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:tutorial: How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Greg
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:31 am
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 1: In Which Sally Has a Problem


The question came up in the topic about Basements Quick and Easy about how to add a basement to an existing house. After digging around, I realized that although we had touched on the subject in other threads (notably in the discussion of Manse Orleans), we really didn't have a illustrated tutorial.

So, with that in mind, please allow me to introduce you to the very industrious (and very fertile) Mrs. Sally Forth.


Sally Forth
A beautiful, talented, famous widow


Sally has just about everything she wants. She has her own cooking show, a comfortable margin of cash in the bank, and a big, comfortable house in the town of Elysium.


Sally's Daughters: The Seven Sisters
Tolja she was fertile.

She also has seven daughters who are now doing quite well in their teen-aged years, and she is justifiably quite proud of them. Over-achievers all, they are the center of her life and sometimes even appear on her television show.

Sadly, Sally's husband, Geaux Forth, having made the ultimate sacrifice for the protection of his family and the cause of liberty, has gone to his final rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The girls were just toddlers when tht happened. Sally was heart-stricken but with the help of the Arlington Ladies, she rode out her grief.

Today Sally is dating a world-class scientist who dotes on her children, but Sally's life is fulfilled quite nicely by her daughters. Her boyfriend is another source of pride in her life, but she is not really looking for a new spouse. No one could hope to replace the late, great General Geaux Forth.



Sally's Maid
Her name is Karen Landon; distant cousin of someone you know.

She even has a most exotic and enigmatic maid who has proved to be a reliable source of companionship as well as a continuous source of entertaining surprises.

There's just one thing that Sally has always wanted but never had--a basement!


Last edited by Greg on Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:56 am
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 2: Give Me Some Elbow Room!


Now we can see Sally's problem, or at least what she thinks is her biggest problem. The house that seemed to be so huge while her daughters were growing up had suddenly become a den of mayhem, cluttered with the detritus of adolesence raised to the seventh power.


Forth House, First Floor


Her house had just a crawl space, with barely enough room to store an ugly old yellow box.


The house had only a crawl space.


The girls wanted more stuff--games and stereos and musical instruments and places where they can spend some private time with their boyfiends. They all had jobs and could afford the toys they wanted, but even in this huge house, there was just place to put them.

Sally would just wanted to have some peace and quiet. And maybe a place to put that old tombstone that someone left on her property, and of course that ugly yellow box that she just can't bring herself to throw out.

A basement seemed to be the perfect solution. She called the Pearl Construction Company down in Happy Valley and asked if they could build one. A lady named Gloria answered the phone.

"Yes, ma'am," we certainly can build a basement for you," Gloria said. "We just have one request: Don't move."

"You mean we don't have to move out during the construction?"

"No, ma'am, you can stay right there. But that's not what I meant. I meant, really, don't move! Just stand right where you are, and we'll have your new basement done and our mess cleaned up so fast you won't even notice."

"Sounds perfect!" Sally said. "Erm... how much will it cost?"

"Let's see, for your place, including construction, finishing, and cleanup, $9,736.* Is that all right?"

"Much less than I expected! Thank you! How soon can you get started?"

"Well, as I said, ma'am, don't move!"




----------
*That was the actual cost of building Sally's basement.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:21 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 3: Demolition


Sally was just beginning to digest her omelette when the construction crew arrived. They worked so fast, she never even noticed them.

They did their work in six easy steps:
  1. Delete the existing foundation.
  2. Find the level of the basement floor
  3. Flatten the floor
  4. Finish the basement
  5. Repair the damage to the first floor
  6. Add the basement staircase


They didn't want to have to reinforce the basement ceiling to support the heavy stone floor of the back patio, so they decided to locate the basement only within the bounds of the main house and a little bit of the front porch.


Delete the foundation, staying at least one tile away from the outer edge.

To do this: Get the foundation tool. Position it in a corner where you want to start. Hold down the control key and sweep out the area of the foundation you want to delete.



First big chunk of the foundation deleted.

The construction workers didn't bother moving furniture, walls, or anything. They didn't even disturb the residents of the house. Even the maid stayed right where she was, walking in the front door.

They just took out the foundation right from under all these things.



The floor was wrecked, except where it was under an object or person. No worries.

Fortunately, the construction company's magical floor levitation device held the critical bits of the floor suspended in space. Those bits would be valuable later, as a reference for repairing the damage to the first floor.


Floor grid jumps up. Again, no worries.

As they worked, parts of the floor grid leaped for the sky. This didn't bother the construction crew in the least; they were used to it.

The construction workers made some comments about the maid. She was stuck in stasis along with the rest of the family, so we will never know whether she would have appreciated their admiration.



Avoid cutting too close to diagonal walls.

Despite the distraction of the maid, the construction crew were diligent in their duties, working quickly and efficiently. They continued their demolition of the floors with the fiddly details. They were very careful to stay at least one full square away from any part of the outer walls, leaving a box around the diagonal spots.



Demolition Complete

They just kept at it (with occasional breaks to rest and ogle the maid) until they had demolished the foundation everywhere that they basement was to go.

When that was done, they jumped down to the ground level for the next phase of construction.


Last edited by Greg on Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:01 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 12:43 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 4: Finding the Level of the Basement Floor


At that point, the construction crew had to find out how deep to dig for the basement. It all started by painting a section of the inner foundation with the 16 Stripes Wall.



Any wall has a distinctive bottom border would have shown them when they had dug deep enough, but the 16 Stripes Wall was specifically designed for this sort of thing. They had it, so they used it.



Start digging next to that section of the wall.

There was room for only one of them in the pit at first. They drew straws and the honor of finding the level went to Guillermo Montoya. It seemed that he always drew the short straw, but he didn't mind. In fact, if one were to think about it, one might conclude that Guillermo had found a wait to cheat, assuring that he would be the one to dig the first pit.

Stoically, Guillermo started shoveling away the dirt while his compadres invested their time in resting up for the heavy labor to come and ogling the maid.



Dig until you strike gold.

Guillermo kept digging way until he reached the golden stripe at the bottom of the wall. Amazingly, he was able to do this with little disturbance to the sod that covered the dirt.

Of course he kept his fellow construction workers entertained with a running monologue about how lucky their lazy body parts were that he was doing all the work and how fortunate they were to have Guillermo on their team.



Flatten the first tile of the basement floor.

Conscientious fellow that he was, Guillermo carefully checked his work by flattening out the floor next to the wall. That assured that he had found the perfect reference level for the rest of the excavation.


Last edited by Greg on Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:59 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:06 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 5: Excavation


"OK, amigos," Guillermo said. "I've done my part! Now it's your turn!"

With that, he climbed out of the pit and let the rest of the construction crew get to work.


Start at the reference level and sweep out an area to flatten the basement floor.


Now we can see that Guillermo was the only serious strategic thinker on the crew. That was the deal. They rested while he dug the first pit, and then he rested while they did all the heavy labor of excavating the rest of the basement.



Keep flattening the basement floor, using the previous area for a reference level.

The crew started digging. Guillermo leaned on his shovel, providing helpful advice and extolling the virtues of the maid for the entertainment of his sweating co-workers. He thought Sally and her daughters were really something, too, but refrained from commenting on that out of respect for the one who pays the bills.



Lower the floor right up to the inner foundation wall.

"Be careful around those corners!" Guillermo advised.

The advice he received in return is best not repeated.



Sometimes you can get a large area in one swell foop.

"Move it, Guillermo! We're about to dig right where you're standing!"

"OK, OK. Hey, I wonder who's that dude hanging around out in front of the house. Should we warn Mrs. Forth about him?"

"Naw, he's harmless. Just another lonely guy. Like you, Guillermo!"

"I'm not lonely! Your chiquita gives me plenty of company-- Hey! Watch it with that shovel!"



Don't miss the fiddly bits. Get right up against the wall.

"Hey! You missed a spot!" Guillermo said.

"You wanna come down here and do it yourself?"

"Man, there's something about those high-heeled boots..."



Excavation Complete

They kept on digging (and ogling, and speculating about the doubtful love life of the loser who was hanging out in front of the house) until all the basement was at the same level.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:18 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 6: Finish the Basement


While they were down there, the construction crew finished off the basement floor and walls.


Finish the Basement Floor and Walls


They did a good job cleaning up before they climbed the ladders out of the cellar, but they overlooked some of their references and construction materials.


They're going to miss those books.
It's actually Kelly's garage shelves from The Sim Republic.

Sally hadn't specified any special wall coverings yet so they just left the bare concrete tilt-wall construction visible.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:24 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 7: Damage to the First Floor


Once the basement was complete, they had to contend with the mess they'd made of the first floor. They couldn't release the stasis field until that was done.



The first floor was still a mess.

It was all out of level and there were gaping holes everywhere! This didn't phase them a bit. They were professionals.

"We gotta fix this quick!" Guillermo said. "Wouldn't want that pretty maid to fall into the basement!"

"I'm beginning to doubt your focus," the foreman replied.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:33 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 8: Repairing the Damage


Fixing the first floor was mostly just like building any floor.


Select a floor, start on a good tile, and sweep the area to be repaired.
The carpet under the computer desk looks gray because of the colored light from the computer monitor.
It's really the same carpet.



They did the study first so they'd have a staging place to do the more complicated work.



Study floor is just like new.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:42 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 9: Leveling the Odd Spots


The floor grid was all out of whack but that was no problem for this crew.


Just click and drag across the elevated floor grid.
You do not need 'boolprop constrainfloorelevation true' to do any of this.

When they put down floor tiles on the elevated portion, it collapsed down to the proper level.



The floor grid will level out when you release the mouse.

Once the rest of the grid was in place, they filled in the missing floor tiles.


What worked in the entry worked just as well for the mess in the dining room.


Again, just click and drag over the elevated portion.

The floor tiles that survived their construction provided a handy reference for filling in the blanks.


It flattens out nicely. Now you just need to fill in the empty spots and tidy up any special floor treatments.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:47 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 10: Checking for Errors


When they were done, the construction crew carefully inspected the whole house to make sure it was all up to code.


Snoop around. It's easy to overlook a tile here or there.


"Ho! Look at this!" Guillermo said. "We'd even have OSHA on our case for this one!"


Ack! Missed one!


"So fix it!" the foreman said.



There. All better now.

The repair was quick work for an experienced floorman like Guillermo.

"Shouldn't there be tile in this bathroom?" he asked.

"Yeah, take care of that while you're there."

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:52 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 11: No Damage to Upper Floors


Guillermo also checked the upper floors to see if there was any induced damage.



No problems upstairs

There wasn't, of course; there never is, but it's part of his job to check. Besides, Guillermo likes to snoop around other people's houses. He was impressed with some of the girls' artistic skills. The bathroom was pretty cool, too; it looked like just what you'd need when you have seven teenagers all living in the same house.

He wondered about the richly appointed guest room. Who visited these people?


Last edited by Greg on Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:15 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 12: Location for Cellar Stair


"Where do we put the staircase?" Guillermo asked.

"Hmm... it doesn't say here on the job sheet," the foreman replied. "I'll call Gloria. ... She says that Mrs. Forth left that up to our judgement. Bad idea. We'd better drop the stasis field and ask her. Yo! Crew! Report ready to release stasis!"

"Good here!"

"Yo!"

"No issues."

"I'm good, but let me get over to where I can see the maid when she starts moving again!"

"Go for normal time!"

-- Discontinuity --

Suddenly, the whole construction crew appeared in Sally's living room. Otherwise everything seemed to be perfectly normal.

"Oh you're here!" she said. "You got here fast--"

"We're almost done, ma'am," the foreman said. "We just need to know where to put the cellar stairs."




Lots of room in the living room for the staircase to the basement

Sally blinked. "Well, OK, so, cellar stair, huh? We seem to have a lot of extra space in the living room, so how about running it along that wall where the television is now?"

"That'll work! No problem, ma'am! We'll be done in a jiffy!"

"Why, thank--"

-- Click --


Last edited by Greg on Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:28 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 13: Building the Stair


They moved the furniture back and added a wall...


New Wall for the Enterntainment Center

... and carefully moved all stuff from the old wall to the new one. A bit of paint was all they needed and then they were ready to cut out the opening for the stair.


Moved the Forths' Stuff to the New Wall


Then they had to cut out a run of four tiles, making sure that the fifth one was open in the basement below so that people would be able to descend the staircase without smacking into a wall. The foundation was inset one more tile from the outer wall, so the head of the stairs started six tiles from the wall.



This stair opening had to start six squares away from the outside wall.


"OK men," the foreman said. "Build a stair for Mrs. Forth right here!"


Yup, we're good to go with this location.


After a few minutes of sawing, hammering, sanding, and finishing, the Forths had a beautiful new staircase leading down to their basement...


Stair Complete

...except for one problem...

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:43 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 14: Enclosing and Lighting the Stair


"I don't like the looks of this," the foreman said. "You guys did good work on the staircase, but the view of the basement from here is ugly."

Guillermo bounced on the floor. "It's kinda springy here, too, boss," he said. "We need a load-bearing wall down there."

-- Click --

"--you!" Sally said. "B'b'but... wha-- Hey! You've got the staircase done! How did you do that?"

"PFM, ma'am," the foreman said. "It's what you pay us for. But I have another question. Do you want us to enclose the stair so that you're not looking at those blank concrete walls from the living room? That's already included in the budget but it's not on the work sheet."

"Oh yes, please--"

-- Click --

One of the construction workers muttered, "I gotta get me one of those things to use at home on my wife."

"C'mon guys," the foreman said. "We just have one more little room to build. Make it sturdy."



Enclosure for the basement staircase

"Still ugly," the foreman said. "We got some paint and molding left?"

"Right here," Guillermo said.



Finished Stair Enclosure

"Great!" the foreman said. "We just need to put in the lights for safety, and we're done!"



Lights at both ends of the stairs for safety

-- Click --

"--and thank you again!" Sally said. "Eeek! It's done! Oh, I love it!"

"Thank you, ma'am. That's us, the Pearl Construction Company. Guaranteed, on budget and on time."

"Time? What time?"

"Time for us to get on down the road, ma'am. The Rising Tide wants a new party palace down around Strangetown. It's been a pleasure, ma'am. We appreciate your business."

And with that, they left Sally and her daughters to explore and admire all the new space they had opened up in their shiny new basement.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:59 pm
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How to Add a Basement to an Existing House
Part 15: The End of Sally's Worries?


Touring the basement was fun, but the huge open space provided limited amusement. Sally left most of her daughters to plot and scheme about what they'd do with the new space while she walked around the house to make sure the construction crew hadn't left any junk on her lawn.


Sally Forth's House

As promised, they had cleaned up every nail, nut, bolt, splinter, and particle of sheetrock. There wasn't even a drop of paint spilled anywhere. They even trimmed the hedges! Now that's service!



Sally Forth's House, Back Yard

The back looked as good as the front. Sally was very pleased. She smiled when she saw one of daughters headed for the outdoor john to change into her swimsuit.

She'd been concerned when the kids all grew to been teens, but not any more. The girls would enjoy the extra space, and they'd have a beautiful home where they could develop and explore their teenage years. She still had more than $24,000 in the bank and a great job.

Everything was looking great. Her children were very helpful around the house and doing outstandingly well in school as well as on their jobs. Every last one of them was well on her way getting ready for college, racking up scholarships everywhere you looked; and there wasn't an ugly one in the bunch. She had a great boyfriend who liked her kids and understood the trials of her role as a celebrity chef.

Sally was one happy mother of seven teenage daughters, finally able to relax and enjoy being a parent. Her worries were finally over!





Or were they?


Last edited by Greg on Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

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