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How-To Basements
Hometime Logo Dean Johnson
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Trans 1) Lower Level Planning Trans
2) Plumbing & Fixtures
3) Framing
4) Veneer Plaster Walls
5) Lighting
6) Finishing Details
7) Fun Extras

Fun Extras

The lower level area is often where all the junk and boxes of holiday decorations end up. But for many folks, it's also reserved for some fun recreational items.

Assembling Pool Table

The highlight of our game room was the pool table, which was actually assembled on-site by a professional installer. That's the smart way to avoid hauling a pool table down the stairs.

pool table frame and legs Next, he laid out the three pieces of slate to form the top. He filled the joints between the pieces with a mix that dried hard as stone. Then the felt was stretched over the slate and finished along the sides.

  • He first assembled the legs and the frame.
  • Next, he laid out the three pieces of slate to form the top.
  • The slate was leveled, shimmed as needed and screwed into the frame.
  • He filled the joints between the pieces with a mix that dried hard as stone.
  • Then the felt was stretched over the slate and finished along the sides.


Installing Sauna in Bathroom

sauna A sauna is a good project for a room that you're finishing off or adding on to. In fact, they're pretty common in basement situations like ours. And now saunas come in a variety of different packages to fit your situation.

The sauna we installed came as a pre-cut package. We supplied the manufacturer with our dimensions, and they cut all the boards to length and labeled them for the wall they went on. Then they sent them along with the pre-hung door, benches, heater, thermometer and other accessories.

It's best to finish your framing first, and then get the dimensions you need so your boards will fit exactly.

Our boards were a Western Red Cedar which is pretty typical for an "Americanized" sauna; traditional Finnish saunas are made from Nordic White Spruce.

We insulated the walls and ceiling; this is critical for keeping the heat in and for saving energy. Then we covered the insulation with a foil vapor barrier. This reflects heat back into the sauna, and keeps moisture from condensing in the insulation.

The boards are tongue-and-groove so they fit together nicely. We just nailed into the "tongues" at an angle and then covered them up with the "groove" of the next board. We checked the boards with a level every so often to make sure we were staying on track.


NOTE: You don't want any exposed metal in a sauna because it'll get hot and you can burn yourself.

sauna bench We put in two glass panels to help open up the sauna area so it wouldn't feel so crowded. They were actually double-glazed glass panes with stops on both sides to hold them in place.

There were trim pieces and molding provided to give the corners a finished look.

The benches were also pre-built, we just needed to screw in the supports that they sat on. The supports had tapered ends so you don't see them under the benches.

This sauna will be large enough for 4 to 5 people, but the benches were designed so two people could lay down at once.



Home Theater

installing speaker into wall We also had a professional make the final hook-ups on the home theater downstairs.

He first mounted the rear channel speakers in the soffit opposite the entertainment center cabinets.

Entertainment center NOTE: Experts say people often run the rear speakers too loud. They should never overpower the front speakers. In fact, film directors use the rear channels sparingly, mainly to create ambiance as needed.

infra-red sensorHe also set the center, left and right speakers in the cabinets above the television. Once the speakers were in, he connected those to the input devices: a stereo vcr, cd player and satellite receiver.

And to permit remote control of the audio components with the cabinet doors closed, he also mounted a small external eye that will pick up the infra-red signals from the remote and feed them via hard wire to the components.


Setting Up Satellite Dish

Dean Johnson Installing Satellite Dish One key component for the home theater is the satellite programming coming in on our new satellite dish.

We mounted the dish ourselves up on the roof and ran the two lines from that down to a pair of multiplexers that route the satellite signals to different parts of the house.

TV on and configuredThe satellite receiver comes equipped with a program which helps you align the dish with the satellite, once you punch in your zip code.

We used a pair of walkie-talkies to coordinate the dish alignment with the on-screen readouts downstairs.