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The Great Basement Refinishing Project

Last week I mentioned by quest for a new big screen TV as part of my basement refinishing project. It occurred to me that I'd not really discussed the actual basement construction. Here are side by side panoramic pictures (or as close as I could get without actually loading them into a panorama picture producing program), taken from a corner of the main play area. Both are thumbnails to much larger versions.


Starting from the left you can see the storage area, a large closet and the staircase (which had a wall and a door removed to open it up), and not shown beyond the stairs is a short hallway and full bathroom. The piece of drywall on its side in both pictures is the same item.

On the right you can see a wall (with an opening for double doors) which will be the media room, and to the far right (by the door) is the framing for a bedroom which extends farther to the right than is visible.

This weekend I'll be doing the speaker wiring for the media room, having settled on the 7.1 surround sound option for the room. Compared to my pre-wiring of the grand family room (i.e. two stories), this little room should be a piece of cake...

Comments (15)

Leave the red post alone. ... (Below threshold)

Leave the red post alone. I'm thinking it's important.

Blogads have been good to s... (Below threshold)

Blogads have been good to someone it seems.

Not that good. Home equity... (Below threshold)

Not that good. Home equity, on the other hand, has been real good...

Most of the red posts are going into walls. Those two will become encased columns.

I just wish my basement had... (Below threshold)

I just wish my basement had as many lights. Gotta do something about that...

Hope your basement is dry.<... (Below threshold)

Hope your basement is dry.

Man, I'm hoping to move out of a split level just so I can keep my electronics and books above ground.

Of course, I'm only able to afford that sort of house on a flood plain, but still, they assure me the levees are good for five hundred years. They just don't publicize that those years are 1504-2004.

I am in the process of fini... (Below threshold)

I am in the process of finishing my basement and I have done so on a couple of houses. So some bits of advice based on experience.

1) Seal all of the concrete, both the walls and the floor. This will help reduce moisture and mildew in the basement and help keep the temperature consistent.

2) Your ceiling looks good. You will get much better resale value out of the house if you make the basement ceiling identical to the other levels. In other words, avoid a drop ceiling.

3) Make sure you have sufficient HVAC for the basement. You will probably have to add another zone for the basement. Most builders don't make the systems big enough to support another floor. You don't want to find that out after you have finished the basement.

4) Check your local regs and inspection requirements. When you go to resell the house it may come back to haunt you if you didn't get it inspected.

5) Storage adds value.

6) The cost of drywall is going up every day because of Katrina. You probably have already learned this.

7) Consider running conduit for network drops. It gives you some options down the road if you upgrade your LAN cabling. I ran two CAT5 and one Coax line for each drop and built in a wiring closet to terminate it all. I didn't run conduit everywhere but I did in a couple drops such as behind my desk and behind the TV in the media room. That way if I need to change or add cables in the future I can do so easily.

8) In many localities a bedroom is defined as a room with its own closet. I put a closet in my office. That way I can list the house as a 5 bedroom.

Eric:Great info, I... (Below threshold)


Great info, I just archived your tips for future reference.

Have you considered a proje... (Below threshold)
Appraiser Guy:

Have you considered a projector instead of big screen? The type that can be hooked to a computer, TV, etc. input? I have appraised several homes that included these in their setup. Usually, a better picture that is larger and can be seen by anyone, anywhere in the room. Ceiling mounted they're less intrusive and the screen can be retracted. Just a thought. Seems to be catching on in my relatively technologically backward area of SW Missouri.

Looks nice.The 60 to... (Below threshold)

Looks nice.
The 60 to 65 inch TV will be the right size.

Projector TV will be too large to view comfortably.

Eric's post is great; the only thing I can add is:
When you build the "component closet" to store your electronic equip, make sure you have an open space between the wall & the electronics. You have a great advantage here because you get to build the wall behind this area. I would place a cooling fan in the wall, one with a thermostat ($200), to keep your electronics cool & dry. The combo of heat & humidity will ruin your new expensive stuff.

Lots of cable, lay lots of wiring, even if you're not planning to use it now.

Taz, I disagree about the p... (Below threshold)

Taz, I disagree about the projector being "too large". If you mount an Infocus 4805 12' away from the wall, your minimum picture size will be 38" x 68", for a 78" diagonal. Considering what a 4805 costs compared to plasma and LCD screens, you can go through a lot of 4000 hour bulbs @ $350 per and still be money ahead.

$100 for a nice painted wall or piece of MDF.

That's going to be a beautiful light-controlled environment.

That's what I'd do. Wait, that's what I AM doing.

All of us men choose TV's t... (Below threshold)

All of us men choose TV's that are too large for comfortable viewing.
Patrick's projector may be good, I was afraid of reading about a 103 inch image on a 96 inch viewing space!

Kevin, can you give us the diminsions of the room, with the expected distance from the screen to the primary viewing seat.
Also, ceiling height may be limiting for a front projector.

There are nomograms for the optimal size screen based on this info.

Have to go to work, I'll check back this evening & hopefully get you a link to those nomograms.

Optimal viewing distance is... (Below threshold)

Optimal viewing distance is said to be 1.5-2 x the width of the screen (9-12 feet away from a 6' wide screen).

Yes, ceiling height can be a limiting factor to mounting a PJ. I assumed from those pictures that it was 9' ceiling (based on the door framing to joist height), but even 8' would do. My 4805 mount drops it down less than 9".

Kevin, I would add a couple... (Below threshold)

Kevin, I would add a couple egress windows to that project. I don’t know about the building codes where you are, but in most places, if you have a bedroom in the basement, they are required. The windows have to be large enough to let a person up to 6'5" out without getting stuck.

Other that, your framing and other construction details looks to be fine.

Stan25, you can't see them ... (Below threshold)

Stan25, you can't see them but there are two small windows to the right, and the door to the stairwell serves as an egress for the room as it's directly connected to the bedroom. At least that's what the contractor told me. My guess it that the county inspector will have final say on that. I'll get room measurements Sunday.

KevinHere's link f... (Below threshold)


Here's link for screen size & seating distance

www.myhometheater.homestead.com/ viewingdistancecalculator.html

Also, electronic house mag has a complete review of speakers this month.

Good luck.






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