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post #331 of 375 Old 01-14-2019, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Still chipping away at it. (Some jackhammer puns to start the post...)

Actually, done chipping. For now. All concrete has been broken out and removed. Ugh. That was a wonderful bit of awful.

Here's all of the first layer of concrete busted out. You can see the uncovered pier pours as the gravel layer is dug out.



Rented the electric saw a second time. Only an hour of cutting this time. I wanted to separate the pier pour from the slab as much as possible before jackhammering it out. I didn't want the transmitting vibrations to weaken the concrete slab above it, or disturb any soil near the footers any more than I had to. Plus, it makes for a neater edge and an easier time breaking it out.



First pier pour removed.



Breaking out the second pier pour... this was just painful. It was close to 10 inches thick and the rebar was literally 3 inches apart in places. It was right at the edge of what my Hilti was capable of working through. Lodged the chisel between the rebar and rock twice on accident and had to use my angle grinder to cut it free both times.



"Aaaaaaand it's gone." Thank goodness. Hats off to those who do this for a living, the monotony and bending over would get to me after a while. You can see a lot of gravel set aside. Might as well reuse it. Why haul it out just to buy more of it and haul it back down again? Their gravel layer was super thick in areas. It was as much as 10 inches at the sump pit area! Hopefully I'll have enough for my dig out, I think code is a minimum of 4".



Now on to that darn sump pit.



So I was digging... and I pulled a perfectly good sledgehammer out from under the slab! It's a rubber handle and perfectly good. Score! LOL



Just look how thick that gravel fill is! Dang guys! Must be way easier to level and overshoot it that way. I would just dig, then let the collected water from under slab run into my pit. Then I'd trigger the sump pump, drain it down, and repeat. Over and over.



This would've been nearly impossible without the jackhammer. My pick axe was just bouncing off it. Borderline shale all the way down. You can see the scoring lines from the chisel on the sides. BARF! It's almost 3 feet wide and 50" deep. I ordered a 24" x 48" sewage basin to use here. It was pricey, but everything else was so suboptimal or by the time you spent the extra money to jerry rig it, it was nearly the same price.



Next step? Getting rid of the concrete. I had a large debris container dropped on my driveway, but darn it, the same day we got almost a foot of snow. I had to shovel a path around the side of the house, down the hill, into the sliding door to the walk out basement. It's gonna be a lot of trips with that 5 gallon bucket.





After that, here's the breakdown of the foundation pour. The 16" wall and the lower 5" slab will actually probably be poured together. Not sure where I got it in my head that I'd do that separately. Anyway, that's it for now...
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post #332 of 375 Old 01-14-2019, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_c View Post
Oh yeah, this was my least favorite part of my build, but the sump has saved my butt a couple of times already.
I'll let you know in 3 years if this was the least favorite part of mine too. ^_^
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post #333 of 375 Old 01-15-2019, 04:19 AM
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Absolutely incredible! I actually got exhausted in the minute it took me to look at these pictures!

If I was close I'd donate a day or so of hard labor to help clear that concrete rubble. Maybe some young neighborhood kids looking to make a few bucks would be interested in helping for 4 hours one Saturday morning. Could be the best couple hundred bucks you ever spent! A bit different, but when I was looking to clear all the downed brush and trees in the back of my property I hired 5 neighborhood kids knock out in a morning what would have taken me 2-3 weekends to do working alone. Cost me $250 cash and a bunch of grilled hamburgers, chips and Coke for the effort.
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post #334 of 375 Old 01-15-2019, 06:27 AM
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post #335 of 375 Old 01-15-2019, 09:01 AM
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Man Ryan, you make me tired just looking at this and reading it. I am having issues motivating myself to just get into my theater and work on drywall and other items. You the MAN! I second getting some neighbor kids to help if you can. We are also supposed to get more snow this weekend and get colder.

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post #336 of 375 Old 02-21-2019, 08:36 PM
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Wow, that's an amazing and ambitious project you're undertaking.

As long as you're removing the old floor and repouring the concrete floor, have you considered insulating the new slab? I know your goal is to give you more ceiling height, but if you could spare 2" for insulation, you'll end up with a warmer floor, and it can also be a great help for reducing moisture and condensation when the warm air meets the cold slab.

We did this with our new house, and couldn't believe the difference it made compared to our old house. The cost was about $1.20 per foot, but that was our cost through the builder. Since you're doing the project yourself it could be less.

Scott
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post #337 of 375 Old 02-21-2019, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TMcG View Post
Absolutely incredible! I actually got exhausted in the minute it took me to look at these pictures!

If I was close I'd donate a day or so of hard labor to help clear that concrete rubble. Maybe some young neighborhood kids looking to make a few bucks would be interested in helping for 4 hours one Saturday morning.
Can't think of a better forum member to get an A for effort compliment from. (Fist bump.)

So yeah, I thought about hiring cheap labor... looked around my cul-de-sac... and... just about all the kids are about 8 or 9 years old or younger. None of them would be strong enough to carry a 5 gallon bucket full of busted concrete. Double bonus was the average temperature at the end of January, which hovered around 15 degrees. And snow. And ice.

I did grin a few evil grins at the idea of young kids working in the frozen tundra carrying concrete for the benefit of my project but alas, I just bit the bullet and carried it all out myself. My haul away container I rented was 7 feet tall, 8 feet wide, 20 feet long. I think I got that thing almost 60% full by the time I was done. (I didn't think to take a picture at the end, but gives you an idea...)




And there you have it, the pile is GONE.


The bill for hauling it away showed up a couple weeks later. It was about 20,000 pounds of concrete, all hauled out in 5 gallon buckets. lol. Sometimes I wish I were a beefier dude, but I try to make up for it with stamina.

Also, the sump basin showed up. It's like... really big. LOL. I mean, that's what I wanted, but man. It's over 70 pounds of just thick plastic. The circle rim at the bottom is 30" wide when I dug for 28"-30" so I gotta dig out some more. (Darn thing is sold as 24" wide, but I guess that's the average inside diameter.) I gotta make sure that hole I dug is perfect or it's gonna be such a pain to lift in and out.



So now I'm at the stage of just digging dirt out to lower it farther still. But the weather isn't cooperating much. It's been at freezing or below for the majority of the time along with snow always on the ground. That hurts my plan because I want to use some of the dirt/clay I dig out to fill in some low spots in the yard. Fingers crossed for warmer temps or at least no snow for a while so I can plow through the next step.
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post #338 of 375 Old 02-21-2019, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by srw1000 View Post
Wow, that's an amazing and ambitious project you're undertaking.

As long as you're removing the old floor and repouring the concrete floor, have you considered insulating the new slab? I know your goal is to give you more ceiling height, but if you could spare 2" for insulation, you'll end up with a warmer floor, and it can also be a great help for reducing moisture and condensation when the warm air meets the cold slab.

We did this with our new house, and couldn't believe the difference it made compared to our old house. The cost was about $1.20 per foot, but that was our cost through the builder. Since you're doing the project yourself it could be less.

Scott
Huh! Thanks for the tip. I'll mull it over. :-)
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post #339 of 375 Old 02-21-2019, 09:44 PM
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Hay Ryan, you ought to be a lot stronger now from moving 20,000 lbs concrete. You basically moved four Ford F150's with 5 gallon buckets.

I was wondering how you have been doing with our lovely weather we have been getting. I'm so ready for spring.
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post #340 of 375 Old 02-21-2019, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
So yeah, I thought about hiring cheap labor...
Heck Yeah, I'm definitely subbing this thread!!

I'll be doing a similar dig out for my basement, 2' down and 8" wall rebar--at least that's what the engineer said, etc...I thought I was the only person crazy enough to do something like this. Good work I feel much better now--except for all of the work that needs to be done.

I am going to rig up a conveyor belt out of my window for the digging out of the dirt. I have a feeling my back and hands would not make it through the 5 gal buckets.

However, I do have 18 fraternity guys living across the street from me...the only plus I can think of so far is the cheap labor you mentioned above. We do have a couple of 4-7 year olds but I might get some slanted eyebrows from the neighbors if I put them to work.

Keep up the great work, I really can't believe you are actually doing it.

Aaron
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post #341 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 05:14 AM
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I love it Chirpie, keep up the awesome updates!! If I were to guess, each trip was about 40 lbs? Divide that by the 20,000 in the dumpster, and that's 500 trips?? If you did 25 a day that's still 20 days worth?!?!

One word: Impressive

PLEASE tell me you have before & after pics from your entrance down to the hole??
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post #342 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 05:52 AM
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Ryan, from my old experience doing that work, make sure you drill many small holes in that sump basin for water to flow in. It was standard requirement for us at B-Dry. The issue was that If you didn’t the basin could act like a buoy when ground water surrounded it, and the company had experience with the sump basins just popping up through the concrete due to the buoyancy, sometimes years later when they didn’t drill the holes, allowing the water to come in at the same level as the ground water. That big a basin would develop quite a bit of upforce if the only way water can get into it is a couple holes near the top. Use a small drill bit and just puncture the basin all over, even near/on the bottom. That’s what we were trained to do. The basin should be surrounded by gravel, not mud, so you may have even more digging yet.

The sump pump should be elevated off the bottom of the basin by about 2-4”. We used a 2” flat concrete square tile to do it. That keeps the inlet on the sump from sucking up any debris.
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post #343 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Ryan, from my old experience doing that work, make sure you drill many small holes in that sump basin for water to flow in. It was standard requirement for us at B-Dry. The issue was that If you didn’t the basin could act like a buoy when ground water surrounded it, and the company had experience with the sump basins just popping up through the concrete due to the buoyancy, sometimes years later when they didn’t drill the holes, allowing the water to come in at the same level as the ground water. That big a basin would develop quite a bit of upforce if the only way water can get into it is a couple holes near the top. Use a small drill bit and just puncture the basin all over, even near/on the bottom. That’s what we were trained to do. The basin should be surrounded by gravel, not mud, so you may have even more digging yet.

The sump pump should be elevated off the bottom of the basin by about 2-4”. We used a 2” flat concrete square tile to do it. That keeps the inlet on the sump from sucking up any debris.
Yup yup and yup. Take notes everyone, this man speaks the truth!

I wish I could say this is the first sump pit I've ever had to install, but it's not even the first sump pit I've installed in the past couple months. (The joys of rental properties!) So to break this one down in more detail... technically what I bought here is a sewage basin. I couldn't find anything in the off the shelf sump basin world that met my size and side wall strength needs. I thought about buying culvert pipe (Builders often use this in deep sump pit builds), but could only find 24" wide pieces in 20' foot long segments at $300 bucks, and that didn't cover how I'd handle a proper lid and base. Hence, I just paid the $400 for this one and got it over with.

I dug this pit to have 3 to 4 inches of space around it for the rock to pour in on the sides and underneath. (Minus that extra width at the bottom that I didn't take into account. My guess is that it bulges out there to help lock it in place and not pop up in a situation you don't want to drill holes in it?) I drill my sump basins to have 3/8 inch holes every 6 to 8 inches in every direction top to bottom. The rock used to fill in the sides should always be a decent size larger than the holes drilled so they don't fall into the basin, and I also wrap the basin with water permeable filter cloth on the outside.

There's a current at odds advice on where the lip of the sump basin should meet the poured concrete around it. It used to always be that you're supposed to have the sump basin slightly below the concrete pour and have the concrete slope into it. But now there are some areas that require the lip of the the basin to be above the concrete. The idea is if there is a sewage backup issue elsewhere in the basement it won't contaminate as easily. Check your local codes, they update constantly, and even your inspectors might not always agree with each other. I'm aiming for above grade to match the other sump pit already in my house that passed inspection.

Coming up, I might have to hire out the concrete pouring itself as it's too big an area for just one person to properly deal with. We'll see!
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post #344 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Heck Yeah, I'm definitely subbing this thread!!

I am going to rig up a conveyor belt out of my window for the digging out of the dirt. I have a feeling my back and hands would not make it through the 5 gal buckets.
I would've LOVED a window right there in the room for this. Gosh the time that would've saved. LOL. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougUSMC View Post
I love it Chirpie, keep up the awesome updates!! If I were to guess, each trip was about 40 lbs? Divide that by the 20,000 in the dumpster, and that's 500 trips?? If you did 25 a day that's still 20 days worth?!?!

One word: Impressive

PLEASE tell me you have before & after pics from your entrance down to the hole??
I have cell phone quality ones. Not terrible, not bad. It's such a pain to drag the DSLR out when you're in a construction zone, but yeah, I should be able to have a same angle before after for a few areas of the room. That darn Rob Hahn and his gazillion stop motion cameras for his theater build just makes it a rough time for the rest of us. (Along with everything else in that build I guess. ^_^)


EDIT ADD-ON:

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Radon tests came back at half the maximum amount before they recommend you do something about it, and that's with the concrete removed. I'll test again after the build is over just to be sure, but it's a good sign. :-)

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post #345 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 12:15 PM
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That darn Rob Hahn and his gazillion stop motion cameras for his theater build just makes it a rough time for the rest of us. (Along with everything else in that build I guess. ^_^)
Truer words have never been spoken. I'm still wrecked from the awesomeness of my 5 hour experience. Incredible theater for an incredible guy and asset to AVS.

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Oh yeah, almost forgot. Radon tests came back at half the maximum amount before they recommend you do something about it, and that's with the concrete removed. I'll test again after the build is over just to be sure, but it's a good sign. :-)
If you don't mind me asking, could you PM a link to which Radon tests and duration you used? It was supposedly done when they broke ground on this home...but I can't ever recall seeing anything about it. Neighbors two doors down and next door both now have systems. Was hoping to clear my mind of levels before closing anything further up in the basement. Thanks!

Oh....and fist bump back! My hat is off to you, sir!!!!
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post #346 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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If you don't mind me asking, could you PM a link to which Radon tests and duration you used?
PM sent! :-)
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post #347 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 01:09 PM
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That is SO much to haul out! I only had to lug buckets across the room to the garage and on to the golf cart, where I drove them to a neighbors house to back fill a big retaining wall. I guess I can officially no longer complain about all that. You win!

I missed it - how much lower will this make the floor?
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post #348 of 375 Old 02-22-2019, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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That is SO much to haul out! I only had to lug buckets across the room to the garage and on to the golf cart, where I drove them to a neighbors house to back fill a big retaining wall. I guess I can officially no longer complain about all that. You win!

I missed it - how much lower will this make the floor?
After everything is re-poured, the plan is to get 16 more inches. I think it should make a considerable difference in the feel of the room when it's done. It's one of the things that seemed to set apart the home theater rooms that I liked from the rooms that I really REALLY liked. The ceiling is almost always the surface boundary that the sound waves hit first (And is rarely treated) and extending the ceiling will go a long way to mitigate that.I wouldn't consider 3 rows without this step honestly.
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post #349 of 375 Old 02-23-2019, 02:05 AM
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That darn Rob Hahn and his gazillion stop motion cameras for his theater build just makes it a rough time for the rest of us. (Along with everything else in that build I guess. ^_^)
Thank you for directing me to this build. It is epic, and I plan on stealing lots of the ideas for my personal build :-)

May also have to upgrade the speakers and add another zero to the total cost....
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post #350 of 375 Old 02-23-2019, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
After everything is re-poured, the plan is to get 16 more inches. I think it should make a considerable difference in the feel of the room when it's done. It's one of the things that seemed to set apart the home theater rooms that I liked from the rooms that I really REALLY liked. The ceiling is almost always the surface boundary that the sound waves hit first (And is rarely treated) and extending the ceiling will go a long way to mitigate that.I wouldn't consider 3 rows without this step honestly.
I take it, your plan is for people to enter from the back and then walk down like a commercial theater? That's what I'm trying to go for, I just don't have the height you have even before you removed the concrete. I'm really looking forward to seeing more progress and the final product. Should be spectacular.
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post #351 of 375 Old 02-25-2019, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
I have cell phone quality ones. Not terrible, not bad. It's such a pain to drag the DSLR out when you're in a construction zone, but yeah, I should be able to have a same angle before after for a few areas of the room. That darn Rob Hahn and his gazillion stop motion cameras for his theater build just makes it a rough time for the rest of us. (Along with everything else in that build I guess. ^_^)
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After everything is re-poured, the plan is to get 16 more inches. I think it should make a considerable difference in the feel of the room when it's done. It's one of the things that seemed to set apart the home theater rooms that I liked from the rooms that I really REALLY liked. The ceiling is almost always the surface boundary that the sound waves hit first (And is rarely treated) and extending the ceiling will go a long way to mitigate that.I wouldn't consider 3 rows without this step honestly.
This right here is honestly the #1 reason we haven't moved yet. I keep telling the wife that she can have complete say over the floorplan, but all I care about is the HT room. The #1 thing that's kicking all of the builders' butts is the width I want (25'), followed a close second by the ceiling height (12').

I'm looking to do 3 rows, entering from the rear and stepping down just like you did. I really want 3 rows w/18" of step between each, and good ceiling height at the top row. 12' seems like the minimum to pull that off, so I COMPLETELY see how this headache to buy 16" is worth it!
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post #352 of 375 Old 04-16-2019, 06:28 PM
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what news?

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post #353 of 375 Old 04-16-2019, 09:12 PM
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As I said, Your Mileage May Vary. However....







^^^THIS.



The Illumaniti of this Forum will tell you the isolation lowers the noise floor. The wall system lowers the resonant frequency of the room and - equally important - helps the room acoustics, especially in the LFE range. If you have a long bass wave, it's going to penetrate the drywall and Polyisocyanurate then reflect off the concrete back into the room. If your room is in a concrete bunker and your structure is fixed directly to the concrete then guess what? Your room is in a concrete bunker. This is a huge no-no from every acoustics book ever written in the history of mankind. A single layer of drywall and a fit of foam does *Zero* to help tame LFE. Zip. Zilch. Nada.



Having wall / ceiling depth to add fiberglass insulation plus using double layers of 5/8" drywall with Green Glue (and clips / channel for bonus points) is all designed to 'absorb' LFE and force the resonant frequency of the room below audibility...or at a frequency AND diminished amplitude where it can be dealt with much more easily by other means.



There's a reason why professional facilities hell-bent on the best sound quality don't attach directly to concrete.

Everyone has their own ideal. I’m a bit skeptical about the above, however, about LFE and coupling to concrete. The LFE is going to go right through the drywall to concrete and back regardless of whether it is coupled. Letting the ceiling free vibrate might capture some LFE, but there are more effective means and it won’t be enough anyway.

Still, if concerned about decoupling there are solutions that don’t involve dropping the ceiling a foot. You can use bushings to decouple the studs, or you can decouple the drywall from the studs, or both. Or some sort of drop ceiling.

Good bass trapping is probably going to be far more effective in a concrete bunker than trying to absorb some LFE by decoupling from the concrete... and will probably be necessary regardless.

For my own theater, I set up a UMIK-1, ran my garage door, backed a car in and out, kicked on a lawnmower near the garage, I couldn’t really budge the noise floor short of actually tapping the garage floor with a hammer (which does translate well! Don’t attach machinery to your foundation!). I decided to fasten 2 x 4s stood on edge about 1/2” off the ceiling, anchored to the spancrete with clips every 48”, and decoupled the drywall from the studs. The cavities are a little more than 4” deep, filled with insulation. Yes, it’s probably not the absolute best that could possibly be done, but functionally I think it will do its job acoustically, and I’m planning for copious amounts of bass trapping via soffits and columns anyway.

Even with my 12’ ceilings when you add multi level risers and soffits you begin to run low on height if you want to carve out another foot for full 100% ceiling decoupling. So I chose what I thought was the practical path. I plan on either using shallow wall depth Atmos speakers or working them into coffered ceiling beams in between the soffits.

I fully admit though that many on this forum would consider my theater to be ill designed and full of compromises. So take my advice with a grain of salt Just another perspective to consider, of course the jackhammering is done so it’s a moot point now I suppose!
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post #354 of 375 Old 04-16-2019, 09:17 PM
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...and I have to say this thread is nuts! I can only imagine this theater is going to be the ultimate, when the earth is literally being moved just to get started!
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post #355 of 375 Old 04-17-2019, 06:49 AM
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So glad this thread is back in play. Good on you Chirp.
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Roll Tide.
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post #356 of 375 Old 04-17-2019, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Archaea View Post
what news?
Still digging. This time of year is tough because after I get off work... I drive a few miles and start teaching night classes at a nearby community college. By the time I get home around 9:30-10, it's hard to get motivated to walk downstairs and work a few more hours on top of that.

But there is some progress.

I've dug out more than you see in these photos here, but it shows just how deep you need to go just to get finished net 16 inches. (Truth be told, I'm aiming for 17-18", reasoning for that will come later... but we'll see.)






On the sump pit, I dug it out even a bit more. To put things in perspective this is a five gallon bucket down there. It looks like a 6" flower pot down there.




Here's the 24" inch (inner) 30" outer pit in place with the rock around all sides.



And yes... it's level.



Along comes the 4" drainage tile with sock!



Here's a shot of the drainage tile leading into the sump pit basin.



So nothing crazy on progress, it's slow and steady. As a warning to anyone else wanting to try this... it's tough, it's tedious. Buy yourself some audio books, put on the headphones, and get to shoveling. ;-)
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post #357 of 375 Old 04-17-2019, 11:19 AM
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Dude.

Holy crap that's a lot of work. I mean there are some folks on here who have put massive effort into their theaters - TMcG and Moggie come to mind - but I don't think I've ever seen this kind of effort put into the very first step. I'm awed by your efforts Chirpie. Awed.
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Roll Tide.
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post #358 of 375 Old 04-18-2019, 05:12 AM
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Impressive work dude, keep it up!! There have been a few other threads do something "similar", but nothing AFTER the shell was constructed and I don't think ANYONE that's done all the back-breaking, grueling physical labor all by their lonesome.

Awesome effort, we're all rooting for you!!
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post #359 of 375 Old 04-18-2019, 08:39 AM
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Impressive work dude, keep it up!! There have been a few other threads do something "similar", but nothing AFTER the shell was constructed and I don't think ANYONE that's done all the back-breaking, grueling physical labor all by their lonesome.

Awesome effort, we're all rooting for you!!
Hey... I mod podged a below-garage theater together after the shell too! Just took....... three+ years? haha

To be fair.... holy moses this looks like back breaking work. And the riser drop down built into and dug out from the concrete.... wow. And ouch. But mostly wow.

Keep going! We're cheering you on!
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post #360 of 375 Old 04-19-2019, 05:00 AM
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Hey... I mod podged a below-garage theater together after the shell too!
C'mon Scotty, you KNOW I've given your thread much love!

I wasn't talking about the "Under slab part", I was talking about the "excavating the under slab part BEFORE even starting the built"!!

I'm super jelly about the Under slab, and want that too. I just think that what Chirpie is doing (to drop down to his desired depths, BY HIMSELF) is just a level of dedication above and beyond!!
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