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post #1 of 57 Old 08-09-2015, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Post Danimal's Animals New Home Theater Build

So, I know how much you guys live for the long drawn out theater construction threads, so I thought I would give it a shot. Been a long time lurker, rarely posting so here is my big debut.

My wife and I are starting to price out a new home and choose all the fancy fixings. She wants to blow most of the budget on the kitchen and leave me with $4 and change to finish off the rest of the house.

So, easing into it, simple question first, hoping to get some solid feedback throughout this whole process from start to popcorn. Is having a 9' foundation over an 8' pour going to make that big of a difference to my finished basement space? The builder says the extra foot is a 6200 dollar upgrade. So hello to everyone and I hope you can join me on this terrifying journey!

-Danimal
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post #2 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 03:17 AM
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Depends on the layout of room you have in mind for the theater. Most floor plans at the early planning stages rarely show where they intend to hang the duct work and misc plumbing, What starts out as a nice looking room ends up with foot tall duct running right where you want a foot tall seating riser. Works if your extended family and friends are shorter than 5 1/2 ft.

Plenty of spaces that look good on paper end up being ruined by ducts covering half the ceiling. If you don't want to make an expensive mistake get the requirements for the remaining headroom of specific areas documented in the contract.

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post #3 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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That's a good point. They have us down for two HVAC systems, which is new to me. The total sqft of the two story is just over 3000, so I'll have to get some expert advice on how to extend the conditioned space into the theater. Has anyone here gotten into a project and thought, damn I wish I had an extra foot of headroom?
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post #4 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 12:49 PM
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numerous, Ohio, Bethesda, Summer Fun, Curve Frenzy, Staggered walls and Lemonade in my project links. So based on my simple survey 6 out of 9. plus two I haven't linked yet of 4 projects that are works in progress. That would make 8 out of 13. I've hit my head about 1/2 dozen times on the soffit at Brolic Beast's place.

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post #5 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimalx23 View Post
They have us down for two HVAC systems, which is new to me.
Fairly typical for a two story plus basement house. Locally they put the air handler for the second floor in the attic and the duct work serving all of those rooms is hidden in the attic and usually not a problem. The first floor air handler will be in the basement and the duct work will be hung below and in the joist space. If you have a copy of basement floor plan take a picture and post it here in the thread (after you reach 5 posts) based on the layout it might suggest where the ducts MIGHT go. Finished basements usually tap the basement unit, in the best homes they install a zoned unit so that you only send what you need to where you need it. Unfinished basements are usually pretty much ignored of given just a pittance of what high occupancy finished space would require because the foundation walls and floor keep the area a fairly uniformly cool temperature. Think of a root cellar. Once you build insulated walls, put down carpet and fill a room with people, demand for cooling will increase.
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post #6 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 01:11 PM
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found this image using Google. an example of a ruined space that could have been a nice theater, If can still be a theater, just not a nice one.

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post #7 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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From what I saw at the model home based on our Floorplan, both units are in the basement with duct work running up into the home. There is an option for using a zone damper system instead, but with the open cathedral ceilings and layout I was told that 2 units would be more efficient.

I'll be back out there on Friday and I'll make sure to bring along my camera to snap some pictures of the model. Now I just need to find a way to sell my wife on the upgrade price for having 9' walls in the foundation!

This gets me thinking a little more about how the builder wants to charge for running wire throughout the house for home audio. Is it worth 3 grand to have them do it pre-drywall or should I save some coin and just tear up fresh construction and pull it myself? Just an FYI, this is our first home together, we've been saving for new construction and want to build something we can love for years and grow into with a family. She looks at a 10K upgrade to the kitchen and doesn't bat an eye, I suggest $300 to get insulated garage doors (woodshop) and she looks at me as if I asked her to sacrifice an arm.
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post #8 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danimalx23 View Post
So, I know how much you guys live for the long drawn out theater construction threads, so I thought I would give it a shot. Been a long time lurker, rarely posting so here is my big debut.

My wife and I are starting to price out a new home and choose all the fancy fixings. She wants to blow most of the budget on the kitchen and leave me with $4 and change to finish off the rest of the house.

So, easing into it, simple question first, hoping to get some solid feedback throughout this whole process from start to popcorn. Is having a 9' foundation over an 8' pour going to make that big of a difference to my finished basement space? The builder says the extra foot is a 6200 dollar upgrade. So hello to everyone and I hope you can join me on this terrifying journey!

-Danimal
I just closed on a house my wife and I had built by one of those mega-builders. The room I selected in the basement for my HT is absolutely loaded with challenges.

If your builder is like mine, and you get to chose from an assortment of models from which you can upgrade and customize, get a feel for what some of the other houses in the neighborhood look like, especially if they are examples of the model you are looking specifically at. When I asked about some more serious customization to the basement that was outside of their normal cookie-cutter scope, they would have charged me an arm and leg for it.

If you are going with a completely custom design, more power to you!
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post #9 of 57 Old 08-10-2015, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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It's "Semi Custom" so they have a list of plans but allow for quite a bit of change. I doubt they have many IT techies coming in and asking detailed questions, but they do at least offer a Control 4 integration and sonos system. I'm sure they would be happy to do anything I wanted, at a price.

The build quality from what I've observed is actually very high quality. With a walk out lot I'll have at least 1 wall framed and insulated to start from. Very exccited for the experience and hoping to lean heavily on the expertise here in the forums for keeping me on track!
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post #10 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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We have a meeting with the design lady tomorrow, but I saw on the spec sheet that they have us down for a dual HVAC system. I'm assuming 1 for each floor. That's going to add additional duct work and steal space from my already shrinking home theater

Will I be able to tie into one of the systems to condition the theater or do you think the basement will already be included?
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post #11 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 09:04 AM
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Unless designed and instructed otherwise, they'll just run the feed/trunks and returns on the easiest possible pathways - which is right down the middle, as you see in the photo above. I would ask about getting getting any ducting moved to the side and then feeds to room ran between the joists. I have a much, much smaller house that I retrofitted the ducting it to do just that and I was able to reclaim quite a bit of space that was otherwise cut in half with ducting running every which way.

I imagine this would take a couple discussions with the HVAC installers and walking through the space pointing out your vision and needs.

Probably too late, but there are lots of other (more efficient) ways to heat and cool a house: minisplits, etc. Then you have fresh air/ventilation management, etc. http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...ngs/hrv-or-erv

That website, like AVS can be a rabbit hole that is hard to climb out of
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post #12 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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That website, like AVS can be a rabbit hole that is hard to climb out of
Thanks Scotter, I'll have to check that out after work. I think the builder is already mad at me because I took out the $30,000 they had added for finishing off the lower level so I'll butter him up and see about installing the ducts in a tidy manner. Everything I'm allowing in the home will be energy star rated, so if there is a mini split pump I wouldn't mind adding that after the fact for the theater. I'm in Saint Louis so I'll have to see if the winters are warm enough.
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post #13 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 10:16 AM
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If you look through the "What I would do differently thread", there are lots of posts regarding wishing they had more height.

I personally have (I have built 3 houses) always gone with the extra height in the basement. Keep in mind, a 8' wall pour, after adding in the concrete floor is only ~ 7'8".

My current house is 9' pour (~ 8'8"), and where my HVAC Duct Line & I-beam are that I also have a 'lower' riser, it definitely feels a bit tight - I don't think it would have been passable at 8' poured wall.

One option I have seen some people do, is having only a section of the basement 'dug deeper'... although, many of the ones I have seen like this, have been instead of a riser, but conceptually, you could do it for the whole room. I am a bit surprised at the quoted cost, that seems very high to me... I live in greater Cincinnati, and housing costs I thought were similar to St. Louis, and when I we had ours house built in 2012, our cost for a 2,850 square foot foundation was only about $3,500 (They said almost 8,000, but you get 50%+ off all options , so, closer to $3,500 in real cost).

I put in a Mini-Split to my theater room vs worrying about HVAC...although, still have to have an air exchange plan.

One thing you might look at, is what the I-beam & support poll locations are. In my theater area, they used a lighter gauge I-beam, so, they then needed a support poll. I have another span in my basement that is great and they used a thicker gauge I-beam to avoid yet another support pole... in retrospect, I wish I had looked at that/thought through it more in advance.

They also put my Electric Panel in my theater room, which compromises sound proofing some... to do it again, I would have had them put it somewhere else.
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post #14 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Danimalx23 View Post
Will I be able to tie into one of the systems to condition the theater or do you think the basement will already be included?
If the basement is to be finished by the builder it will have some minimal HVAC provided, it will not be sufficient for a dedicated theater space. Unfinished probably not. Yes you can tie into one of the units (usually) location and available space to run the ducts can be a problem.
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post #15 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Good good! I'm adding all of these to my list of questions for the builder tomorrow. Another thing I wanted to ask was about possibly excavating deeper on one side of the basement to create a larger relief for the theater. Not sure if it will be worth the cost, as my schedule would have to spread out to accommodate the cost.
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post #16 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 11:44 AM
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The first thing you need to do, even before deciding the HVAC, is select and purchase a projector.
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post #17 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 12:15 PM
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Add a folding chair and a clean bed sheet.
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post #18 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Isn't that like, the trifecta for killing progress on the theater? Once you sit down you never get back up!
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post #19 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 12:30 PM
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You'll likely save a TON of money with that approach though!
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post #20 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Stolen from another forum post. Alright guys, close thread
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post #21 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 12:57 PM
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For a more serious answer, as Big already said, more height is better. I have 8.5' in my theater and that drops to 7.5' for the soffits. Combine that with a riser and clearance gets tight. I'm going to have to keep the primary riser lower and do a second riser for the back row seats just so people can get in and out of the theater comfortably.
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post #22 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I've read through The Cinemar Home Theater thread about 4 times now and get angry/aroused each time because of his space. I'll take some pictures tomorrow of the basement in the model home to get an idea of what I'll have to work with.
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post #23 of 57 Old 08-13-2015, 01:45 PM
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I also have a two height riser... I enter the theater at the 'lower level' of the riser, my back bar & to the sides of the 2nd row seats (and into my AV closet) are all this 'lower level' riser. This then steps down to the concrete floor for the first row of chairs.

This wasn't 'tall enough' for good line of sight clearance, so, for the second row of seats, I built another tall riser - which, none of it/very little of it is where any soffit is dropped down.
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post #24 of 57 Old 08-14-2015, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
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So the basement in the model was finished off pretty much terrible. The layout wasn't done in a way that was good for entertaining but did include a bedroom and 3/4 bath. I took two pictures, one of a sub panel and one of the water manifold which I thought looked insane. The main panel was behind some other door that I didn't see in my limited time. The realtor said that they could hang another sub panel for me, but not knowing where I would have to wait.


Little sub panel, completely full already.


Insane water manifold, I can't figure out where they all go.

Not sure if this is the right way to host and include images. They were not sideways when I uploaded them
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post #25 of 57 Old 08-25-2015, 03:45 PM
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I'd highly recommend the 9' basement over 8'. It's one of those things that you can never change in the future and over the cost of the loan isn't too much added to your monthly payment.

Then if you can spring for it, have them dig your theater location deeper.

The room gets much smaller than anticipated once you start throwing in double walls, double drywall, suspended track ceilings, etc. for sound proofing. Plus throw in vents and pipework.

While I had a 9' basement with the theater dropped down already, if I had the option today to have 10' basement for only $6200, I'd spring for it.

I've always been of the mindset do the big things you cannot change down the road even if it means holding off on other parts of the project later...like the theater.

Just my 2 cents for what it's worth...2 cents.
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post #26 of 57 Old 08-27-2015, 05:25 PM
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As someone with 7 foot ceilings (before ductwork...), get the higher ceilings!
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post #27 of 57 Old 09-14-2015, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Long time since last update, the Phase release has been pushed back a month now because they haven't even poured the roads! This pushes possible closing back to mid June 2016

On the plus side, longer to save means more house that the wife will approve of! I'm trying to find a place that will sell me the new Russound MCA-88X for home audio, so I'll at least have a toy to play with while I wait for the house.
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post #28 of 57 Old 10-29-2015, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Cool

Well, after much back and forth, and then some more back and forth we finally got a contract signed on a new home!

Unfortunately one of the concessions I had to make in order to get the home under our budget, was, you guessed it, the basement. So I'll have 8' walls to work with and hopefully enough space under a 2 story to make a decent home theater.

At one point I was in the basement of a 3,000 sqft ranch with 9' ceilings.... it was incredible. Enough room for a drive in theater. Ultimately the home my wife and I are building will be delivering on all of the other requirements we had, leaving the basement under-built, but not impossible.

Closing date won't be till Fall 2016, so for now I'm turning my attention to low voltage and whole home audio. Thinking of the Russound MCA-88X to cover all my requirements in 1 albeit expensive box.
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post #29 of 57 Old 12-18-2015, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Just finished my Low Voltage selections I'm not allowed to do any work myself until after closing so I have to pay another trade to do all the wiring.

I still can't find a good retailer for the Russound MCA-88X, has anyone here ever sourced one? Closing should be around Mid July from what I'm told.
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post #30 of 57 Old 02-07-2016, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's me standing in the future home theater. More than a little ways off but I'm pretty excited to be building our first house. The wife has tasked me with doing the trim work inside the house so I get to set up shop in the garage. Looking to get a Festool Kapex 120 Miter Saw to do the fancy crown molding and other cuts. Step 1 will be insulating the 3rd stall of the garage. Looking for any advice from the veterans there.

Also, I'm putting together an email to send over to Mario the master, who built the most incredible space in his home. I would love some advice on building a complete plan for home automation. Something that I can stagger in different phases to help get the budget approved by the boss, but not buy the wrong thing and screw myself over for later.


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