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Discussion Starter #1
I'm in the process of gutting part of my finished basement and rebuilding it into an HT. It's an older house (built in the 60's) and I'm faced with a few design challenging.


Here's a picture of the current layout (somewhat to scale):




The current finished area was built probably in the 60's to 70's, complete with awful faux-wood panelling and crappy insulation. I've already gutted the area along the exterior concrete and most of the ceiling.


The orange/brown wall is existing construction built via 2x3s and wood paneling. The green wall at the bottom was a later addition built out of steel studs and drywall; it divides the finished portion of the basement.


The dark grey round things are steel support beams which support the central I-beam which runs roughly the center of the basement.


Floor is insulated with 1 inch styrofoam insulation. Plywood on top.


My current plan is roughly as follows:




Walls:


Tear out the steel stud wall.


Build a new wall as per the greenish area in the plan. I plan to insulate the outer wall with 2" polystyrene, then stud wall on the interior w/ Roxul R14 insulation. I previously built this type of wall in the unfinished area of my basement and it seems to work well.


The inner wall will be a staggered stud wall. I'm thinking of leaving the existing 2x3 wall up, but building a 2x4 wall in front of it. The new wall would be decoupled from the 2x3 wall. I also am thinking of removing the existing doorway along the 2x3 wall.


The water meter is currently housed in a box frame with top access. New plan would be to build completely around it and have access from the unfinished portion of the basement.


Walls will be either single layer 5/8" drywall or if I can afford it, a 5/8" + 1/2" with GG in between.

Ducts:


For the ducts, there is currently an existing bulkhead which runs the full length of the finished area. Plan is to rip out and replace with a bulkhead running the length of the respective return and supply (i.e. to have more ceiling height in the area where the return duct ends).


There is currently one supply vent in the room. I want to upgrade to two supply vents and add in an return as well. I was thinking of putting it next to the I-beam support. They will use flexible ducts with various bends to reduce noise transmission.


I was also thinking of wrapping the supply/returns with damping material (outside, not inside).

Ceiling:


Current ceiling is only 7 feet. It's a low room. Plan is sound clips + metal channels + 1 or 2 layers of drywall (again budget dependent). I will lose ceiling height this way, but not much I can do otherwise. The biggest issue will be under the bulkheads as those will be max 6 feet high. It's a royal PITA but again, not much that can be done...


Electrical:


Completely redone. Plan is electrical outlets in each corner of the room. Not sure about the lighting yet...

Door:


One door, solid core with 3/4" MDF+GG added. And weather stripping around frame.

Equipment/speakers/etc


Not 100% sure yet. I could build a storage closet in the lower right area for audio gear. Projector hang from ceiling. Speakers will all be visible; I have no plans to try to build areas to hide them as I just don't have any space. Speaker wire could be hidden under the trim?


End result will likely make for a ~15 feet x 13 feet (ish) room. If it wasn't for that [email protected]$#@ water meter, I would happily extend the entire room width by another 5-6 feet. I have a feeling that placing the surround speakers is going to be a challenge...




Questions:


1) For double-drywall + GG, if I had to pick one: walls or ceiling, which is better? Keeping in mind this is in the basement. At minimum I am going to do DD+GG as part of the bulkhead around the ducts.


2) Flooring: is it okay to just leave the existing floor (sans carpet). There's nothing physically wrong with it and I'd rather not have to tear it up if I don't have to. I'm not sure how much of an impact flooring in the basement has on soundproofing.


3) Supply vents; if I have two return vents, is it better to install two supply vents? I don't want to wind up with an weird pressure issues in the room.


4) Flexible ducts: Is it better to use vinyl or aluminum? Or does it matter?


Any other comments, suggestions, critiques, etc, would be very welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Here are pictures of what I'm working with:


Main room (standing in lower right entrance):




Main room from opposite corner:




Close-up of ductwork and existing bulkhead:




Close-up of existing box around water meter:




Pipe next to concrete... luckily there was basically no insulation over this originally or that could have caused a frozen pipe. I'll have to move this one out a bit.

 

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How many seats do you actually need?


Is something like this an option? You could pair an acoustically transparent front wall

and a DIY acoustically transparent screen, and hide your speakers plus the HAVC gets

disguised. That return duct could even be treated underside, for the first reflection point

off the ceiling, to the seating.




Moving the water meter is an option... It all really comes down to where do you want to spend

your budget. If you work with what's there, and can live with four seats, then maybe that opens up

money for other interesting things. Better projector, screen masking, Lutron GE lighting controller.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply and the ideas.


I probably should list out that I have all the major components including seating already. My seating is currently a 3 seat reclining unit. I may try to add a 4th seat if I can get one made in the same style/leather to match. (I'd previously bought my seating 4-5 years ago). Majority of the time, I've found I don't use more than 2 seats.


I also have an existing 92 (?) inch screen, projector, 7 speakers, subwoofer, and other AV gear.


I plan to use everything I have; the only thing I will likely replace would be the screen and in the near future, the projector.


As for the water meter, the intake pipe is right in the same location. So it would require some additional plumbing to move things, but then I have to deal with the piping and building around/over top. My preference would be to segregate the water meter/pipes from the finished theater area entirely, so I can have access to it should the need arise.
 

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Would it be possible to relocate the return duct to the opposite wall from the supply duct? My basement build was similar to yours and that's what I did. It freed up the center of the room more.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCHNEEDOO  /t/1525739/building-a-compact-ht-in-an-older-house#post_24569306


Would it be possible to relocate the return duct to the opposite wall from the supply duct? My basement build was similar to yours and that's what I did. It freed up the center of the room more.

Not easily I'm afraid. The basement foundation actually narrows in the unfinished side (it's basically a shallow L shape). And I'd have to redo some framing and electrical in the unfinished area to accommodate moving the ductwork...
 

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If relocating the entry works for you, just narrow the room to exclude the water meter.

Three seats in 15' wide is a luxury.


Could you bring the cold air return over the beam via the floor joist cavity, and then jog over

and back up? This would eliminate the HVAC sheet in the room, if you framed out a new front wall.




I rebuilt my HVAC with a wider/less tall profile and tucked a short section of return up into the joist cavity.

Best money spent in my small room.


What speakers and what projector??
 

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Discussion Starter #9
TBH. I'm reluctant to have the main entrance into the unfinished portion of my basement. Currently that section of the underfinished area is my woodworking shop. And while I keep it relatively clean, having the prospect of wood dust and other stuff being tracked into the HT on a regular basis is not ideal.


I could, in theory extend the finished area and build some sort of hall. But I'm reluctant to do so, as that would involve knocking down some walls in the unfinished area, reworking electrical, central vac lines, etc.


I think the big thing with this project is trying to avoid scope creep. If I start to do much, I might as well just gut the entire finished area (and some of the unfinished area) and rebuild everything from scratch. But that's far beyond my current budget...
 

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Discussion Starter #10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedd  /t/1525739/building-a-compact-ht-in-an-older-house#post_24570327


What speakers and what projector??

Project is an older Epson 720p HD. I plan to keep using it until the bulb reaches it's end-of-life.


Speakers are B&Ws (804 towers for the L+R, HTM2 center and M1's for the surrounds). Subwoofer is an SVS PB13.
 

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I would use the projector too. I was thinking more along brightness and throw distance numbers, for screen sizing.


Speakers I was thinking if they were something suitable for a baffle wall, then maybe the AT space could shrink

depth-wise. Then some of the supply HVAC becomes a soffit over the screen wall.
 

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That cold air return sheet metal could be reworked. Perhaps it is possible to reduce the height of the cold air return sheet metal, or

notch a corner.


If combined with fabric walls, you could hide speakers, acoustical treatments, and the av rack. Plus shrink the visual size of the soffits.





 
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