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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My small dark dungeon build.


So my girlfriend and I purchased this house a year and a half ago. Finally, after working on the rest of the house for so long I have moved on to the basement to build my "cave". The house is a 1920's era house with all the wonderful problems associated with homes of that period. Luckily, most of the problems are minor, ie electrical, plumbing. I've already replaced 95% of the electrical of the house. The plumbing is something I'll tackle later. No problems with it really, just trying to future proof it. The basement originally had wonderful 50's wood paneling and awful vinyl tile. When we moved in the prior owners stripped the walls to hide a moisture problem.... Thanks! Not to worry though! During the first year I noticed some seepege on the internal block joints. I immediately added downspouts and graded the soil away from the house. That solved 75% of the problem right there. I then cleaned the blocks with a wire brush, sealed cracks with liquid polyurethane (looks like gorilla glue) and hydraulic cement, sealed the joint on the floor with polyurethane caulking, acid washed the white powder off, and painted 3 coats of zissner watertite oil-based sealer paint on. Finally, I added platon membrane over the walls and sealed the seam with buytl rubber caulking, taped the seam, and spray foamed over the seam for good measure. Hopefully I should never see a moisture problem again. I am using foam boards for the insulation in between each framing member too. I'll glue them to the platon and for extra hold i'll spray foam all the seams to lock the sheets in place. I've been told that I'm going overboard but I don't want to risk any future problems. I've spoken to 3 different insulation/moisture experts from reputable companies that have assured me that nothing I'm doing should cause problems by "overdoing" it. At least i'll have the peace of mind that it was done. Dimensions are 10' 8" by 25' 7" (I think) when framed. Oh, and I'm doing the build for about $1000 only! Here are some photos of the process:


The dungeon:



The leaks:




The old bar:



The tear down:



More tear down:



So much tear down....:



Filling the cracks:



First coat of watertite:



2nd coat (didn't take 3rd coat pic):



Up goes the platon:






Really dark picture of framing started:



Quick 3 minute sketchup of a really general idea of what I was looking to do:




More to come!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Finished the framing last night. When I get a little more time I'll probably go into a little more detail on some of the hiccups I encountered. Namely a couple rotten support posts. I replaced the posts and fastened a composite 2x6 decking board the length of the room to keep the bottom plate off the concrete. I then framed as usual. I'm going to finish up the electrical tonight. I'm installing 8 recessed cans in the ceiling, 10 outlets, 4 low voltage boxes, switches, GFI's, etc.... That should keep me busy for a couple of hours... I'm hoping the extra light downstairs will really motivate me to kick things up a notch! Hopefully I can lay down some flooring this weekend and start getting drywall up sometime next week. On a side note: I ordered the final repair part for my 50" plasma this morning! By next week I should have at least my every day screen up and running! Then it'll be time to start looking for a projector! More pictures tonight!
 

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Interesting use of the platon. I used the platon as my subfloor. Works very well. Please detail how the platon is used in your situation. I have heard of the product used like this but have not seen it in use.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello RTROSE! You're actually one of the 5 or so build threads I looked at when planning my build! I tried to make my basement as water resistant as possible without actually digging out my outer walls and installing the membrane there. I called the platon people and talked with them about my plans. It turns out platon has been used as an interior moisture barrier for years in Canada and Scandinavian countries. It separates the living environment from the walls. The watertite, foam, caulk, hydraulic cement, and grading should handle 99% of any problem I should ever encounter. The platon was just extra insurance. It wasn't that expensive at about 140$ for a 7'8" x 65' roll. It's supposed to solve many of the problems with water interfering with the living space. The gap it creates allows any trapped moisture to evaporate faster. When I compared using platon and then foam to just gluing the sheets of foam on the wall, it seemed like the better choice. The platon people said it's standard now in most Scandinavian countries in new construction and it's been used heavily in retrofit basement problems. To me it seemed like the best of both worlds. My biggest concern when planing my build was the dreaded "M" word! That, and I wanted something I wouldn't have to worry about 40 years from now when I won't be capable of fixing it! I I layed a bead of buytl rubber caulking around the top of my walls and then rolled out the platon. I fastened the platon to the blocks using platon speed clips. Any seams were taped using the red barrier tape. After framing, I sprayed window and door foam between the upper plate and top of the platon. I also glued foam and sealed edges on the sill plate too. On a side note: I finished the lighting and outlets for the main part of the room. I'm probably going to pre wire the bar area too tonight. Then it's time for me to re-install the subflooring! I took out my first subfloor because I was torn about how to handle my sloped corners in the room. I'm pretty confident now that I will be able to fix that. I'm planing on cutting out a 2' triangle of platon in the bar corner and pouring a layer of concrete to bring up that area flat with the rest of the subfloor. I just need that area of the room to be flat for the laminate. I might also add a few extra 2x4's to the framing for support. I'm mounting a plasma up front and the 24" OC framing I used is fine for general framing but might not hold up to large plasma displays. More to come!
 

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Very interesting, thanks for elaborating on the platon installation. Installing the platon should eliminate the possibility of water issues in the future, except for the occasional Biblical type of flood.


I'll second the need for very flat floors for the subfloor and especially for the laminate. You will notice immediately with laminate if your floor is uneven or bumpy as it tends to show very quickly that there are issues.


I would also suggest that you use adequate framing on the wall holding the plasma. Here is a shot of my wall (16" o.c.) and the additional framing I added to help support the plasma.




Worked out pretty well. The only thing I would have done differently would be to put the doubles where the singles are a vice versa. You will most assuredly want to put in additional braces.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I almost forgot to cross brace! Last night I added 2 more vertical support 2x4's to the wall but I totally brain farted the cross bracing! I did however finish the outlet wiring. I added way more outlets than I think I would ever need, but who knows? I added a few up higher for the plasma, future projector, fans, and beer signs/another plasma in the bar area. I added a few in areas that I was first going to put in the theater floor lights that look like vents. My thought was that I've seen outlets with built in night lights that may also work for that purpose. It's amazing how much wire I've now gone through doing just this one room. ~350' I still have low voltage, a closet, bathroom, and the bar area itself to do. I'll have gone through about 500' with just NM wire by the end! Just when I think I'm getting close to installing sub-floor again, something else comes up. I'm kinda wondering where I'll mount my surrounds too. The 2 rear are already in-wall, but the 2 side surrounds are up in the air still. I did finish my star ceiling module though! I might not even use it but it's finished.
 

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I think I ran over 1000 feet of NM with my build and about another 1000 of misc other wire (if memory serves me correctly) I could be completely wrong too. I just know it was a lot of wire!


I would (if I had thought of it) wired some outlets higher for the purposes you describe, but as they say hind sight is 20/20. My only major regret for my build at this moment is that I should have put in another stairwell recessed light and another recessed light in the very short hall from the stairs to the theater. I'm sure there will be others but that is where I see my design lacking.


The other thing I recommend you do (if you can) and I'm speaking from experience is to totally clean out the area and store your stuff somewhere else for the duration of the construction. I don't know how much time I wasted moving stuff all around the basement moving it out of the way and then move it again because it was in the way of something else I was doing.


Keep up the progress and keep the pics coming.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well I finished cross bracing last night.


I also decided to add GFI for the outlets. I'm guessing I'll probably do a whole bunch of spray foaming tonight for all the seams, etc... I totally agree with you about the cleaning out of the room! I find myself walking totally around the room for little things like a screwdriver, nail, wire tie, etc.... I've probably wasted hours just walking around all the "stuff". I will clean out the room before I do anything else major. I was going to mention that I am basing alot of this room's design on the "Theater for Hobbits" build. I even went so far as to buy Ralph Lauren paint. Of course it helps it was on sale at my local orange store for 6.00 a gallon! I decided to get a few more than I thought i'd need at that price!


I also picked up 28 sheets of 1/2" drywall and 5 gallons of primer for free. That was from a guy on my local craigslist. It'll be fun to find out how close to my budget I will be when I'm finished. The flooring was oak laminate that was normally $2.34 a sq/ft, that I got for $.55 a sq/ft. A total basement renovation with wet bar, new windows, insulation, framing, plumbing, paint, electrical, cabinents, countertops, and flooring for under a grand! (fingers crossed) It helps being able to wait around for deals and doing all the labor oneself! To show you how cheap (creative) I was here is a low voltage box I'm using:


It's just a regular $.19 electrical box with the back cut off. I was trying to figure out why the regular low voltage boxes were $2.00 at my local home improvment store.... Couldn't tell, so I decided to do this.
 

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Where have you considered getting your flat panel mount from? I have ordered two from monoprice and I'm very happy with them. One suggestion is that before you drywall, order you mount and see where your mount lines up with your studs just to double check that you will hit enough studs to support your TV. I had to shift slightly from center where I wanted to mount my TV to hit two studs to support the TV. Had I got the mount before I drywalled I would have known to put in a couple of extra studs and could have put the TV where I actually wanted.


Nice score on the paint, flooring, drywall and primer. I surpassed the grand mark long ago and see no signs stopping the hemorrhage of green from the wallet. That (and the recent water problem) is the reason why I'm again at the molasses speed on my build. Need time to recover from some other cash outlays.


Great progress, good luck and keep us posted.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry for the lack of progress in the past week. I was off to Vegas for 7 days. I'm back and ready to work again! Woo Hoo!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eecho789 /forum/post/18315549


Sorry for the lack of progress in the past week. I was off to Vegas for 7 days. I'm back and ready to work again! Woo Hoo!

You are forgiven! Vegas Baby!!!!!!


Now get to work!


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well I decided to clean up the room and take inventory of what needs to be done. Most major things are done, IE framing, electrical, platon on walls... I probably have a million little things left that'll take up time eventually like trim, painting, fixing unforeseen things... However, I think I'm going to tackle the biggest pain in my behind to date, the sub floor. The job of making the sub floor level without either spending hours upon hours, or dollars upon dollars is sickening. I have an 8' straightedge and upon checking the floor I've found up to 1/2" variations all over the place... I really don't want to spend money on 10 bags of leveler, or grind 100-250 sq ft of concrete.... I saw an idea on another thread where someone drilled 1/4" holes in the sub floor a few inches around squishy spots and squirted in caulking to eliminate the flex. I may try that. I still have shingles too from my first attempt at leveling. Is there any easy/cheaper way to level a floor? Or is one doomed to either spend big bucks or spend hours upon hours fixing every little spot? I have to say this is the worst/most frustrating part of any repair or build in my house so far. On a different note, I'm trying to figure out where to place the low voltage boxes that will house the speaker outputs for the front stage. There must be a gazillion posts about placement (i'm too lazy to trod through them) but is there a general rule of thumb as to how far away from the walls, height, etc.. that I should keep in mind?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh I forgot to mention some ideas I got while I was in Vegas! I stayed at the Aria resort (heavenly but expensive) and fell in love with the automation they have there. I'm thinking of cutting out the framing under each window and installing linear actuators and drawer slides so I can have the wall move up to close off each window for movies and such. I've found some 20-24" actuators for cheap and the actual retrofitting now would be pretty easy to install. Pretty much just attach the actuator to the framing and make a wall piece out of 1/2" MDF with 2x2 framing behind. Have drawer guides attached to the sides and it's done. I am also thinking of installing the plasma with some 1 way mirror glass over it so it will look like a framed mirror when it's off. I've found small 12" x 12" samples that I'm currently testing for smaller LCD screens for the bar area. Might be a future thing but by putting it on here it will remind me later!
Has anyone here had any luck making their own crown molding with MDF? There was an article in last months family handyman that went through the process. It seemed pretty straightforward but I know articles can be deceiving. Whew! I know I kinda went all over the place with these last posts but this is pretty much where I'm at right now.
 

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Man! You can tell you were in Vegas, you're posting at 100mph brother! Here are a couple of ideas for the floor. I think the leveling compound is your best bet (unfortunately) but that is what it is used for. The other option is using treated 2 x 4's cutting them down with a table saw at an angle and use them like a big shim. I have used this with regular 2 x 4's in projects around the house, but you would need treated for the basement floor. Like you said lots of mula or lots of time pick your poison. I can tell you that you will be most unhappy in the long run if you don't fix the floor.


As far as the low voltage boxes, it depends on what type of speakers you are going to use. If you are going book shelf then you would want your boxes higher, towers then lower somewhere around the height of a standard outlet. The typical guide line is, I think, you want the tweeter at ear level.


Here is my screen wall framed.




Drywalled.




I put my boxes low, but I ran extra speaker wire to do two things. One is to bi-wire or bi-amp the front speakers should I ever choose to do that, and to run back up the wall cavity to poke out of the drywall behind book shelf speakers if I go that way. I'll just put solid covers over the boxes and paint them the wall color if I go bookshelves. Outlets look more normal lower vs. having a covered up box in the middle of the wall. If what I have said does not make sense let me know and I'll try to elaborate.


Another point, this is just my .02 (as with all my posts as well I guess), all of the automation, moving panels, screens, drapes, and the list goes on and on and on is really cool and has a great WOW factor. However just bare in mind that the more complicated the plumbing is the easier it is to plug up the pipes. If you go in with an open mind understanding that things may not work as advertised or you may have to try and try again that is ok, just go in with an open mind and a willingness to learn, experiment, and knowing trial and error may become your best friend.


Because of my luck in doing things, and the speed at which I do them, I have steered clear of things like this in my build. I stick pretty much with the KISS principal mostly due to the fact I fit the stupid part of that acronym.
As with all things you mileage my vary (YMMV).


Good luck, keep the progress and the pics coming and remember "I'm from the government and I'm here to help"! Scary words I know.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well after some reflection I am deciding that the KISS principle is the way to go. Every time I try to complicate things it takes 10 times longer and usually doesn't get done. I'll start off by just making a blank template of a room with flooring and drywall and go from there. I think I might spend a couple hours doing a survey of the rooms floor. I'll do measurements at 1 foot intervals to get an idea of just how bad the overall floor is. Yeah it'll take awhile but It would probably save me headaches later. I'm still not throwing out the shingles route though! I'm hoping that with a combination of shingles, squirted in caulking, and maybe some sanding of the osb I can get it pretty flat. It just needs to be flat enough for laminate. And at a minimum for only 10-15 ft of the room! I'm going to carpet the other portion. After doing the survey, I'm going to bring one of my 3/4" T&G sheets over to the corner and check things over. I'll probably lay it down and check for squishy areas. Then bring it up and lay shingles where it was squishy, lay it down and repeat. Big ol pain! If it becomes apparent that this is more work than it's worth I'll probably start looking into leveling compound. Anyone know where to get leveling compound for less than 30 dollars a bag? Maybe in bulk somewhere? My local orange store is super expensive and for 10 bags that'll run me like $300. That'll probably put me over my $1000 budget! Oh, I almost forgot! I'm setting up my room with a boston acoustics system 9000. It uses micro 90x speakers. My brother has the same system and it has great sound for such a small package. The rear area by the bar will have 2 built ins. The brand is like On Q I think. They were pretty cheap. I was thinking of doing built ins in the front ad sides of the room, but I wasn't sure how the no name brand built ins would perform versus the Bostons. The boston speakers are really small like 4x6x5, I have dipole micro vrs speakers for the sides that are of similar size. They weigh over 10 lbs apiece though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I decided to double check my electtrical tonight and re-think my wiring plan for the basement. Right now I've wired 3 circuts into the new area. 1 for room outlets. That one has 8X15A outlets wired with 12-2 wiring but on a 15A breaker. I used heavier gauge wire for possible future upgrading. The outlets are currently only 15A, but changing to 20A is really simple. I wired all the lights 8x6 inch cans on another 15A circuit. I may wire the rack to this one (haven't decided). Finally the bar area will have just 3 outlets and 6 small 3" spot lights. My question is weather I should wire the bar area for 20A? Currently, I plan on the bar area to have a kegorator and be able to have a microwave or countertop convection oven for snacks. I know garbage disposals and dishwashers need a dedicated 20A but I'm torn as to weather my little bar will ever have either. Running another cable for future proofing seems reasonable but does anyone else ever use disposals or dishwashers in their small basement bars? I will be running a drain eventually for a wet bar and I'm not looking forward to the cutting of the cement. The closest I can run the drain before it needs to get into the floor is about 6-8 feet from the main stack. Pretty straightforward though to hook into the main drain. Should I just forget the disposal idea? Most wet bars I've seen don't go that far. Finally, how important is it to have an exhaust fan in that area? Thanks in advance!
 

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I wired my entire basement project for 20A. Just easier than trying to remember which circuit is 15A and which one is 20A. I have heard of people putting in dishwashers, but not disposers. For my build my kitchenette will not have either. Is you main stack for your sewer in the floor of your basement or is it in the rafters of your flooring. My main stack runs between my floor joists. For my sink in the basement I will have to buy a all in one sump pit that will pump into the sewer. Like this. Might be an option for you depending on where your stack is.


Regards,


RTROSE
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I was originally going to use one like that. My local Menards sells one similar for 180 and I had a 20% off coupon + was going to use my tax return for the extra 5%. I Finally decided to cut the concrete instead after seeing that it really wasn't too terribly difficult. Here is one post that goes into it a little: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1131070&page=2


And here is a picture of my main stack:



This picture gives a better idea of depth. It shows approximately where the drain will enter the concrete, and how far away the stack is:



I decided not to wire 20A to the bar area. Too many bells and whistles! I keep wanting to make this area have every little thing, and I'm losing track of the big picture! Blank canvas first! Then if I want more later I'll put it in. Back to the flooring issue. I kinda started thinking last night about leveler. I don't really need the floor to be level, just flat. Since my floor may slope, leveler may not be the best choice as it may just flow downhill and not fill the irregularities. Maybe patching compound? Or some kind of thinset? I don't want it to break up under the subfloor though. I will be starting my survey tonight. Did I mention that I have yet to move all my stuff out of the room? Seems someone warned me about that.....
 

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Yes,


It is very easy to lose focus and start wandering all over the place with the build. My wife would think I was crazy, but I would go down into the basement and just sit or stand and look around. I would try to find things I missed or visualize my build. I would also do this when I was moving from one stage to another. Very helpful to stay focused and to find things you missed initially. If you feel comfortable going with the drain in the concrete I say go for it. My stack is above the basement slab so I only have the one option.


Ah yes indeed some one did warn you about a cluttered build space.........Hmmmmmmm.....


Regards,


RTROSE
 
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