walk out basements


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im trying to draw up my walk out basement and have a stepped stem wall on the sides and a 4-0 foundation wall below grade and frame wood walls above the 4-0 foundation wall to match the front wall just not sure how. any help would be great.i'm using home designer pro 2012 and im thinking about buying chief architect. i tried to do the same thing on a trial version and no luck also

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perhaps post some pics of what is going on as I can't quite figure out from your description what the problem is ....

The front wall is likely only a ground beam or perhaps a 6-12" stemwall with framed wall above or similar , you should be able to change its height in elevation view >select wall, use top edit handle and pull it down.


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front stem wall is 8-0 tall in fact all the walls around my basement are 8-0 tall . i'm trying to draw a raised bunglow with a walkout.

the grade in the front down 4-0 and the back grade is down 8-0. the problem is i need the back foudation wall to below frost . the how to videos don't explain how to do this on a walk out. the back wall doesn't need to be concrete that is above grade i would like to frame it with 2x6 . i would post pics of my plan just not sure how

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from a 3d view go to file>export>jpg or png and save where you can find it (desktop?) you can double click the jpg to see if it opens and shows what you want, you can even add text in "Paint" or arrows etc if needed before you post.


then goto to "more reply options " ( next to post button) to do your reply and attach the  files.



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To do this, you need to change the floor level designations of your house plan.  The main house floor needs to become floor level 2, and the main basement will become level 1.
This allows you to build a 48" height foundation level 0 below the new level 1 basement.
You need to start from scratch in a new plan. OR  if you have already done extensive work in the old plan, you need to study how to use the 'edit area' tool located in the toolbar under Edit.
This can be used to 'copy/paste hold position'  an ENTIRE floor to a new plan, thereby making the basement the new floor level 1, and keeping the work you already did to those floors.

NEW PLAN (with new level 1 basement created):
Open the 3d full overview, and tile the window vertically so that you can see what is changing as you work in the 2d window.

LEVEL 1 (the new basement level):
     Open the floor 1 room spec structure tab and set the finished ceiling height to 96".
     The 2 side walls need to be pony walls.  In the pony wall spec box / foundation tab, check 'specify foundation.'  Uncheck 'footers'.
      In the 'wall type' tab, choose the lower wall type that you want to display.

BUILD the foundation (level 0).
      When the default build room box pops up. change the height to 48".

To step the bottom of the foundation side walls:
 LEVEL 0:  
      Draw  walls in level 0 to create rooms (which allow you to manipulate floor height).
      In the top room spec (front wall) I set the stem wall to 6".
      In the bottom room (walkout wall) spec the stem wall should be 48".
      Do the same to the other 2 rooms (or how many you have) so that you have evenly raised 'steps'.

 Create the terrain perimeter.
     Select and open the terrain and uncheck 'flatten pad' and 'auto calculate elevation'.
     Under the toolbar terrain, go to 'elevation data/ flat region'.   Draw out a flat region that covers from the top terrain line, to just inside the front house wall.
     Open the flat region spec box and set the elevation to about 60".  This setting appears to expose about 4' of the front wall foundation.

     Draw another 'flat region' from just inside the walkout wall to the bottom line of the terrain.  Open this and set the elevation to about 10".  
     This seems to set the ground to an appropriate step down height from the walk out wall.  
     You should now have a nice slope from front to back, exposing the walkout wall.

Create the pony wall steps that show above the sloping terrain
LEVEL 1  (the main basement):
     Put wall breaks on the side walls where the invisible walls (below) intersect them (floor reference display tool ON).  
     In the 3d active window, (OR a cross section elevation view)  select a section of the wall.  
     Hit the tab key on your keyboard to split the pony wall.   You can now grab a handle and pull the bottom half of the wall up.
     Do this with each section until it looks correctly 'stepped '.   


Hope this helps!  :)





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I haven't played around with this yet myself , but wanted to say that PRO should have the option to INSERT/DELETE a floor if needed under BUILD>FLOOR>INSERT FLOOR.

Do A "SAVE AS" of the plan with another name/number and "play" on it , not your original file.


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I checked the knowledge base to see that option (insert floor) for Pro.  It sounds as if it might work, thereby avoiding all the new plan copy/paste hassle! 


What are you waiting for?!  Get cracking and let us know if that actually works!!!   :o

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but I don't have a floor I need to delete :) not that I haven't used that rescue button a time or two in the past :)

Actually I don't usually do Walkouts , but I don't use your / the floor reassignment method, but there maybe good reasons to do so ?

I usually just build the foundation with the Stem Wall minimum height at whatever the Maximum measurement is , in this case ,with floor 48" above ground and needing a 96" basement plus 3-4inches for good measure eg 147 1/2 inches ( easy as my default is 27 1/2" min) and once built I change the FINISHED CEILING height to 96" for the correct floor height in the basement.

I'd then do the terrain so that I have it in section views to measure off (conc. 4ft below, siding 8" above terrain line)

I can then manipulate the footing and walls in back-clipped section view using the BREAK LINE tool ( note: single click on icon works diff. from double click on icon)

If needed as in this case , I edit the Basement foundation walls to be 8" thick siding Pony walls to match thickness of Conc. Stem walls ( set pony wall default height 1st to 36" in this case on Defaults>walls>ponywall) which lets me manipulate the siding on the wall to follow the terrain ,followed by the conc. walls. The footing usually follows the wall up auto. but when you are done stepping it , select it and >open object and check the box vertical footing , so the footing thickness builds up and down at the steps as well.

When using ponywalls in the basement , you will see the conc. steps on the inside too ,but this is easily covered as if you paint a pony wall the whole ponywall gets painted , so I take the eye dropper tool in a 3D interior view and click it on the upper drywall area ,it turns to paint roller ,touch concrete and click ok to the error message and all the walls get painted as drywall.

No Pics , no proof right :) here ya go.... PS nice new Avatar :)


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Geez!   You went all-out!  *NICE!*

So, you are saying that you can manipulate the ponywall footing height (the step) while keeping the interior floor correct, with Pro?   HDA10 wouldn't let me do that, because I did try.  :(

HDA10 doesn't have vertical footers either.  Those look nice.  I would have to do a work-around to simulate that.


Where's YOUR avatar??? :huh:

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Yes the wall is independent of the Floor Slab  (the slab is 4ft above it), after I set the Room height to 90-96-100" what ever I need, before I go to the cross section view to do the steps in the foundation.


I have never used the basement as floor 1 , what are the benefits ? reason for doing this?............. maybe a situation I haven't come across?


yes I had HDA9 and seem to remember that issue...I just used a CAD BOX with the fill set to concrete to make it look right.


2015 finally has multi Monitor so I may finally upgrade , was hoping there'd be a "sale" on with the new release but still the same $200 rebate for us Ver.10 users. If you haven't noticed yet as I thought ALL version 10 content on the website disappeared yesterday with the upgraded website....


yep need to find an Avatar ,where'd you get yours?





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I originally did the basement with 12' walls and set the ceiling to 8'.  But the only way to step the footing (with HDA10) was to make rooms, to be able to alter each stem wall height (below the slab).
However, those 'rooms' wreaked havoc on any attempt to divide the basement up into any other desired room arrangement.

Then I followed your chieftalk link, and got the idea from that thread to reassign the room level so that a seperate 4' basement could be added below the real basement.  The 'rooms' down below don't affect the real basement above, and the 'room' walls don't show in the real basement 2d plan.

Yep.  I saw your previous post about the version 10 content going away, so I made sure that I had everything I wanted.  

I don't remember where I got the avatar because it was quite a while ago.  It is really an animated GIF, and when displayed as such, her eyes blink and she scrunches her lips!
You really need to find an avatar soon, because you look really colorless!



Yep...I am more radiant than I realized!

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@ JoAnn ,I don't see the avatar being animated ,though it does appear you are blowing Rich a Kiss :) or was it a raspberry ?

Time to break out the Credit card Jo , you need the new version, not sure how you'll spend all your extra time though as there'll only be 1/2 the number of "workarounds" for you to deal with....

Okay I can see why you with HDA10 use the "extra basement" method , though aren't sure why Chiefer's are ? esp. since it appeared over there that he had problems printing/sending to Layout with two basement levels.... should recheck that thread myself I guess....


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thanks fop your guys help i got the foundation stepped i just had to add a couple invisable walls and then i could change the stem wall heights and not change any thing else. just trying to figure out step the pony walls on the side and make the sideing follow the terrain?



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it is usually on the toolbar at the bottom of the window BUT only appears when there is a line to break ,it looks like a small backwards Z or lighting bolt perhaps? looks similar to wall break tool icon but only has lines either side of the -Z-

draw a cad line anywhere ,select it and it should be one of the options on the edit toolbar,( or RC menu) then you'll know what to look for....


Back ..made a small pic to help..... under the arrow near the toolbar, should of done that 1st and saved myself all the typing :)


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