Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The root cellar construction
I was thinking that maybe this post and the pics would give someone some helpful ideas if they intend to build a root cellar/storm shelter of their own. And as the old saying goes, sometimes pictures speak louder than words. So I am hoping that will be the case here.
This past spring we decided to build a root cellar in the bank behind our house. It involved a lot of dozer work to make the hole and level place for it to be poured. It was formed and re bar was in place and concrete was poured by a contractor. First the footers, then the walls, next was the roof and last was the floor. The floor was poured on a bed of gravel and the inside floor actually rises above the level of the footer to help prevent water seepage. Then the header over the door and wing walls to hold back soil after covering it over were poured last. After a week or so of curing the forms were removed and the finish work was to begin. At this point the contractor was paid and never returned to finish the job. There were some uneven places that needed to be ground out and some patch work to do. We had to do this our self. Then the hole was drilled for the ventilation pipe and a small hole for wiring for the solar lights that will be installed. Next step was the water proofing sealer that had to be brushed on the outside to make it water tight. Also on the roof we added a layer of felt paper to help prevent water from entering. After the water proofing material dried there was a ditch dug out at the perimeter of the cellar to allow for installation of a drainage pipe to carry water away from the base of the cellar. This pipe had to be placed below the level of the footer so there would be no under ground water sitting above the level of the footers. A layer of gravel was put on top of the pipe and then a layer of hay was put on. The hay will catch sediment from the water seeping down and not clog the drain line over time. Then the dirt was all pushed back in place and smoothed for replanting of grass. I painted the walls of the cellar on the inside for ease of cleaning and ease of disinfecting if the need arises. This cellar is going to be dry on the inside but if we store root crops that need moisture that can be produced with containers of water. Mostly what will be stored in our cellar will be canned foods and things that don't require a lot of humidity. The remainder of the work on the area around the cellar will be mostly cosmetic. Although the front exposed wall will be painted a lighter color the help reflect heat in summer. Also I am intending to plant some kind of vining fruit to help cool the building. Enjoy the pictures, and till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.