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Old 02-16-2011, 05:32 PM   #31
Clarice
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I envy you guys that can have a underground shelter. Our water table is so high here there is no way we can afford to do what is necessary. Don't know what we will do in case of nuke attack. Pray I never have to find out.



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Old 02-21-2011, 03:37 AM   #32
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I envy you guys that can have a underground shelter. Our water table is so high here there is no way we can afford to do what is necessary. Don't know what we will do in case of nuke attack. Pray I never have to find out.
Well, you can always build a concrete structure above ground (or in ground as far as your water table will permit) and then mound up earth around and on top of it. You see munitions bunkers constructed in this fashion. I agree given the choice I'd go underground, but you got to do what you got to do. You can definitely mound up enough earth for an effective fallout shelter. I like below grade because it is more stealthy, but you can even make an above mounded earth shelter stealthy if you're prepared to move enough earth (basically you end up making your own hill). Expensive unless you've got your own earth moving equipment or have friends and family that do.


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Old 02-21-2011, 04:30 AM   #33
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the group I'm with are experimenting with these above ground and below
after some research, it seems VERY promising, inexpensive and fairly easy

Earthbag Building Index
Green Home Building: Natural Building Techniques: Earthbag

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Old 02-28-2011, 04:08 AM   #34
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the group I'm with are experimenting with these above ground and below
after some research, it seems VERY promising, inexpensive and fairly easy

Earthbag Building Index
Green Home Building: Natural Building Techniques: Earthbag
I read your earthbagbuilding website and it was very interesting. It made me think of something that my grandparents did back in the 1970's in a completely different application.

Back in the 1970's, my grandparents had a very modest lake cabin (a shack almost) on a fairly decent sized lake. They had problems with shore erosion and they decided to build a "seawall". They looked at several different construction techniques, mainly things based on cinder block construction (we had lots of family members who were concrete guys and masons). The problem with a cinder block sea wall is you need to put in a pretty deep foundation otherwise the water will eventually undermine it and the wall will collapse into the water.

About that time, they noticed a sea wall down the lake that seemed to be built out of exceeding regular sized rock. On closer inspection we saw that the rock was concrete in these fairly uniform sized pillow shapes.

We talked to the property owner and he revealed what he had done. When the lake was let down annually he had simply stacked 60lb bags of quikrete into a wall. When the water level was allowed to rise, the water seeped into the bags, and hardened the concrete into interlocking concrete pillows. After awhile the paper bags deteriorated and were washed away. It left a very heavy, very solid, and good looking "rock" wall when finished. Apparently back in the 60's and 70's Quikrete actually had a little "how-to" on how to build a wall in this fashion. The interesting thing was that allowing the concrete to set like this (i.e. concrete powder in a bag with water soaking through) actually produced a much stronger concrete than what you get with traditional methods. Also, according to my memory of the quickrete how-to, this method was not limited to sea walls. You could use it anywhere and simply hose down the stacked bags every day for some number of weeks and get the same results (and in fact, I've seen unopened bags of quickrete left for long periods in damp environments like under a crawl space and indeed it does harden eventually into a very hard bag shaped lump of concrete).

It made me wonder if this technique could be combined with your earthbagging technique. It might be especially useful in areas where good bag fill material is hard to come by (where I live in the southeast most of our soil is almost 100% red clay which is a terrible fill material for earthbagging). Also, one would presume that the hardened concrete bags would be both denser and stronger than an earth filled bag, which would be useful in a fallout shelter situation. I've started to look around the Quickrete website to see if they still have a how-to or whitepaper on this technique, but so far I haven't turned up anything.

I haven't run up any figures on the cost, so that may or may not be an issue.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:26 PM   #35
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I found a white paper on the Quikrete website about the type of wall I'm talking about. Apparently Quikrete now has a specific product for this application called Quikrete Rip Rap. Here's a PDF file on the product:

http://www.quikrete.com/PDFs/Projects/RipRapProjectsAndErosionControl.pdf

You can't easily use the normal bags of Quikrete for this application any more since they now have a plastic liner to keep moisture out. Back in the 1970's this wasn't the case, they were just thick paper bags. The Rip Rap bags does not have this liner.

The cool thing is with this product you can hammer rebar through the bags as you stack them which will will lock everything together when it sets.

Looking on the web, an 80 lbs bag of Quikrete Rip Rap is about $3 per bag if you buy by the pallet, cheaper in larger quantities. 25 bags will build an 8ft long by 2ft high wall (or $75 or less for that much wall). This would be $300 or less for an 8ft by 8ft section of wall. Definitely more expensive than earth filled bags, but it does have some advantages in strength and density, and might be particularly interesting where good fill earth is hard to come by.

I think this kind of wall may need a setback as you build up, so I imagine you might still need a filler material to go inside a double wall built of this material. Something to think about.

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Old 02-28-2011, 05:07 PM   #36
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in one of the "earth Building" sites I read about a guy that actually did use a mix. He didn't give any results as he was still in the construction process.
as to the lakeside beach wall did the water eventually undermine the wall anyways? Or did the neighbor dig down and start 'below grade' ???

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Old 02-28-2011, 06:23 PM   #37
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in one of the "earth Building" sites I read about a guy that actually did use a mix. He didn't give any results as he was still in the construction process.
as to the lakeside beach wall did the water eventually undermine the wall anyways? Or did the neighbor dig down and start 'below grade' ???
We ended up building a wall using this very construction technique in about 1976. As of about 2004 it was still standing. When the lake was let down (it had a power generating dam on it and this was done annually) we did dig about 1 to 2 feet below grade to lay the first course or two of quikrete bags, and we used about a 30 to 40 degree setback into the shore, and we drove rebar into the bags with a sledge hammer. We actually drove the rebar in at about 45 degree angles so that it intersected in an "X" pattern.

So, that wall lasted close to 30 years that I know of and it very well may still stand to this day in a pretty demanding environment. We probably had close to 300' feet of running wall that was perhaps 3' high, maybe a little more. Aside from the weight of the quikcrete sacks, I can't think of an easier construction technique and I know for a fact that nearby cinder block seawalls did not last as long.
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:58 PM   #38
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I have read about earth bag builders using bags of quick mix concrete for foundations, and many "natural" builders add cement to the earthmixes , calling it stabilized earth. you can also fill (pack) tires with earth mixes to build foundations and should be able to dome them with a little planning (like earth bags)


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Old 03-24-2011, 04:53 AM   #39
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I have dreamed of an underground shelter but being underground just does not set well with the Lexxi and I. I guess things change as you get older.
So were doing ours above ground. At least it will keep out the biologicals and the bullets. Were calling it a castle and not a baum shelter.
Sounds better...... We will embelish it on the exterior to actually look like a castle and not have the ominous appearance of an ICBM silo or compound. This is whats called hiding in plain sight. Copied from the British in WWII.
It will also be 8 inches of solid concrete. Even the roof. It will be huge!!! The wife has alot of GF's.
This will be our home.


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Old 06-30-2012, 10:17 PM   #40
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I have a couple of cousins who live in the Texas Panhandle and used to build houses when their farming was over for the year. Since the area is part of Tornado Alley, most homes have some sort of shelter. The technique they used was to dig out the basement walls using either a backhoe or a trencher with a long snout before doing any other construction. They'd then fill the walls with concrete and then lay out the house slab adjacent to the cellar. Before pouring the house slab, they'd dig out the cellar so they could pour the cellar floor at the same time. I don't think they used hydraulic concrete for the walls since they didn't have water table problems, but that's always a possibility. I don't recall exactly how they did the cellar roof, but if the cellar entrance was big enough for a bobcat, I'd pour the roof at the same time I did the walls. Then dig out the dirt and pour the floor.




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