Basement vs. second floor for HT room?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Danny M, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. Danny M

    Danny M Auditioning

    Dec 8, 1999
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    My wife and I are in the early planning stages of building a new home. Of course, I want the result to include a theater room!! The home will be semi-custom to custom, so I should be able to have a high degree of control over the room within reason. Of course, the rest of the house still has to meet our living requirements (says my wife) [​IMG]

    I've been reading for awhile and am making a list of considerations to research (room dimensions, wiring, insulation, etc.). I'd like the room to be able to accomodate seating in some form for 6-8, a 100" screen, and possibly have a projection booth/equpment closet in the rear. There is one basic consideration that will help in narrowing down the potential set of house plans: the floor that the theater will be on.

    From what I've read, it sounds like the basement is the preferred location by most. However, it appears that even an unfinished basement will add a significant amount of cost to the home. Since we want the master bedroom on the first floor, it seems that the second floor is the only other option for the theater.

    How much better is the basement over a second floor room, what are the major tradeoffs?
    • How much of a disadvantage sloped ceilings in a bonus room?
    • How big a deal is sound isolation and proximity to the bedrooms for a second floor theater?

    Any input is appreciated, thanks in advance! I'll probably be asking many more questions in the next 6 to 8 months [​IMG]

  2. PhilBoy

    PhilBoy Second Unit

    Sep 30, 2003
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    I like having mine on the second floor...

    There is no furnace or plumbing to compete with and the ceilings are a full 8 feet.

    I'm not knocking the basement for HT, but the builder in our area includes what they call a media room on the second floor. It's kinda nice.

    The big problem with having a HT on the second floor is that unless you have 5000 sq. ft. to play with, everybody needs to agree on what is on the screen or playing on the jukebox...
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Jan 16, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    I have had theatres in the basement, the main floor as well as the second floor. My current dedicated room is on a split level halfway between the main floor and the second floor. One of the hardest things to deal with in "upstairs rooms" is controlling the ambient light. If you can achieve this, then you are in business. The basement's biggest advantage is the ability to control ambient light and in most cases, they can be made pitch black if needed. One of the disadvantages with most basements is the concrete floor which prevents some of the impact from travelling to the upper levels but also reduces the bass impact felt by the viewer. A wooden sub floor would help with this. As you already mentioned, the cost factor increases as most home have completely unfinished basements.

    Sloped ceilings can make it more difficult but by no means impossible to hang a projector from if you want to go that route.
    As far as ceilings go, that plus controlling the ambient light presented two major challanges for me in this current room. The ceiling is 12-13ft high which may seem nice but try hanging a projector from a 13' ceiling [​IMG] I had to use as long of an extension pole as I dared to use, plus I had to hang the screen higher than average and use a little keystone correction as well.

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