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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I'm in the very begining of planning my dedicated home theater. I'm trying to get some idea on what I need and some rough numbers on how much the whole thing is going to cost.


So here are the definates:

Basement Room - Size 18X14X9

Room is under dining room, so keeping the noise out of the rest of the house is important but the room doesn't necessarily have to be completely sound proof.


Ok, so that's it as far as definates.


Here is what I know I'll need.

Construction

Lumber for walls and riser (guessing 2x4's are adequate for walls)

Drywall and all that goes with that

Green Glue (for sound isolation)

Electrical work

Lighting

Carpet

Wall Coverings

HVAC

Theater gear

Screen and Projector or large plasma/lcd (when they don't cost 70,000)

Reciever

7 Speakers

1 Sub

Audio/Video/Speaker Cables

Universal Remote

Audio and Video Components (Xbox, HD-DVD Player, Cable Box, etc.)



Other

Seating


What am I missing that is necessary, and what are some average prices I can expect to pay on the building materials.


I know I can buy a turnkey system from my local shop for 30 grand, but that seems high to me for what I'm wanting.
 

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There are a ton of variables, but I will take a stab at this.

The room:

when it is all said and done, assuming you do the work (no labor costs)


Bare minimum: $3K

Some bells and whistles: $5-10K

Wickedly Awesome: $15-30K


The equipment:

bare minimum $3K

middle of the road: $10K

over the top: $20-150K
 

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If you can get the entire project done including room construction for 30 grand write the check yesterday. You'll probably be writing another one for another 30k in a few months when things don't quite work out......



Anyway, 30k for everything is cheap. You also get what you pay for.
 

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A lot depends on how much you want to tackle yourself. I did everything except the drywall and carpet and put in a lot of bells and whistles. I never kept real accurate track of the $ but I probabably spent about $12-14K on the room and a huge number of hours. If I contracted this out it would have easily been double this.
 

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How handy are you? Do you have the tools to do the work yourself? How fancy do you want to make the room? What kind of flooring and ceiling are you considering.


So many factors in this.


Was the 30k price from the local shop including the AV equipment? If so, have you priced it out individually yet?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch999 /forum/post/0


If you can get the entire project done including room construction for 30 grand write the check yesterday. You'll probably be writing another one for another 30k in a few months when things don't quite work out......



Anyway, 30k for everything is cheap. You also get what you pay for.


I think that's high.

If you even contracted it yourself you could save lots of $$


Scott
 

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I am making the construction of my home theater as cheap as possible by doing most of the work myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok, sounds like there is a big range.


As far as how much I do myself, it will probably come down to how much it costs.


After posting this I realized how many variables there are in a project like this. The turn key system from the local shop includes everything (even AV equipment and furnature), but most of it is stuff I wouldn't purchase. It did include the stars in the sky look (fiber optic) which I thought was a great touch.


I guess my idea of the home theater currently is this:


I'd like to maintain as much height as possible and still achieve the fiber optic stars look if possible.


I will probably opt for hiding the surround speakers in columns on the side and back walls.

I'm not sure what I'll hide vs. what speakers will be visible in the front of the room.


I want a stage in the front and a riser in the back.


Other than that, I think my taste for this room will be pretty plain. In an effort to make my dream a reality sooner than later, I'll pass on making this something that could be shown in a magazine.



So I'm probably on the budget - low midrange as far as extras in the room. My true goal is to make the room a place that is conducive to a great AV experience. I'll try and save most of my money for good equipment.


Like I said, this is just the begining, so I think I may need to get some better ideas of what I really want. It is encouraging to think that I could build out the room for as little as 3000 dollars though.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntode /forum/post/0


My true goal is to make the room a place that is conducive to a great AV experience. I'll try and save most of my money for good equipment.


Like I said, this is just the begining, so I think I may need to get some better ideas of what I really want. It is encouraging to think that I could build out the room for as little as 3000 dollars though.

I would rethink that if I were you. You will build the room only once (hopefully). Equipment you can always upgrade.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyb /forum/post/0


I think that's high.

If you even contracted it yourself you could save lots of $$
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntode /forum/post/0


Ok, sounds like there is a big range.

As far as how much I do myself, it will probably come down to how much it costs.

It is encouraging to think that I could build out the room for as little as 3000 dollars though.


Most of the basement remodels the people I talked to have had done by a contractor were a minimum of $25k. Just basement finishing, not HT. Some have gone much more. This tends to be an area of the country where contractors think a lot of their work though, and your area may be less.


I personally did all my work and have very roughly about $6k in construction materials (including carpet,) $5k in equipment (50" plasma, Denon receiver, speakers, cables,) and $3k in furniture (including a pool table.)


My ballpark, top-of-my-head figure going in was about half of what the final total figure wound up being for construction. If I had used a construction estimater beforehand I might still be thinking about the project instead of enjoying it



Obviously I did not build a "room in a room" with top of the line everything, but I do also have a bar and pool table. I am extremely happy with the results. And chicks dig it! (By "chicks," I mean my wife and daughters.) Note my construction thread does not reflect the 99% complete that I am currently at. Updates are coming soon.
 

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I'm still astonished by the prices everyone mentions for their home theaters. I keep seeing drywall costs of like $10-20 a sheet and lumber doesn't appear to be too pricey either. In my mind I keep thinking that drywall and lumber only amounts to a few hundred dollars, throw in some GG/nails and maybe we are at $1-2K. Throw in some electrical if needed, GOM, screen, etc, I figured 5k would be the most for a contractor-free, no-frills project. Not including equipment of course as this aspect can be a few hundred to tens of thousands.


Rather than post prices - could someone post what you think average % of where money is typically distributed?
 

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I am hiring out almost everything in finishing my basement (2 rooms, 1 full bath ~7-800 Sqft). Hoping to keep it around 25k. Probably wind up 20% more.


I expect that the breakout is around 35% general build; 25% for the bath; 30% for the H.T. specialty materials and semi-budget equipment; 10% moving utilities cause my builder had no foresight.
 

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Check out my link - my lengthy writeup includes all the cost estimates near the bottom. I tried to be thorough so that people such as yourself don't get shocked by how all the minor items add up. Most people on the front end just worry abou the basics - walls, carpet, screen, receiver, projector and speakers. If you look at the percentage of my costs this only accounts for about 60%.


Quality of items can double or quadruple costs. You'll need to ask yourself what quality of room, sound and video do you want to end up with? What can I do now and upgrade later? What level of fit-n-finish do you want?


Examples - lighting can cost anywhere from $20 to 150 each, carpet can go from anywhere from $10 to 50 a square yard, theater seats can go from $300 to 1200 each, projectors can go from $700 to $5000+, speakers can go from DIY to $$$.


Once you get a good idea on the type of quality and compromises you want to make, make a list of what you need and price it out. The main problem at this point is forgetting something.


Grant
 

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I have about 12-14K in the room, this is a rough breakdown:


- Two layers of 5/8" drywall with GG in between, $5,000. This was hung and finished by a contractor

- Mini-split air conditioner/heat pump, $1,700. No matter what you do HVAC wise, there is money to be spent here

- RSICs for 4 walls and ceiling, I believe close to $1,000

- Green glue, $600

- Lumber to build one wall, stage, proscenium, equipment closet, boxes around can lights, columns, etc. This one is tough to estimate but I am guessing $600

- Light fixtures $800. This is just 6 recessed cans and 4 sconces

- Dricore for floor, $400

- Electrical wiring and controls, $1,100. The Grafik-eye is a chunk of this but long lengths of 12 gauge copper cable adds up

- Moving plumbing lines that hung down below floor joists, $1,000

- Insulation $1,200. This is nothing fancy just some extruded polystyrene and fiberglass

- Miscellaneous screws, glue, etc probably $300

- Carpet, $1,000


One poster mentioned a figure of $5,000. I think you could build a room for this cheap but it would have very little sound isolation (no GG, RSICS, double drywall) and you would need to cut out or go cheap on other items. For that price forget a lighting control like a Graffik Eye and you would need to purchase at the low end of the light fixture range. Also no Dricore to go over a concrete basement floor.


Everything I have quoted does not include screen, projector, or any other equipment, just the room.
 

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I paid about 10 thousand dollars for the construction of my room, including the riser, false wall, carpet, equipment cabinet, cable conduit, bracing for projector, etc.


It was basic construction for the most part, with insulation in the walls and ceiling.



There is no quetion in my mind that the contractor got in WAY over his head and most certainly lost money on the job. The quality of the work was very suspect.


But at the end of the day, I ended up with a pretty nice place to watch movies for significantly less than what many others have paid for contracted labor. I'm not sure I would consider myself lucky in that regard, since the experience was a nightmare. But I didn't do too bad.


The most annoying thing is that I've had to invest a significant amount of my own sweat equity fixing stuff that was half-assed by the contractor, like replacing trim on the cabinet and repainting things.


The seating was an additional 3K. The equipment was an additional 6K.


P.S.


Just so no one accuses me of bargain shopping for the cheapest labor, I hired the only contractor that I could find who would bid on my job at any price. I tried to collect multiple bids (and no, my goal was *not* to find the cheapest), but none of the contractors in my area wanted to mess with a detail oriented HT build.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB /forum/post/0


I'm still astonished by the prices everyone mentions for their home theaters. I keep seeing drywall costs of like $10-20 a sheet and lumber doesn't appear to be too pricey either. In my mind I keep thinking that drywall and lumber only amounts to a few hundred dollars, throw in some GG/nails and maybe we are at $1-2K. Throw in some electrical if needed, GOM, screen, etc, I figured 5k would be the most for a contractor-free, no-frills project. Not including equipment of course as this aspect can be a few hundred to tens of thousands.

I was astonsished at how fast this all added up also. You can't walk into Lowes or HD without dropping $100 on a few things to keep you busy through the weekend it seems. I originally thought I could get by with 20-30 2x4s since I planned to reuse (and did) nearly everything I tore out from the previous owners remodel. It probably was closer to 75 by the time the job was done. 100 feet of 12/2 Romex is $70, 14/2 is $60, I needed 150 feet of each. Oak outlet cover - $5.50 each, needed seven.


Oak plywood, $46 a sheet, I probably used eight sheets, originally thought three or four would do it. Spent $400 on tile, and we don't have that much tile! Once the whole thing starts coming together and the wife starts to think that now she doesn't want painted trim, oak would be better, well, you can guess the rest.


Like I said previously, if I had taken the time to accurately estimate the job, it may not have started at all.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logic_BomB /forum/post/0


I'm still astonished by the prices everyone mentions for their home theaters. I keep seeing drywall costs of like $10-20 a sheet and lumber doesn't appear to be too pricey either. In my mind I keep thinking that drywall and lumber only amounts to a few hundred dollars, throw in some GG/nails and maybe we are at $1-2K. Throw in some electrical if needed, GOM, screen, etc, I figured 5k would be the most for a contractor-free, no-frills project. Not including equipment of course as this aspect can be a few hundred to tens of thousands.


Rather than post prices - could someone post what you think average % of where money is typically distributed?

You end up spending a lot more than what you think. Let me throw in some other food for thought.

1) Screws--you will never have enough, I bet I have spent over 100 bucks on them. You will need drywall screws and deck screws of various lengths.

2) Do you have a circular saw, miter saw, drill, drill bits, wire cutters, wire stripper, wire nuts, table saw, dremel, drywall saw, level, chalk line, tape measure, shop vac, etc? Trust me, you are going to want these things. Either buy or borrow.

3) Romex-50 bucks for 100 feet if I remember correctly. You will probably need 12/2 for the 20 amp circuit to the projector, equipment room, sub. 14/2 to the outlets. I have spent probably 250 bucks just on romex.

4) Outlets (30 bucks), face plates 10 bucks.

5) Carpet

6) Carpet pad

7) Building a riser? Add that lumber. Add the plywood.

8) Building a subfloor (dricore/delta Fl) add that into it (about $500 for the typical room

9) Paint/primer/brushes/rollers (easily $100)

10) chair rail, crown molding. Surprisingly expensive.

11) The door (50 to 250 bucks)

12) Rope lighting behind the crown molding? Rope light: 30 bucks, extra romex to put the outlet up there, another outlet, another face plate. The effect: Priceless

13) Can lights in the ceiling? The IC rated ones are about 30 bucks each (x4).

14) Dimmable light switch 30 bucks. One for the can lights, one for the light on the riser, one for the rope lighting around the ceiling, one for the sconces. What if you want a remote control, dimmable light switch? Double it. What about a graphic eye? Add a thousand dollars.

15) Oh yeah, don't forget the sconces. The sconce itself at Lowes 12 dollars. The little glass top to the sconce at Lowes 18 dollars (don't get me started on this). You need four of them. Close to $200.

16) Insulation (pink stuff). Easily $250 (2x6 construction).

17) two layers of drywall?

18) HVAC? 30 bucks for a 25 foot 6" flex duct.

18) Gas for 75 trips to the local home improvement store (per week).

I am sure others can add to my list. The point being a lot of stuff goes into a room and when it is all said and done it WILL cost more than you anticipate.
 

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I did my entire garage HT conversion for about $13,000 including all my gear. My budget was $12,000. That's pretty close. EVERYONE told me it would cost twice as much but I proved them wrong. I went to Lowes and made a materials list to estimate construction. The HT gear was easy as I knew what I was doing there and how much it was going to cost. Yes there were surprises and compromises made, but nothing drastic. You should spend the $$ on your room if you have to cut though. You can't upgrade that later as easily as your gear. I have a pretty detailed list of everything on my HT construction page with prices if it will help. Best of luck.
 

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Awesome posts guys - I knew I was way off thinking I could get off easy with $5k for the kind of room I was looking to build in the future but I just could not understand how all these "small" items could add up so much. Much better understanding now.
 

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I had a PM on this topic a while back and I computed a pretty good estimate. My Home Theater is about 14'x20'x8':

Without searching through my receipts, here's what I would estimate for just the HT:


$700 - Mass loaded vinyl

$1,200 - Construction lumber (walls, stage, riser)

$100 - caulk

$1,800 - Drywall, double 5/8" (includes labor)

$360 - 2 doors (both insulated ouside rated entry doors)

$300 - lighting

$700 - Green Glue

$200 - Electrical boxes, outlets, wiring, etc.

$300 - Low voltage wiring

$300 - Video cabeling (rack to projector in wall)

$100 - Paint

$1,700 - Carpet

$350 - Dricore sub floor

$250 - RSIC Clips and track for ceiling isolation

$100 - Misc hardware nails, screws, etc.

$250 - rails and rack shelfs

$150 - sand for stage

$80 - Door for back of audio cabinet

$350 - insulation

$100 - HVAC duct work

$500 - Sound treatments

$100 - cheap screen


$9,990 total


EQUIPMENT

$1,500 projector

$600 amplifiers

$180 DVD player

$1,800 speakers

$350 receiver


$4,430 total


Theater seats were added later for about $4K and carpeting that room alone probably would have been about $1,200 (includes labor) of the $4K carpet total.


Complete home theater estimate is $19,620 without labor (except carpet and drywall which included labor).


Dave
 
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