Best location for future basement HT based on floor plan? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 73 Old 10-03-2019, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Best location for future basement HT based on floor plan?

Hello,

I have finally got the planets to align as I have found a neighborhood, builder and floor plan for which my wife is willing to build/move one last time. I am seeking advice for best placement for the future dedicated theater in the basement of the floor plan in the attached photos. I have some time before we will be meeting with the builder to discuss options, upgrades, etc. I was hoping to have a solid idea in place prior to our meeting so I can get myself set up in a good position for when it's time to start my space.

The only difference (for now) in the final product and the provided floor plans is that our house will have the garage on the left rather than the right side. I'm assuming that would simply flip the floor plan shown here and everything else would be the same. The lot will provide a walkout basement as well.

With the lofty list of ideas my wife has for the house, I don't see bumping any foundation walls out to make spaces bigger as a feasible financial option so the floor plan will most likely end up as seen here.

My initial thoughts on best location are to use the space under the breakfast area into the great room and use the great room bump out for equipment, etc. Then the area at the bottom of the stairs could could be used as an open living space, bar, etc.

I am also trying to explain to my wife why 10ft basement ceilings would be beneficial. Room within a room, etc. If it would add "too much" extra cost, would it be any more cost effective to ask them to dig the area of the theater lower than the rest?

Also, I want to have a wired network throughout the house as well as wifi. Is the basement the best location to ask for the network "hub" (ie. patch panel) to be located? This way I could easily run to the theater at a later time?

Thanks for any advice in advance!

Ryan
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post #2 of 73 Old 10-03-2019, 08:22 PM
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please attach the pictures
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post #3 of 73 Old 10-03-2019, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry about that. Looks like my session timed out and they did not go through.
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post #4 of 73 Old 10-03-2019, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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here are the actual basement photos I took at the model home.
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post #5 of 73 Old 10-03-2019, 09:03 PM
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terrible duct work placement if you want your theater in this space. It could have been tucked next to the beam and hidden in a perimeter soffit. You could request that and get it in writing in your contract. Might have to move the return.

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post #6 of 73 Old 10-03-2019, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
terrible duct work placement if you want your theater in this space. It could have been tucked next to the beam and hidden in a perimeter soffit. You could request that and get it in writing in your contract. Might have to move the return.

Noted. Thank you. Could I get away with it with 10ft ceilings if that ends up being the "easiest" solution they offer? I haven't met with them yet with regards to design, but from everything I've heard they are a easy builder to work with.
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post #7 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rjloper9 View Post
Noted. Thank you. Could I get away with it with 10ft ceilings if that ends up being the "easiest" solution they offer? I haven't met with them yet with regards to design, but from everything I've heard they are a easy builder to work with.
If you can get 10' ceilings, and it doesn't pinch your budget, I'd absolutely go that way!
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post #8 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htpc-geek View Post
If you can get 10' ceilings, and it doesn't pinch your budget, I'd absolutely go that way!


That’s what I’ve been explaining to my wife. Hopefully the cost is “reasonable” in her eyes. She’s getting plenty in the new house (almost everything really) so I think it’s only fair I get SOMETHING.


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post #9 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by htpc-geek View Post
If you can get 10' ceilings, and it doesn't pinch your budget, I'd absolutely go that way!
I agree. I thought 9' would be plenty but you add a clips, channel, double drywall, riser and a soffit and that extra foot would be nice.

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post #10 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkinneb View Post
I agree. I thought 9' would be plenty but you add a clips, channel, double drywall, riser and a soffit and that extra foot would be nice.


You’re right. Kinda like a shed. Always wish you would’ve went bigger!

I figured if I can get my 10ft basement ceilings that I can essentially make any potential layout in the basement work. Was hoping to get some input on the space those with experience may feel is best suited.


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post #11 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 11:51 AM
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Do you plan on finishing other space in the basement at all? If so, what other spaces do you have planned?

If the theater is the only space you are going to finish, I might mirror it under the great room. If you want to finish other rooms, it might be best to have it off to the side perhaps under the kitchen/breakfast nook, or under the master bed/bath?

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post #12 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mocs123 View Post
Do you plan on finishing other space in the basement at all? If so, what other spaces do you have planned?



If the theater is the only space you are going to finish, I might mirror it under the great room. If you want to finish other rooms, it might be best to have it off to the side perhaps under the kitchen/breakfast nook, or under the master bed/bath?


I’d plan on finishing the whole basement, but would probably use it mostly as entertainment. No need to create any additional rooms per say.

I was thinking along the lines of what you said about having it off to the side under the breakfast/kitchen. The. Make sure to do what Big said and how the ductwork pushed over towards the metal beam.

Then the space at the bottom of the steps would be an open space living/entertainment area.


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post #13 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 07:41 PM
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What seat count are you after?
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post #14 of 73 Old 10-04-2019, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
What seat count are you after?

Always happy to see Tedd check in!


I would be good with a single row with 3-4 or two rows with 6 (3 and 3). I have a 4 year old daughter I could see utilizing front floor space with friends in the future with bean bags, etc.


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post #15 of 73 Old 10-05-2019, 09:33 AM
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Do you have a schematic of the actual basement showing where support beam/columns go?

Ceiling height is at a premium. Generally speaking, anything you can do to increase ceiling height in the theater will be worth it, and once you identify the footprint of the theater it needs to be in the contract that no mechanicals violate that space (or at worst you allow a duct to be at perimeter of room that can be hidden in a soffit.

If it isn't in writing, you may be surprised to find a gas line or something hanging below the ceiling down the middle of the theater...
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post #16 of 73 Old 10-05-2019, 11:41 AM
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You will definitely want the first floor to have 10 foot ceilings in addition to the basement. I would not leave the first floor at 9 foot and the second floor at 8 foot if you plan on doing 10 foot in the basement
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post #17 of 73 Old 10-05-2019, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post
Do you have a schematic of the actual basement showing where support beam/columns go?

I don’t yet, but will try to obtain one to provide here.



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post #18 of 73 Old 10-07-2019, 04:39 AM
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Counting stairs, there's about 8.75 feet of basement height before the ductwork reduction.

I'd be asking about the span capability of the steal beam and if those lolly posts could be shifted to accommodate a wider theater.

Kind of a quick down and dirty rough layout might be a wide layout, Big AT screen, and some bean bags for the kids option here. There's lots no shortage of space, but
this is kind of thinking on the inexpensive side of things, with more budget shifted the projector way, which ideally would be recessed in the back wall utility space.

I gather all the exposed windows are on the south wall. Is that the sort of ground elevation your home will see? I myself like the idea of putting a theater where there's no natural light,
and leaving that to more social spaces.
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You might want to revisit the model and measure the span between support posts. That support post sitting a wee bit off the end of the stairs would also be one I would target
to see if it could be at the end of the stairs, instead of sitting out in space on it's own.

The cost of a taller basement, over the life of a mortgage, might be a rather affordable monthly expense, and a wise move up front.
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post #20 of 73 Old 10-07-2019, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
Counting stairs, there's about 8.75 feet of basement height before the ductwork reduction.

I'd be asking about the span capability of the steal beam and if those lolly posts could be shifted to accommodate a wider theater.

Kind of a quick down and dirty rough layout might be a wide layout, Big AT screen, and some bean bags for the kids option here. There's lots no shortage of space, but
this is kind of thinking on the inexpensive side of things, with more budget shifted the projector way, which ideally would be recessed in the back wall utility space.

I gather all the exposed windows are on the south wall. Is that the sort of ground elevation your home will see? I myself like the idea of putting a theater where there's no natural light,
and leaving that to more social spaces.
sorry for the full quote, not quite sure how to separate them yet...

I was thinking the same thing about the posts.
1. Can they be moved?
2. Why does the one seem to be floating in the middle of nowhere at the end of the steps???

I like the idea you drew up as it was not even an area i considered utilizing due to the posts.

In reference to the utility space...How much room would I need to leave for service/replacement of a furnace at some point down the road? I guess what is ideal?

Would this location cause any issues with rattling dishes in the kitchen above or will that happen no matter where it winds up in the basement?

In reference to the windows...Ours will be a walkout basement so i'd imagine they will be putting sliding glass doors somewhere on the back side of the home. If that's the case, I'd also imagine they'd try to put they directly below the deck which would end up right in my theater which I do not want obviously. HOPEFULLY they would allow me to place the sliding doors wherever I want on that back wall since they use superior walls.

I will know more after the 24th. My wife and I will be meeting with the realtor who works for the builder in the neighborhood. I fully expect her to give me some crooked looks when I ask her about the possibilities or options regarding these things. And I'm sure my wife will face palm several times.
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post #21 of 73 Old 10-07-2019, 03:18 PM
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When asking about beam span and size, be absolutely clear about the height of the beams.


In NYS, our 9' basement height was $3500 extra, a bilco for egress window was $2500 extra, and a "bigger beam" was $600 upgrade. But the beam is 15" tall!!!


- A shorter but thicker beam would have been $200-300.


- Two 8" tall beams instead of one 15" tall beam would have been $800.


Instead they killed our room height.


Work with the architect and builder, do not leave it up to the sales person or site foreman.

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post #22 of 73 Old 10-07-2019, 03:25 PM
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You can also ask if the utilities are already stubbed out onto the property to help decide where the utilities will be brought into the house. Once the utilities have done their thing, they don't want to change it.

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post #23 of 73 Old 10-07-2019, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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When asking about beam span and size, be absolutely clear about the height of the beams. In NYS, our 9' basement height was $3500 extra, a bilco for egress window was $2500 extra, and a "bigger beam" was $600 upgrade. But the beam is 15" tall!!!
- A shorter but thicker beam would have been $200-300.
- Two 8" tall beams instead of one 15" tall beam would have been $800.

Instead they killed our room height.

Work with the architect and builder, do not leave it up to the sales person or site foreman.
Thanks for the info. I will have to ask her for a contact for these such specific questions. We are in a unique situation where the lot is available and we have it reserved, but there is some sort of agreement between the developer and the township that our lot is to be used for excess snow removal dumping (even skipped the curbing in front for now). Therefore, we are delayed until March-ish so the lot can be formally released to build on and our phase will be completed.

It's somewhat nice, because it seems like I may have some additional time to speak with the right people about such issues before being forced to agree on a final design.

Thanks!
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post #24 of 73 Old 10-07-2019, 08:46 PM
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Another quick thought:

Support posts could be moved when the builder pours the support pads. Still need to respect any loads above and the span capability of the steel beam. And you need a flexible builder.

I look at those superior walls and think cavity potential for speakers and in fill subs, projector hush box, and the potential to conserve space with a baffle wall. Combine that with the height
"preservation" of a single row layout and some room rotation might dodge the HVAC come ATMOS speakers and spot lighting. The utility space and that shallow area back of the single support
post at the end of the steel girder, also might be space to run HVAC for the theater and eliminate soffits in the theater space itself.

I think things like a support post not tied into the end of the stairs is a combination of cheapest way to do things and small variances in identical house models and how framing crews can stick things in
slightly different 3D space. There's hundreds of my house model in this subdivision and every one I have been in, all have some small variances or surprises. Thicker walls, an extra step in a winder staircase
past the turn, and walls that don't line up on various floors.
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post #25 of 73 Old 10-08-2019, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Another quick thought:

Support posts could be moved when the builder pours the support pads. Still need to respect any loads above and the span capability of the steel beam. And you need a flexible builder.

I look at those superior walls and think cavity potential for speakers and in fill subs, projector hush box, and the potential to conserve space with a baffle wall. Combine that with the height
"preservation" of a single row layout and some room rotation might dodge the HVAC come ATMOS speakers and spot lighting. The utility space and that shallow area back of the single support
post at the end of the steel girder, also might be space to run HVAC for the theater and eliminate soffits in the theater space itself.

I think things like a support post not tied into the end of the stairs is a combination of cheapest way to do things and small variances in identical house models and how framing crews can stick things in
slightly different 3D space. There's hundreds of my house model in this subdivision and every one I have been in, all have some small variances or surprises. Thicker walls, an extra step in a winder staircase
past the turn, and walls that don't line up on various floors.
I like both layout ideas you have proposed. Never thought of utilizing that specific space and having an entryway under the staircase. would being closer to the HVAC system make that process simpler versus lets say having it all the way over and under the master bedroom?

Where would you recommend locating the home network "hub"? I figured somewhere in the basement would be best.

I have emailed the realtor for the builder the support post questions, etc. to see if my requests are typical, unusual, or whatever. I also asked her if she could point me to somebody that could answer my questions if she was not sure.

Thanks Tedd.
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post #26 of 73 Old 10-08-2019, 03:12 PM
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I bet few buyers ask about moving support posts. Most people think a wood stud wall and drywall as permanent, so relocating a steel support column
wouldn't be on their radar.

I would try to locate the home network hub close to the av rack, or ideally out of the way and out of sight. Definitely in the basement, but that might
also be about it being a fairly central location.

Under the master bedroom is fine, but I'd prefer to have the windows in the more social spaces, and not in my theater. Not in the theater isn't a big issue, but
any windows there, would be hidden but have some sort of accessibility. They'd also not be allowed to be a big hole in my sound isolation shell.

Much of why I suggested that area is all about if one doesn't need a high seat count, then that's a pretty budget space for a DIY'er to finish out, and many of the
negatives in that area could become features at some expense and work.

If the bedroom area ended up with the theater, I expect the tail end of the HVAC run could be redone in the theater area, to a wider/less tall layout. Retain 3-4"
more inches of ceiling height. At a DIY level, not much dollar expense.
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post #27 of 73 Old 10-08-2019, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Under the master bedroom is fine, but I'd prefer to have the windows in the more social spaces, and not in my theater. Not in the theater isn't a big issue, but any windows there, would be hidden but have some sort of accessibility. They'd also not be allowed to be a big hole in my sound isolation shell.



Much of why I suggested that area is all about if one doesn't need a high seat count, then that's a pretty budget space for a DIY'er to finish out, and many of the negatives in that area could become features at some expense and work.

As far as the windows go, I think we will most likely be without any as we will have a walkout basement. I will have to see if I can choose where the sliding glass walkout doors will go. Your layout options, I’d go over under the master. If under the master, then I’d want them over under the deck.

I’d say more often than not it would just be me, me and my wife, or family with some of my daughters friends. I could see it get occasional use with me having friends over for movies or sports. The rest of the basement would me nice to have as a more social area with media presence as well. Luckily for my daughter the entire second floor will essentially end up being hers. Bedroom, playroom, bathroom, spare room haha.

Thanks Tedd!



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post #28 of 73 Old 10-14-2019, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post
Do you have a schematic of the actual basement showing where support beam/columns go?

Here is what I just received for the exact same floor plan we plan on building.



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post #29 of 73 Old 10-14-2019, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
terrible duct work placement if you want your theater in this space. It could have been tucked next to the beam and hidden in a perimeter soffit. You could request that and get it in writing in your contract. Might have to move the return.



Big, here are the questions and answers I received from our contact person with the builder. She stated these are the answers from the “director of building at the main office.”


Q: My first question is, in your experience, how flexible are the location of these beams and support posts? Are there any other options for a more sturdy beam that may not require as many or any support posts? Could they be tucked closer to the staircase even?

A: This would be possible, but would create additional cost for the engineering as well as the material/labor changes. Submit as a custom change request.

Q: Same question for the HVAC. I noticed it runs directly down the middle of the one area under the kitchen/breakfast area. Could this be slid over to the side so it could be hidden inside a soffit?

A: This would not be a problem, but would need to be submitted on a custom change request to price.

Q: At what point will we know the location of the utilities in the basement so this sort of thing could be planned out in advance?

A: The Mechanical locations are shown on the plan. We can look into where utilities come into the house prior to start of build.

I also asked about digging out the theater area specifically deeper than the rest and he advised it would be more expensive than going with 10ft superior walls everywhere in the basement.




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post #30 of 73 Old 10-14-2019, 09:37 PM
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In building my new home, I dug my basement down an extra 2 feet (to 12’ deep). My builder charged me $15K - $7.5K per extra foot deeper. Worked out great for the theater with no HVAC issues or sound proofing.

The price to dig down just the theater portion (not the entire basement like we did) was over $30K.

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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