housing question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by almostthere, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have any expierence with a buried, or partially buried house? Dh really wants one, and I found one for sale, and right now we can't do anything about it but wanted some insight on how well they hold up? I have read that they do well with heating/cooling. The property I found is about an hour away from where we are now, so thats an issue. here's the description" PARTIAL BURN RANCH SITUATED ON 5 ACRES. VERY CLEAN HOUSE. LARGE LIVING ROOM W/ FIREPLACE INSERT. WALK-IN PANTRY, 2 BDRMS GOOD SIZE. 30 X 40 POLE BARN POLE BARN W/ 2 10 FT LEAN TOS. TACK ROOM W/ 2 STALLS & ELECTRIC. 30 X 28 POLE BARN CONVERTED TO COTTAGE W/ BUTANE HEAT, SINK, & FULL BATH. ALL OPEN. REFRIGERATOR IN COTTAGE HOUSE IS STAYING. " when I saw partial Burn ranch" I thought it had been burned, but the pictures show buried, not burned. Its also on 5 acres. AND, its less than our current mtg, (2 bd/1bth, 950 sg ft .76 acre in a community of about 3000). We actually need 3 bd's, but with 1900 sg ft I'm sure we can find the room for another bd. We will miss out on this one, however, I found this one so I can find another one, I'm sure. Anyway, back to my question about buried houses? If anyone wants to see picks I will send the links to the real estate site. TIA
     
  2. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps they meant bermed instead of burned. :confused:
     

  3. A family member has an 'earth house' also known as an 'earth-berm home'. I think they're very satisfied with it. I, however, feel rather claustrophobic while visiting there. There are problems with condensation in the house. A de-humidifier needs to operate at all times. It seems to stay nice and cool in the summertime, only needing ceiling fans except on the hottest days. It's always comfortably 'toasty' in the winter time with their fire place or gas heat as back-up.
     
  4. januaries

    januaries Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I don't like them. I like windows and lots of fresh air and sunlight. While heating and cooling would be less of an issue, moisture and mildew could easily present problems. The possibility of shifting earth and flooding, as well, would make me very cautious. Of course, they would be very safe in tornado country!
     
  5. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    We have a partially buried house. The buried part is called a "basement."

    Never heard of butane heat...sounds expensive!
     
  6. nostalgia

    nostalgia Well-Known Member

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    I know someone who lives in a home that is underground on 2 sides and have had very serious problems with this. Like someone said it needs lots of dehumidifying and that is expensive. Black mold is very dangerous and does kill people. And this is a very serious problem for people who live in this type of homes. No matter how much one waterproofs the inside of the walls, the walls will leak. This causes the moisture that causes black mold. Do a search on black mold on one of the search engines.

    Yes they are cooler in summer and warmer in winter but the air is very stagnant and because of the water seepage you could have some serious problems when it comes to the electrical wires in the walls.

    The risks far outweigh the benefits. Think twice. The people I know who live in this home all have serious breathing problems.
     
  7. Billie in MO

    Billie in MO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My father has lived in an earth sheltered home since 1989. He loves it and he has never had any of the problems described above. Maybe the difference is in how the homes were built. It is not dark or dank and has never had any leaks or black mold or dehumidifying. The only thing he would do different would be to put in an extra skylight. Have a cousin who also built an earth sheltered home almost identical to my father's and he has never had any problems either.
     
  8. Leay

    Leay Well-Known Member

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    I have owned and lived in a partial earth sheltered home for 8 years now. I have never had any problem with mold or leaking. The only two downfalls that I can think of is that my downstairs is pretty dark as I only have windows on the front of the house, and I have a bug problem. My living/dining room, kitchen and bathroom are actually a basement and I get alot of spiders and other bugs that I probably wouldn't get if the living area were above ground. It stays cool in the summer and I can heat the whole house in the winter (it's a 3 story A-frame) with a wood stove very easily. All in all, I'm very happy with my house!
    Leay
     
  9. farmmaid

    farmmaid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are going to build our retirement home this year and it is going to be earth-wrapped. The earth will be @ 5' high along the walls to allow casement windows in all the roomsup toward the ceilings, south wall will be windows. The house will have a regular roof with the front roof-line being lower than the back allowing a row of windows all along the top of the roof so every room will have natural light on the south and north walls for cross venting and air flow...Joan
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Construction practices are _extremely_ important on these. Much thought for drainage & ventilation. Very much.

    When properly built, they are very good. When thrown together, they are a black mold nightmare you can't do much with.....

    --->Paul
     
  11. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    This house in particular we won't be getting. I just thought it looked nice. Its only partially buried, with the roof and windows allthe way around the house above the grade, and the front and back doors open. So its basicly on 2 sides and half of the other 2 sides. DH still wants one, however. I wasnt thinking about the mold issues. Those will be things on the "questions list" when its time for us to make a decision. So many decisions! Glad I had somewhere to go and ask questions. the builders arent going to tell you any of that stuff.
     
  12. PACrofter

    PACrofter Well-Known Member

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    There's actually quite a body of experience out there on earth-bermed houses. Check out

    http://www.daviscaves.com/index.shtml

    for one example. There was also a special on HGTV some time ago about people building underground houses. There's a link to that show on the Davis Caves site above.

    Personally, my dream is to build an earth-bermed, off-the-grid house on 15 acres or so for my retirement. Just have to convince the wife to give up flush toilets and being twenty minutes from the store...