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I am currently looking to purchase a new house. It looks like the preference for a dedicated HT is the basement. When looking for houses with basements what should I look for, and possibly more importantly what should I avoid? I know the obvious headaches to avoid include making sure the basement does not leak, and finding one that does not have multiple metal load baring poles throughout. But what are some of the things that I am missing, that would make my home theater a lot of hassle to create? What size should I look for? Does it have to be without windows? ETC. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Look at the basement closely. When you find the house you like, approach the basement as if you were an architect. Sketch out a floor plan. You will find that all basements are going to have some limitations due to existing pipes, HVAC, water heaters and the dreaded support posts. I have a fairly large basement and no matter how I changed things around the widest room I could get for the HT is about 12 feet, because I did not want to have major structural changed made (ie, moving the existing HVAC work, moving the existing bathroom plumbing, moving several support posts). I did end up having one post removed to create my 18.5 x 12.6 room.


Ceiling height is also a consideration. Don't forget to calculate how a riser and soffit may effect the room's height. You don't want people hitting their heads on the soffit when they are standing on the riser.


Good luck.
 

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You've pretty well laid out the issues and Gonzo finished them off. Any of those things no matter how small they may seem can be a real PITA when it comes time to implement things.


You will also want to look at where the room area is in relation to the spaces above from an isolation standpoint, as well as where it is in relation to your furnace, etc. Also consider how you're going to get HVAC and electrical into and out of the room easily and with the least amount of intrusion into the space for additional isolation.


If you're considering a room in a room, look for cross bracing up in the floor joists above that could get in the way of your own set of isolated ceiling joists as well as which direction they run in relation to how you'll lay out the room so you don't have span length issues.


Bryan
 

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Everyone pretty much nailed it.


Take a camera, notebook, and tape measure. Take some quick notes before leaving each house because you will mix them up when looking at 8 houses in one weekend. You might want to do a quick sketch of the basement floorplan with the basic measurements if you have the time at each house.


When I bought my house last year, there was some good and bad. 9ft foundation, but too many support poles. I will have one inside my theater, but it won't be in the way. There are going to be problems with any basement unless you are lucky enough to be the one building it. I have friends who spec'd an extra deep basement and have a regulation raquetball court in it.
 
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