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post #1 of 5 Old 10-20-2019, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Question To basement, or garage for dedicated theater

Hey Guys,

I am looking at eventually building a dedicated home theater.
right now its just a brainstorming time to come up with a game plan.
I have two options, first, I could finish out my basement, which has some beams hanging and hvac equipment in the way.
The ceiling height is 7'4". and the low points on the beams are right at 7' as well as some of the hvac runs. (they're all shown in the attached image)
it's close to 24' x 24' in size however it has the stairs entering it in one corner.

My other option, is a two car garage that is never used to park in. Its located at the back of my house and with our fence it's near impossible to use so it wouldn't be missed.
It currently has two single car garage doors that I would need to seal closed. The ceilings are 10'2" tall. and it's essentially a perfect square.

My main concerns with doing the garage instead of the basement, is the amount of sound transfer work I would need to do in order for my neighbors not to hate me.
I'm constantly working on a tight budget, however I am able to do all the work myself and there are no aspects of this job that frighten me.
The Garage seems like a better choice, but I'm not sure if that ads a large investment in insulation, drywall, green glue over what would be needed in a basement with cement walls.

What are your thoughts? Which would you pick?

thanks!
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post #2 of 5 Old 10-20-2019, 04:39 PM
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I would do everything to keep a usable garage for increased resale value. You might want to figure out what to do to make it usable. If you build a theater out back you need electrical, HVAC, and a stout soundproofing solution, your jurisdiction may also have something to say about garage conversions.

Another issue in this analysis is if you finish the basement if should be done to code, Those small basement windows in the diagram aren't consider an emergency egress solution. Is there a walkout door or other larger window anywhere? if not part of what you should do is invest in an emergency egress window. $3-5K
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-21-2019, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
I would do everything to keep a usable garage for increased resale value. You might want to figure out what to do to make it usable. If you build a theater out back you need electrical, HVAC, and a stout soundproofing solution, your jurisdiction may also have something to say about garage conversions.

Another issue in this analysis is if you finish the basement if should be done to code, Those small basement windows in the diagram aren't consider an emergency egress solution. Is there a walkout door or other larger window anywhere? if not part of what you should do is invest in an emergency egress window. $3-5K
Thanks for the response.

I am planning for the electrical, heating and any plumbing that would be needed in either direction. I work in the construction industry and that side of it wouldn't be any issue.
Local codes have no issues with converting a garage into a living situation, however the sound proofing involved in a garage is what really makes me look at the basement hard.

The windows in the basement are definitely not egress windows. Local code calls out that I can have the space be a counted square footage as livable space, however any room that would be made into a bedroom would require egress windows. so in my case, it wouldn't matter as I wouldn't be making anything into bedrooms.

I appreciate the feedback.
have a great day!
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-21-2019, 12:26 PM
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In my county it started out being just bedrooms, then later they decided if there is finished space people will be present and they need a way out. So either access to a basement bedroom with the egress or an egress for the entire finished basement. That code will catch up to you eventually so you might consider doing it before it would get messy to retrofit. Again it would be a future resale valuation item.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-21-2019, 02:54 PM
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Same opinions here -- either space is doable, but resale may suffer your selection more than your enjoyment. Sound gets out of basements just as well, it'll go through the ceiling, the ductwork, etc and come out the first floor -- ask me how I know, lol. You'll need to soundproof either way if you don't want to annoy your neighbors and you plan to listen at high volumes (and even then, you'll find it hard to contain extreme sub-bass).

That said, I assume your basement is high and dry? That's the only worry I have about basement theaters (and my listening area is in mine and I just hope never to find myself regretting it whilst filing an insurance claim for water damage that likely won't be sufficient to replace my gear).
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