JEFF KINDER'S BASEMENT ARCADE
September 26, 2006

FROM THIS TO THIS

NOTE:  If you are not interested in pictures of the transformation from one to the other, then scroll to the bottom of this page.

INTRODUCTION

The house was purchased in May of 2004.  It had a decent sized basement with outside access to the basement.  The only problem was with the stairway leading to the basement.  From the kitchen, it had a couple of steps to a landing, then a few more steps to the basement.  The door to the back yard was on the landing.  This was the perfect spot to bring the games in, but it was too sharp of a turn to make with a game, and also the top section of steps "landed" in the middle of the landing (see below), which partially blocked the doorway.  This was a bit odd and made it pretty much impossible to get games into the basement with a hand-truck.  The plan was to move the top steps back to have them "land" at the edge of the landing rather than in the middle of the landing, and also to change the configuration of the lower section of steps so it would be a straight run thru from outside the doorway and down the steps.

Sound like an easy task?  My father and I thought it would be fun so we decided to take it on ourselves!  The tricky part is that stairs are usually stacked on top of each other, so this means what ever changes from the basement to the first floor would also have to change from the first floor to the second floor as well.  LET THE FUN BEGIN!

Basement on Day 1.

Stairs from Kitchen to
basement.

Closer look of the
odd landing.



PHASE 1:  STEPS ON LANDING

First thing was to gut the stairway and get those upper steps to land on the edge of the landing.  We had to keep the same number of steps leading into the kitchen, so the only way to do this was to cut the doorway out of the kitchen and cut the kitchen floor back about 16 inches.

Removing the plaster walls
in the stairway.
Kitchen
doorway
removed.
Partially
reframed
kitchen doorway.
Top steps now out of the
way of the door.


PHASE 2:  ALTERING OF LOWER BASEMENT STEPS / REMOVAL OF 1st - 2nd FLOOR STAIRWAY

We decided that we were going to keep the existing landing and just alter the direction of the lower portion of the steps so games could be brought in from outside and straight down the stairs.  Unfortunately the stairs from the 1st to 2nd floor were over the stairs from the basement to the 1st floor, so any changes that we made with the stairs from the basement to the first floor, would have to also be made for the stairs from the first to second floor.  Confused yet? :)  Strangely enough, the location of the existing stairs from the first floor to the second floor was in one of the bedrooms. (yes, you had to walk thru a bedroom to get to the 2nd floor of the house.)  So this bedroom was now going to be cut in half.  Part of it would be converted into a new Den and the other part would be converted into an extension of the hallway leading directly into a new flight of stairs to the second floor.

Current basement steps
with top steps out of
the way of the outside door.

Bedroom with doorway
leading to 2nd floor.
In Bedroom looking back
at the hallway leading
into the bedroom.
     

Down come the plaster walls. Walls fully opened revealing
staircase to 2nd floor.
(and partially
revealing the stairs below with the
outside door for basement access)
Staircase to 2nd floor
removed.
       
New landing to 2nd floor
being installed.
Floor being
prepped to
be cut out.
 Area of first floor cut out to allow
for head clearance of new basement steps.
     
 New basement steps being installed and framing for
future laundry room (left side of steps).  The hot
water heater and boiler were removed and will
be relocated due to conflict with new stairs.
Looking down
from Kitchen.
The floor on the 2nd floor
cut and re-supported and
new stringers from landing
to the 2nd floor installed.
Doorway for new Den
framed (left) and
future stairway to
2nd floor.
       
Temporary "steps"
installed
on stringers.
New oak treads and
risers being installed.
New stairs installed
Walls being sheet rocked.
Walls primed. Walls painted, doors hung. Steps sanded and stained
Hallway complete.
           
Standing in new Den
(old bedroom) looking
at new staircase.
Walls
sheet rocked
and spackled.
Walls primed. Walls painted. New carpet and furniture.
Den complete.
 

PHASE 3:  REMOVAL OF BASEMENT FLOOR

Now that most of the work upstairs was complete, I could concentrate on the basement.  The basement floor was in very poor shape.  It was cracked, uneven, raising, sinking, etc,. etc., etc.  It was in no condition for tiling or carpeting.  We decided to chop out the entire basement floor (860 s.f.) and have it re-poured.  Since I never had any experience with concrete, we decided to hire a mason to do the pour.  A problem arose when we started chopping the floor and found out that there was only 1 inch of concrete.  The mason doing the pour said they were going to pour 5" of new concrete.  So the entire basement had to be dug out by hand 4 inches deeper to allow for the new concrete floor to stay at the existing grade.  **The reason it had to stay at the existing grade is because we had already built our supporting walls and staircase... if the basement grade went higher, the bottom step would only be a couple inches high, resulting in a serious tripping hazard.

Original basement before
stairs were altered.
Basement looking
at opposite corner.
Floor being
Chopped out.
Taking a break
from breaking
the floor up.
       
Basement floor chopped and grade lowered 5". New basement floor being sealed the day after the pour.
 

PHASE 4:  INCREASING ELECTRICAL SERVICE

The existing electrical service was a 100amp service with a 16 breaker panel.  This was definitely not going to be enough considering that the panel was filled already.  We decided to upgrade to a 200 amp service and install a 40 breaker panel to handle the additional electrical requirements.  Since the walls were open in many places upstairs I decided to run cable, data, and phone to every room as well.

Existing panel. New panel installed with
temp feed.  Runs for cable,
data, & phone lines.
Low voltage panel installed
for cable, data,
& phone lines.
     
 
Electrical service & low voltage panel complete.  
 

PHASE 5:  FRAMING WALLS FOR NEW LAUNDRY ROOM AND NEW SHOP/STORAGE

The old basement had no framed walls.  The washer, dryer, hot water heater, and boiler were all out in the open.  The hot water heater and boiler were also in the way of the new staircase leading into the basement.  This needed to be addressed so one side of the new staircase would become the new Laundry Room and the other side would become the new Shop/Storage Room.  The old hot water heater and boiler were removed and new units were installed in the new shop/storage to avoid the conflict with the new stairs.

Measuring for new
Shop/Storage Room wall.
Shop/Storage
walls framed.
Laundry room
walls framed.
Wall framing complete.
       
Walls sheet rocked and spackled. Walls primed.

New walls from Kitchen to landing and landing to basement sheet rocked, spackled, primed, painted, and carpeted.

 

PHASE 6:  PREP, PAINT, AND CARPET BASEMENT

We were reaching the final phase of this project.  The ceiling height is about 6'-7" so it was too low to do a drop ceiling.  The only option to make it look good was to paint the exposed ceiling black which would effectively hide all of the wires, pipes, and beams.  Many bars and clubs do the same thing.  Its a cost effective way to finish the ceiling.  I did it because I didn't have many other options due to my height restrictions.

 
Scraping concrete that
was spattered on the walls
during the pour.
Basement walls primed. Rented a high volume sprayer
to paint the ceiling. Getting
the floor ready for temp
protection from over-spray.
 
       
Ceiling shot black covering over all new and
existing plumbing pipes and electrical wiring.
Plumbing waste pipes shot blue.
       
Walls being painted. Painting complete, installing wall and door trim.
       

Basement floors and lally columns carpeted.  Installed 44 receptacles on 8 dedicated
20amp circuits.  Also installed new high-hat lighting.

PHASE 7:  THEME LIGHTING, MUSIC, GAMES!

For the final phase of my project I installed 4 speakers up in-between the joists which play all 80's music and the "Arcade Ambience" sound effect files that I downloaded from Andy Hofle's website.  The arcade ambience REALLY adds to the atmosphere when all the games are on.  I also installed continuous blue and purple rope lighting along the ceiling in a pattern similar to the neon lights in the Arcade84 video.  If you've never seen this video, definitely check that site out and download it.

PROJECT COMPLETE!

So that's pretty much the story of my basement arcade.  While all this was going on, we were also gutting and renovating the kitchen, bathroom, and the rest of the house.  The entire renovation of the house was a huge project, but well worth it.  Any questions or comments, feel free to email me


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