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Adding under a pre-existing home  RSS feed

 
Posts: 6
Location: Missoula, Montana
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Has anyone here tried to add a small basement or rootceller under their home? If so how did you do it, what was easy about it and what was hard?
 
Posts: 12
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What size is your house now? Cement or wood floor? How big do you want the downstairs to be? It is hard and dangerous if you dont do it right. Your house could collapse if you dont support it right when you are digging. It can be done but go cautiously.
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It is NOT something to mess with unless you know exactly what you are doing or you may be digging your own grave. Seriously.

Depending on the existing foundation and ground type, it can range from simple dig and carry the buckets out to fully lift the house on mover's beams and build a new basement underneath.



 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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you could hire a house mover to jack up your house onto some steel beams and then dig out the basement..or move it off and dig the basement and then move it back on...might cost more but would be safest way to do it.
 
Sheila Nyomo
Posts: 6
Location: Missoula, Montana
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I think I will talk to my nieghbors about how they did theirs. I wouldn't be going very far under the house, just enough to have a rootceller.
 
Posts: 112
Location: Groton, CT
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If you want to do it legally, you are required to get a structural engineering report to apply for a permit. The bad thing is that it costs money, the good thing is that you don't drop your livingroom on your head.

I have read several hilarious news articles about "molepeople' who try to dig out their own basements. There was even a guy in the UK who was building tunnels all over the neighborhood, and the only reason they caught him was because the STREET collapsed.

If you don't want to do it legally, though, my advice would be to dig in the center of your crawlspace, well away from any foundation or load-bearing structure. Or better yet, if you have some land, why not build a DETACHED root cellar? What sort of property are you working with? Do you have septic?

edit:

I was searching for the mole man story that I had read, and found the man has passed away. Sad.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jun/18/hackney-mole-man-william-lyttle-dies
 
steward
Posts: 3420
Location: woodland, washington
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our house was built without a basement and one was added later. that was likely sometime in the 1950s, though, and I wasn't around to see how it was done.

I am certainly glad to have the basement. we'll be building a root cellar and cold storage down there in the future.
 
Posts: 1124
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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good thread, some of these posts are right on track for a legit wine/root cellar being built legally, i suspect it wont be super cheap
illegally it could be as simple as digging but do make sure you dont dig underneath anything thats load bearing
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3420
Location: woodland, washington
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Devon Olsen wrote:it could be as simple as digging but do make sure you dont dig underneath anything thats load bearing



or anywhere near anything that's load bearing.

I would really have liked to see how the basement was excavated under the heavy hearth and chimney at my house.
 
Sheila Nyomo
Posts: 6
Location: Missoula, Montana
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I must say thank you everyone for your replies. I think I might not make it under the house but I might make one and then put a greenhouse over it, or over the entrance anyway, so I can get to it in winter witout worrying about the snow or ice over the door.
 
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