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Pouring the Foundation of the Root Cellar

February 23, 2012

Root Cellar

the foundation of our root cellar

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.

another view of the root cellar

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.

pallets of blocks for the walls

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.

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11 Comments on “Pouring the Foundation of the Root Cellar”

  1. Beck Says:

    Can’t wait to see it. Hope it is finished when I come up there in June.

    Reply

  2. Laura Says:

    It occurred to me looking at the pictures that it’s hard to see the concrete. It had rained between the pouring of the concrete and the taking of the picture, so muddy water had washed over the cement and then evaporated/run off. The rectangle the blocks are sitting on is the foundation.

    There is additional space around that to allow the contractors to get in the hole to seal the outside of the blocks and attach the vent pipes.

    That notch in the dirt in one corner is where a trench had been put in to run an additional drainage pipe (the black pipe you see coiled in the last picture). It’s also the same place where a water line will be brought up to the root cellar and future building on top.

    Reply

  3. Jarhead Survivor Says:

    That looks like quite a project. Can you give us a ballpark figure on how much it cost when you’re done?

    How’s the family?

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      You bet, Jarhead!

      We’re good. Learned a few weeks ago that our newest addition will be a girl in June, God willing.

      Thanks. You? How is the Mrs. and recruits?

      Joe

      Reply

      • jarheadsurvivor Says:

        Congrats on the little girl! I’m sure she’ll be a welcome addition to the family! My little fire team is doing just fine. As a matter of fact we went out today and bought a new (used) minivan for us and all the gear we seem to somehow lug around everywhere we go.

        Reply

  4. 101st Airborne Division Says:

    Great progress! Keeps raining here in TN. Of course, still saving – hoping to have enough in the next few months….Q: Will you cover the walls and maybe some of the outside lawn/grass/field with 6 mill plastic? Q: The black pipe is great – Marine buddy turned builder keeps screaming at me “french drain”….did you look into that? Q: The stairs you’ve built are way cool….did you use flat rock? and will the bunker…sorry, root cellar have 2 doors to match the stairs? or 2 doors 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom – the entrance is what has always baffled me. Thanks for the postings.

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      Thanks 101st! We’ll definitely keep posting as we progress. (Actually we’re nearly done with it now but I’m a bit behind on getting the pictures posted to the site.)

      Q: Will you cover the walls and maybe some of the outside lawn/grass/field with 6 mill plastic?
      A: On the outside of the blocks, we added a sealant to help keep the water out. We want a certain amount of moisture in there but we definitely don’t want a swimming pool.

      Q: The black pipe is great – Marine buddy turned builder keeps screaming at me “french drain”….did you look into that?
      A: That was definitely an option. And I’ve known others who have used that technique with success. In this case, we went with what our contractor recommended.

      Q: The stairs you’ve built are way cool….did you use flat rock?
      A: We’ll actually what you are seeing there is the foundation for some concrete stairs. Flagstone would have been way cool, though.

      Q: and will the bunker…sorry, root cellar have 2 doors to match the stairs? or 2 doors 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom – the entrance is what has always baffled me.
      A: It appears to be two separate stairs, but it’s the foundation for one set of concrete stairs. We will have two doors though. A steel door at the top and one at the bottom. The top one will be part of an outbuilding and will open to the top of the stairs; the bottom will lead into the cellar itself.

      Hope that makes sense. More pictures coming soon to the web site.

      Would love to hear how your’s comes along.

      Joe

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Building the Walls of the Root Cellar | PreppingToSurvive.com - March 15, 2012

    […] Pouring the Foundation of the Root Cellar […]

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