My HT....NOT to happen?!?!?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Ramon O. Valera, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Guys,

    I was overlooking the dimensions of the basement that I plan to convert to a HT/Family Room. The wall distance isn't a problem. It's the height. The bottom of the exposed joists to the basement floor is about 7 feet. Aren't there code restrictions that say you have to have at least ceilings over 7 feet in order to have a room in the basement? Please tell me I'm wrong!

    Thanks,
    Ramon
     
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  3. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    This is from my local building code. You really need to know what your own code is though.

    R305.1 Minimum height.
    Habitable rooms, hallways, corridors, bathrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and basements shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm). The required height shall be measured from the finish floor to the lowest projection from the ceiling.

    Exceptions:

    1. Beams and girders spaced not less than 4 feet (1219 mm) on center may project not more than 6 inches (152 mm) below the required ceiling height.

    2. Ceilings in basements without habitable spaces may project to within 6 feet, 8 inches (2032 mm) of the finish floor; and beams, girders, ducts or other obstructions may project to within 6 feet, 4 inches (1931 mm) of the finished floor.

    3. Not more than 50 percent of the required floor area of a room or space is permitted to have a sloped ceiling less than 7 feet (2134 mm) in height with no portion of the required floor area less than 5 feet (1524 mm) in height.
     
  4. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Ramon,

    Don't give here in Massachusettes I am pretty sure that a basement is not considered living area.For example if I finish off my basement and go to sell it, I can't sell my house as a 9 room house I have to sell it as an 8 room house with a finished basement.

    Like Dave said check your local codes.

    Let us know what happens I'd for one would be intrested to see what they say.

    Signed
    Ed
     
  5. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    The minimum height in my area is 6'8"
     
  6. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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  7. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer
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    Just curious why it this an issue? Even if building code requires a 7 foot ceiling and you have a 6 foot basement would you let that keep you from using it a theater?
     
  8. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Mike,

    As I stated I am not sure about the code thing.

    I was told anything below ground level is consider a basement. Even if it has a finished room down there with heat, it is not considered living space. If it has a walk out basement then it could be considered living space. If I remember correctly it had to do with a fire escape exit(door)
    Besides if we went by the code that you refer to half the people in my state would have to stop using their basements.

    Just my 2 cents
    Ed
     
  9. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Carl,

     
  10. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Ed,

     
  11. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    So I don't HAVE to get a permit for my work?
     
  12. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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  13. JustinS

    JustinS Agent

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    OK, this also concerns me as I am finishing my basement. An overwhelming majority of the basement has a distance from floor to joists of over 7 feet. However, there are two ducts and the center support beam that run right down the middle of the basement that are less than 7 feet. I'd say the total width of the two ducts and the central beam (cross joist, whatever) constitute less than 15% of the total ceiling space in the entire basement.

    Assuming the codes already posted in this thread and assuming that I want to have the work inspected, do you think this would be a problem?
     
  14. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I get the house on the 1st of Dec. I will go in there and take Precise measurements and then go to the code enforcement office and find out. More to come later.
     
  15. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    Ramon,

    Good Luck !

    Signed
    ED
     
  16. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks for all the help guys!

    -Ramon
     
  17. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    ok here's the deal...the bottom of the joists are at 7'. My father in law who is going to help me with this told me to do what a lot of people that he knows are doing. He said to rent a airless sprayer and spray all the joists and pipe work flat black. he said that everything will blend in and that I won't even notice the fact that there is no ceiling. At first I was like "What the fell are you smoking?" but then it kinda made sense. What do you guys think?

    Thanks again!
    Ramon
     
  18. Ed O'Neill

    Ed O'Neill Second Unit

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    You should still check your building codes.

    If you can build in the basement..... I would leave the beams exposed seeing as they meet the code requirement that most of the other people mentioned was 7 feet from floor to lowest ceiling point.

    Signed
    ED
     
  19. Robt_Moore

    Robt_Moore Stunt Coordinator

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    After working in a building materials store in New Jersey, I found out code interpretation can and will vary from municipality to municipality. For example, one township requires that all switchplate cover SCREWS be made from nylon or some other non-conducting material. When ever a customer would ask us for advise, we had no idea what to tell them except:

    Call the inspector's office and ask what they want.

    Also, keep in mind that if you decide to do work on your house without permits and inspections, your insurance company may refuse to pay ANY claims on your homeowners insurance, if the building codes department finds out about the work, they will want to inspect and make you do the work correctly, and possibly fine you, and if and when you go to sell the house, you will probably be made to prove the work is done to code or be made to make it so.

    So, Call the inspector's office and ask what they want. It will be cheaper and easier in the long run.
     
  20. Ramon O. Valera

    Ramon O. Valera Stunt Coordinator

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    Well I finally have the closing for my house tomorrow. First I have to paint a few rooms for the wife and fix a few things here and there...then come the first week of January, the HT will commence!

    Wish me luck!!!
    Ramon
     

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