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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, I must say this forum provides a wealth of valuable information related to HT. Therefore, I want to thank all those that provide their knowledge and experience to us just getting started. Now for a question...


I am getting ready to move into a new house that has an unfinished room (no windows) in the basement that is 20' x 17' x 6.5' (the room above is a step down family room).


The builder can't finish the room because a 6.5' ceiling is not within code. However, I didn't see any reason why couldn't do it.


Except for the height (no ability to incorporate a drop ceiling) it seems like a good room for a home theater.


Any opinions? will the ceiling height cause problems with sound?
 

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Do you have exposed joists which measure 6'5" to the floor ?


Give us some more details about the space you are looking at and I'm sure we can offer up some direction. I have a dedicated basement room measuring 7'1" finished from sheetrock to carpet, and it sounds quite impressive, IMO. So there is hope (as long as you can deal with the fact that you will most likely need acoustical treatment for your room).

My post construction treatment was DIY, and includes bass traps, diffusors, wall panels, as well as treatment behind the listening position.


Keep in mind that there may be some sonic trade-off in store if you proceed . But, if it is the hand you are dealt, and you are intent on going forward with a dedicated HT room, then give us some room details and your "scope of work" (I'm assuming YOU are going to do the work).


BOK
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I am 6'1" so I do have some issues there as bwolff points out.


The 6.5' measures from exposed ceiling joists to a cement floor. Two of the walls are insulation on foundation and the other two are studded to internal walls. Within the ceiling joists are several ducts moving air/heat to the rooms above, as well as, a gas line to a fireplace. The door is located at the back of the room (room 20' long and 17' wide).


It will be a DIY as much as possible, but I am willing to contract out for wouk beyond my skill set.


My initial ideas were as follows:

- Building in side walls to achieve a "room within a room" to contain sound (except for ceiling, unfortunately).

- Installing double sheetrock on walls and ceiling if possible.

- Adding wall panels/treatments as suggested by many on the lower and upper parts of the walls.

- Following the standard guidance on paint and fabric colors.

- Having dedicated electrical wiring installed from the fuse box.

- Running conduit for cabling through ceiling and walls.

- Adding inset lighting and rope lighting in molding along the walls.

- Hiding speakers if possible.

- Most likely getting a top of the line rear projection units since I don't see mounting a front projection unit to the low ceiling.


Hope this provides more information. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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I am curious to know how the pros on this site figure a way out of this situation.


Otherwise, sue your architect for being so short sited in allowing this design. Your architect should have known the code restrictions & your builder should have suggested digging down a couple of more feet (cost neglidgeable to do so).


However, there was an article in AV interiors (or HT Interiors?) where a guy was in the exact same predicament as you solved the problem by lowering the basement floor (digging it up from the inside and moving the dirt out). It must have been awfully dirty but now would be the time to do it - prior to moving in.



Jeff
 

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I can't believe your builder left such a large unuseable (except for storage) space.


I'd be real tempted to call your your theater "The See House of the August Moon", finish it in a Japanese motif and introduce you to futons. :)
 

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Also keep in mind that you'll need to install a wood subfloor on top of the concrete. Even if you use 1" furring strips with 3/4" plywood, you'll lose over 2" of headroom once the carpet is installed. On top of that, 2 layers of 1/2" drywall on the ceiling will drop it another inch.


So, you're down to 6' 3" finished height before applying absorption/diffusion materials on the ceiling. That treatment will take away even more. And with such a low ceiling, the treatment will be even more necessary than usual.


I guess if you're willing to ignore code restrictions, you can still have your theater. But accomplishing good acoustics will be a huge challenge.


Don't even think about digging up your concrete floor without checking with the builder first. Usually, you can't mess with it without sacrificing the structural integrity of the house!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by filmnut
Also keep in mind that you'll need to install a wood subfloor on top of the concrete. Even if you use 1" furring strips with 3/4" plywood, you'll lose over 2" of headroom once the carpet is installed. On top of that, 2 layers of 1/2" drywall on the ceiling will drop it another inch.
I'm interested in why you believe it's *essential* to install a wood subfloor?


Are you motivating this mainly due to the danger of moisture when placing carpet against concrete or for sonic reasons?


If the former, aren't there effective vapour barriers that could avoid the need for wood.


If the latter, I would think that a solid floor, damped with carpet, would be an ideal surface for speakers - surely the idea is just to move air, and if speakers can do that and, particularly, produce sufficient bass without a rumbling floor, then that'd be OK.


Kuyper
 

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Ok lets put it this way. I feel that this forum is about helping people make the best of what they have to work with. If this is the only place you have to build the room, do it. I don't feel you need a subfloor. You can make a very nice room out of that space. Carpet over the concrete, and a single layer of drywall on the ceiling. It isn't optimal, but it is functional. I agree raised seating touchy sort of. You could raise the couch only, this way the platform is only under the couch and your feet are on the floor. It would be like sitting down on a barstool. There is always "at least" 2 ways to do something. A HT is such a pleasure to have.
 

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Here, here.

Well said, bwolf. As long as this is what he's given us, let's see what we can do with it.:)


Keep in mind that MANY of the sound treatments detailed here serve two purposes: 1) Create a predictable sound environment within the room itself; and 2) Keep sound from eminating outside of the room. If you can live with #2, then there are after-treatments that can help deal with #1.


Here are some thoughts:
  • Try tacking up some sheetrock, plywood, or heck just a big sheet onto the floor joists above. Put a sofa (or some seating comparable to what you'll use), and pretend to watch a movie. Walk around in the space. Make sure YOU are comfortable with the ceiling height. With carpet and even just 1 layer of sheetrock, this is about 1" higher than it will EVER be. You may think it's dumb, but I did this excercise when I realized my 11" rear seating platform was going to be right under my 11" HVAC soffit. End result, carpet to ceiling on the platform is 6'1".
  • If this is a dedicated Theatre, people will spend most of their time sitting anyway, so ceiling height may not be as much of an issue.
  • A standard door needs a rough opening 6'10", minimum. If you plan to have any doors in the area you will have to custom fit them. If the door has a pre-drilled door handle and you simply cut-off the bottom, the door handle may seem uncomfortably low. Still, definitely doable if you're handy, just more work.
  • Floating floors over concrete is probably leaning towards the extreme end. My guess is that 75% of the people building HT in their basement do NOT bother with it. I didn't.
  • Changing the "shape" of the ceiling can help. Anything that breaks-up that one big flat surface. You could actually try a drop-down ceiling in the middle (just a few inches) with some neat rope light behind crown moulding. Definitely adds visual appeal, and might actually give an illusion that the perimeter ceiling is actually higher that it really is. Or maybe the reverse, drop the perimeter by a few inches, and make the center look higher. You can see the effect that I did here .
  • If you want FP, you might try to recess the projector between the joists, with the top of the lens peeking out just below the ceiling. Or maybe incorporate it into the drop down (see above)


Since ceiling height seemed to be the biggest issue in your space, I didn't comment on wall construction. You have room to apply whatever you feel is needed for that.


I think we'll ALL be interested in how you decide to approach this. Keep us informed.


Good luck!
 

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For the ceiling, you may want to consider using a neoprene rubber "spacer" in between the underside of the joist and the 1/2" or 5/8" sheetrock. This will preserve some ceiling height, as well as decouple the entire mass of the rock from transmitting ALL of the LF energy right up into the upper room above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I appreciate the advice I received. Whereas it may not be the perfect situation, working with a dedicated room stills beats splitting duty with a family room open to a kitchen and sun room (my other option).


I think I'll forego the subflooring and take the suggestion of using a neoprene rubber "spacer" between the joists and sheetrock. I'd like to still double the sheetrock for the ceiling. I also like the idea of lowering the ceiling around the sides to give a tray/coffer ceiling effect.


One comment that peeked my curiosity was "Anything that breaks-up that one big flat surface." I've read and seen examples of wall treatments for the lower and upper portions of the walls for accoustics. However, I don't know much about the value of incorporating columns, platforms (other than for providing better viewing among multi-row seating), or manipulating the shape of the ceiling.


If anyone could offer additional guidance in these areas or point me in the direction of related web sites or articles, I would greatly appreciate it.


Thanks again.
 

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Yep, forget the sub-flooring. Not needed and not listed in the HT Handguide for Basement HT's.


Neoprene spacers a la Jim Bookhard . I sourced them fromHome Depot and they are called "squeege replacement blades". Size is 2"x24", 1/4" thick. Cut to size.. i.e 2"x2". I placed them every foot. And in between the spacers, I laid a dual bead line (again, 1/4" thickness) in between the spacers for the entire length of my joist undersides.


Screw through your selected thickness if drywall into and through the spacers. Try not to miss the spacers as your rock will not respond kindly.


Do not cut holes in your ceiling for lighting cans. Use soffits along your long side walls for lighting needs (as well as acoustic benifits, of course).


Try to use max insulation in between your joists before anything.... if 1"x10"'s, use R30. Factor down if 1x8's.


Your best source for DIY aftermarket room treatment is

www.geocities.com/jonrisch/a1.htm


I agree, your room WILL sound better (after some work of course) than a majority of the living room/family room setups I have seen picture all over the various forums.


Good Luck,


BOK
 

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Apparently I misspoke when I said a subfloor was "needed". It's not needed for acoustic reasons, it's needed for comfort (at least in my case). Carpet installed directly over concrete would make for chilly toes in the winter.
 

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filmnut,


not an issue at all. I didn't mean to sound off key with that remark. No slight intended.


Yep, bare concrete, or even a flimsy rug, would make for a long, cold winter in a basement HT room. Almost make one want to get into a tube based system for the added heat.
 

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I'm the guy that lowered the floor. I completed 75% of the work in two weeks and the balance months later. It actually is simpler than it sounds.


Knowing what I know now, I could coodinate the prohect much better and complete the project quicker.


My ceiling height was 6' 5" at the lowest point to 7' at the highest.


I have a little over 8 feet now.


If interested look up "Lowering the basment floor" on this forum to read all about it.


As dramatic as it was, it was worth it?


Yeah, it will be when I am moved in..


Good luck,


Mark
 
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