Do you have info on making a cellar or basement?

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by KensWife, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    Have you tried to build your own cellar or basement?

    Any tips?
     
  2. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    Do you mean under a house that's already built, or before you put a house on top of it?

    gotta check the building codes about footer sizes/depth etc.

    are you doing a 'floating slab'? (not sure if that's legal anymore)

    if you don't have any construction knowledge or experience my advice would be to not do it yourself...

    without more details of what you want to do it's pretty hard to give any advice
     

  3. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    Well, we have an existing home - and its on top of a crawl space... I'm thinking about making a basement or cellar - and placing our shed above it to conceal it instead of having a door sticking out of the ground.

    Hummm... I am going to call for a few quotes to see how much it would run.

    Our county does not have any building codes when it comes to that - which is strange, but good for us I guess. :)
     
  4. dilligaf

    dilligaf Well-Known Member

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    your in north carolina and there are no land disturbance codes in your county?? i find that very hard to believe. i think you should check again and make sure..

    we built our own root cellar by hand. my advice,rent a skid loader or pay someone to dig for you..lol
     
  5. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    LOL - I know it's a lot of work...

    Yes, we are in NC - you know, I did call the county two days ago and the lady who answered the phone told me there are no regulations on this- but last night, I wanted to make sure because after I wrote this post I questioned myself. Originally, we are from Michigan - and we had to abide by many codes.

    Someone is supposed to call me back this morning.

     
  6. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

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    Rent a backhoe or digger. Even if there are no codes or permits required it is a good idea to follow building codes. The codes are designed by industry professionals so that the structure will meet MINIMUM standards for durability and safety.

    My province has pretty good building codes and they are published yearly. You can buy the code book at any big box building materials store. Mike Holmes does not like some of the Ontario codes and thinks they are too weak.

    Considering your structure will be there forever it makes sense to "overbuild" it and add in as many features as you can now. It'll cost more to modify it later.

    I'd sit down and do some brainstorming with friends and look at lots of other designs and talk it out for a while. Then you can sit down with an architect / engineer and come up with the best design ever.
     
  7. Merlin

    Merlin Seeker of Knowledge

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    Hi are we to understand it will be under you house?????? with a shed over the door??? or are we talking a separate hole with the shed over it???
    Believe it or not, it makes a lot of difference in building codes and cost. In California going by the building code book witch is similar to the one on the east coast there are codes. now whether your county and city adopt them and enforces them that may be different.. You can get away with a lot more if you dig away from the house there are formulas depth versus distance of ground being disturbed, but there again there's rules about distance from dwelling property lines and under ground utilities and over head utilities also are there easements to be concerned with .. Or are you just going to try to bootleg it in ???? you need to give more info before someone can just jump in and say this is the way to do it... give us all the details and maybe you will get good ideas good luck!!!
     
  8. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    I am talking about building a basement in our back yard and then covering it with a shed or other type of out building.

    There are a couple of reasons I would like it covered... the main one being - we would use the shed/out building... plus I would like the looks of it better.

    Picture something like this,

    [​IMG]

    with a basement under it.
     
  9. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    by the way - we would conform to a code or regulation even if we do not have regulations- we dont want it to cave in on us. LOL
     
  10. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

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    A friend of mine started having plumbing problems last year and decided to check out his crawl space. After a little moving around under the house, he discovered that his house was built in two sections. The first house was built with a rock foundation probably in the late 1800's and was doing fine. However, the other end of the house was sinking into the ground as the floor joists rotted on the ground. He had no foundation on one side of his house; they just laid out the floor on the ground! He's in construction and excavation, so he did what no rational person would do and tore up his kitchen floor so he could have more access and started digging. He started with a fairly small section and added rough-cut 2x8x8s as he went down. Eventually he got to about 6'6" down, then started expanding, hauling all the dirt out by hand in five gallon buckets. I've helped him on a number of occasions and 18 months later, he as the entire north side of his house excavated, he's jacked the house back up with several 15 ton jacks, and put a treated lumber foundation under it. He now has a good sized (~20x16') area dug out and I'm planning on using it as a cache if I ever need to relocate.

    Anyway, the biggest lesson I learned was that origionally he was just planning on going down 3-4', but working bent over was so difficult that it was actually less work to take out more material and go deep enough to stand upright. Make sure you're shoring up regularly to prevent cave-ins. Also, it would probably be a good idea to test the crawl space for radon before you start working down there, as otherwise you may be putting yourself and your family at risk.
     
  11. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

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    If you're going to pour cement I'd make the whole thing including the entrance out of cement. I'd put on a waterproof membrane and cover the entrance with dirt so it looked like a small hill. Kind of like a mini bunker.

    Remember to keep this thing close to your house. You will need to run electrical to it at the very least if you want to have lights down there.
     
  12. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

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    If it's not in or under the house, consider running a 3' culvert to it from the house to give you access without going outside.
     
  13. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

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    The culvert is a good idea.
     
  14. Merlin

    Merlin Seeker of Knowledge

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    Well now how close to the house or other items previously mentioned.?? if you are in the clear are you going to pour concrete ??and will it be a multi pour or is it going to be monolithic pour??? or are you pouring a slab and using cider brick?? and then are you going to pour them?? but basically from a structure you must be 3ft min and then you must know the depth of dig lets say you want 8 ft inside basement top is level with ground you will need to dig 9ft min to pour a 6 inch slab if soil is good and you have compaction this would mean the hole is 9 feet deep so now you have to know how deep your footing is lets say 3 feet below grade you are digging 9 ft min below grade now you must figure from 3 ft below at a 45 degree angle thus you will have to be approx 8-9 ft away min to the side of your hole at bottom there are many more variables allowing you to be closer or making you have to be further so its something you will have to get local contacts who have done it and can come on site.. and teach you or you can read up on it and wing it but either way figure out what you want and draw it up wall and slab thickness re-bar and wire needs moisture barrier for bottom and walls make a if you want radiation protection how much dirt on top or maybe go pre made or drop in a large 10 foot culvert like they use to make bomb shelters in the late 40s and 50s look in the popular mechanics mags of the day they have a complete set of plans of the day including venting and storage . but they need to be modernized and corrected for radiation hey good luck and most of all have fun
     
  15. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    I really like the culvert idea... one of our friends who has a little experience in this will be coming over today to check it out. :)
     
  16. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

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    The most creative uses for a culvert I ever saw was one of my parent's friends house when I was a kid. They had a 50' long x 3' diameter culvert that went out from a room in their basement with a bullet trap at the end of it. They had a modified garage door opener to pull paper targets down range and used it for hand gun training. Cool idea, but now that most gun ranges have had lead contamination issues before the change to fully jacketed bullets, I wonder just how many years they took off their lives from lead poisoning; this was back in the late 70's-early 80's...
     
  17. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    Well, now I have to ask - are they still alive??
     
  18. endurance

    endurance Well-Known Member

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    I don't know for sure. They were my dad's friends and once my folks split, I lost track of the family. However, I just did a google on them and it appears at least the husband is still alive at age 73, so I guess it wasn't that bad....
     
  19. KensWife

    KensWife Member

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    73 is not bad at all! LOL

    You know, I met a lady at the grocery store the other day who was 86 and she was buying cigarettes. LOL - I wanted so badly to ask her if she was buying them for herself...
     
  20. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    My Grandpa smoked in his 80's as well.