I've got a 100 year old home with a 800 sqft basement. It's got 82.5 inch ceilings. I'm looking to renovate it to maximize pinball space, but also add a half bath and keep the laundry. Tricky thing is, the space is plauged by low spots due to steam pipes which heat the home. The steam pipes are insulated with asbestos, which ... isn't great. I don't mind steam as the heating system, but the nature of it requires a specific slope and the pipes are damn near halfway to the ground by the time the return pipe meets the boiler.
I've been toying around with how to get around this. The steam pipes are very old, but the boiler is only 3 years old since we converted from oil to natural gas then. I think my options are as follows, but, I could be wrong.
1.) re-implement all steam lines, but along the walls. Since the existing insulation material is asbestos, that would be a great time to abate that. not cheap, but not a dealbreaker. I think asbestos abatement by a professional combined with new steam plumbing (only up to where the pipes meet the ceiling) would be around $10,000.
2.) leave steam lines where they are, and dig out the basement for further height. Then the pipes matter way less. This is probably a shitload of money. Like, 30-50K
3.) Switch the heating system to hot water. Then the heating and return pipes can be done with flexible PEX piping and be easy to keep out of the way or in walls. I'm unsure the cost, but I am guessing $15,000 -> $20,000? It would require new radiators (I am not doing the wrap-around baseboard heaters, IMHO they're a travesty). I'm unsure if my existing boiler can do hot water. if I need a furnace too I think the cost of this option is $25,000)
4.) Leave the steam pipes, play jenga with the layout and accept less games. renovate the basement around the pipes and put the half bath in the room with the biggest pipe mess since games won't fit there.
I'm interested to hear Pinside's take on it. I know a lot of amazing gameroom renovations have been done here, and some have been really involved. As a note, I am really not a DIY guy so I'd be paying for all this work. (Which I don't mind, better use of my time to do software engineering than learn steam plumbing). I guess I'm looking to understand what's possible, and what's common, and what someone in my situation would do.
Red lines in the drawing are steam pipes, lowest point is the 'workbench' area. other dotted lines are the carrying beams running up/down in the picture.