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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good morning all,

I'm in early planning for a dedicated basement home theater. I have several issues that I'm considering taking on to improve the available room size and especially height.

My house is a 100 yr brick and concrete fortress. Poured concrete exterior walls that are 18 inches thick and interior poured concrete load bearing partition walls that are 12 inches thick. At the moment my proposed space in 26 x 24 x 7 ft, but there is 10 x 24 x 10 ft abandoned cistern that I believe can be recovered/utilized to make the room 36 ft long.

The ceiling issue is a much bigger and important project. Through the years, a forced air system was added placing duct work along the ceiling. In addition, some electrical lines were also added to upgrade main floor applications. To that a drop ceiling was added to close off all the additions, giving me a 7 foot ceiling height.

I should also say, that some of this duct work that was created formed a separate supply system for each room in the basement. I'm not exactly sure when or why, but this system was abandoned. There is an empty spot where a furnace used to sit in my mechanical room along with the capped off supply lines.

Obviously, I would like to a reheat the basement. My initial thoughts include removing the concrete in the theater room to try and gain addition height to the room:

Can I bury the supply and return lines (for main floor and basement) under the concrete so that I can recover more than a foot in the ceiling. At the same time, maybe I can excavate 6-8 inches from the floor giving me almost 9 feet height. I also wonder about radiant floor heat since the concrete will be removed. As a side note, the cistern is 10 feet total depth.

By having no ceiling duct work, does this create any acoustical advantage?

I realize I need consultation and help from a foundation and HVAC professional, but I don't want to chase this angle if it's absolutely not a possibility.

Thanks for the assistance.

Jeff
 

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Anything is possible with enough money (hence the Money Pit). If I were you, I'd remove the drop ceiling, clean up the ductwork (larger ducts to reduce air turbulence like the Mike Money Pit project) and then place drywall over them - you wouldn't want to leave everything exposed. I don't know if I'd go to the expense of digging out the concrete, but I also haven't been in your proposed area, and you'd know best. Check out that link to Mike's thread that LastButNotLeast posted - it'll give you plenty of ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Yes, you can bury the return and supply lines. They make plastic (pvc?) ducts for the purpose... but...

-they're expensive
-you have conduction loss to the soil

Personally, I would avoid it.

What may work is a poured concrete trough. Then you could use typical HVAC ducts and lay them into the trough. It would also service plumbing and electrical.

Given the construction you described, I imagine having the cost of having the concrete contractor form and place the trough is probably pennies compared to demolishing the existing slab (which is most likely substantially thick).

Remember ducts can be made in all sizes.. I've seen them 4" tall and nearly 48" wide. THey could be concealed in a small ceiling space or even placed between double stud walls (seems like you have the room for it).

Tim
 
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