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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I am about to begin my home theater project which I’m sure will take up far to much time in my life. But, nature calls. And all the awesome pics of other people’s home theaters on this forum doesn’t help matters.


I was fortunate enough to purchase a new house about a year ago, which I purchased completed from the builder (I was not involved in the building process). The basement is unfinished and presents a few options. I have mapped out the portion of the basement I would like to construct in. I would like your advice on which option to go with. Firstly, some rough plans and pictures:


Option A:






Option B:






Basement floor to beam height is about 8.5 feet (HVAC duct is about 12 inches).


As you can see above, Option A is a slightly larger area but has a HVAC duct running down the length of the area. Option B is slightly smaller but has a sewage drain running along the side of the room (but no HVAC duct). Considering that I have these options, I’d like your opinion on which option is more ideal, specifically from an acoustic perspective and an ease of construction perspective. Should I install a dropped ceiling under the HVAC (which will decrease the room height by about 12 inches) or just frame and sheetrock around the HVAC (like a soffit). I am new to all of this so please excuse any omissions, vagueness, or improper use of terminology; I will post any info that is needed. Thanks!
 

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Welcome to the obsession! First question I have is what about the rest of the space? Are those the only two options because of walls in other places, or do you have other plans for the rest of the space? If those are the only two options, then I would go with option A. More width is nice, especially if you are planning on 4 seats across. How far away from the wall is the duct? You may be able to build a soffit around it where it is, depending on what you want your ceiling to look like. If you do want/need to move it, it looks like it would be easier to move that duct than the plumbing IMO.


What is on the exterior walls? Is it insulation of some sort, or a layer of drywall?


What is above the spaces? Bedrooms, kitchen, etc., and is there carpet above or hardwood floors?


What are your goals for the space? How many people will routinely be using the HT? Are you concerned about sound containment? The more info you can provide, the better.


Also, you may want to check out the Home Theater Book available here on the forum. Lots of great info in there. Also read as many build threads as you can for inspiration and education. It is definitely an investment of time, but well worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply! The reason I only want to build in those 2 places is that they are closet to the staircase so I don't have to finish any unnecessary space. I have absolutely no need or use for any extra space in the basement (don't want to spend money building and ventilating a space that I'm not going to use) and only want to build the home theater so I figured the space closest to the staircase will be the best to build. Of course, I might consider finishing further areas of the basement in the future depending on future needs.


The HVAC duct is 33 inches from the nearest wall. As for moving the duct, I didn't really even think about it but now I'll look into it. It would be nice to move it to the side and have a soffit built on the other side of the room to give a symmetrical "coffered" look.


The exterior wall is just poured concrete which has been painted white. No insulation or drywall.


Above option A is the kitchen which is actually tiled. Above option B is a downstairs bedroom and maybe the dining room which are both hardwood.


The HT will be mainly for my family's use (3 of us) but also for guests (not anything too crazy but maybe an extra 4-5 people). I think seating for 6-8 would be fine.


I'm not concerned about sound containment because the theater is located below a tiled kitchen (if option A) and even then, it's not a big deal since we probably won't be using it everyday.


Thanks for the help!
 

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Here's the thing about sound containment. It doesn't just affect the adjoining spaces. Sound will find the path of least resistance (like water) and can travel to where you least expect it. More research homework at The Soundproofing Company .


There will be times when the sound from the HT will interfere with someone else's plans in the house. The more you can do up front to mitigate those issues, the better off you will be. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't add too much to the overall budget. Also, the sound containment efforts help keep outside sounds from getting in to the HT. Foot falls from above, kids playing in the other room, etc.


Another question. Where do you envision the door into the HT? In either option it looks like it would need to be on the end. That can add some complexity if you have a riser for the back row of seats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, read a bit about the soundproofing. I'm assuming that double stud walls are the best choice in this situation? As per the article, the foundation counts as one wall so I would only have to build double studs in the open areas currently without any wall. As for the ceiling it looks like I could go with either the floating joists or the clips. Regarding the door, would it be feasible to have the door swing out of the HT so that it doesn't collide with the riser?
 

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You are correct that you would only need double stud walls where it would be a common wall with another area. You would build traditional single stud walls next to the foundation, but leave a gap of about 1" between the new wall and the foundation walls. You would decouple the walls from the ceiling using IB-3 clips. Clips and hat channel are pretty common on the ceiling, as well as the walls.


For the door, code in most areas specifies that doors open into a room. This is for safety considerations so you don't get blocked in the room in case of an emergency (think something falling in front of the door so you can't get out). Check the code in your area. You could always build a step to a landing outside of the room and create a nice theater entrance at the riser level. I'm sure someone else will chime in with suggestions here.
 
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