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New Basement HT - need help with suggestions please!

577 Views 13 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  schmidtwi
Hi guys!

I have been following this website for maybe close to a year and am about ready to embark on my own HT setup dream :)!

I will attach a few photos of my current basement to give you guys more of an idea of what I am dealing with. My first question would go "Is this even do-able?" My basement is measuring at about 13 foot wide, 21 foot long and just a little above 7 feet at the lowest part of the room (joist).

My idea is to have a 100 inch (measured diagonal), with two rows of seating. Because of the way my main circuit board is already attached in the house, I will lose about 8 inches of width on that side of the room. I will lose some more width with whattever I do with the other side of the room.

This is getting scary because I currently have 5 floorstanders that I use for my speakers (five Klipsch RF-3II's). I am worried that there just won't be enough room between where people sit and where the speakers are placed for the surround sound. Also, since I have such a low ceiling, it affects where I can place the top portion of the screen. And since I have a floorstanding center, I will likely have to turn it on its side, else it would be blocking a portion of the screen.

But the speaker issue is for later...let me add some pics here.
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This is the first picture, and what you see when you turn at the bottom of the basement steps. There is already some insulation stuff on the top portion of the basement. That circuit board hanging out there is 8 inches in front of the cement wall. The white slice on the right of the photo is really a portion of the really white wall when you turn at the steps.
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This is looking around the corner from the same spot. Yes, I took scrap paper and made an approximate 100 inch screen (call me a dork!). It was so I could get a feel for everything. BTW, I plan on making covers for the windows so that no light issues can ever be in my way!
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This is that 8 inch gap between circuit board and cement wall. I'm not sure what to do here. Do I just make that part come out further than the rest of that wall or do I build my wall to go flush with it. I like the idea of flush...but how in the heck will / should I do that???
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Directly across from that wall is the other problem wall. This wall already has a frame because the basement steps are just on the right. The problem is that the drainage leads to right there, as does that sewer backup pipe. I definitely do not want to build my wall to the right of that stuff...I would definitely want to keep that on the outside of the wall I build.

So, would I move the whole wall to the left, or just do an angle halfway down the wall? I would think for better accoustics, I should have a flat wall, thus having to build another frame against the current frame...
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There ya go.

So here's the breakdown that I really need help on:

1) The questions on the two walls and how to accomodate for those?

2) I really need help on selection for drywall and for insulation. The less I spend the better because I can get my projector that much faster. There is no WIFE or anyone, so I am not worried about sound getting out of the basement. What I AM worried about is how good it will sound. So any good suggestions as far as what to use (2x4 vs 2x6 or whatever), type of drywall (double it up?), fiberglass or not would be appreciated.

3) I planned on drywalling the ceiling, but only once I got the projector and did a ceiling mount.

4) $. I really really would like to do this for $500. Is that even imaginable? I already plan on prewiring etc for sound. I am speaking from a budget of wood, drywall, and insulation.

I really appreciate you looking and any replies I get. I know I have asked a lot for one thread, but these are all equally important thoughts that I have had for the past several months while considering this frightening (and exciting!) project.
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Well I'm not gonna be a lot of help except to say that $500 doesn't go very far at Home Depot. I've got a bit larger room and to give you an idea. I've got 250 in studs, 300 in insulation for the ceiling 200 in heat ducts, 300 in can lights, 200 in wiring and breakers, I figure you will need 150 to 200 for sheet rock, more for mud, plus a lot of other things that add up like nails , screws, lights, heat registers, outlets, trim, doors. I think you need to sit down and try and think of what you will need to finish the room the way you want, make a material list and go shopping, then come up with a realistic budget. I'm not trying to be hard on you, I just don't think 500 goes very far when buying building materials. If I tell the wife I need 2000 to finish a room, she doubles it and thows in another 1000 and comes a lot closer in her estimate then I do.
I'm not sure what part of the country you live in or how they intend to finish the walls in your area. Where I am, they would frame a 2x4 wall a few inches in from your concrete walls, then insulate them and a vapor barrier over that. If you go that route then the electric panel would mount flush in the wall. The wall with the drain I would move the wall so the drain is out of the theater, unless you can come up with a better idea. Another concern is the steel beam down the center, you will have to make sure you have room to mount your projector below the beam and your screen top is below it too. Its hard to tell from the pics but looks like there may be some heat ducts to deal with and maybe a gas line below the joists and a water line too. All these things can be over come, just takes a bit more thinking and a little more work.

Thanks for the reply Phil. Yeah, the $500 budget is very small, but that was actually coming from my father. I'm only 23 and this is my first home. When I was a kid my dad and I did the basement at his house, which was much bigger than mine. I asked him what he thought it would cost to get the walls up and he said $500. And I think with that he was thinking the wood and drywall only.

I guess my main first question is there a particular way (insulation, building, whatever) that building the walls should occur. I'm not worried at all about sound outside of hte room, but want to do well with building good walls for the sound to sound good in the room (but without applying all those sound treatments --for now at least). The way we did my father's house was using 2x4's attached to the concrete walls and then slappin drywall. I just wonder if this is a bad idea for the room that I am trying to create.

Also, another thing I didn't mention on that wall with the drain. Yes, I was planning on moving the wall so the drain is not in the room. But along that wall between the drain and that white sewer pipe I must put a DOOR! That's because between those two is a small little area with my pump, furnance, and a crawl space.
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I'm not sure if this varies by area but here in Wisconsin the 2x4 wall is not attached to the concrete wall. The wall is built a few inches away from the concrete wall to leave an air space between the insulation and wall.

I'm no expert in acoustics, there are some good ones on here that may help later. I don't think the way you construct the wall will make much difference in the way it sounds. The staggered studs and double drywall are more to keep the sound in the room or outside noise from getting into the room. Since your not concerned with sound outside the room I'd build a normal 2x4 wall with one layer of sheetrock. If you want it to sound good you may as well plan for some type of sound treatment once the walls are finished, I don't know of anyway around this.

Lancestorm - I agree with Phil that your $500 budget is unrealistic at best. You likely need to assemble a list of items you need and price things out at your local HD or home center to get a more realistic budget established. My future HT room is nearly the identical size to yours (19.3' x 13.5' x 7.1'), and my preliminary budget for building materials only is roughly $5000 (not including relocating a water heater, pipes, drains, battery backup sump pump and HVAC changes).

As far as your walls, it would help if you posted a diagram to get a better feel for the layout. Do you have a design? If you have a computer, you can buy a cheap 3D Home Architect program that is extremely helpful in creating a design to determine your best alternatives for layout, walls, furniture, lights, etc. It's only $11 at this site .

Also, I do plan to put my 2x4 walls up directly to the concrete, with insulation that touches the walls - I did this in a previous basement, and know it meets code in WI (sorry Phil). :( Doing this eliminates a potential cold air vector behind the dryall that could cause moisture that would damage the insulation behind the drywall. Do some extended searches of construction in this forum for more info on walls.

As far as your extended board, perhaps you could build a column to hide it? As well as the sump pit? The design app would help you tremendously. I have a similar situation with a support post and 2 outside water feeds that extend into the room - which will be hidden by 2 very well placed columns - and a support beam which will be hidden by a soffit. I can upload my initial plans tomorrow if you like so you can get an idea of what the 3D Home Architect can do for you (I'm on my wireless laptop now and don't have the plan handy - I'm a geek also :D

I hope I'm not discouraging you much - I'm excited about my HT also. I'd like nothing better than to be using it right now. But, I plan to have this room for a long time in our new (used) house, and I want to do it right. I'm not just going to slap something together quickly, as I know I'll regret not doing it right the first time. If I were you, I'd slow down and plan things properly - including a good design, realistic budget, and a timeline for completion - you will not regret it!!
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Hi Schmidt,, another wisconsin person..

I'm not sure of the code or which is best to have the wall tight to the concrete or leave a gap, I had a new house built and all the basement walls were framed with a couple inch gap. In Lances case if he doesn't need the gap he can save a few inches, his width will start to get a bit narrow if he has to move that wall. Thats a good idea if he can use some columns to hide the drain and sewer pipe.

You guys are awesome.

I think I'm going to switch walls where the screen is displayed, to the direct opposite wall. I like the idea of making two columns, one to hide the drain, the other to hide the pipe. I can then throw two identical columns across on the other wall to match. Place two rows of ppl right there next to each of the columns!! I will just need to figure out how I am going to put a door in there somewhere, or maybe I should just leave it an open space...hmm..

I am sorry for my unrealistic budget planning. Attack my father for his planning! ;). I didn't know it would be so expensive. I will need to go to HD or Lowe's and try to plan it all out better. One good thing is that a friend of mine is a manager at Lowe's...maybe he'll be able to help me out with some pricing. And also one of my really good friends is an electrician. And since my father and I will be putting the walls up, at least I don't have to have workers come and do all this work! It will only cost me some warm pizza and some drinks.

For some reason I thought that people put the double drywall in order to help the sound. If this is not the case, I will go with the 5/8 version of drywall (one sheet). I will go figure out some better pricing and things. I think I have my first round of questions answered. I appreciate your thoughtfullness in replying.
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Lancestorm - here's an example of my preliminary HT (done with 3D HA design):


And here's the same design with a 3D look:


The middle left column will hide the support post (as well as SL speaker), and the middle right column will hide the outside water feeds (& SR speaker). Ceiling height is 7'1" :( on main floor, and 6'6" over back platform.
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