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Underground housing

 
pollinator
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One of the site details I like about my proposed underground house, is that there is only a few inches of soil to bedrock. This is a good and bad thing.

My plan was to excaavate all the soil right down to bare bedrock, then haul in screened rock to get the concrete slab level. This will do several things. The first is allow the heat from that bedrock to help heat the home; a constant 57 degrees here in Maine. It wil also allow me to build 100% on rock. With the roof having a lot of weight, I like the idea of the building pushing down on the concrete slab, the rock under it, and then the bedrock. As the saying goes, "it is a wise man who builds his house upon a rock." But the biggest thing is, that screened rock under the slab will let any water that migrates there, drain away. That should eleminate any water issues.

Really the only bad part is, with so thin soil, I will have little soil to place on top of the house. But that is not really a big deal. I had intended to just bring in sand anyway. I got a gravel pit 1/2 mile away, so I can just haul some of that up, and cover my house with that. It will cost money to move, but would be a nominal cost really. Moving earth is kind of easy.


My-Gravel-Pit.jpg
My Gravel Pit
My Gravel Pit
 
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Interesting ideas but have you considered earthbags?  Similar idea to use "mostly" onsite materials for construction.  If I were a decade or two younger I would definitely consider using them on my place.  I seem to remember seeing a video recently of an earthbag root cellar.  

Looking forward to seeing how this post grows. ;-)    
 
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An underground house needs a hat and boots. Keep water out of the living area and drainage. I would use clay as a top or whatnot. Then cover with topsoil.
 
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Did Oehler build his $50 house without using an excavator? Did he own one or barter for its use?
 
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Jesse Styer wrote:Did Oehler build his $50 house without using an excavator? Did he own one or barter for its use?



He did it with a shovel.
 
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He mentions liking to dig but just a couple hours per day and it took quite some time for the original smaller space. I plan to rent a small excavator to dig out my area (less than 3 years till retirement!) as it’ll be say 500 square feet and 4 feet down in a pretty flat space is around 74 yards of soil to move, not including the additional patio. Full of stone from what I’ve found, so renting the tool for a week will let me dig all that out plus put a drain trench around it all for the PAHS umbrella.

In theory, I could also use the excavator to lift the logs as well, as they will be full of water in the spring and too heavy to move by hand, even after sitting a couple months after cutting. Or if I can drag them chained to a truck then I could lift on end using a block and tackle. Plenty of hard labor, so trading money for time or in this case overcoming physical demand that one person can’t handle.
 
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Mark Brunnr wrote:I plan to rent a small excavator to dig out my area (less than 3 years till retirement!)

In theory, I could also use the excavator to lift the logs as well, as they will be full of water in the spring and too heavy to move by hand, even after sitting a couple months after cutting.  


Hey Mark, if you have three years, why not cut the trees this coming winter (when the sap is down), peel them and get them off the ground to dry for a summer or two?  Then they'll be lighter and, I think, less likely to rot when put into the ground.
 
Mark Brunnr
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That’s a good idea for at least a year in advance. I live about 22 hours away going the speed limit though and it’s open property. I’m hesitant to do that and the next year find the logs were taken but maybe that’s highly unlikely. Lots of hunting in the area and a 350 acre lot adjoining mine owned by a lumber company though.
 
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Has anyone had experience (re)moving large stones or boulders in a hill? I don't know what I'm going to find yet, but I know its there since there are some large (5 to 10 foot) stones jutting out of the ground in a couple places. It's about 1000 feet from a highway so dynamite isn't going to be an option, but I need some kind of an effective way to remove large stone I run into inside my hill without killing myself.
 
Mark Brunnr
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Mike Haasl wrote:
Hey Mark, if you have three years, why not cut the trees this coming winter (when the sap is down), peel them and get them off the ground to dry for a summer or two?  Then they'll be lighter and, I think, less likely to rot when put into the ground.



I also forgot about the option of girdling the trees I want to use, either the spring or fall prior to use so they'd get 6-12 months standing to dry out, without being on the ground or quite so obvious.

*****

Sorry Gerald no I don't, boulders that size are serious business, anything man-made downhill of something that size is toast if it rolls. It would be easier to build to the side and avoid it in my opinion, but I'm no geologist or engineer!
 
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Gerald Smith wrote:Has anyone had experience (re)moving large stones or boulders in a hill? I don't know what I'm going to find yet, but I know its there since there are some large (5 to 10 foot) stones jutting out of the ground in a couple places. It's about 1000 feet from a highway so dynamite isn't going to be an option, but I need some kind of an effective way to remove large stone I run into inside my hill without killing myself.

If you have or can bring in a source of power, we've used a rock drill and "feathers and irons" (a special sort of wedge) to break big rocks into smaller rocks. It's not as fast as blasting, but if you've got a use for smaller rocks for gabions or rock walls or French drains, you might be able to use the results productively.
 
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Hello & good day to all;  my name is Nathan Phillips & my fiancé’ is Theresa Glatfelter. We are both 46 yrs. old and we want to live within a self-sustaining community, grow our own vegetables, be Minimalists & Naturalists & Humanists & Help the community thrive together as a group,
We love nature and all it’s creatures & try to live spiritual, meaningful existences.
We have been researching & saving money for an abode. We are serious.
It would be a dream come true for US & we would be honored & grateful to live among you.  
The only question is ‘how’ & ‘when’ we could start this wondrous, creative journey?
We love the idea of living underground...... like a hobbit! A simple way of living.

My email is ‘earmyau@gmail.com

“KUBIANDO!”
 
pollinator
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Gerald Smith wrote:Has anyone had experience (re)moving large stones or boulders in a hill? I don't know what I'm going to find yet, but I know its there since there are some large (5 to 10 foot) stones jutting out of the ground in a couple places. It's about 1000 feet from a highway so dynamite isn't going to be an option, but I need some kind of an effective way to remove large stone I run into inside my hill without killing myself.




Are you in a climate with cold, icy winters?

There's a method that uses freeze-and-thaw cycles to break up boulders. It's easiest if you have a cordless drill and a masonry bit, although I have heard of people doing it with a hammer and chisel.

Figure out roughly where you want the rock to split. Drill (or carve) a set of holes along that line. The more holes you get, and the deeper they are, the faster the rock will break, so put in as many holes as you're able.

When water freezes it expands enough to exert a surprising amount of pressure. By making holes for water to collect, you are putting that pressure to work for you. Water in the holes will freeze, causing tiny cracks on the boulder. Every time it thaws, water will run deeper into the cracks. Then when it freezes again, the water will force the cracks open wider.

After enough freeze/thaw cycles, the boulder will split entirely. This is not a fast method, but I think it's one of the least strenuous.
 
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I haven't read the whole thread, will come back later to study it in detail. I have to butcher chickens this morning. LOL The question I have is, Has anyone put a metal roof, elevated with walk under room, over their underground house? We pass one on the way to visit friends, been meaning to stop and ask questions, but are always in a hurry. Guess we need to slow down, stop and be nosy. We moved from a comfortable, insulated, roomy brick home to a smallish double wide mobile home. If the power goes off in the summer, it is like sitting in an oven! Not sustainable. Underground homes interest us very much, but the problem of leakage rears its ugly head. The metal roof covering seems to be a good answer, need to study this further.
 
Jay Angler
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Dana Jones wrote:

Guess we need to slow down, stop and be nosy.

Yes, please do! It would be good to know. I'd like to build a couple of underground structures, but our winters are *really* wet, so if they added the roof for water reasons it would be good to know. Most people who build underground are looking to avoid obvious roofs, so the reasons are worth exploring.

Possibilities: 1. They *need* or *want* to capture rainfall for household water,
2. They needed or wanted a "covered outdoor area" as a patio or work space, or
3. Their underground house leaked and this was the cheapest fix?
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