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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time lurker, first time poster. My wife and I started building our home about this time last year. At the time we decided to wait to finish the basement, and do it ourselves later. The total space is 1100 sq ft, and is not quite a full basement. I wish we had gone full, but I wasn't planning ahead very well for a dedicated theater. At least I have 9ft walls.


Since we moved in I've been thinking of what layout would work for us that would allow for my requirements and my wife's requirements. Of course I want a dedicated theater space with great acoustics and a huge screen where I can watch movies any time as loud as I want. She wants an open space for entertaining, maybe impress some neighbors and family while were at it.


Right now, there is a bedroom and bathroom framed in on the right side of the basement. We have a drain roughed in for a wet bar in the back left corner. The mechanical room and stairs are on the left side of the basement and there is a lot of HVAC and plumbing running from right to left basically down the middle of the space. Since part of the basement is crawl space and everything runs through a cutout in the concrete I don't think I can really reroute everything, plus there is a steel beam running alongside. There is another steel beam running along the front of the open space.


Here is the basement layout:




I've gone through about a dozen different ideas. This one feels pretty good and works for the missus:




This gives us plenty of seating, and leaves it fairly open for entertaining and group events (2011 Super Bowl??). It also gives us storage over by the bar for all the crap I don't want in the garage or feel like lugging up into the attic. I haven't given much thought to the bar layout, I'll worry about that in due time.


I'm planning on decoupling the new walls from the floor above with DC-04 clips. I've planned on doing double walls around existing framing since they are load bearing walls I can't decouple. I'd like to do whisper clips and channel across the ceiling. Everything within the theater and bar area will be 5/8" DD, green glue, solid core doors, maybe some exterior jambs. I've added a door to the bottom of the stairs because there's really no other way to isolate the mechanicals and upstairs. My wife doesn't like that idea, but marriage is a team effort, right? The soffits aren't too convenient, but I don't see any way around that at this point. I might stick an extra one between the bar and theater to give the spaces some separation.


I'm a little concerned about size of the riser platform. I'm looking at Berkline 45088's in chair-love seat-chair configuration which is 108" wide. The riser is 114" wide. Is that enough space on the ends? I've got about 33" on each side of the riser which is narrower than I'd like, but I think it will be okay. A 12" riser leaves about 6.5ft of headroom which is fine for me and will have to work for guests. I'd also like to put a wall behind the second row to add additional bar seating.


I'm thinking 100" wide 2.35 AT screen. I have a bump out for the first floor fire place where I can hide the center channel and maybe a sub if the sound works better there than the corners. On either side of the screen I'd build a false wall stage area thing to hide the left and rights. I think I've settled on the Klipsch Ultra2 THX system, but I've changed my mind more than a handful of times. You can see my first ideas for a stage, but I'm open minded about that. The projector (Panny AE4000 or similar) will probably go toward the back of the second row and I'll build a box to hide it a bit and vent it into the crawl space. That puts it around 14' from the screen. Equipment will probably go under the stairs, but the boss doesn't want to see any of it. She's already not pleased with my budget so I'm probably better off hiding some of my electronic toys.


I'm not happy with the surround channel placement. Maybe I can build a bit of a column thing on the bar side to move the side speakers another foot or so forward. If I want power in the riser (I do) then I'm thinking I'll need some small columns to run power down since I'm not planning a subfloor. That means they would block the rear surrounds a bit, so I'm not sure how that would work. Any alternative ideas?


I'm planning on doing all this myself with the help of a family member or two here or there. Okay, I'm not doing plumbing or drywall finishing. A lot of the electrical is already done so I shouldn't need professional help running a few wires and installing fixtures and switches. I haven't given much thought to HVAC yet. The basement is on a second zone on my main system. There are vents in the front and back of the main room and a return over the bar area. This should be a good learning experience (it already has been!), but I'm pretty excited about the whole thing. That may change after I've hung about 80 sheets of drywall, but at least you've all got this great internet support group here.


I'll have a lot of questions as I go, but what do you think so far? Does my layout make sense or am I missing something obvious?


Here are some obligatory photos to better define the space.


Back of the room toward the stairs:



HVAC from the mechanical room toward the bathroom and bedroom space:



Screen wall, don't mind my awesome Bose system and blue painters tape screen which doesn't stick to my dirty walls:



Wet bar drain/future storage area:



Those other rooms I'll be finishing that are not HT related:



Thanks for reading and any feedback!!


Alex
 

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Welcome, and I'm glad to see that another Hoosier joins the madding journey of a HT. Do you have any of your other layouts drawn up that you could post here so all of us could evaluate what options you have considered? Looking at your plans and where all of the rough ins and HVAC/beams and sewer are located you are limited on your layout somewhat, unless you want to go to the hassle and expense of moving things. I do like the open concept for entertaining especially if you want people to be at the bar and see the screen too.


The only issue that really sticks out is the bedroom right by the theater and the noise issue, but if you are willing to make compromises here and there, I think you will have a great space.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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When I read this post, I only scrolled down far enough to see your first drawing, and I was wondering how the heck you were going to lay out this basement. Then I scrolled down and saw your idea, and I have to say, that's about as good as it's gonna get with that basement. Nobody ever seems to have the perfect basement anyway. I like your layout a lot, but here's some tweaks I'd make:


1 - Get rid of the door on the right side of the theater altogether (unless sound isolation for that bedroom is really important). I think having to go through 2 doors like that to get into the bedroom will have an awkward feel to it.


2 - Extend the rear left wall of the theater area further towards the stage. Then you can mount your side surrounds in a better location, and you may even create a nice area for an equipment closet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE /forum/post/18233255


Do you have any of your other layouts drawn up that you could post here so all of us could evaluate what options you have considered? The only issue that really sticks out is the bedroom right by the theater and the noise issue, but if you are willing to make compromises here and there, I think you will have a great space.

I sort of deleted other layouts as I went. I had considered moving the screen to the wall to where the bar is located in this layout. I wasn't a fan of having the bar right by the screen, and the space by the stairs would have ended up a sitting area or something. I don't have any interest in a pool table or anything like that so I'd rather keep any spare space as storage.


I also considered extending the wall from the stairs and mechanical room all the way down towards the bar space and creating a closed off theater. It would have been pretty narrow and doesn't meet my wife's requirements.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash11 /forum/post/18233304


1 - Get rid of the door on the right side of the theater altogether (unless sound isolation for that bedroom is really important). I think having to go through 2 doors like that to get into the bedroom will have an awkward feel to it.


2 - Extend the rear left wall of the theater area further towards the stage. Then you can mount your side surrounds in a better location, and you may even create a nice area for an equipment closet.

1. The bedroom space will not be used as a bedroom, more like an excercise/den/play room. I thought about just framing that area in for a door and evaluating whether or not we would need one later. My main concern for the door is that all of the bedrooms on the floor above are on that side of the house.


2. I considered that. I don't want to make the bar area too narrow, but I may have enough room anyway.


Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I decided to do a radon test before I get started with anything. I just got the results back and it came in at 16.1 pCi/L, which is quite a bit higher than the 4 pCi/L that is recommended for mitigation.


Anyone have any experience with reducing radon levels? Are there things I can do myself or should I call a pro in to make recommendations?
 

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Did they install a vent pipe that runs from underneath the basement floor all the way up through your roof?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No, I don't think there is any ventilation from under the slab. The only hole is for the sump pit.
 

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Oh man! That really stinks! I do know there are ways to mitigate Radon gas, but never having the issue I'm not sure what it all entails. I'm betting there is some ventilation solution's that can be implemented to help disperse the Radon. Lucky you did check, better to go in armed with knowledge, but still really bites!


Good luck and keep us all posted.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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First Off;


Welcome - you've got a great plan for this space.


As for Radon mitigation: I don't think it is terribly involved or expensive.

I believe what is typically done is to install some type of modest blower or fan and some PVC pipe to vent/pull fresh outdoor air into the basement. For the one system I had seen; I was told the goal was to create a slightly positive pressure with fresh air (apparently this positive pressure prevents radon gasses form seeping into your basement).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tijuan /forum/post/18364335


No, I don't think there is any ventilation from under the slab. The only hole is for the sump pit.

I don't know if it actually works, but when my house was built 6 years ago, the contractor had to install a 4" pvc pipe like that. He said it was required by code for radon. I have no idea what the pipe does under the slab though. It may have been a whole array of slotted pipe, or it may have just terminated right in that very spot. It might be worth looking into as a quick fix.
 

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Pretty good looking plan.




I'm a little surprised that they didn't use a steel pole to support the end of the steel beam. I also wonder if they poured the required extra thick concrete pad under the base of that stacked wood support. Hard to tell from the picture. You could tap the floor with a hammer and there should be a change in tone as you get closer to the post.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tijuan /forum/post/18232207


I haven't given much thought to HVAC yet. The basement is on a second zone on my main system. There are vents in the front and back of the main room and a return over the bar area.

You also need to consider the sound containment issues presented by a shared metal duct system. The fact that it is zoned is good but you might experiment by putting a radio in one of the downstairs vents/return and seeing what sound makes it upstairs. You may want to retro fit some duct liner or in-line duct mufflers in the basement to keep the sound downstairs.


I also didn't spot any vent stacks for the downstairs plumbing. Not a problem for the wet bar because you can use a studor valve but you still need one for the bathroom. Is there a big pipe hanging down from the ceiling in bathroom area?


You should get a plumber in asap to review your plan. Just do it as part of the bidding process.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash11 /forum/post/18368453


I don't know if it actually works, but when my house was built 6 years ago, the contractor had to install a 4" pvc pipe like that. He said it was required by code for radon. I have no idea what the pipe does under the slab though. It may have been a whole array of slotted pipe, or it may have just terminated right in that very spot. It might be worth looking into as a quick fix.

From what I have read, it sounds like they can just seal my sump pit and pump air in or out of there since there is an open loop for drainage around the entire foundation. Unfortunately that probably means a vent pipe running up through the attic somewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/18368587


I'm a little surprised that they didn't use a steel pole to support the end of the steel beam. I also wonder if they poured the required extra thick concrete pad under the base of that stacked wood support. Hard to tell from the picture. You could tap the floor with a hammer and there should be a change in tone as you get closer to the post.

I was surprised about the beam supports as well. The original plan had poles in the middle of the room, but the builder had the engineer go back over the plan to remove them and beef up the steel beam to span the entire length without support. I looked back over my construction pictures and there are extra pads under the beam supports. The wall under the stairs has a footing all the way across.


Thanks for the feedback. Now if I can just get the wife in the basement to clean up (ie. throw away) some of her holiday decorations I can think about starting framing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/18368661


You also need to consider the sound containment issues presented by a shared metal duct system. The fact that it is zoned is good but you might experiment by putting a radio in one of the downstairs vents/return and seeing what sound makes it upstairs. You may want to retro fit some duct liner or in-line duct mufflers in the basement to keep the sound downstairs.

I was planning on using duct liner, although now that I think about it I have no idea how to properly install it. Can I install it on the outside of the duct or does it have to be installed inside?

Quote:
I also didn't spot any vent stacks for the downstairs plumbing. Not a problem for the wet bar because you can use a studor valve but you still need one for the bathroom. Is there a big pipe hanging down from the ceiling in bathroom area?


You should get a plumber in asap to review your plan. Just do it as part of the bidding process.

I'm not sure how the builder planned it to be vented, but there is nothing existing in the bathroom space. There is a tie in for something in the mechanical room, but I'm not sure if it is for a vent. I'm going to call the subcontractor the builder used and a few others for quotes.
 
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