Over the years at 4Site Basements we have found that over half of all the basement projects we have worked have been the design and construction of retro fit basements for home cinemas. The planning of Home Cinema rooms is critical to the success of the space and a pleasing result to the investment made. Most clients would like the lights dim at the click of a button, followed by the appearance of top quality projector screen as it appears silently from the ceiling. Then the curtains close in and the latest hollywood blockbuster begins in high-definition, with full surround sound.
Planning Permission and Building Regulations
If you already have a basement and you do not plan to extend it there is no need for planning permission (its always worth getting in touch with your local council to confirm there are no conversion guidelines in place.If however you plan to add a basement to your proerty then planning permission and building regulations will be required. When it comes to building regulations, you will need approval even if your project is a change of use of an existing cellar. These Regulations will ensure your new basement is safe and energy efficient, covering fire escape routes, ventilation, ceiling height, damp proofing, electrical wiring and water supplies.
Ventilation for Home Cinemas
Basements are, by their very nature prone to damp and condensation. To this end proper ventilation is essential an will reduce humidity as well as improve the air quality by removing stale air and replacing it with fresh air.
The volume of any ventilation systems is an important consideration when planning your home cinema, many systems these days are whisper quiet but its always wise to consider additional soundproofing to ensure there are no unwanted noises during your favourite film.
Insulation for Home Cinemas
As well as its acoustic benefits good insulation will help to create an energy efficient moisture-free home cinema. With internal basement insulation, its always a good idea to focus on the walls rather than the ceiling. When it comes to interior basement wall insulation there are a number of affordable options these include: Blanket insulation – the space between the studs is filled with fiberglass insulation covered with a vapour barrier Foam board insulation – high water resistance and very low water absorption. Foam board insulation can be fixed to a cavity drainage membrane. Loose-fill insulation – cheaper than batt and roll insulation. Sprayed foam insulation – a good option for finished basements.
Sound Proofing for Home Cinemas
As well as considering acoustics and ensuring the best sound quality for your home cinema, it is essential to ensure that sound does not escape from the basement into the rest of your home or worse still disturb your neighbours. Sound, especially bass, often leaks through ceiling. At 4Site we work closely with a number of audio visual companies and as such are able to offer a number of solutions to sound leakage.
Lighting for Home Cinemas
Basement conversions are ideally suite for home cinemas because of the lack of natural light. Too much light will have an adverse affect your picture quality so it is very important to ensure lighting correct. If you do have windows in your basement, then it is always a good idea to use blackout fabric or specialist blinds and curtains to reduce unwanted light polluton. You will of course need some form of lighting in your basement and our team of lighting experts are on hand to recommend and advise on the best options available.
Last but not least
Argueably, one of the most important decisions you need to make about your new home cinema is whether you go for a TV or Projector Screen.
You can easily mount an amazing quality OLED 4k TV on the wall to provide stunning Super HD quality. TVs also make more sense for everyday use as the are an instant solution and require less set-up time. But(there is always a But), for that true home cinema experience you will need to go bigger! To this end a ceiling-mounted projector and screen makes sense is the only way to go. The Good news is that these are a cheaper option but you must ensure that the lighting is on point. It is important to note that the noise of the projector is an important consideration – larger, more high end projectors can be noisy and may require their own extraction/ventialtion as they generate quite a lot of heat.
Once you have the perfect picture its time to take care of the sound. Surround-sound is a must for any home cinema as the audio delivery needs to match the quality of the image – anything short and the viewing experience will seem empty.
With surround sound there are a number of options and it is advisable to buy the very best you can with the budget available. The most common surround sound options is a 5.1 system – this involves three speakers around the screen, two rear speakers and a subwoofer. You can also get 7.1 systems which provides two further rear speakers.
Again, we work closely with a number of audio visual companies and are available to offer a number of solutions.