How to Build a Concrete Root Cellar

Posted by on December 7, 2017 12:59 pm
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I should have been a mole ” it feels so safe and cool and quiet to be underground. So when my house burned down 20 years ago and the backhoe man was on site digging new holes for foundation footings, I asked him to dig a 12x16x8-foot deep hole in the ground so I could build a large fire-resistant root cellar. I planned on using it mainly for storing all my photographs, negatives, CDs, videos, and 70 photo albums ” from a lifetime of photography and videography. But it could also be used for a bomb shelter, hurricane safe-place, food storage room, or anything else a fellow mole might need ” customized accordingly.

In our county, we can build a structure under 200 square feet without a permit (but no plumbing and wiring) so I started to research underground construction. I have a tendency to build everything even sturdier than code would require so I was determined that this cellar would be safe and sound and overbuilt like all my other projects.
I first contemplated using pressure-treated lumber and treated plywood so I could work alone at a snail’s pace, but quickly changed my mind to using concrete instead, and got my good-natured boyfriend Kirt involved to help every step of the way. We were a team!

Because we wouldn’t have to pay for any manual labor, I researched prices, and estimated that the cost of the dig, plus the materials and concrete, would total about $5,000 ” not bad for a permanent and useful “Room-Without-A-View.”

by Dorothy Ainsworth / Backwoods Home Magazine

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