Basement Layout questions

kkal474January 30, 2009

We are in the planning phase of our basement finishing project and have come up with a preliminary layout. Woould love to have some feedback on our plans and hopefully answers to a few questions. I have posted a copy of our plan below.

1. The placement of the bathroom is directly behind the location of the furnace/water heater. The plan is to put bifold doors in the bathroom in order to access the mechanics of the utilities. Have considered also placing bifold doors on the opposite side so that the utilities could be accessed from both sides.

My question is whether or not this is a safe thing to do. I read somewhere that some codes prohibit the access to the furnace from being in the bathroom but wasn't sure if that was correct.

2. Still trying to determine the exact layout of the theater ares. We have a post that is right in the middle of the combined room that is to be the theater/bar area. We would love to be able to get rid of it but not sure if we can. Our goal is not to make a true theater room but more a theater area that melds with the bar area for watching football. We are huge football fans and think this are will be used for this as much or more than movies.

I am sure I will come up with more questions as time goes on but thought this was enough for one post. Thanks


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I really like the design your have created though I am unable to enlarge the graphic to read the dimensions.

As to your questions, you would need to check local codes but personally I would not want access to the furnace via the bathroom. Noise would be the first thought. If there is a restriction it would most likely be to prevent flammables from being near a flame or an exhaust fan drawing fumes into the bath.

Relocating your support post would be expensive, and impractical. It supports the house and a heavier beam would be necessary and a structural engineer would need to be consulted. Unless you alter the design to enclose within a wall it will be exposed. Our basement has one near the bar and we painted it as a dance pole!

The irregular shape of your theatre should be fine. We created ours somewhat the same in order to reduce sound reflection off the walls.

I've linked photos of our basement. Check out the bookcase as it is our access for the furnace. I don't know where the service panel for your furnace is - perhaps facing the bath. You will need to provide combustion air via louvered doors or a wall vent for the furnace and water heater, presuming they are gas, unless they are high efficiency and draw outside combusion air.

Good luck with your build.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Basement

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 5:22PM
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Thanks for the reply. Your bookcase is a cool way to access the furnace area. The service panels for the furnace are at the bathroom side hence the proposed access. We have both a high efficiency furnace and water heater so maybe that makes a difference?? Could we put vents into the rec room side of the furnace to bring in additional air supply. I tried to look at the codes but could see anything specifically. We are going to call our county next week to see what they have to say.

As for the support post we are pretty sure we aren't going to go the time and expense that would be required to possibly move it. Thankfully it is the only pole in the basement that we are unable to conceal in a wall so we will probably just box it in with molding/dress it up and live with it.

Below I will post a 3D perspective of the space with some approximate dimensions for perspective. The theater/bar area dimensions are approximate since they are actually one room and don't accurately represent exactly how it will be divided.



Rec Room 35'11" x 14'3
Bath 6'3" x9'3"
bar/kitchenette 9'10" x 11'3"
Theater area 14'8" x 19'11"
Exercise (variable) 8' x 17'
Bedroom 12'6" x 12'


    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 7:04PM
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With the service panels for the furnace being on the bathroom side, having doors there will be necessary. I see no value for another set unless there is something more that needs access. But, if your furnace and water heater have combustion air coming from the outside then you will not need louvered doors or vents (if you're unsure, consult your HVAC company).

If you don't want bi-fold doors, consider French Doors. They will be heavier and will better block noise. Make certain the bathroom door is wide enough to get a replacement furnace or water heater there - at least 30".

If you have the space, consider a "double wall" for the furnace room - again to confine the noise.

I'm sure you will have HVAC work for heating and cooling - be certain to include sufficient cold-air returns.

I highly recommend a drip pan below the water heater. They all leak sometime and you don't want the carpeting ruined. Back-up for any sump and ejector pumps too.

Lighting - in my opinion it's very important. Have plenty, differing types and on dimmers. You can create a mood for the occasion. Outlets too - some switched and lots of circuits. Nothing ruins an event more than a breaker throwing when the popcorn machine is used.

If you can, install a wash basin in the store room. Plumbing should be fairly easy to connect into the bathroom.

As to the support post, I've seen a pub table built around one - might be nice for watching a ball game.

You're using a really nice software program - far superior to what was available 10 years ago when ours was designed. Most likely you have already considered the items I mentioned and more as you have put lots of thought into the space. I can't begin to tell you the number of people who never make a plan and have "buyers remorse" when it is too late to make changes. I'd say your space allocations are very generous. Your basement is considerably larger than ours and permits features we could not accommodate.

What's your time frame? DIY or a professional builder?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 10:46PM
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I really meant Double Doors, not French Doors to access your furnace, but you probably knew that. LOL

    Bookmark   January 31, 2009 at 8:31AM
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Thanks for the reply. That is a great idea to do a double wall around the furnace for sound insulation. Hopefully it will be OK to use solid vs louvered doors for the furnace. As far as the drip pan for the water heater there is a floor drain that will be incorporated into the furnace room for any drainage. Haven't had a chance to call the county yet but hoping to do that shortly to see what code around here is.

Good idea for a pub table. It actually might give us additional space for people to hang out and watch the game. The only question will be how we can incorporate it so as to not interfere with people sitting at the bar. Our goal is to incorporate the whole area into a sports bar style fee while still being able to be used for watching movies comfortably when desired.

This is a DIY project although I suspect we will have certain aspects of it done by pros due to time/skill constraints. We have a good friend that is an HVAC contractor so hopefully he will be able to help us a little bit, although he will be paid for his time. We don't have a time frame as of yet but will finish it as time and money allow.

I would rather wait on putting some of the finishing touches in than go cheap and get it sooner. We want the level of the finishes and the feel of the basement to mimic the rest of the house. We had a nine-foot pour done in the basement for this reason (although we wish we would have done 10).


    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:07AM
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From a design standpoint I would have the double doors into the theatre go straight across. That angle doesn't really relate to any of the others and doesnt "add" anything IMO.

I would also get rid of the odd point at the back corner of the exercise room even if it means a triangle of unused space drywalled off. That angle will be hard to finish, and will not be useful for anything.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 4:58PM
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It certainly would be good for you if another poster chimed in with input. In no way do I profess to be a guru of basement layout and construction but I certainly gained a respect for architects knowledge when designing and building ours. You might want to post your graphics on the Home Decorating Forum too as some pretty talented posters frequent that site. My DW likes that forum.

If you do a double wall around the furnace, all you need is separation of the studs to which the drywall is attached. That way you wonÂt get the effect of vibrations being transmitted via the studs through the wall into the adjacent room. Use a 2 x 6 for the sill plate and 2 x 4Âs offset and set flush for each side, then drywall on both sides. Firecode drywall nearest the furnace. Insulation in between is not necessary but would not hurt.

Space for a Pub Table  all I can suggest is masking placement of the bar and potential Pub Table (around the column) on the floor and make a determination. Possibly one of the bar stools can pivot allowing someone to participate in two conversations without moving!

Drip Pan for Water Heater  Modern basements generally are not graded toward a floor drain. What happens is water spreads until some of it goes where it is suppose too. Since your space is unfinished, take a 5-gallon bucket of water and dump it on the floor all-around the water heater. If it all goes into the drain, case closed. If it doesnÂt, consider a drip pan. They cost about $30 plus some PVC to direct any leakage to the drain. Yes, you will need to empty the water heater, disconnect everything and slide the pan underneath. Probably a half-day project for a DIYÂer with soldering skills.

With a 9Â basement, you should be able to get a one-level ceiling that will be approximately 8Â high. The "premium" for a 10Â would have been exorbitant because the foundation walls would have to be so-o-o much thicker to withstand the outside pressure.

I know what you mean about the build-out being a function of time and $$$Âs. Ours took parts of 5 winters, all DIY. IÂm particular and, like you plan, did it as I wanted the first time. Completed in planned phases (the bar being one of the first) so we could use it. There are very few (minor) things I would modify. Most people do incorporate the style of their finished basement into their home. But, our home furnishings are very traditional and not comfortable for relaxing as a group so we made our basement a place where a mess was to be expected and clean-up is easy.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 5:02PM
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