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need MAJOR help on complex HT room design

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by machmaniman, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. machmaniman

    machmaniman Member

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    Hey folks, I haven't posted here in so long I had to re-register! Anyway, I've done my searching and haven't been able to come up with solid answers to the following questions.

    First off, here's the scenerio: I have an unfinished basement space that I've (tried) to attach a picture of:

    insert (h)ache (t)tee (t)tee (p)pee ([​IMG]colon (/)backslash (/)backslash then
    people.uleth.ca/~courtney.atkinson/images/pictures/Basement_apartment_prep_for_HT.jpg

    The room is 28' long, 18' wide on the end that has the door that goes to the upstairs, and 14' wide by the end that has the furnace room on it. The ceilings are all 9'10" high.

    The room will be oriented as pictured with the components stacked to the left of the kitchen area as pictured.

    This space is about to be converted to an apartment, then in a few years I want to convert it into a multi-use, mainly home theatre, but also have space for fooseball and a card table. Once that conversion is done, this will be the basic layout of the basement that I'm left with.

    What I want to do is complete the necessary wiring to accomodate my goals for when I reclaim this space.

    This space is totally unfinished at this point with the exception of insulation in the walls and vapour barrier, both which I anticipate tearing out to complete this project. It has a concrete floor with radiant in-floor heating installed (no heat exchanger or pumps yet). It also has a bit of ducting but will only be required for A/C, if at all. In fact I'm considering blocking them for the use of the apartment.

    My goals are thus:
    1. spend as little money as possible to achieve the highest possible result (entire renovation, including appliances, flooring, trim, paint, wiring for all power and all AV, and plumbing, EXCLUDING ALL HOME THEATRE COMPONENTS SINCE THIS WILL BE AN APARTMENT IN THE SHORT RUN)
    2. keep as much of the outdoor wind noise out of this space as possible. We often have significant wind where I live and one of my biggest goals is not to prevent noise from going outside, but to prevent noise from coming inside.
    3. isolate as much of the noise from the HT area from the main floor of the house as possible. This is more for the time that the basement will be used as an apartment so we all have our privacy. Our bedrooms are on the second floor, two floors away from this space, so this isn't a huge issue for sleeping kids or anything, just for occupant noise.
    4. leave enough room for relatively easy use of the back door

    The basic design of the basement is obviously a walkout with a 50% slope. This means that at the front of the foundation, it's entirely burried in dirt, but at the back it's entirely open with the foundation's concrete roughly following this slope by several steps.

    What this means is that I have a stepped pony wall down each side of the foundation. Currently, there is 2X6 insulated and vapour barriered construction on top of that concrete, but there is still space for another set of 2X4s.

    My thoughts are to flush up the walls so that the walls are straight up and down with no steps. This will act kind of like a double studded wall sitting on top of the concrete step giving me more thickness and more quiet.

    Then I'm thinking of using double 5/8" drywall with a layer of Green Glue in between them, on ALL walls, even the bedroom walls, and the walls going upstairs behind the cabinets in the kitchen, and in the bathroom, and furnace room.

    I priced out QuietRock, and although it seems like quite an awesome product, I don't know that it's that much better than Green Glue, and the Green Glue is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper.

    One of the questions I have is about how to silence the ceiling. There's a couple companies in town that spray urethane foam. I am not able to find much on it's ability to dull noise but I do know it's an incredible insulator. I'm thinking about having it sprayed in my floor joists then double hanging 5/8" drywall with Green Glue there as well.

    The other thing I'm confused about is that my windows and doors appear to have only enough overhang for one 5/8" sheet of drywall so I'm not sure how to address that.

    I'm also wondering about a sub-floor. I'm not sure if I need one, or if it would waste some of the energy from my radiant in-floor heating. I hear it's better for bass response, but I don't know why. Do I need one or can I just carpet right over the concrete with a good underlay?

    The other thing I'm wondering about, but certainly not as pressing as the other stuff, is how to orient the room to accomodate my needs. I just can't settle on which end to put my screen in, if I should build a seating platform for a second row, if I have enough room for a second row or if I should just go with bar stools and narrow depth bar type table behind the first row. Don't worry about light when you're making recommendations here. I'm buying black-out blinds to cover that. Hopefully they'll also deaden any unwanted sound reflection from the glass as well.

    I've read and compiled all the stuff from the "I wish I'd done this" thread, so I'm not so concerned about what's in there. My main questions about this thread are how to isolate noise as best as possible, on a somewhat limited budget, for the needs of both an apartment, and a multi-use HT Room.

    My budget for this stage, EXcluding components, but INcluding everything else from speaker wire, to video cabling, to CAT6, to the multiple circuits, to dimmers, sconces, pot-lights, trim, flooring, plumbing, painting, and finish carpentry is $30,000.

    Do you think it can be done? Do you think my goals of quiet will be accomplished? What else can I do to ensure I have a viable home theatre / family room that can be used as an apartment in the meantime?

    Thanks in advance for addressing these questions from an almost first time poster!
     
  2. G_Courtney_A_A

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  3. drobbins

    drobbins Well-Known Member

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    This is the way I would approach it. The main differences in-between a “normal” room and a theater is the lighting and pre-wiring for the equipment. In your case here, sound proofing also. Being as the end result will be the theater, lay out where you want everything. Are you going the projector route or big screen TV?

    The back wall by the furnace would be good location for the screen/TV if you were not doing theater seating with a back row on a riser. This way the foosball and card tables could be next to the kitchen. You would also have good access to the exterior doors. There would be less light getting on the screen. Even then a riser could be added later between the exterior doors and the bedroom door.

    Once you decided where the screen or TV is located, that will tell you where you need to run your video wires. Plan where you want your equipment and that is where all the wires will come from. The screen/TV location will also pretty much dictate where your speakers will go for their wires. For now you can end the wires in a box and just put a plate over them. Don’t forget the sub wire also.

    I would have 3 light circuits. 1st - If you are planning too plan foosball or cards with a projector, put in dedicated can lighting over the area that these tables will be. I would get the “eyeball” type so you can direct the lighting. 2nd – Wall sconces. These would be brighter for lighting when the room is not being used as a theater. 3rd – more “eyeball” can lights to highlight any movie posters that you may add in the future. I would have them all on remote dimmers that could be installed now or later.

    As far as soundproofing to the rest of the house goes, there is a lot to that and the bass is the hardest to contain. Your budget will probably dictate how in depth you will go. The sound getting in or out side will depend a lot on the quality of your doors and windows. Is the exterior brick or siding?

    If you want to use the radiant heat, I would not put down a sub floor. In summary, plan it for the theater but just don’t add the equipment. Chances are while it is an apartment, you might end up using some of the wiring anyway. Just my 2 cents.
     
  4. machmaniman

    machmaniman Member

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    ...and a valuable $.02 it is! Thanks drobbins!

    You make a good point about the orientation of the room. Folks tend to be more stationary when watching movies or TV. Thus, the location of the theater makes most sense NOT beside the kitchen area. Also, if folks are playing fooseball or darts, they'll want more ready access to food and drink. You well noted the other reasons why this makes sense as well.

    In terms of running speaker wire, simply knowing which end the screen is going in makes that decision much simpler, so thanks for that. I'm planning on wiring for 7.2 (unless there's a reason I should run more). Given that my room is ~14' X 28', is there an issue with putting my two rear speakers on the back wall, 28' from the fronts? My logic is that this would make a nice area for a dance floor should I decide to move the fooseball table. It'd be nice to have two speakers right there for that purpose.

    The exterior of the entire house is siding. Since this is a walk-out basement, each of side walls are stepped concrete with 2X6 studs on top. Those walls are mostly wood the closer you get to the walk-out / bump-out and mostly concrete on the back portion where the stairs are. Those are currently pony walls with a ledge, but I intend on framing them up so they're flush. Perhaps I should also be incorporating some other sound isolation strategies when I do this. Thoughts?

    There is no question this basement has a lot of windows. Now that I'm in it, I think it has too many. I was just really concerned about light when I was building it. I didn't want it to be dark or dingey. As a result, I do get a lot of wind noise through the windows. Not much can be done about that, but I am considering a wind break in the back yard to help with that...
     
  5. machmaniman

    machmaniman Member

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    ...actually, been thinking of removing two of the three windows...
     
  6. machmaniman

    machmaniman Member

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    ...and moving the ductwork so I can have normal bathroom height.








    [​IMG] sorry, trying now to keep my stuff in one thread....
     
  7. chuckg

    chuckg Well-Known Member

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    Nice plan! I agree with the screen at the left of your drawing - this will cut down on traffic in front of the picture!

    My HT has a 16' wide sliding door out onto the pool deck along one wall. I cured the light problem with thick, lined curtains. I can make it pitch dark in a Florida daytime. The curtains look nicely theatrical, to boot, and I may put curtains on the opposite wall for aesthetics. Someday.

    I also agree: no subfloor. It will kill your in-slab radiant heat. Just get a bigger sub if there ain't enough bass!

    Re wind noise: tough problem. Your idea to put in a wind break is probably the best solution. Shrubs? Lattice fence? Deck over the top? I would guess that living greenery would do the best job, maybe not so much in winter, though.

    I would hold off on the second layer of drywall until after the apartment usage is done. You can slap on a new layer, and have a perfect clean surface for whatever finish you want for the HT. Saves a few bucks in the right-now, too. And, if you find you need to change wiring, you can hack away at the old surface knowing it will soon be hidden. Adding jack walls in front of the 2x6 on the foundation is good - better insulation, less noise, nice straight walls, blah blah blah.

    One personal picky point. I truly hate it when I'm trying to relax and watch a nice movie and I have to see a toidy out of the corner of my eye. If you made the bathroom door swing from the other side, you'd hide the pot at the expense of a slightly awkward entry. Just a thought.

    Let us know how it is going! carry on...
     
  8. chuckg

    chuckg Well-Known Member

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    OMT - (one more thing)
    You will want some serious sound deadening between the furnace room and the HT. The rumble of that air handler might be obnoxious!
     

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