DIY cellar construction

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Every year in our country, an army of people engaged in private farming in personal plots, dachas, and vineyards is increasing. Sooner or later, they face the question of long-term storage of the crop. In order to save vegetables, potatoes, preserves and other products in the amount necessary for a family, even the largest electric refrigerator will not be enough.

A properly built cellar maintains a stable temperature and humidity regime, which allows vegetables not to spoil, to maintain freshness, real taste and smell. Therefore, interest in the construction of cellars and glaciers remains very high, not only among summer residents, but also among farmers, villagers, where such useful and irreplaceable structures are no longer considered archaisms..

It should be noted that with the right approach, a free-standing cellar can become a real architectural highlight of a garden, organically fit into any landscape design.

How to choose the type of cellar

When choosing a modification of the cellar, one should be guided by the geological properties of the place where the structure will be located, as well as the presence and level of groundwater.

Fully buried structures are the most profitable in terms of thermal performance. In the underground cellar, due to the high heat capacity of the soil, seasonal temperature fluctuations are in the range of 3 – 5 degrees, which is very convenient for creating optimal storage conditions for agricultural products.

However, sometimes a high level of groundwater occurrence forces the cellar to be raised relative to the surface, giving preference to semi-buried and ground structures.

As for the design, there is a direct dependence on the estimated amount of saved products, the availability of specific building materials, the size of the site, the designer’s preferences..

Geological surveys

First of all, you should choose a place to build a cellar. It is better to lay it in a dry, elevated area, where it will be easiest to provide reliable waterproofing, and away from groundwater. There should be no large trees near the pit, which with their roots can damage the walls of the cellar. It is also necessary to avoid proximity to cesspools, wells, wells and other earthworks..

DIY cellar construction We place the cellar on a small hillock

The next step will be to determine the level of groundwater. It is best to do this in the spring, immediately after the snow melts, when it is as high as possible, and also in the fall, during the rainy period..

There are many methods for determining the presence of groundwater at different horizons, scientific and not so. The most accurate is to monitor the water level in wells and specially drilled exploration wells, pits.

So, suppose that our soil is strong enough, and the groundwater level does not lie higher than 2.5 meters from the surface – you can build a deep earthen cellar. Next, we will consider a kind of hybrid of a fully buried cellar and a storage shed, measuring 3.5 X 2.5 meters.

DIY cellar construction The labaz has an earthen gable roof

Pit

First, you need to clear the place for construction from the upper soil layer – turf, prepare a horizontal platform and mark the structure.

Pay attention to the fact that the diagonals of the structure are equal, this is an effective way to accurately determine the rectangularity of the future structure.

Note that when building a cellar on loose soils, the walls of the pit should be sloped to prevent shattering. Moreover, with a high level of groundwater, it will be necessary to perform serious waterproofing work on the outside of the walls, and therefore the foundation pit needs to be done an order of magnitude more than the cellar itself is supposed to be. It’s about +0.5 meters on each side.

In our case, indents are not needed – we have 40 – 50 cm of black soil, 0.8 – 1 meter of oily clay, then there is a slab of chalk. There is no groundwater nearby. So, our pit is 3.5 X 2.5 and 2 meters deep.

The pit for the earthen cellar must be dug by hand, as the excavator can seriously disrupt the integrity of the “mainland” soil. This is perhaps the most difficult stage in the construction of an underground structure..

You should decide in advance where you will move the soil obtained during digging. It makes sense to sort it right away. For example, the top fertile layer can be taken out to a garden or vegetable garden, clay can be used for backfilling and flooring, the rest can be used for embankment or plan out across the site.

Making walls

Our cellar borrowed a light frame structure from the storage shed. At the corners of the pit and in the middle of the long sides, using a building level or a plumb line, pillars of thin logs are vertically installed, which are dug in by about 300 mm. We coat the buried ends of such racks with waterproofing bituminous materials, for example, roofing mastic.

The pillars from the outside are sheathed with a slab or unedged pine board 30 mm thick. This will prevent the soil from spilling and will loosen the pillars well..

DIY cellar construction On the walls we see an unedged board

At the end of the wall cladding, the soil is backfilled with careful tamping. If you use clay for these purposes, you get a waterproof “clay castle”.

As well as in the storage shed, we do not make the ceiling, so the racks require strapping. Only between the middle and far pillars are horizontal spacers placed according to the level of possible overlap. Later they will also help in organizing the inner space of the cellar..

Considering the gable roof structure, we get two gables on the short sides. The stitching of the gables is tied with vertically installed boards, forming a strong elastic shield.

DIY cellar construction The end wall has horizontal and vertical elements

On the back of the cellar, near the ridge, there is a ventilation hole. If you make the structure more elongated, you will need serious ventilation and under the ridge you can bring out the exhaust or supply channel (pipe).

DIY cellar construction Ventilation for a small cellar

This end wall will be almost completely covered with soil; it is not necessary to insulate it.

On the front wall, there is a small, foam-insulated door made of OSB 12 mm thick. We supply the manhole with padlock lugs and a small bolt.

DIY cellar construction Entrance to the cellar

Also, with the help of foam, the entire lining of the front wall is insulated, the larger the layer, the better. Experts often recommend creating a light indoor vestibule with an additional door for thermal insulation.

Roof device

The basis of the gable roof will be rafters made of twisted in pairs 30 mm semi-edged boards located at an angle of 40 -45 degrees relative to the surface. They are placed with a distance of at least one meter from each other..

For reliability, they are unfastened with a bolt.

DIY cellar construction Rafters from the board + crossbar

The lower part of the rafters is attached to the pillars and overlaps the walls of the pit by at least 500 mm.

A crate is mounted from a shawl 30 mm thick. It can be made solid and then covered with roll materials. In our case, we expect the sheathing boards to fall under the edges and middle of the 8-wave cement fiber slate 2 meters long.

Sheathing boards are produced 250-300 mm behind the outer rafters, forming a kind of canopies above the end walls.

On the crate with special long nails with a wide head, we nail one row of asbestos-cement slate on each slope. A ridge covering is made of two layers of dense elastic roofing material.

DIY cellar construction We see a visor over the entrance and a ridge made of roofing material

Embankment

Further, the entire roof is covered with soil from above, that is, “embankment” is performed. The optimum thickness of the earth layer is 400 mm near the ridge and about 600 mm at the base. If you put insulation under the embankment (polystyrene, expanded clay, slag, straw with clay …), you can significantly reduce the soil layer, respectively, and the load on the rafter system.

Around the walls of the cellar, somewhere at a distance of a meter, a ditch is often made to drain rain and surface water up to 500 mm deep, as well as a blind area made of a mixture of clay and gravel.

To fasten the embankment, the soil poured onto the roof is covered with cut turf or sown with cereal grasses. An interesting effect is obtained if you put the shoots of climbing plants on the roof of the cellar: wild grapes, hops, cucumbers, melons. Some owners plant ornamental plants on such hills, break alpine slides.

Inner space

Inside the cellar, how many auxiliary racks are installed, on which shelves for preservation and grating bins for bulk storage of various vegetables are mounted with a distance of 300 mm.

DIY cellar construction Functional shelves

Particular attention should be paid to the construction of a comfortable wooden staircase. A powerful slab or board can be used as a bowstring. On it, with a distance of about 300 mm, there are wide treads mounted on small blocks. To save the internal space of the cellar, the staircase had to be made quite steep and equipped with a handrail..

DIY cellar construction The staircase has wide steps

We leave the floor earthen or make it adobe. You can also fill in a cement-sand screed, lay out the floor with bricks, paving slabs, or simply sprinkle it with rubble..

In the cellar, you will definitely need to install a lighting device. The wiring in this structure is done outside, using waterproof elements and reliably insulated wire. The switch is installed outside, preferably under a canopy.

The cellar is ready – summing up

Such a structure is very functional and practical. The temperature and humidity in the underground cellar remain stable during severe frosts and summer heat, vegetables are perfectly stored in it all year round.

The presence of a door and an inclined ladder provide easy access to agricultural products.

DIY cellar construction The cellar is pretty pretty

Refusal to use the insulated ceiling significantly reduces the cost of the structure. Due to the low occurrence of groundwater, it is possible to avoid complicated waterproofing works, the materials are used the most budgetary, mainly from those that are available, often used.

And if the water was close to the surface, it would simply be necessary to make the cellar less deep, without getting involved in an expensive struggle with excessive dampness..

Among other things, a wooden storage cellar of this size can be quickly erected. Together with the manual digging of the pit, the internal arrangement and the removal of excess soil, two people will cope in 4 – 5 days. Financial costs are minimal, about 3000 – 3500 rubles, if you buy most of the materials.

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