Truck after truck slowly lumbered up our quarter mile driveway to our house, each delivering an integral component for our what will soon be our primary long-term food storage location.
A Cement Truck
First, came the cement truck to pour the footing that will support the whole structure. Despite its subterranean walls, a root cellar requires a good, solid base for its walls. Just like an above ground structure, the heavy load caused by the cinderblocks and roof could cause the ground to settle and compromise the integrity of the walls. A good cement foundation is critical.
A Gravel Truck
Next came the gravel truck. We opted for a gravel floor in the root cellar. It’s 2 feet deep in most places with a channel down the center that’s 4 feet deep. This will allow any excess moisture a place to go. We don’t expect much water to find its way into the cellar, but we’re prepared for it just in case. Our root cellar in located in a place where the soil is such that it takes a while to drain so we expect the gravel floor to help.
A Sand and Block Truck
Two trucks loaded with lots of sand and pallets 8 inch cinderblocks were next to arrive. We choose to use the thicker blocks for additional lateral support. Unlike above ground structures, cellar walls must support a vertical load as well as a lateral pressure for the earth.
While normal-sized blocks would have likely been fine, we’re building this to last a long time. I’d much rather err on the side of a little additional expense and have an extremely solid cellar than risk an eventual cave in.
This winter has had its share of wet weather so construction has taken a bit longer than expected, but we are excited about the progress made so far.