Tunneling/underground house

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by LittleJohn, Jun 26, 2005.

  1. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Ok thier was a narticle in MEN in '82 about a root cellar/bungalow that was dug out of the side of a hill and the inside plastered with a cement/earth mix. Looks like an excelent cheap way to make an eficient home ect... I used to have the guys book that went into only slightly more detail describing very nice homes made by this method. I think this was the book:
    Carter, David: Build it underground : a guide for the self-builder & building professional

    Article:
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/library/1982_March_April/Mom_s_Subterranean_Root_Cellar_Bungalow


    Anyway what I would like to know is does anyone here have any experience with this sort of thing? Or does anyone have any info on getting this book or preferably more/new info on the subject?
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    31,394
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas and S. Missouri
    There are some earth bermed houses here in S. Missouri, and there is a dome home going in near here with the basement in the hillside below grade.

    I think you should really research this one. Doing it wrong leads to foundation problems, leaky basements, and low resale value.
     

  3. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    This is a totaly different building desighn from those and yes I am aware of the risks but you wouldnt have much money in it either just a lot of work.

    This guy seemed to be quite comfy in his hole. LOL I think I would want one a little bigger though.

    http://outside.away.com/magazine/0399/9903dispqa.html
     
  4. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

    Messages:
    7,273
    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 8a, AZ
    I read that article in MEN a zillion years ago too! My thought then as now is what about the weight of the earth causing the thing to fall in on ya! I have a perfect spot to build a root cellar or storage room or guest quarters into the side of a mountain, but there is a mountain that will then be bearing down on the open space! Having built a home myself and seeing the size of headers needed above simple windows to hold up the weight of the house I am wondering how big the header would have to be to hold up a mountain!
     
  5. RobinAnn

    RobinAnn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    Kline, CO
    Don't know about the building style, but I do know how to find books. :)

    Bunch of copies available at a number of sites that I found via Bookfinder.com
     
  6. LittleJohn

    LittleJohn Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Sisterpine
    The idea was to dig in dirt other than sand that would support it and make sure you have a perfect arch. They were useing a frame to get it perfect. put in some mesh wire (optional) then plasterning it with a 1 to 4 cement/dirt mix. Obviously it would be a good idea to plaster it every few feet as you went just in case.
    Oh and old Spanish mines never used timbers they just dug a perfectly round hole.
    I would like to see some newer info on the subject.
     
  7. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

    Messages:
    7,273
    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 8a, AZ
    cool- like an egg cant be crushed easily
     
  8. nicholascovey

    nicholascovey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    I've heard that a gothic arch (pointed) is said to be the strongest arch. I had it explained in college that you have to view gravity like a flowing river and the shape of the arch like the prow of a ship. The more streamlined the shape, the less resistance. However, I have no practical experience in this, just secondhand knowledge.