Basement design

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by CurtJ, Mar 6, 2006.

  1. CurtJ

    CurtJ Stunt Coordinator

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    We are building a house and trying to come up with ideas for our basement. Is there a good source for basement layout and designs? Do most people just use the builders architect for ideas?
    Thanks
     
  2. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    I would put it under the first floor, but that is just me[​IMG]
     
  3. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    I second that Mark

    My neighbor tried to put his basement on the second floor and it was a disaster!!! But it was fun to watch![​IMG]


    Curt it depends on what you are going to do with your basement. If you are going to leave it unfinished and then as time and money allow finish it off you would head in a different direction than if you had it finished off right away.

    IMO I would ask your builder or if you have the opportunity "audition" some spaces that he has himself or has contracted out to finish and see if what he does meets your standards.

    You are only limited by your imagination and wallet.

    I moved into a home with a full basement and the previous owner did not finish it off. I am really looking forward to a Home Theater DIY project that I plan on starting in the next couple of months. I have 7 foot 9 inch ceilings and my only complaint would be to have ceilings about a foot higher. If you can fit it into your budget I would go for 9 foot ceilings and doing this you can get away from that "basement feeling"

    just my .02

    Rick
     
  4. JeffCar

    JeffCar Agent

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    Curt,

    In addition to putting it under the first floor :b and assuming that you want a home theater area down there, I would look at a couple of factors:

    1. Ceiling height.... make sure that the basement is poured or blocked high enough to get a ceiling that you don't have to duck under when it is finished off.
    2. Assuming you want sound control, make sure that the ceiling area can be sheetrocked without burying your entire HVAC or plumbing installation.
    3. If you can plan it away from other elements of the house, such as bedrooms and such, which causes a relatively low wife acceptance factor (WAF) that is better
    4. Make sure that you plan for a dedicated circuit or two for the area, so that you are able to separate lighting (probably want them on dimmers and such) and your components

    The list goes on..... Try the sticky post in this section about what hings people would do dfferently next time, and do them the FIRST time. Good luck!

    Jeff
     
  5. Don.l

    Don.l Stunt Coordinator

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    I can say that most of the basements I've seen (including mine) put all of the utilities (furnace, water heater, water softener) in the middle of the basement. I don'tlike this, but it may be some sort of code thingy or something. If you are able, I would ask to have everything installed at one of the basement, and not in the middle. Also, if you are going to have a sump, think about what end of the basement you want that on. While sump pumps aren't that loud (mine is pretty quiet), you would like to not have it near a HT. Also, think about window placement and how it relates to framing the basement. Where would you like windows to be located in the partitioned rooms? Do you want windows in the HT (assuming you are thinking about a HT)?

    Don
     
  6. RickRO

    RickRO Stunt Coordinator

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    Don

    I think that the reason that all (most)everything is located in the middle is actually two fold. One it typically makes runs for everything as short as it possibly can be (ie. cheaper to plumb, run electrical etc.) and two more convenient for the contractor.

    Most of the homes in my addition have the utilities in the center part of the basement right where the stairs come down. Not the first place I would have picked but I'm stuck with it and I can't afford to have everything moved.



    Good point. My sumps yes plural are just next to the furnace and water heater and they run a lot. The previous owner did not insulate the PVC outlet and every time they pumped out they vibrated and squeaked drove me nuts. Went to Lowes and purchased some pipe insulation (89 cents I think) and problem solved.

    Guess that is a long way of saying plan on where your sump is and make sure that they are quiet.

    Rick
     
  7. MarcusDiddle

    MarcusDiddle Stunt Coordinator

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    Curt, when I started my basement, I actually downloaded a 3D design program and spent a good bit of time using the program to lay my basement out to spec. It was a great help, and the end result was spot-on to what I had designed. Might wanna look into something like that.

    Here are the renders from my design. We ended up flipping the HT area with the pool/bar area, but walls remained the same.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. BruceSpielbauer

    BruceSpielbauer Second Unit

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    The advice you have already received is terrific.

    I would emphasize one of the first items that was mentioned even more, though, and that is ceiling height. In otherw words, many have found it very worthwhile to pay a bit extra to dig that basement a bit deeper -- 9 feet, or even 10 feet -- if a home theater is at all in the future plans.

    Reasoning -- many of the mid-size and larger ones have two or even three rows of seating. This usually requires that the back row(s) be placed on a riser, so those people can see the entire viewing area. Try placing a 12 inch riser in a room which started out at 7 feet 10 inches to the bottoms of the overhanging joists, and you will see what I mean. Then, subtract perhaps two inches for the underfloor and the flooring, and perhaps 2 inches at the ceiling for drywall (which is often done in two layers of 5/8 inch, hanging off of clips or furring channels), and you may be talking an overall room height of less than 6 1/2 feet, for those who have to sit in a second row. Add a projector hanging over their heads, and this becomes worse...

    So many people who build these decide to try to isolate the sound, so they are not disturbing kids sleeping, and others in the house. That ends up taking up extra inches, due to the techniques involved (use of double drywall, use of special isolation clips which lower ceilings, use of rubber U-pads or Acoustik Mat, or floating subfoors built out of wood, and OSB, etc.

    In my case, I lost almost seven inches due to the ceiling and floor treatments I needed.

    I would also suggest you try to look carefully at where the mechanicals will be (they can make home theater building nearby a complex thing). I agree the best is all at one one, or perhaps in one corner, and then you can hopefully plan for your home theater to be far away from it. Those mechanicals also usually mean lots of conduit, and HVAC ductwork, and air conditioning lines and water pipes are running BELOW the floor joists, which often means they must be moved, or ceiling must be placed UNDER them. I am waiting on an HVAC quote to re-route some stuff right now, and I also have hired an electrician just to move some existing conduit to a new location.

    And, if you can plan on three or four (or more) free electric circuits to devote to this sort of thing, it also helps. I had to add a subpanel. Many have had to add a brand new panel, and upgrade service...

    I realize none of the things I mentioned were new items, but I think the three that I repeated bear careful consideration. I have read tales of people who paid big bucks to actually dig out and lower the basement foundation, to build the theater they wanted. It cost far more than the cost of digging at the outset, when the house is built.

    -Bruce
     

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