Basement Poker Room & Home Theater

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#1
I moved into my current home about 14 years ago, and this project has been on the list since the day we moved in. After redoing pretty much every other room in the house and adding a big new deck, it's finally time to get moving on improving the poker portion of the basement. I actually originally joined the forum when Tommy had his basement thread going so I could see his progress pics, that thread was a big help in planning this work (many thanks @Tommy). While this project won't be nearly as large/extensive as his, I figured I'd post the progress, if only to help me keep track of things ;)

The existing space is roughly 22.5'x 16':

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Here's the overall improvement plan:

Layout_R1.jpg


- XPS rigid foam insulation and 2x3 stud wall with fiberglass insulation & sheet rock
- TyRoc subfloor for any minor water during big storms, vapor barrier and insulation. Planning on wall to wall carpet over the TyRoc
- Cedar planks between ceiling joists to hide the wires/plumbing but allow for easy access and future improvements
- AV wiring for home theater (projector & screen) and a couple of console video game setups
- Walk up bar

The existing room functions fine as is with the masonry block walls, it's nice and cool in the summer and usually not too humid if I run a dehumidifier. It's cool but not freezing in the winter - IMHO at least ;) - average of probably 65F and may dip to around 60F during really cold stretches. I have a vent-less natural gas heater that heats up the room pretty quick during winter poker games, and one of the vents from the HVAC system feeds the room (though is usually shut when we're not down there). Overall, I was really looking to improve the look and feel of the room, make it less rough and cave like and more "finished". It's not a huge area though, and given that the temperature ranges aren't all that bad, I didn't mind sacrificing a bit on the insulation to maintain as big of an area as possible. Typically for this area of NJ, they'd recommend 2" of foam insulation with 2x4 walls with fiberglass insulation, which would have reduced the room size by a foot each way. I opted to cut that down to 1" XPS and 2x3 walls with insulation to save a few inches.

In the 14 years we've been here, we've (knock on wood) never had a major issue with water, and that time frame included some very big storms (where others in our neighborhood have had issues). I've directed gutters and drainage away from the house to the extent possible, though one of my neighbor's gutter drains directly to the side of my house, enough to see some standing water in a really big storm. But even in those rare cases, there's only one minor spot that has less than a cup of water on the floor in the basement. Because of this, I wanted some type of subfloor system that allowed for a little occasional moisture. After doing some research I went with TyRoc, which seemed like one of the better solutions as it provided the corrugated rubber underside for water like dri-core that's more moisture resistant (I really didn't care for the chip-board like appearance of dri-core), and also it's a thinner system that seemed easier to install.

The ceilings were an area I've hemmed and hawed for a while in planning. I didn't want to do full sheet rock, there are so many wires/pipes/AV run up there and I access them often enough that I didn't want to enclose them permanently. But I hate drop ceilings - the last thing I want in the place I escape to is for it to feel like my office. The existing ceiling is also relatively low (~7' high) and I didn't want to reduce that, if at all possible. I've seen pics of people who black out the ceiling joists with black spray paint to make it "disappear"; I did a little test area in my laundry area and really didn't care for that look (it'd probably look OK if I had taller ceilings, but to me it made feel more like a cave). Instead, I came up with an idea to add cedar planks between the bottoms of the ceiling joists, supported on quarter round molding. Maintains the clearance and access, hides the wires/pipes and I think it looks OK. It also provides enough room for insulation, so the plan is to add soundproof insulation. Here's a mock-up:

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The room captures several my of main hobbies/vices/time sinks - movies, poker, whiskey/bourbon, home brewing & cigars. I'm also planning on adding a couple of TVs for console gaming setups (possibly MAME too) for my two boys (12 & 9). So the key features of the room will be the home theater & video game area, poker room (one full time table with room for a second in the theater area), and a nice custom bar - complete with a double tap for home brews, built in humidor and a display case for racked poker chips. I'm not really into doing rooms with overwhelming sports/hobby themes (mainly because I have so many varied interests), however I do plan to incorporate a few accents/features that will mimic the look of a whiskey barrel house, like adding a facade to the main support beam to give it a rough sawn lumber look to compliment the open wood joist and cedar plank ceiling. Nothing extensive, hopefully just enough to provide some neat accents. Why a barrel house? Well, that's the theme I'm working on for a new custom CPC tourney set ;)

Here's the overall layout with furniture (normal setup)
Layout_R1 - no dims.jpg


And the setup for bigger tourneys with 2 tables:
Layout_R1 - no dims 2 tables.jpg


I started cleaning up, prep work (tidying up loose wires and such) and moving the metric ton of crap out of the basement a couple of months ago, but really got started with construction this past week. The wife and kids were out of town for the week, so it gave me a nice window to get a big head start. I'm hoping to be substantially complete (furniture back in and back to running poker games) by the end of September, and fully complete with the bar and all the finishings by Christmas. May be wishful thinking :) On to the construction pics...

Started here - music setup :) Usually I have my stereo going when I'm working, but with everything now out of the room, had to make due with this cheesy little animal speaker that someone bought my boys a few years ago. Surprisingly it worked pretty well.... :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:

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OK, now onto the construction pics - started here:

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The room had 3 old single pain windows that were all broken and boarded up when we moved in. I replaced the 2 side windows several years ago, but had this last one in the back left to do. It's now covered by my deck in the backyard and pretty much useless for light - and this is where I wanted to put the bar - so I ripped out the old window and bricked it up. It's ugly but solid and leak free and no one will ever see it, lol

Next up was installing the rigid foam. This gets glued to the masonry walls to hold it in place - ultimately this will be sandwiched between the masonry and stud frame, so the glue just has to hold in place until the studs go in. Surprisingly though the adhesive held them in place pretty well. I also cut insert panels to insulate the sill above the concrete foundation.

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Onto the framing. I picked up a Ramset from the Depot to secure the PT bottom plate to the concrete floor. I was a little hesitant, I had read some reviews that these may not work for older homes with hardened concrete. It worked like a charm for me, as long as I put my weight into the gun when firing, it shot them into the concrete perfectly, I only had one that I had to do twice. The gun style setup is much nicer than the older hammer style ones, it made for very quick work.

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First exterior wall with a small closet for the water meter (and future chip storage).
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Notch for the water pipe:
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Second exterior framed wall, and here you can see the masonry bump out that I'm trying to figure out exactly what to do with. It extends another few inches from the framed wall, I'm thinking this will just get XPS foam and furring strips screwed into the bump out, definitely don't want to add the full wall here, it'll stick out way too far. Any DIYers/builders with a keen eye will also spot the "mistake" I made framing (was the end of a long weekend when I finished this wall, lol).

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Third exterior wall and interior wall by the furnace. This wall will be fairly close to the furnace, so I'm leaving an opening for a door to access the back of the furnace for cleaning/maintenance.

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This wall needed some additional framing up top, you can see the drain/vent pipes up near the ceiling, these are from the bathtub and sink on the main floor. The wall didn't quite clear them, but again I didn't want to move the wall in another foot and reduce the room size. So I added a little bump out to clear the pipes:

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And some framing around the HVAC (for the most part, I'm leaving the HVAC ducts exposed, not framing them in so as to not reduce the headroom any further)

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Interior wall by the stairs/shop:
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After 3 days of framing I took a break and switched over to plumbing. Ran hot/cold water lines over to the spot where the sink will go in the bar. I usually use copper, however there were some very tight spots so I opted for PEX. Used sharkbites to transition from the copper as both were out in the open and easily accessible (I still don't think I trust them enough to bury one in a wall...)

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And to finish things off this weekend, I also installed the can lights and dimmer switches.

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So after a week of work, off to a pretty good start. I'll likely take a few days off (need a break :)) and then get back to it. I'll keep updating as the work progresses.
 
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Tommy

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#2
Nice work! I'm getting flashbacks. LOL Great idea with cedar planks. (y) :thumbsup:
One thing I wish I did is run a few extra network and cable jacks on the poker room side of my basement. I have to use wireless bridges now.

Any DIYers/builders with a keen eye will also spot the "mistake" I made framing (was the end of a long weekend when I finished this wall, lol).
The only thing that I can see is no double bottom plate. Just a little less of a nailing edge there. You could just cut blocks or use scrap pieces and put them between the studs if you really wanted to. Are you using deck screws or coated screws made for treated wood when putting together the double bottom plate? They say if you don't the chemicals in the treated wood will eat up the screws.

Look forward to the updates.
 
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#4
Nice work! I'm getting flashbacks. LOL Great idea with cedar planks. (y) :thumbsup:
One thing I wish I did is run a few extra network and cable jacks on the poker room side of my basement. I have to use wireless bridges now.



The only thing that I can see is no double bottom plate. Just a little less of a nailing edge there. You could just cut blocks or use scrap pieces and put them between the studs if you really wanted to. Are you using deck screws or coated screws made for treated wood when putting together the double bottom plate? They say if you don't the chemicals in the treated wood will eat up the screws.

Look forward to the updates.
Bingo, I figured you'd be the one to catch that :LOL: :laugh:. I was finishing up the framing late that evening, trying to get the last portion of that wall done. Finished it up and looked down and just started laughing. What you mention above about adding extra blocking is exactly how I fixed it, I have a ton of cutoffs from the main framing, it's not critical but with the subfloor I wanted some extra support area for screwing in the drywall. The nails I used for the framing were galvanized so they should be good with the PT wood, though I may go back and hit that base plate of each wall with a couple of deck screws just to make sure.

I'm running three CAT6 lines from my router down into the basement, two to the wall on the right where the Xbox units will be and another to my AV area to be built under the stairs. Right now I just have the cable box, older stereo receiver & blu-ray but eventually I'd love to add a media center for all of our movies. And that's the nice part about keeping the ceiling accessible, if I really needed to add another line somewhere in the future, I can drop a new line down the wall from above in most locations. I have several HDMI and CAT6 cables coming from monoprice this week, once I finish up the framing next will be all the wiring. The main framing is done but there are several smaller areas I need to clean up in order to make dry wall installation easier, and I need to add blocking for all the TVs.

Layout_R1_Cables1.jpg
 

Tommy

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#5
Sounds like you bought some Cat 6 patch cables but if you need the tools for putting on RJ45 (or RG6) connectors, let me know I can lend them to you. I have of bag RG-6 Quad shield connectors too.
 
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#6
Sounds like you bought some Cat 6 patch cables but if you need the tools for putting on RJ45 (or RG6) connectors, let me know I can lend them to you. I have of bag RG-6 Quad shield connectors too.
Yep patch cables, I do lots of handyman type of work but that's not one of them :LOL: :laugh:
 
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#7
Took a bit of a break last week after the initial construction push to catch up on some other things around the house, work was limited to adding some blocking and finishing up a few odd framing areas. Installed a few LED down lights coming down the stairs (and another can light at the bottom landing). I found these on Amazon, they seem to cast just enough light to light up the stairway without too much glare (they have covers that pop into place once the drywall is in).

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And I also got about half way done with the Tyroc subfloor. Going was slow to start as the room doesn't have a nice squared shape so there were a lot of things to cut around, but other than that I was very pleased with how easy it was to install this stuff, very straightforward and easy to work with.

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Here's that other framing area I finished up - I'm leaving a small storage area under the stairs for our "rarely ever need access it" storage bins, this will have a simple swing out door. Above the storage area will be a couple of media shelves for the stereo receiver, cable box & blue ray player.

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jbriod

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#9
Hey Matt,

Before you finish, you should design a nice chip storage area. I see that space under the stairs as a nice spot to have some sort of cabinet with drawers. Or design something that has a hidden door with a cache of chips. Just an idea. ;)
 
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Hey Matt,

Before you finish, you should design a nice chip storage area. I see that space under the stairs as a nice spot to have some sort of cabinet with drawers. Or design something that has a hidden door with a cache of chips. Just an idea. ;)
There will definitely be chip storage space - I'm going to try and incorporate a chip rack display into the bar, should be able to display 5 or 6 of my nicer sets, here's a rough sketch (this is a bit dated, current setup is longer and I'll be incorporating a small sink):

IMG_20180806_0001.jpg


And I'll likely use the closet space above the water meter for more chip storage. Hopefully that will be enough for most of my sets. All of our long term storage stuff will be kept in that area under the stairs.
 

jbriod

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#11
Nice! So detailed of a sketch. I see the beer tap. Lol
Can’t wait to see your final concept. Keep all your sketches so you have a before and after.
 
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You definitely need a sink in any bar!

Have you considered running the home theater wiring through conduit? I did this and put it behind drywall. I wanted drywall because of sound insulation. The conduit allows me to fish new cable through should I need to.
 

CraigT78

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There will definitely be chip storage space - I'm going to try and incorporate a chip rack display into the bar, should be able to display 5 or 6 of my nicer sets, here's a rough sketch (this is a bit dated, current setup is longer and I'll be incorporating a small sink):

View attachment 191381

And I'll likely use the closet space above the water meter for more chip storage. Hopefully that will be enough for most of my sets. All of our long term storage stuff will be kept in that area under the stairs.
What are your plans for a drain for beer under the tap?
 
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#14
You definitely need a sink in any bar!

Have you considered running the home theater wiring through conduit? I did this and put it behind drywall. I wanted drywall because of sound insulation. The conduit allows me to fish new cable through should I need to.
95% of the AV wiring will be in the ceiling, which I'll have access to after the build with the type of ceiling panels I'm installing. I will likely install either a conduit or one of those AV bridges for the drop down in the wall where the gaming TVs will hang on the wall (possibly for the speakers as well). The other TVs for the poker area are going to be mounted high near the ceiling (like in a restaurant/bar), so I'll just drop the wires down behind them.

What are your plans for a drain for beer under the tap?
That's a good question, still TBD at this point. My initial plans were for a smaller bar without a sink, and I was just going to use the stainless steel drip tray that I've been using for my kegerator. That one is just the tray that sits on the bar surface, not flush mounted and no drain. It's served me well for close to 10 years, though it can be a pain to clean. Once I got to laying out the room in more detail and realized how close I was to a drain, I figured it'd be pretty easy to extend the bar a bit and add the sink, so now I have the option for a drain. The details on the bar design are still a work in progress, with one of those details being the type of counter top. Depending on the counter top type, I may or may not try to recess a drip tray into the counter top. I initially was thinking of doing a stone tile surface, but with the sink I may opt for just a regular kitchen-style laminate counter top. I don't know how feasible it would be to try to recess a tray into a counter top like that. Any recommendations or insight?

And no recent progress on the project, we've been away on vacation the past couple of weeks.
 
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#15
95% of the AV wiring will be in the ceiling, which I'll have access to after the build with the type of ceiling panels I'm installing. I will likely install either a conduit or one of those AV bridges for the drop down in the wall where the gaming TVs will hang on the wall (possibly for the speakers as well). The other TVs for the poker area are going to be mounted high near the ceiling (like in a restaurant/bar), so I'll just drop the wires down behind them.



That's a good question, still TBD at this point. My initial plans were for a smaller bar without a sink, and I was just going to use the stainless steel drip tray that I've been using for my kegerator. That one is just the tray that sits on the bar surface, not flush mounted and no drain. It's served me well for close to 10 years, though it can be a pain to clean. Once I got to laying out the room in more detail and realized how close I was to a drain, I figured it'd be pretty easy to extend the bar a bit and add the sink, so now I have the option for a drain. The details on the bar design are still a work in progress, with one of those details being the type of counter top. Depending on the counter top type, I may or may not try to recess a drip tray into the counter top. I initially was thinking of doing a stone tile surface, but with the sink I may opt for just a regular kitchen-style laminate counter top. I don't know how feasible it would be to try to recess a tray into a counter top like that. Any recommendations or insight?

And no recent progress on the project, we've been away on vacation the past couple of weeks.
I have a full wet bar and wanted to install a drip tray that drained into the sink plumbing so I could rinse it out like a real bar. Problem was my taps are on the front bar and my sink had to be on the back bar.

Instead I found the nicest looking stainless drip tray I could and use that. It’s honestly not that bad to rinse out.
 

CraigT78

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Any recommendations or insight?
I have a installed, flush mounted drip tray with a drain to the sink. I would recommend it - but don't do what I did. Make sure you plan for the drain plumbing. I didn't plan the bar top high enough to allow for a hard pvc drain, so my plumber had to get creative and use a flexible drain tube, which is fine - but I have to lift the drain up to allow fir the tube to drain fully. Also had to remove the floor below the keg fridge. Had I either - gone up a few inches in height of the bar, or placed the tap tower offset from the kegarator - I would have been fine. Just keep that in mind as you have it built out - the drain has about an inch nipple, plus the right angle connector, to account for.

With that said - I'm glad I went with recessed with a drain - it looks better, doesn't take up any space - and is easy to clean - I just pour some hot water and sanitizer (star-san) down the drain after every game.

I went with this one - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IUUJVZW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Probably cheaper options, but I also purchased their tower.
 
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I have a installed, flush mounted drip tray with a drain to the sink. I would recommend it - but don't do what I did. Make sure you plan for the drain plumbing. I didn't plan the bar top high enough to allow for a hard pvc drain, so my plumber had to get creative and use a flexible drain tube, which is fine - but I have to lift the drain up to allow fir the tube to drain fully. Also had to remove the floor below the keg fridge. Had I either - gone up a few inches in height of the bar, or placed the tap tower offset from the kegarator - I would have been fine. Just keep that in mind as you have it built out - the drain has about an inch nipple, plus the right angle connector, to account for.

With that said - I'm glad I went with recessed with a drain - it looks better, doesn't take up any space - and is easy to clean - I just pour some hot water and sanitizer (star-san) down the drain after every game.

I went with this one - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IUUJVZW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Probably cheaper options, but I also purchased their tower.
Great tips, thank you (y) :thumbsup:. Right now I just have the footprint for the bar laid out, I really have to flush out a good dimensioned sketch for all these clearance details under the counter top. Between the mini-fridge for bottles, keg fridge, a built-in humidor and then the sink, there's going to be a lot of stuff underneath that I'll have to account for.
 

CraigT78

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Great tips, thank you (y) :thumbsup:. Right now I just have the footprint for the bar laid out, I really have to flush out a good dimensioned sketch for all these clearance details under the counter top. Between the mini-fridge for bottles, keg fridge, a built-in humidor and then the sink, there's going to be a lot of stuff underneath that I'll have to account for.
It's always the crap you didn't think of that gets in the way :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 
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#20
Got back into the swing of things last week after taking a couple of weeks off with the family in Acadia & Cape Cod. Finished up the subfloor last week:

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After the subfloor, I started running the electric in the new walls. Had to tidy up a bunch of old wire runs from previous owners, very little of the electric work in my house was done by anyone with a clue, I've replaced/fixed every outlet and switch, and a good percentage of the wire runs in the house since we've moved in.

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(yes I know the one switch box is still hanging out in space, that's for the lights in my shop and laundry, I have more work to do on those and I won't be dry walling this side of the wall by the stairs for a while...)

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Started planning all the AV runs as well. The room will have 4 TVs (2 in the poker area, 2 for the kids video games) and a home theater projector, so I have a bunch of HDMI, coax and CAT6 runs to make. 90% of it will be in the ceilings and I'll have access to it later, but I wanted to have everything laid out prior to putting up the drywall. There's one particular area where most of the AV (and some electric) run perpendicular to the ceiling joists, at the center of the room along the main girder. There is also the main support line that connects my HVAC unit to the AC condenser on the side of the house:

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You can see the previous owners tacked all kinds of boards to the support beam and painted it white. I'm planning to hide all this nonsense and the new HDMI wires by putting up an over sized faux beam covering around the support beam, like this:

MAIN BEAM COVER.jpg


With the intent to make it look kind of like the the picture below (planning on just refinishing the steel column to give it a black iron look instead of encasing that too):

faux-beam.jpg
 
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#22
Still slowly chugging along with the work. The last couple of weeks have focused primarily on finishing the electric and AV runs, then hanging drywall.

Electric runs to the bar area. I needed outlets for both under the bar for the fridges, then at table top height for the lights and any appliances like an ice maker or hot dog roller. The backsplash area will primarily be a chip display cabinet, but I'll just enough room between cabinets to squeeze in a couple of outlets. I chose not to frame in the sewer line, with the horizontal run coming in from the bathroom on the floor above and not drywalling the ceiling, I just didn't think it would look very good (at least not worth the extra effort), plus then I still have access to it if it ever needs work in the future. I will also have a small gas heater on this wall, and if I finished around the sewer line, I'd be more restricted on where I could hang it on the wall. The plan is to just paint the sewer line black to look like iron.

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Gaming TV & Home Theater wall setup - getting all the AV runs planned out and in place took much longer than I thought, but I wanted to make sure I had everything accounted for and tested. This wall will have two ~42" TVs hung on the wall for the kids video game systems. So I've got the outlets, AV boxes and supplemental framing for the mounts so I don't have to worry about centering the TV on studs (the setup should fit with very little room to adjust). The TVs will also serve as regular TVs during poker nights, so I had HDMI feeds from the AV center to these spots for the cable TV. Ran CAT6 for two gaming setups and HDMI from the floor to the TV boxes, I'll likely buy/build a small TV stand for the gaming consoles and a place for the center speaker to sit. The home theater pull down projector screen will also be located on this wall, so most of the speakers will be on/near this wall (2 main, center, 2 front).

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The end of this wall leads up some stairs out to the back yard. To keep the door opening size intact, I had to stop the framed wall short and move to furring strips fastened directly to the concrete block walls. Will be adding an interior door here as well to help keep the draft out.

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Cleaned up all the HDMI, CAT6, speaker and phone lines running to the wall. All run along the main support beam, which will be encapsulated to hide the wires.

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Then started insulating and hanging drywall:

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I'm just about done hanging the drywall, hoping to finish up and start installing the corner beads and spackling this weekend....
 

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#27
It's looking great !! Hurry up and finish the basement already. ;)
You're always welcome to stop by with a spackling knife and lend a hand.... :ROFL: :ROFLMAO: Your table will be done waaaaay before this project is finished, I just have to get to the point where the carpet is down so I can move furniture back in to free up space in the shop. There's one roughly 3'x6' area of free space in there at the moment. o_O

Got the first round of taping & spackling done this weekend, one 5 gallon bucket of joint compound down. I forgot how much I hate drywall work.... soooooo many corners, makes for tedious work (n) :thumbsdown:. Hoping to get the 2nd and 3rd coats on this week so I can get someone in to measure for carpeting and get that scheduled ASAP.

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#28
Ooh yeah...I can’t stand drywalling either. Then there’s the sanding. The process is fine but my god, the dust. It gets everywhere. I hope you have a vaccuum attachment on your sander.

Love the thread. (y) :thumbsup:
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
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#30
Ooh yeah...I can’t stand drywalling either. Then there’s the sanding. The process is fine but my god, the dust. It gets everywhere. I hope you have a vaccuum attachment on your sander.

Love the thread. (y) :thumbsup:
Usually I do my sanding by hand, but this is by far the biggest room I've ever completely dry walled in the house, so I think I'm going to rent a professional drywall sander with vacuum attachment for the day.
 
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