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Backyard root cellar

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Backyard root cellar

Postby TopMom » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:54 pm

I live in a small sub-division. I am looking to dig/build a root cellar without my neighborhood knowing. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I am interested in using it for a multi-purpose area for storage and shelter.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby goodoleboy » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:04 am

best way to do that is pour a slab put a shed or something on it then dig out from under it
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby RedHorse_Ronin » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:04 am

Save yourself heartache and expense tough. get the utility company to sweep the area for lines first.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby namwal » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:48 am

If you do a search you can find threads already started on this topic. What ever you do, put safety first I agree check for utility lines and also follow your local codes, it would be a shame to have an improper structure collapse and take out all your preps or hurt or kill someone inside. I also want to do such a project, but won't begin until I am completely satisfied with a plan suited for my soil and region. Good luck, let us know what you come up with.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby TopMom » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:27 pm

Thanks for the help. I have had all utility lines checked. I really like
goodoleboy wrote:best way to do that is pour a slab put a shed or something on it then dig out from under it
Great idea, since I already have a slab in place.
Will keep you informed!
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby nutcase » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:16 am

I am not complete with mine but I have a small one under my home. I had a water line break and I had to dig for it, ok the kids had to dig for it.

We have a concrete floor under the whole house. I have split level home and this is under onside of the split. I removed the bath tub, cut the concrete with a masonary blade for the skill saw. Then went to town, since the soil was all damp from the water leak it was easy digging, until I found the leak (outside incidentally.) It is about 4'X8' right now my wife got nervous and won't let me back in until I put up bracing. I have bigger fish to fry right now so when it cools back down for the winter I can return to it.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby TheLight » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:58 pm

Be careful. Slab is not designed to span a gap. It's designed to rest on supportive ground. You're pushing your luck by doing so. Get an engineer/architect friend to go over your ideas before you risk your house's foundation!
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby PeachOnEarth » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:06 pm

We have an 8x16 Screened/Glassed in back porch and our root cellar which is directly underneath that also 8x16... Two additions in one!... the neighbors will only think your making a back-porch extension!

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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby kappydell » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:13 pm

PeachOnEarth wrote:We have an 8x16 Screened/Glassed in back porch and our root cellar which is directly underneath that also 8x16... Two additions in one!... the neighbors will only think your making a back-porch extension!

POE


Now this is a cool idea. Far better and easier than under the garage, which is what I was thinking, since I have to replace the slab floor there anyway.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby nutcase » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:27 pm

TheLight wrote:Be careful. Slab is not designed to span a gap. It's designed to rest on supportive ground. You're pushing your luck by doing so. Get an engineer/architect friend to go over your ideas before you risk your house's foundation!


My wife put the stop to it until I got said help. I didn't want to say that in my post, but you found me out. needless to say it has been put on the bottom of my to do list.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby TopMom » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:15 am

Thanks for all the information and thanks for
TheLight wrote:Be careful. Slab is not designed to span a gap. It's designed to rest on supportive ground. You're pushing your luck by doing so. Get an engineer/architect friend to go over your ideas before you risk your house's foundation!

I casually brought the subject up to my husband AND he was thrilled that we shared the same thought process! Now to implement " 2 Heads are better than 1"
I will post any updates
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby Snowbird Bev 9 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:27 pm

Boy, do I wish some of you were here to help. Here is my problem.
I have a 2 story, typical Cape Cod style home, with a basement.
Half the house is over half an open basement, and 2 downstairs bedrooms are over a crawlspace.
I want DESPERATELY to make a root cellar/shelter down there.
The open area of the basement is dull, lacks light, is wicked damp, and lots of spiders, and the like. (ECKKKKKKK)
The crawl space, is sand on the top layer (from what I can see)
Do you think, that if i was to dig an opening in the crawl space, removing the dirt by the pailfull, that I could open up that space?
I would have to be able to brace it, as our soil is sandy, and for sure, I do not want the walls collapsing. This is something that would have to be done from the inside. I have very nosey neighbors.

Where in the world do I start? (I am a widow.....and my 2 dogs have no input!)
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby arkieready » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:53 am

I would love to have a root/storm cellar. Other than professionally installed one, I can't think of a way to keep water out when I have a high water table in winter. Pure clay soil & flat as a board. Any ideas?
P!

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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby TheLight » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:27 am

arkieready wrote:I would love to have a root/storm cellar. Other than professionally installed one, I can't think of a way to keep water out when I have a high water table in winter. Pure clay soil & flat as a board. Any ideas?


A high water table isn't a problem as long as you can put in a gravity drain to daylight. You'll have to be on a slope to do it, though. Alternatively, you can build up and create a mound of earth. Neither are easy, but they aren't complicated either. Just a lot of earth-moving!

Snowbird Bev 9 wrote:Boy, do I wish some of you were here to help. Here is my problem.
I have a 2 story, typical Cape Cod style home, with a basement.
Half the house is over half an open basement, and 2 downstairs bedrooms are over a crawlspace.
I want DESPERATELY to make a root cellar/shelter down there.
The open area of the basement is dull, lacks light, is wicked damp, and lots of spiders, and the like. (ECKKKKKKK)
The crawl space, is sand on the top layer (from what I can see)
Do you think, that if i was to dig an opening in the crawl space, removing the dirt by the pailfull, that I could open up that space?
I would have to be able to brace it, as our soil is sandy, and for sure, I do not want the walls collapsing. This is something that would have to be done from the inside. I have very nosey neighbors.


Not sure I completely understand your layout, but here goes... A lot depends on your foundation. If you have piers, it's easier. Coninuous footers are the norm and may be more of an issue. The crawlspace portion could probably be dug out without impacting your foundations too much as long as you did it carefully and lined the pit with a strong wall (CMU, filled with rebar & concrete). Make sure to keep it more in the middle of the room or as far away from external/foundation walls as possible.

The alternative is your open area basement. This sounds like the better option to me, but is probably harder to work. Usually there will be ledge/rock in this area and you'll have to jackhammer it out. Ledge will help support everything and will need less reinforcing.

Either way, you want to talk to an engineer. Foundations are not something to mess with. I consider myself a decently skilled builder, have access to an architect (my lovely SO), and have even jacked up a small house (my BOL) to rebuild a rubble foundation, but I would not tackle a project like this without expert engineering advice.
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Re: Backyard root cellar

Postby arkieready » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:21 pm

TheLight, I would have to build up. No slope. At most,a foot or 2 over 1300 foot. Around here, you can see everyone's cellar. They stick up. Best cellar around is into the foundation of an old poultry house. Built up high.
P!

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