• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

underground earthbags.  RSS feed

 
David Mcgowan Hicks
Posts: 33
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does anyone have any experience with building earthbag domes in big holes and then burying them? Looking to construct a cellar for wine and for curing prosciutto.
 
Rob Ketel
Posts: 27
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been looking into this for a root cellar, and from my research, mix your earth 3/4 earth and 1/4 portland cement. This will be a little expensive, but it will cure and give your structure a lot of strength. I don't know how deep you would be able to bury this, but it should be able to hold at least 2 to 3 feet of soil. Before you bury it, don't forget to lay down a layer of plastic or bury it 1 foot deep with dry soil as an insulating layer and then bury it 2 to 3 feet deeper.
 
dez mouth
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i have built approximatly 90cm below ground built onto natural clay with a (visqueen) plastic sheeting on the outer side and running into the property . the only issiue that i found was the water. something similar to a french drain and either a submersibile pump or hand pump alrarmed to a level sensor have resolved this.
 
steve jones
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
dez mouth wrote:i have built approximatly 90cm below ground built onto natural clay with a (visqueen) plastic sheeting on the outer side and running into the property . the only issiue that i found was the water. something similar to a french drain and either a submersibile pump or hand pump alrarmed to a level sensor have resolved this.


what sort of "roofing" did you use before you buried it. thanks.
 
uma kirkwood
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a cool cold pantry that Owen did with a living roof: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-an-Earthbag-Dome/
 
dez mouth
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
steve jones wrote:
dez mouth wrote:i have built approximatly 90cm below ground built onto natural clay with a (visqueen) plastic sheeting on the outer side and running into the property . the only issiue that i found was the water. something similar to a french drain and either a submersibile pump or hand pump alrarmed to a level sensor have resolved this.


what sort of "roofing" did you use before you buried it. thanks.


hi steve, sorry for the late reply man.. i have built just inside uk regulations so to achieve what i was after i built down beofre building up. max cap 250cm. ive now got a full grassed roof all salvaged from unwanted oak flooring & business' materials that they would have to pay to be removed. i will get a pic on here soon. but with regards to my building style i luckily had a small submerible pump that i was able to use every time the unit starting resmbling too much of a swimming pool! .. if it is that you are wanting to stop the water coming in whilst building then without knowing the climate and annual expectant downfalls ect it would be very difficult to gauge the type of overhang you would require to achieve a dry uneventful dig !! haha il post my pics asap
 
Bill Bianchi
Posts: 227
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If I wanted to build a cellar completely in the ground, could I do it with earth bags?

Dig out the cellar, Iine it with a pond liner, build the inner walls (inside the liner) with earth bags, top it with a waterproof living roof? Would that make it waterproof and would the walls hold back the dirt so it wouldn't cave in?

Okay, tell me how dangerous/goofy this idea is and why, please? Are there any precautions to reduce the risk, or would this just be unworkable? Would it be waterproof or would water still seep in from the surrounding dirt somehow? Can a waterproof, living roof even be made to cover this hole?

I'm not going to try this or anything. I like to occupy my little brain by trying to figure out better ways to accomplish things, or inventing different things. Lots of times, these things have no practical use what-so-ever. I wondered if a durable cellar could be built using minimal materials. (with little wood used, termites wouldnt be a problem, at least.) Using the dirt that comes out of the hole to build the inner walls seemed like a way to reduce the building materials one would need to purchase and transport. Earth bags seem economical and the dirt to fill them should be, well, dirt cheap.

As for the living roof over this (possibly) waterproof hole in the ground, I'm not sure. Guess the bigger it is, the more difficult that would be. I like the idea of a hidden room as much as the next Batman fan, hence the living roof to blend with the ground, once the grass grew on it.

The idea occurred to me when I saw a manmade pond. I know the water keeps the sides from caving in. I wondered if earth bag walls around the sides from the bottom to the top would keep the hole from caving in. If so, then it would need a waterproof roof and an entry door to complete the cellar/ tornado shelter/bunker---whatever.

Possible or not? Good idea or not? Insanely dangerous? Don't worry, I won't be offended if it isn't doable. After all, I'm not an engineer or builder by trade. It's just an idea to run by those more knowledgable than I am to satisfy my curiosity about it.

 
uma kirkwood
Posts: 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kelly Hart has a q/a on his site that might help answer some of your questions. From my research over the years, I would say "yep" to all to your questions, but I'm not the one to ask Here's Kelly's cool pantry page: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/storefood/pantry.htm

 
Bill Bianchi
Posts: 227
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Uma. I sent him an email.. If he answers, I'll share whatever he has to say about this. Unless he calls me an idiot, in which case I'll censor his response.

He's using earth bag construction on things like dams, cisterns, and even swimming pools. If anyone knows about earth bag construction, it's him.

In-ground structures are pretty expensive, to me at least. This method would reduce the construction cost quite a bit, if it's viable or possible. Fewer building materials transported in, less dirt transported away.
 
Bill Bianchi
Posts: 227
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All right, this idea is sound. An in-ground structure can indeed be built using earth bags as the walls. Here is a link that shows an in-ground storm shelter/root cellar project from beginning to end, built with earth bags.

He did not use a pond liner, but put a vapor barrier on it a little differently than my original idea.

http://www.whenshtf.com/threads/14369-Underground-shelter-earth-bag

There are lots of pages, so you'll be a while reading. I see no reason a home could not be built using this method.

If it were me trying to do this real cheap, I'd build a very big in-ground garage into the side of a hill, using earth bag construction. I say big because I'd like some room to stretch my legs without having to go outside. To make it my home, I'd park a few RV pull trailers inside. Viola, home sweet home with all the necessary comforts. Portable, too, if you want to take your home with you on vacation, though you lose the benefits of living under ground until you get home again. Install a septic system, methane digester, solar panels, well, and a RMH and call it good for extended stays without having to take the RV out to dump the dirty tank and refill the fresh water tank. Since only the RV's inside would need to be heated or air conditioned, only slightly if at all, energy consumption should be minimal.
That is my idea of a comfortable, low cost retirement.

Low cost housing does seem possible, if you're willing to work hard and be creative.
 
dez mouth
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hi bill . with regarrds to your cellar idea.. i know 100% that the initial part of your plan will hold back the water and the bags will stay if using the barbed wire in between each line of sacks. Another extra safety precaution can be to insert metal spiked rods all the way through the centres of each stack of sacks and into the ground for extra peice of mind. The issue I personally had was that the water will still creep from under these sacks as it searches for its lowest point. sollution Sumberible pump.
 
Bill Bianchi
Posts: 227
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Water from where, the surrounding ground or condensation?
Will the pond liner allow water to leak in, maybe due to the spikes driven through it & into the dirt? Or, are you saying moisture in the air will condense inside the structure?

Water in the shelter, that's great!!! We've got to use that asset.

If there were some way to filter or pasteurize that water to drinking quality, the leakage would become a huge asset, rather than a problem. This is water that shows up for free sans a well or rain catch system. Me, I think that would be a great asset for a source of water, especially if trying to live off the grid.

The pump would work, I think. I just hate to waste the water if it can be used for something useful, like drinking or irrigation.

Wonder how reliable the water collection would be on a yearly basis. Could we pump it to a simple sand/charcoal filter, then into a cistern?

Permaculture is supposed to make so-called problems blend into and work to support a larger system. Free water collection would be an awesome boon from a structure like this!
 
Evil is afoot. But this tiny ad is just an ad:
30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge eBook by Sergei Boutenko
https://permies.com/t/72418/digital-market/digital-market/Day-Green-Smoothie-Challenge-eBook
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!