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post #1 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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It's about time I started my theater build thread. But unlike many of the threads here (not all!) I am starting at the true beginning of the build: Planning Stage!

A short prequel history, by Riblet:
I am single, no wife and no kids. To borrow a quote from Eric Cartman: "I can do what I want!" So when I put my house up for sale last year, I started looking for a new house with very limited requirements. It had to be a good value, with an eye for future resale. It had to have an adequate yard for my two dogs. And it had to have a great space to build a home theater. After visiting 48 houses in person (and looking at many more online), I bought a great one. Surprisingly, most of the 48 houses did not qualify.

The beginning state:
The house has a bonus room upstairs over the garage with an adequate layout to use for a temporary home theater. Before starting the dedicated room, I set up the bonus room. I had to cover a window, hang a 12' long heavy blackout drape, put up some black velvet, run cables, etc. Meanwhile, the basement was analyzed. My friends were consulted. Reams of graph paper destroyed. All this and more to pick the right spot in the basement to build the theater.



Here is the temporary setup, with sunlight blasting through a 12'wide 6' high window, and five 100watt flood lights all turned on. Black Velvet rocks!


Here is the futuretheater area, looking towards the daylight wall.


Notice there are a few obstacles in the way, but nothing that could not be worked around. Here is facing from the front wall with the two windows back towards the utility area. Notice the return vent on the left, and the two return vents on the right.


A drain from the main floor:


HVAC return duct for the main floor:


Two return ducts for the main floor:


The electric power supply is not a problem, with both very short runs from the panel, and plenty of expansion room with two 200 amp service panels.



I am working on a Google Sketchup drawing of the whole basement, and will do a more detailed version of just the theater space. Hopefully I can get good feedback to this thread regularly during the design phase. I would rather make a mistake now than having to rework hours of effort later.
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post #2 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 04:47 PM
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Riblet,

Man, that's a nice clean slate to start working with. It's not even burried in crap that must first be cleaned and moved from side to side. I think I hate you.

On the down side, your builder really f$#ked you with the vents & pipes. It seems like they just put them where ever got them home quicker.

-----------------------------------------
The Lava Lounge Construction Photos
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post #3 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 06:14 PM
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Riblet,

Where in Charlotte are you? I currently reside in Monroe and have a bonus room with similar layout above my garage that has me puzzled as to what I should do.

Mike
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post #4 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 06:39 PM
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Looking forward to your build thread.

I notice that the smaller flex ducts look like they were a little bit strangled in places which would reduce air flow.

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post #5 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlllava View Post

Riblet,

Man, that's a nice clean slate to start working with. It's not even burried in crap that must first be cleaned and moved from side to side. I think I hate you.


I second that! lol


Looking forward to seeing more pics!

GL!

NJ
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post #6 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Photos View Post

Riblet,

Where in Charlotte are you? I currently reside in Monroe and have a bonus room with similar layout above my garage that has me puzzled as to what I should do.


Hey where in Monroe are you?!! Im in wesley chapel and I just finished my basement theater room!! if you need help give me a shout

Don

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post #7 of 22 Old 04-22-2008, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlynch34 View Post

Hey where in Monroe are you?!! Im in wesley chapel and I just finished my basement theater room!! if you need help give me a shout

Don

I am north of 74 off Rocky River Rd.

Mike

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post #8 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlllava View Post

On the down side, your builder really f$#ked you with the vents & pipes. It seems like they just put them where ever got them home quicker.

Other parts of the basement are much worse. I was glad that this section will not need that much to be moved around in order to maintain full height. I also wish that builders would put more care into how they do ductwork, wiring, etc. in basements, especially daylight basements that are begging to be finished.


Quote:
Originally Posted by In2Photos View Post

Where in Charlotte are you? I currently reside in Monroe and have a bonus room with similar layout above my garage that has me puzzled as to what I should do.

Denver, direct opposite side of Charlotte from you. There are a number of bonus room over garage build threads on AVS. Mine is partially light-treated, but not sound-treated, so not really a good example of how to do a bonus room. Take a look at Darkwizard's build, also in Denver.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

I notice that the smaller flex ducts look like they were a little bit strangled in places which would reduce air flow.

Yes, that is the case all over the basement. Most of the ducts are metal tubes covered by insulation, but a few runs are with flex duct material. I am having most of the ductwork in the basement redone, which should fix the squished ducts too.

Thanks for the comments
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post #9 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 06:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riblet View Post

Denver, direct opposite side of Charlotte from you. There are a number of bonus room over garage build threads on AVS. Mine is partially light-treated, but not sound-treated, so not really a good example of how to do a bonus room. Take a look at Darkwizard's build, also in Denver.

Gotcha. My wife works in Mooresville so I am familiar with the entire lake area. In fact I bought my boat several years ago from Lake Norman Marina in Denver. Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

Mike
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post #10 of 22 Old 04-23-2008, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are a couple Original State type Google Sketchup drawings. I will need to build a new wall along the open end, and along the stepped solid concrete wall. I am planning on building a staggered stud wall along the two existing stud walls. That way only the bottom plate will be touching the framing of the house.

One of my concerns is keeping as much width as possible. A standard 2x4 stud wall along the concrete wall would end up costing me 3.5" + 5/8" + 5/8" + 1" gap. If I lose an additional 2" + 5/8" + 5/8" on the existing stud wall side, that totals 9" lost width. The finished interior would be 14' 10.5" wide.



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post #11 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 05:09 AM
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Nice space to work with. Looks like the Charlotte area builds are starting to become more prevalent. I'll be subscribing to this thread for sure and would love to see it once it is complete.

Tlllava is right though. Your builder screwed you as far as piping and HVAC goes. It really pays to be involved in the build from the beginning to get things routed intelligently. I had a couple issues to deal with during my build but nothing like you have.

(2) 200A panels? Damn that is a lot of juice Definitely no shortage in that area.

Looks good so far and I must say I am envious of the size of the basement. That is pretty large.

John
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post #12 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I am trying to figure out how to build the staggered stud walls. One of them is on a long regular wall, the other has two window openings that I plan to cover. What I can not seem to figure out is how to properly build a staggered stud wall. I remember Dennis and others saying to use isolation rubber clip things along with the staggered studs, but can not figure out the right way to attach them in order to provide the least solid connections to the rest of the framing. In my attempt below, there are a few problems.
  • The bottom of the studs sits on the baseplate for the main wall as well as the 2x2 I put beside it.
  • The top of the stud attaches to the top plate. Is this where I use some type of rubber clip to hold the stud steady?
  • I notched out the cuts around the window framing. This is way to solid a connection to the rest of the wall. Can I put a rubber mat between the stud and the main wall?

If anyone has any screen shot links that show a detail of the bottom and top connections, and especially a window-covered-with-isolated-wall detail, please link into this thread. Thanks a bunch, as it is easier to rebuild the wall in Sketchup than in real life.

Here is my first guess


Here is a close up of the base layout


Here is a close up of the top
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post #13 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey John, I just realized you planned in a model railroad room too! My Dad and Mom (both near retirement now) are very big into model railroading, so I have dedicated the workshop area next to the home theater for my future model RR area. My dad was disappointed I did not dedicate the entire basement (except home theater room) to model railroading.
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post #14 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 10:09 PM
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wow charlotte is on the come up. if you have a meet after its done i will be there! and im turning a spare bedroom in my house into a theater. nothing like this but it will do for me and my gf.
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post #15 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 05:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riblet View Post

Hey John, I just realized you planned in a model railroad room too! My Dad and Mom (both near retirement now) are very big into model railroading, so I have dedicated the workshop area next to the home theater for my future model RR area. My dad was disappointed I did not dedicate the entire basement (except home theater room) to model railroading.

I would have loved to dedicate the whole basement but somehow I have come to the realization that I need to build something that I can actually finish and not some mega layout that takes tens of thousands of dollars and 20 years to finish.

You mom and dad live around here and do they currently have a layout? Just curious.

John
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I found this theater build thread by BigJoeMoose. He has some nice pictures of isolation clips, and tops of stud walls along the perimeter. Here is the only closeup of the staggered stud wall (third picture down in post). The problem is that this is an all new wall, decoupled from the rafters above. In my case the existing wall is load bearing, and fully coupled to the house. So how do you build in the staggered studs and keep them isolated?

I am also formulating an idea for a window covering attached to the stud wall, without anything attached to the framing around the window. I will try to mock up what I am thinking and post.
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post #17 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 06:37 AM
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IMO, it would be easier to build a second wall about 1/2" inside the existing wall and isolate it from the floor joists with the isolation clips. This way, the theater wall will be fully de-coupled from the load bearing existing wall and you will use a lot fewer clips. You will lose a couple inches from your current plan, but your space is plenty big enough that you won't miss it.

Good luck with the build. I am bookmarking to keep up with your progress.

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post #18 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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If I build a compete box-in-a-box, I would end up with the following dimensions:

A wall would cost: 1/2" gap + 3 1/2" stud + 2 x 5/8" drywall = 5 1/4"

New Interior Width: 15' 7 1/2" - 5 1/4" - 5 1/4" = 14' 9"
New Interior Length: 23' 2 1/2" - 5 1/4" - 4 3/4" = 22' 4 1/2"

That does not sound so bad, and as you said does not cost all that much in total width. I wonder if I need to do any special treatments inside the walls other than normal R13 pink stuff type insulation? And why do people build staggered stud walls instead of completely decoupling them?

Hmmmm, the more I think of it.... I was just being hard-headed wanting to build staggered studs since that is what so many others have done. A completely separate box-in-a-box really is what I need to do. Only the bottom sill-plates will be coupled to the house. Four Berkline 090's in a row are 11' 6" wide, leaving 3' 3" of width for an aisle, and a little gap for positioning the seating. Five Berkline 88's are 11' 8" wide in case I wanted to be a little wider.

Oh, but I would need to lose a little space (2" on each side?) for acoustical treatments. Four Berkline 090's in a straight row, with a 2" gap on the side, and 4" of treatments leaves a 2' 9" wide aisle. Is that wide enough?
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post #19 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 08:08 AM
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Where is the door going to be for entering the theater? How many rows of seating? How many seats do you need?

Mike
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post #20 of 22 Old 04-25-2008, 04:33 PM
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2'9" wide is wider than many doorways so it should be plenty for an isle.

The reason (as I understand it) that people do staggered studs instead of a room-within-a-room is cost (both financial and spatial.) When you are building a wall from scratch w/o any existing framing it only costs a fraction more to do staggered studs than to do a normal wall, while doing 2 walls naturally costs twice as much. From an isolation standpoint, room-within-a-room is better than staggered.

All useless knowledge in my head, since I don't even have the room to spare for 2x4 framing spaced 1" from my foundation walls with drywall on it. I'm looking into Dow's Wallmate system. But I'd love to have a nice sized basement like many folks here.

Good luck, I look forward to seeing your theater progress and come to fruition.

I love NEW technology, it makes the stuff I can afford even cheaper.
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post #21 of 22 Old 07-02-2008, 04:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riblet View Post

I am trying to figure out how to build the staggered stud walls. One of them is on a long regular wall, the other has two window openings that I plan to cover. What I can not seem to figure out is how to properly build a staggered stud wall. I remember Dennis and others saying to use isolation rubber clip things along with the staggered studs, but can not figure out the right way to attach them in order to provide the least solid connections to the rest of the framing. In my attempt below, there are a few problems.
  • The bottom of the studs sits on the baseplate for the main wall as well as the 2x2 I put beside it.
  • The top of the stud attaches to the top plate. Is this where I use some type of rubber clip to hold the stud steady?
  • I notched out the cuts around the window framing. This is way to solid a connection to the rest of the wall. Can I put a rubber mat between the stud and the main wall?
If anyone has any screen shot links that show a detail of the bottom and top connections, and especially a window-covered-with-isolated-wall detail, please link into this thread. Thanks a bunch, as it is easier to rebuild the wall in Sketchup than in real life.

I just found your thread. Wish I had seen it earlier since it took me a while to decide to do something similar with the staggered stud walls as you did. One thing you are missing is running a 2x2 top plate on your studs, just like you did with the bottom plate. These would be hung with RSIC clips from the joists. Also, I wouldn't notch the window headers to run 2x4's, just use 2x2's instead for this area since they are just going to be used to support the drywall.

Another alternative would be to use RSIC-V clips and hat channel to decouple your drywall, rather than building the staggered stud walls. It won't do as good of a job, but it should be easier.

CJ

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post #22 of 22 Old 10-01-2008, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, I am back on track with some progress. As with many with other theater build threads, I have had a few months of no visible activity. But over the next two days my whole basement HVAC system is being installed. This is the step that has held me back for a while (along with being busy) since it is a large outlay of money, and it needed to happen first. On the plus side, I can start trickling money and time into the build from here on out. No other step requires a large lump sum to progress.

The HVAC company will be moving nearly all the existing duct work in the basement that supplies the first floor of the house. They will also be putting in new duct work to supply the basement. A two ton heat pump plus air handler will be added to my existing units just for the basement. To solve the problem of having an unusual load in the theater room when guests are over, two thermostats are being installed with a kill switch to flip between them. That way I can use the thermostat in the game room end of the basement most of the time, and the thermostat in the theater room when I have eight guests watching the LOTR trilogy.

I have taken a number of before pictures, and will try to match up some after pictures once the work is complete.
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