storage cellar

Discussion in 'Home Construction and Remodeling' started by Bill C, Aug 5, 2019.

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  1. Aug 5, 2019 #1

    Bill C

    Bill C

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    I want to build an underground storage cellar 9' wide x 14' long x 8' deep.

    Can I dig (with a mini-excavator) and then basically build a shed in the hole? Then build a deck over the top?

    I understand the surrounding earth exerts pressure on the walls. Will simple 2x4 stud wall and plywood siding will be able to withstand the pressure? Are 2x6 studs needed, or even enough?

    Or is it necessary to build cement block walls?
     
  2. Aug 5, 2019 #2

    The Lazy L

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    How many house basements have you seen with wood studs for the foundation?
     
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  3. Aug 5, 2019 #3

    Caribou

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    Research "All Weather Wood Foundations". I'd consider 2X8's. Definitely use pressure treated lumber and plywood. The outside is covered in Visqueen. This is not a water barrier so much as a pathway for the water to work down the wall. A good layer of washed gravel and French drain under the structure is required. Since you plan to bury it you'll need to pay special attention to the roof and ventilation. I'd prefer concrete and doing it once but wood is viable if it is done properly. I learned this process over 30 years ago so do your homework as I'm sure that I left out some important points.
     
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  4. Aug 5, 2019 #4

    Terri9630

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    I just watched a video of a couple that built a root cellar using earth bags.
     
  5. Aug 5, 2019 #5

    Cascadian

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    What is the moisture like. I would consider a cargo container.
     
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  6. Aug 5, 2019 #6

    hiwall

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    I agree and a 20 footer would be reasonably close to your stated size.
     
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  7. Aug 5, 2019 #7

    Patchouli

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    Do you have a video link, @Terri9630 ?
     
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  8. Aug 5, 2019 #8

    Terri9630

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  9. Aug 6, 2019 #9

    Patchouli

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    Your link gave access to part 2 of their finished earthbag root cellar.
    Do you follow them on YT? Ariel briefly mentioned something about their other yt videos in the first one.
    Eric mentioned the cost too.
    I was surprised he wasn't hitting much rock at all, but then I don't know Alaskan soil.
     
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  10. Aug 6, 2019 #10

    Weedygarden

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    This is an idea that has been around for a decade or two. My concern would be moisture and rust. Also, are they built strong enough to handle the side pressure and top weight? Or would there have to be reinforcement? I wonder if there are any videos out there of a cargo container that has buried for more than a decade and how it has held up?
     
  11. Aug 6, 2019 #11

    The Lazy L

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    Cargo containers are not engineered to withstand external lateral pressures.
     
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  12. Aug 6, 2019 #12

    phideaux

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    I have done this 20 years ago.
    I used Black Locust poles, 3/4" treated plywood, post on 12" centers, (6" dia min) for the walls and roof. roof buried 4' deep.
    French drain floors. Covered in visqueen,

    Great storm cellar.

    Anything stored ...rusted, mildewed.
    I only have one warning.
    H U M I D I T Y !!
    Even with good venting and air flow...underground humidity will be your greatest enemy.
    Over time , everything gets mold.


    Jim
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  13. Aug 6, 2019 #13

    Terri9630

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    The video said part 1 when I pulled it up. Oh well. Capture+_2019-08-06-09-42-45-1.png
     
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  14. Aug 6, 2019 #14

    Weedygarden

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    Meerkat, at around 12 minutes in, notice that they are eating lettuce wraps. No idea what the filling is.
     
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  15. Aug 11, 2019 #15

    LadyLocust

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    @Bill C First, what will the space be used for? You said storage, but storage of what? If simply storage space why not above ground. You don't have to answer the questions, but they should be a thought. The first thing I thought was as @phideaux mentioned - moisture. Whatever the purpose of the space, what is/are the optimal condition(s)? Then what is acceptable? Then is it possible to make this work underground? If so, at what cost and requirements? Then with all of that info. gathered, is it practical and feasible? Sorry if this sounds like I'm barading you, it's how my process and research for a project flows. You definitely don't want to go through the amount of work it would take to do such a thing to have it be a waste of time.
     
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  16. Aug 11, 2019 #16

    Weedygarden

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    I have often thought that a cellar, such as a root cellar would be something to have for shelter for many events. A cellar that is built with concrete would be basically fireproof, so a place a person could live in temporarily if a fire took out your home and outbuildings. Concrete would not deteriate like wood or a shipping container. Enough dirt around it would help to be a safe place in case of radiation and would provide some insulation. It could be used as a storm cellar. It could be a bunker of sorts. A deck on top would help to disguise it. There have been articles about cellars with a deck on top.
     
  17. Aug 12, 2019 #17

    Weedygarden

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  18. Aug 12, 2019 #18

    The Lazy L

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    Bill C,

    Are we answering your questions?
     
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  19. Aug 12, 2019 #19

    Weedygarden

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    LOL, I looked back at my posts in this thread. I'm a little ADD, don't you know? Thank you for the reminder!
     
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  20. Aug 12, 2019 #20

    Bill C

    Bill C

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    Yes. Thank you for your shared wisdom. Yes, ventilation sounds like a key point I had not considered.

    Phideaux, good points. This guy states similar ideas, it's hard to navigate but I found 'Treated Wood Basement Walls' on pages 48 - 49 of this book: Architectural Graphic Standards
    By Charles George Ramsey, American Institute of Architects. From this it seems high porosity back fill (gravel) will allow the water to drain to a french drain in the footing,
    and floor joists and ceiling joists will support the walls from caving in. Use pressure treated lumber and stainless steel ($!) fasteners throughout. Wrap the walls with visqueen or the
    roll of new pond liner I just inherited. I like the sand bags idea but it looks like it would take a lot of hours. I'm more of a carpenter anyway.

    I want to hide the storage under the deck for security from thieves. The property is on a ridge in North Georgia so it's in the south with high humidity yet the ground is dry most of the time
    and there's good air flow so the house doesn't have exterior mildew. Probably good size vents, and perhaps a solar powered vent fan, will keep the cellar from getting moldy.
     
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  21. Aug 12, 2019 #21

    phideaux

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    Mold and mildew will be there. I have great ventilation, it is basically dug into the side of a hill , Rocky soil, French drain all around exterior, pitched to drain all water away, conveyer belt 3'x10' ,x 3/4" thick,reinforced covering gravel floor .
    Check valve in vents to prevent any critter from entering.
    Back filled over visqueen, to 4' depth and covered in grass and weeds .
    Within 2-3 months of storing a lot of canned veggies , the lids and rings rusted so bad , I had to throw away most. I never figured out a way to control the underground humidity.
    I even painted the interior walls with mildew, mold preventive paint, it turns black moldy in no time.
    We pretty much abandoned it.
    Good tornado shelter..that's about it...no storage.

    BTW...I'm in West KY.

    Jim
    PS.. not trying to be discouraging, just telling you the facts about underground shelter. We finally went above ground. Best thing I ever did.
     
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  22. Aug 12, 2019 #22

    backlash

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    My grandparents has a root cellar, It was about 8X8. All it was is a hole dug under their screened in porch floor with a trap door, no supports of any kind. It stayed about the same temperature year round.
    I don't remember them having moisture, or mold problems but they lived in a very arid climate. They kept all their home canned food, potatoes, onions, and stuff like that down there. As a kid that place scared the crap out of me. Not much light and felt like a grave.
     
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  23. Aug 13, 2019 #23

    phideaux

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    I remember when I was a boy, my parents and my grandparents had a root cellar under the house also, I do not remember it being so humid either, damp yes. The only difference was that they had the floor of the house as the ceiling, and we're not totally sealed off with dirt for a ceiling. I remember potatoes , onions and veggies, and apples stored in baskets. Also canned goods with no problem.

    Jim
     
  24. Aug 15, 2019 #24

    Weedygarden

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    Mold? This 20 minute video shows some land that is being developed rustically, and a couple minutes in shows a root cellar that was built with earth bags. He shows and tells about the mold problem and what they are doing to try to deal with it.
     
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  25. Aug 15, 2019 #25

    Just Cliff

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    Maybe a bit out of the box....Or in the box. Do some studying on wood boat building. If you want to build with wood you can kind of build it that way with an epoxy coating inside and out. You would have to build it above ground then have it dropped in the hole. You wont have to worry about moisture inside or out.
     
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