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Old 02-27-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default root cellars in Texas

It seems that in almost every root cellar discussion someone mentions they can't have one because they live in Texas. Is this true and why? I am moving to the San Angelo area and would like to build one. I was wondering if this is myth. Thank you



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Old 02-27-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
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It seems that in almost every root cellar discussion someone mentions they can't have one because they live in Texas. Is this true and why? I am moving to the San Angelo area and would like to build one. I was wondering if this is myth. Thank you
Heat and humidity. Terrible combination.


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Old 02-27-2013, 08:19 PM   #3
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Heat and humidity. Terrible combination.
What about them though? That's why you can't have a root cellar?

It's not hot under ground and humidity is your friend for a root cellar.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:32 PM   #4
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My area is high water tables and ???????
There are no basements from Houston to the Valley. North of us, I don't know.

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Old 02-27-2013, 08:55 PM   #5
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Not many basements in East Texas, but there is no reason you couldn't build a root cellar. There are many underground storm cellars all over the state. However, I would use concrete, seal it well, and provide powered ventilation. And don't place it in a low spot, as torrential rains are common here in summer.

Long, hot summers will heat the soil much deeper than in northern states, so you won't have as much natural cooling as is desireable.

One final comment. We have nearly every poisonous critter in the country somewhere in our state, and they love to find cool places during the hot months. I've seen scorpions squeeze under a door that has full weatherstripping around it, and I once found a 15" copperhead slithering down a hallway in the house. I have no idea how he got in, but he found a way...big mistake for him! A blindsnake also found his way in, but he was probably small enough to squeeze by the weatherstripping.

The new house we just built has a concrete "safe room" in the center of the house that functions as a storm cellar and pantry. It's isolated from the central heat and air, but attached to the slab, so it should be cooler than the rest of the house, and it has no opening to the outside that might invite unwelcome visitors to cool off.

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Old 02-27-2013, 08:59 PM   #6
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Thank you for making this thread, I just asked the question in another one and then saw it asked in another one yet.
I posted this in the other thread but anyways, a root cellar does NOT need to be below ground level. Even in places where digging was easy many root cellars were constructed above ground for various reasons, the main one being water table issues imo. To build one above ground requires a lot of material but the work very well.

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Old 02-27-2013, 09:10 PM   #7
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Clay soils that expand and contract. Texans have a hard time with foundations cracking because of it. When its been dry you can see the ground crack and see quite deep down into the ground. High water table in some places and lime stone bedrock close to the surface.

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Old 02-27-2013, 09:13 PM   #8
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Hardly anyone in Texas has a basement due to the soil conditions Catsraven mentioned. That being said, my grandparents and great-grandparents built root cellars/ storm cellars on their land. Both are still there and in decent shape after close to 100 years but they are FULL of black widows and scorpions.


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Old 02-27-2013, 09:54 PM   #9
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It seems to be a matter of it being difficult to construct a below ground structure for various reasons, obviously it is possible but not easy. Also you will not reach as cool a temperature as more temperate climates, still much cooler in the summer and a stable temperature. None of the problems mentioned with below ground construction relate to above ground root cellars though.
For what it's worth it is not very easy to build a root cellar this far north either, frost line can go down past 6 feet


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Old 02-27-2013, 11:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboyhermit View Post
It seems to be a matter of it being difficult to construct a below ground structure for various reasons, obviously it is possible but not easy. Also you will not reach as cool a temperature as more temperate climates, still much cooler in the summer and a stable temperature. None of the problems mentioned with below ground construction relate to above ground root cellars though.
For what it's worth it is not very easy to build a root cellar this far north either, frost line can go down past 6 feet
I know what you mean Cowboy. Frost line around here can go down up to 400 feet. (Not a typo)


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