the screen and put in the shelves. I finished up the closets, installed LED recessed light in the middle of the inside of each closet. I reframed the doors in the back so that the drop ceiling grid didn't cover the trim. I also replaced some of the grid and installed the ceiling tiles (ceilume).

I still need to clean up and paint all the trim in this area, paint the doors, clean up a few spots, and then I have to start work on the bar area.

Gingrbredman 12-30-2015 09:40 AM

Great looking space you have there. Loving the reclaimed brick details and the thought that had to go into a retrofit of the space rather than a full gut and re-do.

BasementHT5 01-09-2018 07:32 AM

Bar Time!
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So, after a 2 year hiatus on working on the basement entertainment area, I decided to finish replacing the final wall of paneling, insulating, and putting up drywall. That requires me to tear out the old bar and rebuild.

I demoed the bar a few weeks ago and removed all the old stuff. The old 1970's bar came out rather easy as I destroyed most of it by hand during the Lions week 16 loss to Cincinnati. It served as some anger release. Here's what's left. You can see the footprint of the old bar in cement. My plan is to keep the size relatively similar, but move it away from the corner a foot or so to open that doorway up to the basement kitchen.

BasementHT5 01-09-2018 07:40 AM

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My plan is to use standard un-stained upper cabinets from Home Depot for the base of the bar. I'll put in granite that matches the countertop of the kitchen in the adjacent space. The raised portion of the bar top will be wood w/ a chicago bar rail for elbows. I decided on wood as granite tends to be a bit rough on beer bottles and glasses when you place them down and I wanted it to be modern, but still have that pub feel.

Here's the footprint for the lowers and the beginning of the installation of the lower cabinets. I used pressure treated lumber to form the base. I'm going to use (2) 2x4s as the base to allow for adequate height and a proper base molding to go between the floor and cabinets.

For flooring, I used a pinwheel design (basically using (4) 12" tiles for (1) 6" tile pattern) in the kitchen using porcelain tiles that look like travertine. I want to carry that through the interior of the bar and around the perimeter to allow for tile under the bar stools. The flooring was bought a few years ago when I did the kitchen and bathroom downstairs on clearance as it was being discontinued at HD. I took raw measurements back then and I hope I bought enough.

BasementHT5 01-16-2018 11:35 AM

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I secured the cabinets and then built the surrounding wall (to be used for the higher bar). I built the wall to be 40.5" off the ground to account for the surface and be 42". I used the glue and screw technique, so this bar isn't going anywhere once I'm done.

The Home Depot stock unstained cabinets come in red oak, so I used red oak plywood for the wrap on the outside and will use all red oak trim boards and mouldings once I'm ready for that.

Because this is a wetbar and I used upper stock cabinets, the end of the bar with the sink has to be pushed out. I also found that the bar sink (13" deep) is too big and will have to cut out the back of the cabinet to make room for that and the space needed for the faucet. Sinks are typically 3"-5" from the edge, so I used the 3" space. I had to make a little mdf box to enclose the new cutout portion that you'd see when opening the cabinets.

Of note...I wanted to have a 36" behind the bar area width so I bought a 36" cabinet to intersect with the other cabinets. I forgot to account for the doors opening into each other in the corner, so I had to return the 36" wide cabinet and get a 30" wide cabinet with some spacers.

The lower bar countertop will be granite with an undermount sink and the hightop counter of the bar will be oak.

BasementHT5 01-22-2018 03:39 PM

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Because I made the bar bigger than the old bar, it changed my rough calculations on floor tile. The tile I used for the kitchen that is behind/adjacent to the bar went out of stock/clearance at HD 2 years ago. I bought a few boxes based on estimates, so I'm going to be short now by about 6 12"x12" tiles. :(

I ended up continuing the pattern from the kitchen into the behind-the-bar area and transitioned to porcelain wood-look tile for the remainder. I think it looks good. (picture is ungrounted)

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