Smart Tips for Your Basement Home Theater

Smart Tips for Your Basement Home Theater
  • Opening Intro -

    Home theaters are all the rage, offering families a great place to view films and enjoy each other’s company.

    You can easily spend upwards of $100 taking the family to the movies and buying popcorn, soda pop and tickets, an expense that most families rather not incur at least on a regular basis.

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One area of your home that may be suitable for setting up a dedicated home theater is your basement. This area of your home may already be used as an extension of your living quarters or could be if the following criteria are met:

Sufficient head room

— Local building codes may prohibit you from using your head basement for anything other than storage. Check with your building department to find out what is required. Some things to consider: head room — do water and heating pipes get in the way and will tall people have to crouch down to move about the basement? Is there an emergency exit available? Some building departments require a secondary exit if a basement room is used as living quarters, but especially so if also used as a sleeping area. Know the codes before repurposing your basement.

Water tight

— Heavy rains can cause your basement to flood, a problem for some homeowners that no sealant or French drains can prevent. If you suspect any sort of water seepage, consider not using your basement as a home theater. If water intrusion is minimal, you can always place expensive equipment well above the floor. Your homeowners insurance won’t cover a flood; consider purchasing flood insurance through the federal government (see floodsmart.gov).

Ample wiring

— Are there enough electrical outlets in your basement to handle a home theater system? You’ll be plugging in a television or projector screen, a DVD player, speakers and a subwoofer and will most likely want outlets for floor lighting and perhaps a refrigerator and other equipment. You may need to run an electrical line or two and add in new outlets. Don’t forget a smoke detector, if required.

Built ins

— You’ll want to store all of your DVDs and related movie paraphernalia right on site. This means making use of shelving, including built-ins, is a must. If you’re not particularly handy, consider picking up shelves and using these. However, if a friend skilled at drywall, framing and carpentry can lend a hand, why not use his services to create the room that you want?

Flooring options

— One stickler for homeowners desiring to convert a basement is the floor. Certainly, you can cover it with a thick carpet, but who are you fooling? You and everyone else knows the feel of your basement room pales in comparison to the other rooms in your house. Fortunately, there are some flooring options especially if head room is not too limiting. For example, place a raised plywood floor with vapor barrier underneath to soak up possible seepage and to create a foundation for laying carpet or hardwood on top. Your room will look nicer and also be warmer.

If you have existing duct work in place to bring in heat, then you’re all set. Fans can provide cooling as can duct work that feeds off of your central air-conditioning system. Try to work with what you have to save money or be prepared to invest thousands to build the home theater room that you and your family can enjoy for many years.

Lastly, notify your insurance company of the changes you made to your room. Your agent can update your policy. She may also advise you to purchase flood insurance even though your home is not in a flood zone.

See AlsoHow to Set Up a Home Theater

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Categories: Basement, Home Theater

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".