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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been reading these forums most of the day and I still don't know where to start. I have a very small budget of 3k to 4k to work with. The dimensions of my room are approximately 17' 6" x 24' x 92" (concrete to floor joists). Where do I begin? Is 3 or 4k even enough to build a decent theater?
 

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Sorry to tell you but a day of reading is only the tip of the iceberg.

Start with a drawing / pictures, helps people in the forums to see space

Establish a desired end game, what would you like to have.

Keep in mind that a theater is never truly done as technology changes

Evaluate your existing equipment, can you reuse and replace in future phases


3-4K is going to be very tight depending on how finished the space is and what equipment you need/want
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will post a picture and rough sketch of the room soon. I don't have any equipment yet. I need to frame the room first. I just dont have a creative side to design the room. I guess that is where i need help first. I do want to have a big screen and projector.
 

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I would suggest you start with a big screen or a projector. Having both would eat up too much of your budget. You can get a good projector and screen for about 1.5k or so which would leave you a decent budget for audio
 

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If you mean to say you have a naked basement right now (and need to put flooring, drywall, etc in) things are going to be tight. But you can get a highly regarded 1070 for ~$800; a more than adequate receiver for $300; a DIY Screen for
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·



Here is a pic of my room. Not clean yet, but will be soon. Dimensions were posted earlier. Should I Leave The Insulation That Is Attached To The Foundation and Frame over it or take it off?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by g_bartman  /t/1521825/where-to-start#post_24466076


I would suggest you start with a big screen or a projector. Having both would eat up too much of your budget. You can get a good projector and screen for about 1.5k or so which would leave you a decent budget for audio
I meant I want a projector and a big DIY screen. Not a big screen tv.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Should I leave the insulation that the builder attached to the foundation and Frame over it or take it off?
 

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If there aren't any hidden moisture problems behind the existing insulation, I'd leave it be. You may need to peel off the vapor barrier to run some wires, but that is easily stapled back in place.

save your money for more insulation for that ceiling, if it isn't filled already. Even if you don't' do the whole double drywall, green glue , isolation clip thing, you'll hate yourself if you don't at least stuff that ceiling with some pink fluffy to help muffle footsteps and sound transfer to the upstairs.

Backer boxes for recessed lighting help isolate sound transfer a lot. Search some of the build threads in the Dedicated Theater forum for details if interested.

Layout EVERYTHING on paper before buying toy 1.........seating, speakers, sub, rack/cabinet for source gear, processing and amplification, projector mounting point, power outlets, lighting, lighting control.

Install backing between floor joists for projector mounting. If you can afford or scavenge it, run a piece of 1.25" minimum diameter flexible conduit (with no more than three bends in it and a pre-installed pull string) from your rack location to the projector location for future/replacement cabling. (if you are worried about long term serviceability)
 

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more drawings would help too. doesn't need to be anything fancy (cellphone photo of a hand drawn sketch on napkin works, if it is labelled legibly)

Where are the stairs....other doorways.....that problematic patio door and any other windows? What else besides the theater would like to have in the space? Is this going to be a short term investment or a long term one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by weaselfest  /t/1521825/where-to-start#post_24495720


If there aren't any hidden moisture problems behind the existing insulation, I'd leave it be. You may need to peel off the vapor barrier to run some wires, but that is easily stapled back in place.

save your money for more insulation for that ceiling, if it isn't filled already. Even if you don't' do the whole double drywall, green glue , isolation clip thing, you'll hate yourself if you don't at least stuff that ceiling with some pink fluffy to help muffle footsteps and sound transfer to the upstairs.

Backer boxes for recessed lighting help isolate sound transfer a lot. Search some of the build threads in the Dedicated Theater forum for details if interested.

Layout EVERYTHING on paper before buying toy 1.........seating, speakers, sub, rack/cabinet for source gear, processing and amplification, projector mounting point, power outlets, lighting, lighting control.

Install backing between floor joists for projector mounting. If you can afford or scavenge it, run a piece of 1.25" minimum diameter flexible conduit (with no more than three bends in it and a pre-installed pull string) from your rack location to the projector location for future/replacement cabling. (if you are worried about long term serviceability)
weaselfest, thanks for posting. Ceiling isn't filled yet.  I was planning to fill the ceiling with a couple layers of R30.  Is that overkill?  I will definitely look into the backer boxes because I plan on putting in several recessed can lights. 

I am terrible at drawing, but will try to lay out my ideas for the room and post it soon.  
 

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Don't compress your fiberglass insulation. If R30 is about 9" thick, you'd have to have an 18" tall floor joist, which seems very large for residential construction. If you need additional depth, install a layer of unfaced R11 first or find some R40.
 

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The good news is you have a very nice room to start with! Nice size and demensions to work with so lot's of options from what I can tell. The bad news is 4-5k is a pretty small budget when your going from a bare build meaning starting from the framing! If your only doing the one room and not the full basement then yes you will spend less in materials but you will be suprised how fast the money adds up. Then when it comes to equipment that also adds up quickly. I'm not trying to discurage you though! Start with a plan. The best thing I did was to read, read, and read these forums. Look at as many build threads as you can and get ideas from what others here have done and how they did it. Some things may work for your budget and build and others may not but it's nice to see first hand how there going about things and you can get good advice where to buy things and how much things cost. I've been working on my basement for 3 years now. Most of the time has come to my budget as well. I do things as I have the funds. Granted I'm doing my entire basement so if your just trying to do one room then you could be in good shape. But if it was me and I wanted a nice theater I would do it in phases and as my budget allows. If you spend all of your 5k on building the room then save up for a while and get your equipment.


Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your build and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·



Here is the plan of my basement. The "future family room" is where my theater will be. Screen wall will be to the left side of the room. I will post a hand drawn plan of what I have in mind as soon as I can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by gec5741  /t/1521825/where-to-start#post_24498523


The good news is you have a very nice room to start with! Nice size and demensions to work with so lot's of options from what I can tell. The bad news is 4-5k is a pretty small budget when your going from a bare build meaning starting from the framing! If your only doing the one room and not the full basement then yes you will spend less in materials but you will be suprised how fast the money adds up. Then when it comes to equipment that also adds up quickly. I'm not trying to discurage you though! Start with a plan. The best thing I did was to read, read, and read these forums. Look at as many build threads as you can and get ideas from what others here have done and how they did it. Some things may work for your budget and build and others may not but it's nice to see first hand how there going about things and you can get good advice where to buy things and how much things cost. I've been working on my basement for 3 years now. Most of the time has come to my budget as well. I do things as I have the funds. Granted I'm doing my entire basement so if your just trying to do one room then you could be in good shape. But if it was me and I wanted a nice theater I would do it in phases and as my budget allows. If you spend all of your 5k on building the room then save up for a while and get your equipment.


Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your build and have fun!

Thanks, gec5741. I'm excited. I'm sure it will take some time to complete due to the small amount of funds. I think that I can get the room finished, but the projector and speakers will have to wait for a while. I definitely plan on reading more. I have already learned a lot.
 

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I'm new to this, but am also in the process of building a media room in an unfinished basement. My basement will have two rooms and about 1000 sq ft of finished space. I can tell you that 3-4k is not enough of a budget if you are starting from "zero."


It is easy enough to figure out your estimated cost in advance. As others have noted, plan out the space on paper. Mark how many 2x4s you will need. How much insulation, how much sheetrock, etc. Figure in nails and screws. Then go to the Home Depot or Lowes website and create a shopping list. You can add all the items you need and see what it will cost. Then you have to add in paint and trim.


Don't forget electrical - romex (of whatever your local code requires), wire staples, gang boxes, lighting, switches, outlets, etc. It adds up quick. Remember speaker wire and hdmi cable with boxes to connect.


Edtied to add: remember heating/cooling. You will need to extend your home's system into this space. You might be able to do this yourself, or it may need a plumber. I remember installing baseboard in my previous home - very simple to do. You can do it all then hire a plumber to make the final connection to the furnace.


Consider tools you may need that you don't already have.


Once built, you need to think about filling the space. TV or projection system. Speakers, AVR, blu-ray player etc. After the construction, I don't think much will be left of you $4k for this. While I am sure it can be done for less, equipment cost for a full system would probably run 3-4k (someone mentioned a projector and screen being about 1.5k. An AVR brings that to $2k, then you have to get 6 speakers and a sub, plus a blu-ray player. And these are not "high end" item costs).


Finally, you need seating. "Theater" seating could easily eat up your entire budget. Even a good quality couch and loveseat can be a few thousand.


It can all be done for less, but you really need to plan it all out and figure the costs in advance. I think you need to increase your budget. From my recent experience, your construction costs are going to eat up most, if not all, of that 3-4k. On the plus side, nothing stopping you from building slowly while you save up more money for electronics and furnishings.


FWIW, some things to note:


If building wall with wood studs, make sure to use only pressure treated wood for your bottom plate. Do not use non-PT wood where there will be contact with the concrete foundation.


Your total space is only 8' high, so you want to avoid anything which decreases that. However, I have become a BIG fan of using a sub-floor system. My last two homes had finished basements with carpet installed over the foundation (appropriate padding was used). It always felt to me like you were walking on carpet installed over concrete.


My current basement (which I have just started to finish) has a "Tyroc" subfloor installed. (It is similar to Dri-Core.) Very easy and quick to install yourself. Only adds 1/2 in to the floor, but provides several benefits (including keeping the floor warmer). Most important to me is that you feel like you are walking on a regular floor rather than concrete. Adding this will not help your budget crunch, but it still worth consideration. (FWIW - I have no connection or interest in the product. I stumbled across it when looking for options to avoid another concrete floor scenario.
 

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I've obviously been a seldom lurker here, but I've been on here every day for the last 3 months since I am planning my space. I am barely a novice compared to a lot of people here, but I need to give you a word that is important to never forget for the man on a tight budget: Monoprice.


Get your cables, chords, brackets, etc. from here unless you hate money. They have a HT section now where you can get a lot of you HT gear (even speakers) at a crazy low price. The speakers aren't reference grade, but word has it they are really damn good for the price. They also have projector screens at really great prices. Again, not reference grade, but good bang for the buck.


The Benq 1070 gets a ton of love for the PQR. It's a very capable sub $1000 projector.
 

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I just completed my basement went from scratch to installed projection. It's about 13' x 25'. I had the same insulation on the walls as you and just left that in place and framed over it. I tried to do it on as tight of a budget as I could. Here is what I ended up with:


Laminate Flooring

White Suspended Ceiling w/ cans for lighting

Painted finished drywall on the walls


Equipment

Optoma HD131xe

ES 120" Screen

Yamaha v673 Receiver

Dayton sub-1200

Monoprice for speakers and wiring

2 swivel Recliners for seating


Just wanted to give the list so you knew had an idea of what the budget got me. That all cost me about 8k. I did all of the labor and got all materials at either Lowes or Home Depot, whoever was cheaper that week. I shopped for about 3 months on the screen, projector and receiver until I found the best price I could. Hope this helps put it a bit into perspective.
 

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Great advice from everyone so far. I'll toss in some additional sources for cheap stuff:


#1 Craigslist. Building materials are readily available here and can save you a ton of money. Usually leftovers from jobs, but you could piece together most of the building materials depending on how active your community is on there.


Also, keep an eye out for good AVR equipment there. Many of us have tons of extra speakers receivers sub woofers etc. A lot go on craigslist, and you can get some really awesome stuff from late 90s and 00s for next to nothing. I'd keep an eye on slick deals for a new AVR for $200 to 300, depends how much power your speakers need.


I second Monoprice for accessories, wires, wall plates.


Also, try Audiogon for used equipment, can be a little upmarket but some great stuff there.


If it were me, I'd start with 2.1 system of better stuff, and add on as funds become available.


Good luck


Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
 
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