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I’m hoping to transform my basement into a home theater space.

While there’s a lot involved in the project, the primary scope involves (see pictures below):

  1. Close the opening on the front wall
  2. Create 100” projector screen niche (recessed rectangle) on front wall
  3. Demo and dispose of popcorn ceiling, install new ceiling drywall

To create the projector niche, I can’t go “backwards” (behind the existing drywall) because there’s foundation right behind the wall studs. I need to create a new wall that is 6” forward (from existing) in order to have the space to frame the niche. I say 6” because I’ll have a soundbar that is 4.5” deep that will sit on the bottom of the niche, so I’m planning using 2x6 framing lumber.

So, with that in mind, my primary questions are as follows:

  1. Should I remove the existing drywall before creating the new wall that’s extended forward? Or just build “on top” of the existing wall? What implications does either choice have for closing the current wall opening? Note that there’s two electrical outlets in the wall opening that I’ll want to bring forward.
  2. What’s the best way to secure the new beams to the old beams? And the wall framing into the ceramic tile below?Construction adhesive?

As an aside (as it may impact answers to questions above), while I’m doing this work, I figure I might as well remove the popcorn ceiling. While I’d normally wet and scrape, I can see seams showing that would probably appear as cracks without the “popcorn”. So I’m planning on taking the ceiling out and installing new drywall reinforced with liquid nail.

I’m also on the fence about extending the existing ceiling “bulkheads” to create a coffered ceiling (or ceiling soffit?), as it may add to the home theater aesthetic...

Finally, what’s a versatile saw for accomplishing the tasks above? Miter? Circular? Table saw?

Thanks!

Basement1

Basement2

Basement3

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  • Seems like a lot of effort to lock yourself into a screen size that isn't even all that big. A simple flat wall adapts well to any size screen - Get your theatre aesthetic from some (fire treated please) curtains at either side of the screen...
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 18 '20 at 3:03
  • @Ecnerwal I should say that the projector is 100”, the nitch will be a bit bigger. Based on the depth of the room (which is small), I won’t ever be able to project much larger than that.
    – littleK
    Dec 18 '20 at 3:10
  • Your numbered questions are fine, however all the "aside" questions should be asked in their own question - it's far to broad to be answered in this forum's format. Don't hesitate to ask multiple, related questions and include links to each other for context. The saw question would have to be worded carefully to avoid being construed as a "shopping" question, and as a "best" question would be opinion based. All 3 of your options have their place and their purpose, the circular is probably the best bet for an initial project like this both on price & versatility.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 18 '20 at 15:30
  • @FreeMan Thanks for the suggestion. I was hoping to just add that extra information as “FYI” in case it had implications to my main questions, but I’ll certainly ask additional (and separate) questions for more fidelity.
    – littleK
    Dec 18 '20 at 16:39
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This looks like a fun project. I want to start by linking a few great books I own and like. They're well-illustrated and you can find them in many home improvement stores & libraries. These will really help you a lot since you are new to framing and maybe electrical as well.

Existing wall demo?

With that said, personally, I would demo the existing wall rather than leave all that drywall & electrical inaccessible. I'm not aware of any requirement to remove the old wall; it's just what I would do.

Framing lumber choice

You mentioned using 2x6 framing lumber to build the new wall. That is unnecessary; you can use 2x4. Your new wall should be secured to the "ceiling" (really, joists or blocking above the ceiling) and the floor. It doesn't necessarily need to be in contact with the foundation wall or the existing finished drywall (even if you don't demo it.) Therefore, the extra depth of 2x6 lumber is not beneficial.

You ask, What’s the best way to secure the new beams to the old beams?. Both the "Basements" and "Walls & Ceilings" books cover this with illustrations. But basically, there should be joists above the existing ceiling, and you want your new wall to be secured to them. If they run parallel to the new wall you might add some "blocking" between two joists and then nail your new wall to the blocking. The pictures in those books will help a ton.

Saw choice

A circular saw is a good choice and a great "first saw" for someone getting into serious DIY projects like this one.

You won't need a table saw for this. A miter saw might be helpful for a few cuts when you're ready to install new baseboards, chair rails, or other trim; but don't buy a huge 12" miter saw; consider renting one unless you're sure you will use it again. They take up a lot of space.

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  • Very helpful, thank you! I look forward to checking out those resources, as I’m hoping to use this project to learn a few fundamentals. How would you secure the frame to the tile? I’ve read that construction adhesive can be used, as it may be difficult to drill into the tile/subfloor...
    – littleK
    Dec 18 '20 at 4:25
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    I think the "Basements" book will tell you how to build a floating wall which might be an option allowing you to avoid tearing up the existing floor. I don't know if you can drill it or anything without it shattering. Might be possible to remove some tiles and cut them? You might want to ask that as a separate, discrete question on this site -- how to build a new partition wall atop a tile floor. Dec 18 '20 at 4:40

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