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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:11 am 
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
I used Par20 pots (4 inch) in all 23 down there. 4 different zones in the main room, several are 3 way dimmers etc. The enclosures (and dimmers) are all LED friendly, but waiting till the prices on those bulbs comes down.

I find that we watch the Plasma with nearly all the lights off anyway.

The pool table has standard lighting, but I use 3 of the spiral florescents in it.

I think that if you run a couple of dedicated lines to your audio gear, you should isolate yourself from any dimmer whining etc. I have no issues with that.

I guess some folks pop for 20a dedicated lines with the associated larger wire, but I did not. 5 of my dedicated lines are all under 3 feet in length from the pony panel to the media closet anyway, so if I felt I HAD to, I could swap it out in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:21 am 
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Location: Cloverdale, BC, CA
a lot of people are recommending dri-core type of subflooring.

this is great for keeping things dry, but how does it react acoustically? i know that a floating laminate floor is ill advised because of the potential for a drumhead effect on the floor, how does this differ than installing a dri-core system which floats on the concrete?

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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:08 am 
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zaphod wrote:
a lot of people are recommending dri-core type of subflooring.

this is great for keeping things dry, but how does it react acoustically? i know that a floating laminate floor is ill advised because of the potential for a drumhead effect on the floor, how does this differ than installing a dri-core system which floats on the concrete?


Dri-Core is basically thick and heavy chip/flake board (the same stuff used for flooring underlayment and roofing where plywood is not mandatory) resting on a layer of closely spaced hardish rubber pyramids in order to raise the board off the concrete and fairly loosely tied together. Floating laminate flooring is comparatively much thinner, much harder, much more stiffly held together (hence the drumming effect) and resting on a thin layer of resilient foam sheeting. Dri-core is designed to leave an air space underneath to allow small amounts of water/humidity to drain away and not damage what is on top of it. It just happens to deaden the floor against footfalls and other impact sounds quite well. I've used both in the past below grade and, without taking actual acoustic measurements, I can tell you that Dri-core does sound better in a room than a traditional 2X4 on 16" center framed subfloor, no matter what you put on top.

The term float has a different context when discussing the 2 products. Think 2 boat docks: one resting on empty oil drums (laminate), the other on wood piles (stilts) anchored in the bottom of the lake (Dri-core). Both "float" above the water, but only the one on empty oil drums can float away if not tied down.


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:30 am 
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i hear you Obi, and i know dricore - i've worked on it in the past laying tile, but only in the inital stages of construction (pre drywall) when everything echoes so bad that any indication of the room's final acoustical properties are imaginary.

you're right in that laminate is lighter, more bouncy and because it's glued/clicked/clipped into one piece it creates a thin drum head over the floor. what you're saying is that dricore is heavy enough to stay put and not create any sympathetic vibrations. I'm just not sure that is true at the lowest frequencies.

you talked about docks being on oil drums or on piers. for the latter, did you mean that the dock is attached to the pier (like on a lake) or did you mean that the dock can float up and down on the piers (like in a tidal area). docks that can float up and down on piers have less movement than oil drum docks, but still more than enough movement to be noticable.

dricore is not attached the the floor, so it's not like a dock attached to piers (that are attached to the planet). it's more like the docks that can move up and down on a pier but not float away.


a new product out is a floor glue that acts as a vapour barrier as well. I can't remember the name right now, but it allows you to use glue down engineered h/w flooring in places where you traditionally could not use engineered glue down flooring. There are limits to the moisture levels on the floor.

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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:37 am 
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Some further thought's in relation to using dry-core

It is a fairly hard plastic type of material adhered to OSB "chip board". No concrete basement slab floor is 100% level "so it slopes to a drain encase of flooding - BUILDING CODE" hence installing there will be voids because of the flatness of the actual product, from small too large spaces from the contact part of the dry-core material to concrete slab.

I would not think this would be very good? Also those little voids in the dry-core - one can only imagine if such was measured all the nasty's going on.

There is another product with foam on the back but unfortunately using such does not allow any spaces below, hence no breathing. You would still have the same issues of the concrete floor not be level so install not ideal but is softer.

One option would be to install a vapor barrier "foam type used for installing floating floors" this would alleviate the direct contact of the hard surface of the dry-core and also fill some of the smaller voids - you could also drill and install some tapcon screws ensuring you first fill the void with silicone prior to screwing down. Making sure to use long enough screws when doing such. I don't know anyone whom has gone to the extent to measure but would at least help securing to assist in lessor movement.


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:06 am 
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bear in mind as well that the conditions of basements vary infinitely across our country. What I can do here in Vancouver may fail in Ontario. what they do in Ontario may fail out here.

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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:03 pm 
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Location: Milton, ON, CA
I used carpet with a specific underlay that has a vapor barrier on one side. Not as good for drainage and health as dri core but way better sonically. The other benefit is you can spike your gear right to the concrete.


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:45 pm 
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Location: Vaughan, ON, CA
zaphod wrote:
bear in mind as well that the conditions of basements vary infinitely across our country. What I can do here in Vancouver may fail in Ontario. what they do in Ontario may fail out here.


Not really - I lived in Kelowna BC for many years and basement slab is the same and product is the same


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:22 am 
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Dev7 wrote:
zaphod wrote:
bear in mind as well that the conditions of basements vary infinitely across our country. What I can do here in Vancouver may fail in Ontario. what they do in Ontario may fail out here.


Not really - I lived in Kelowna BC for many years and basement slab is the same and product is the same



but the weather outside is a bit different :)

i've owned in Kelowna and Vancouver - and even for that small a distance the building codes are different due to climate differences. Those different building codes affect the building products you can and those you should not use.

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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:39 am 
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zaphod wrote:
Dev7 wrote:
zaphod wrote:
bear in mind as well that the conditions of basements vary infinitely across our country. What I can do here in Vancouver may fail in Ontario. what they do in Ontario may fail out here.


Not really - I lived in Kelowna BC for many years and basement slab is the same and product is the same



but the weather outside is a bit different :)

i've owned in Kelowna and Vancouver - and even for that small a distance the building codes are different due to climate differences. Those different building codes affect the building products you can and those you should not use.



Weather- ya BC in general is getting worse weather than in the previous years and Ontario is getting better due to climate changes over all.

There may be differences but not what is specifically being discussed - the interaction of dri-core being installed on top of a concrete slab.

I'm in the construction business and have built over 100 high-end homes in BC so I do have first hand experience :D


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:39 am 
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Dev7 wrote:
Weather- ya BC in general is getting worse weather than in the previous years and Ontario is getting better due to climate changes over all.

There may be differences but not what is specifically being discussed - the interaction of dri-core being installed on top of a concrete slab.



well we are also talking alternatives to dri-core

here is an overkill approach by Mike Holmes.

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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 9:27 am 
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Location: Welland, ON, CA
Some great ideas here and by people who are much more experienced and professional than myself. Just the same, I'll throw my $0.02 of experience in here for whatever help it may be. I did my music room in the basement about a year ago - wish I had checked here before I did it!
The Situation
My goal was to isolate the rest of the house from being affected by the music room. Budget level - very low. I live in S. Ontario in a 1958 bungalow with a poured concrete foundation. The space where I could put my room would have one long wall of foundation and three interior walls.
Things I did
I built the walls using standard 2x4 and drywall construction. The wall over the foundation was spaced about 3/4" off the concrete. I used no vapour barrier as there seemed to be a lot of differing opinions about whether it was helpful/ necessary or actually a source of condensation. Based on the experience of a friend who had done many basements I used the 3/4" gap to avoid wicking and no vapour barrier to allow air flow. This wall was insulated with Roxul Thermal between the studs and spray foam (just the canned kind) in the header gaps. The other three walls as well as the ceiling were insulated with Roxul Safe and Sound. I put the foam gaskets in all the outlets and switch boxes. Also in the ceiling were two runs of heating duct (one to serve this room and one for the room above it) and, along the inside long wall, a cold air return duct. The heating runs were wrapped with foil/foam thermal barrier and for the cold air return I just packed the frame surround with bits of accumulated Styrofoam. Anywhere I saw small gaps I sprayed canned foam. Keeping to my very low budget, when I drywalled the ceiling I decided to try my own "decoupling" experiment: I simply lined all the ceiling joists with the pink foam gasket strip used for header-to-foundation isolation before screwing up the drywall. I figured this would likely be ineffective but hey, it was cheap and fast and easy so no biggie either way. At first my plan was to live with the floor as it was (again, low budget) and just cover it with underpad and carpet. Over the years the foundation has heaved and cracked causing unevenness in the floor and the potential for leaks. Finally realizing the unevenness was going to drive me crazy as I tried to put cabinets and things in place, I decided to do the floor, too. The two options I investigated were Dri-core and leveling compound. Although it was slightly more expensive, in the end I opted for levelling compound, primarily as I figured trying to shim to level all those 2' x 2' Dri-core panels would be a long and tedious job, not to mention the room height I would lose. Also, I felt that the levelling compound might be a good way to repair the cracks and seal the floor. Of course the decision of how to treat the floor should have been made before the drywall had gone up on the walls, but it turned out to be a godsend that I hadn't; since my drywall came down to within 1/8" of the floor, all I had to do was run a bead of silicone around the wall and floor gap and dam up the doorway. My wife and I poured the new floor in under an hour and, four hours later, we had a hard, smooth, level floor with the added bonus that the bottom of the room was completely sealed, walls to floor - not even ants are getting in! (yet). The thickness we added ranges from 1/4 to 1" of compound. And boy, did this perfectly level seal make putting the baseboard and door frame in a dream!
Things I didn't do/ wish I'd done/ wish I hadn't done
The "decoupling" idea I had for the ceiling may have worked (hard to know where all the benefits are actually coming from) but one drawback was the "settling" of the ceiling. I was fortunate that I had many days between installing the ceiling drywall and mudding/sanding/painting it: over those few days, as the foam gasket compressed I had to tweak (tighten) some of the screws. That being said, it has been a year now and there is no sign of the screws or cracking at the joints, so... I wish I had run a dedicated 20A line for my system and also cable TV and Ethernet cabling. I'm currently wireless on my laptop but it would have been nice to have an option and, while the room's for listening and not watching, an easier option for TV down the road would have been smart. For a door, I just used a cheap, hollow door I had kicking around and it's obviously the weak link in the soundproofing. I'll probably end up buying a Safe N Sound door but in the meantime I might amuse myself by drilling holes in the top header and either filling the door with packing peanuts or spray foam.
The Results
From a comfort standpoint, all the gap filling, crack sealing, and insulating made a huge difference; the unfinished part of the basement tends to be cool, dampish and has that basement smell (powder mould?). The listening room is very cozy and through last winter and up to now, I have never had to open the heating register. In fact, after a couple of hours with the lights on and the components running it gets downright toasty! Still, I think there was only one time during the worst of summer that I cracked it for A/C. When I'm there I don't even realize I'm in a basement - it's one of the nicest rooms in the house!
When I first set it up the room was pretty dead, in fact, too dead. Fortunately, as I put a few sticks of furniture in and prints on the walls, it livened up and is sounding great. While the room is not truly "soundproof", it's amazing how quiet it is, especially given my budget. Certainly if one is in the basement the stereo can be heard but it gets a lot harder to discern once you are upstairs. Early on I had a friend come over for an evening of listening and my wife heard nothing. Later on, my brother came over one night and we pushed it a bit further and when I apologized to my wife later she just looked at me with a blank expression; in the bedroom and watching TV, she'd heard nothing. Considering the listening room is the only finished room in the basement currently and the only piece of finished ceiling dividing the two floors, it bodes well for the future!


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:27 pm 
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Location: Vaughan, ON, CA
zaphod wrote:
Dev7 wrote:
Weather- ya BC in general is getting worse weather than in the previous years and Ontario is getting better due to climate changes over all.

There may be differences but not what is specifically being discussed - the interaction of dri-core being installed on top of a concrete slab.



well we are also talking alternatives to dri-core

here is an overkill approach by Mike Holmes.


That's more for insulating - don't know what the sonic's would be but personally I wouldn't do it. Not to pick on Mikey but there are several steps missed -

There are several methods but all are very involved and costly which I don't believe the OP is looking to do.

Really we were discussing dri-core - goods and bad's. It's always good to know prior to spending the time - money.


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:40 am 
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
I listed earlier that I did the simple sound reduction measures when I finished my basement including 5/8ths drywall on the ceiling, Safe n Sound in the ceiling and interior walls, a Safe n Sound door at the top of the stairs and a door sweep on that door.

Unscientific report follows. Using a free DB meter on my daughter's iPad Mini.

I ran ACDC at 88DB peaks at the listening chair. Louder than I would normally listen, but good for this test.

In the family room (main floor and directly above the space the HT setup is in) I saw peaks of 55DB.

In my daughter's bedrooms (2nd floor and directly above the family room) I saw peaks of 40DB.

Most of the sound I heard could certainly be attributed to the HVAC system. Although I stuffed around the HVAC trunk during construction, I did not go all the way and get into accordian type runs etc. In the summer I block off the 3 AC vents in the main basement space with magnetic covers. That drops the sound even further to the 3rd floor bedrooms.

So, certainly I can run the stereo at what I consider loud, and others in the home have no complaints.

To be honest, I never measured the sound levels prior to finishing the basement, but I can tell you for sure that I could never listen loud before my wife would come down and request a lowering of the volume.

What I spent (roughly $500-600 I figure) and the results I have, proves to be a good investment as far as I am concerned, and I would advise anyone considering it to think about it too.


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 Post subject: Re: unfinished basement
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:11 pm 
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Location: calgary, AB, CA
thanks again for all the real world info guys! i'm getting into the design stage now where it's decisions between lighting options and alike... the thing that has been on my mind latley is the in wall rack that i had invisioned. In keeping with "bang for buck" without sacrificing the wow factor i've been flip floping between pro rack solutions, ie: mid atlantic; something hand made, or somewhere in between with a custom cabinet that i could fit into my required space. The latter came to me as i was looking around my place and remembered my kitchen reno. Question is, good idea??? It seems like i could have a unit made for less than most racks, with a way greater astetic appeal. Something with mass, adjustable shelving (some dampening required,) glass or plexi front.... at the end of the day it kind of makes sence over the alternitives. i'd be adding a door/removable pannel on the back for access as well. Thinking it'd look sharp. opinions? sudgestions?


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