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sarge38624
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Posted: 12/13/2010 11:35:53 AM
Do any of you guys have any experience with wood framed underground shelters?? I am in need of more storage space for some of my goodies and I have considered building an underground room/shelter for this. From what I have read, a underground wooden structure, if sealed properly, is a pretty good option at a fairly inexpensive cost. Any experience, thoughts, ideas are greatly appreciated.
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sarge38624
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Posted: 12/13/2010 11:48:41 AM
I guess I should add I am somewhat familiar with block/concrete shelters, but I don't really have any prior experience with wood shelters. I know moisture would be a huge concern, but isn't it possible that the wood could flex and stay intact, as long as there is plenty of water proofing and support, in some situations that a block structure may crack and crumble in???
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MIhunter
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Posted: 12/13/2010 12:17:14 PM
If it were me, I would look into dropping a large plastic septic tank with a ladder
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Posted: 12/13/2010 12:29:31 PM
While it doesn't give the exact info your looking for.....the "$50 and up underground house book" is about the closest I know of.

The basics are the author built a good number of wood framed earth sheltered homes that used poly sheeting to protect the wood. The p0ly sheeting lasts forever out of the sunlight and is cheap and easy to find. Wood is cheaper than concrete for the supporting structure. Its a pretty cheezy book but has some good info on the topic.

If you google the name a pdf download will show up about 5 links down. If you can't find it let me know and I can PM you the link.

sarge38624
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Posted: 12/13/2010 12:37:52 PM
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.
"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." --Edmund Burke
TaylorWSO
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Posted: 12/13/2010 12:59:02 PM
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress.


I really doubt it, but if you're worried, throw some 1/2 to 3/4 plywood on the floor. A least if you drop something it wont go through

RichR
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Posted: 12/13/2010 3:05:49 PM
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.



You need to define and focus on where shit matters. The plastic unsupported may not hold such a load, but are you talking about the floor or roof? If it's floor, you pack a sand base and set the tank on it, it becomes a non-issue. And the roof, you set your pit a couple feet below grade, top it with beams that rest on their ends on the adjacet soil and not directly on the roof, and that goes away as well.
Your budget for the project also greatly defines your options. The pre-made tanks plastic or concrete may be way out of budget. The expensice ow waterproofing or shielding wood from moisture might raise the cost to where concrete is a better solution.

Bunkers and mines and trench warfare dugouts, wood's been used for thousands of years to do what you want to do, and almost all of that time with very little additional efforts to protect the wood. Don't overthink it too much.
TheOTHERmaninblack
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Posted: 12/13/2010 5:17:35 PM
Check the archives (assuming you have access). There was a thread about this a couple of months back that went into some considerable detail with pics. Although the availability of the PDF for the $50 and under book is new
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EXPY37
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Posted: 12/13/2010 7:30:14 PM
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.


If you go look at a ~1300 gallon plastic water/septic tank, I think you will change your mind very quickly.

However, there isn't a lot of room to move around in one of those tanks, altho it is doable.

sarge38624
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Posted: 12/13/2010 7:45:09 PM
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.


If you go look at a ~1300 gallon plastic water/septic tank, I think you will change your mind very quickly.

However, there isn't a lot of room to move around in one of those tanks, altho it is doable.



Thanks...I will check them out. I am also looking to use this shelter as a root cellar and storage for some preps. I need bunks for probably 6 people. I think the wood structure is what I am going with at this point, unless I find out there are problems with a underground wooden structure. Thanks for all of the input folks.
"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." --Edmund Burke
Merlin
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Posted: 12/13/2010 8:15:32 PM
There was a guy on the Frugal Squirrels site that had a buried wooden structure. He was from FL and he only used, AFAIK, for storing food and survival supplies. I think wooden underground structures are moronic. I wouldn't use what the "$50 and up" guy has in his book if someone paid me. It's a wonder he's still alive.
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Posted: 12/13/2010 8:36:37 PM
[Last Edit: 12/13/2010 8:37:33 PM by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.


If you go look at a ~1300 gallon plastic water/septic tank, I think you will change your mind very quickly.

However, there isn't a lot of room to move around in one of those tanks, altho it is doable.



Thanks...I will check them out. I am also looking to use this shelter as a root cellar and storage for some preps. I need bunks for probably 6 people. I think the wood structure is what I am going with at this point, unless I find out there are problems with a underground wooden structure. Thanks for all of the input folks.


There isn't room for 6 bunks. MAYBE you could sleep two in a 1200 gallon, but it would be difficult.

The issue with wood is moisture, insects and vermin, rotting, etc. Visquine plastic can't be relied on to hold up considering your investment in building something underground. Depends on where it is, rainfall, slope, soil, etc.

It might make sense to sleep the people above ground and use the root cellar for storage and to keep water from freezing during winter.

Rubber roofing membrane would be the minimum material for waterproofing an underground structure, even concrete.



thereisnospoon
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Posted: 12/15/2010 9:50:45 AM
[Last Edit: 12/15/2010 9:51:31 AM by thereisnospoon]
Originally Posted By Merlin:
There was a guy on the Frugal Squirrels site that had a buried wooden structure. He was from FL and he only used, AFAIK, for storing food and survival supplies. I think wooden underground structures are moronic. I wouldn't use what the "$50 and up" guy has in his book if someone paid me. It's a wonder he's still alive.


With all due respect, care to explain why? Also include a list of shelters you've built above and below ground and the reasons for the failure of below ground wooden structures?

OP, check this link http://www.jumpjet.info/CEM/12/Radiation_Shelter/Family_Shelter_Designs.pdf It has plans for several types of underground wooden shelters. I am currently building the A-Frame shelter on my property as both a storm and root cellar type shelter.

Spoon
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Orion_Shall_Rise
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Posted: 12/15/2010 10:12:42 AM
TomJefferson
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Posted: 12/15/2010 10:37:12 AM
All of our root cellars when I was a boy was wood. The main issue with any underground construction is drainage. Keep it dry, wood lasts a very long time.

Tj
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Posted: 12/15/2010 10:46:14 AM
Originally Posted By Orion_Shall_Rise:
lonnggg thread on wooden/ soilcrete underground house


You spoke truth.....97 pages....don't have the time for the man cave
Asking for opinions on the internet and then getting upset for getting them is like stirring up a hornets' nest and then getting pissed because you got stung.
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midmo
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Posted: 12/15/2010 10:53:54 AM
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
All of our root cellars when I was a boy was wood. The main issue with any underground construction is drainage. Keep it dry, wood lasts a very long time.

Tj


True dat. I've been in 100-year-old mineshafts supported by wooden beams that were just as solid as the day they were installed. And if you've ever pulled up a hedge (Osage Orange) fencepost that's been in the ground for 25-30 years it's pretty obvious how durable wood can be.

It's just like anything else... do it right (materials, construction, drainage, etc.) and it'll last a long, long time. Do it wrong and it'll disintegrate within a year or two.
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Posted: 12/15/2010 11:13:30 AM

Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress.


I really doubt it, but if you're worried, throw some 1/2 to 3/4 plywood on the floor. A least if you drop something it wont go through


I'd actually suggest a gravel or sand substrate with a floor on top of it. (Don't those have a rounded bottom? Or am I thinking of some other sort of tank?) That would distribute the weight quite a bit more even if the substrate is only a few inches.

I might also put in a drain so any condensate collecting has a place to go.
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Merlin
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Posted: 12/15/2010 12:08:00 PM
Originally Posted By thereisnospoon:
Originally Posted By Merlin:
There was a guy on the Frugal Squirrels site that had a buried wooden structure. He was from FL and he only used, AFAIK, for storing food and survival supplies. I think wooden underground structures are moronic. I wouldn't use what the "$50 and up" guy has in his book if someone paid me. It's a wonder he's still alive.


With all due respect, care to explain why? Also include a list of shelters you've built above and below ground and the reasons for the failure of below ground wooden structures?

OP, check this link http://www.jumpjet.info/CEM/12/Radiation_Shelter/Family_Shelter_Designs.pdf It has plans for several types of underground wooden shelters. I am currently building the A-Frame shelter on my property as both a storm and root cellar type shelter.

Spoon


My experience is designing and building underground structures for high priority defense contracts, not for personal use. However, like a lot of work I do, that background can and does get used in my personnel life. Robust, and fairly cheap, underground structures can be built for about the same cost as wood, with absolutely none of the worries of rot and general lack of strength that wood has.

Can it be done? Sure. But why when there are better options. For example, simple concrete block design and building is within virtually anyone's ability to construct pretty much on their own. The only real problems might be the foundation and the roof, the rest is simple.

BTW, the link you provided only has one underground wooden structure, the rest are either steel or are above ground.

Merlin
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Posted: 12/15/2010 1:47:37 PM
You can find lots of relevant information if you google or otherwise search for info on pressure treated wood foundations. These have been around for decades. The technologies and materials are proven.

Some quick observations: regular lumberyard plywood (even the treated stuff) is not going to last well. While the wood is treated, the glue used for lamination is NOT up to prolonged contact with ground moisture. Regular pressure treated lumber is also not up to prolonged ground contact. If you want an underground structure that will last, you will need true foundation grade materials. In addition, the fasteners are not galvanized. I co-worker built a house (circa 1990) witha treated wood foundation and his system required stainless steel fastners. You don't want to know what a 50lb box of stainless steel nails or screws will cost....

One additional observation: I have no 'proof' or data to back up my concerns but I'd be particularly careful of site selection and drainage. I'd have absolutely no concerns about a treated wood foundation on a hilltop with good drainage in a low rainfall environment. I would not think of one here, where our soils are frequently clay, ground moisture retention is high, and drainage can be an issue.

I'd be paying close attention to providing excellent footer drains to a daylight drain, and would give serious consideration to channelling moisture and ground water away from the foundation. There are several products that lay against the outside surface of the foundation and act like moisture wicks or linear drains, moving water quickly towards the footer weeping tiles. Prolonged water contact with the wood will not be good.

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Posted: 12/15/2010 2:37:52 PM
Wow!!! Another crapton of incredibly stupid & unsafe advice in the survival forum that can get our members killed! GREAT!

Here's my surprised face. ===>

Seriously. DO NOT use WOOD for underground storage.
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Posted: 12/15/2010 2:49:38 PM
Also remember that pilings and piers are treated to withstand marine/salt water submersion. It doesn't get much wetter and nastier than that!
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Posted: 12/16/2010 4:02:58 AM
Check these out for some ideas:

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=25078&highlight=cellar&page=3 Some pictures on the first page are unavailable, but page 3 has some of the pics.


http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=58425&highlight=cellar
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Posted: 12/16/2010 4:35:49 AM
walls don't look sturdy enough to hold back sandy soil. But it's a nice effort. For all that digging one might as well make it larger.

Or do a larger dugout and cap it with an outdoor dining area with a rooftop or pergola over it. Hide the vent pipes in a rain gutter system. Have a ramp / drawbridge to enter the dining area, which when lifted reveals the entrance below. A nice below-grade structure for use as a cellar / tornado structure. Don't forgot to keep a hi-lift jack down there, in case a storm deposits heavy debris on the hatch.

/another building project I'd really like to do.
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Posted: 12/16/2010 5:20:50 AM
Originally Posted By RichR:
walls don't look sturdy enough to hold back sandy soil. But it's a nice effort. For all that digging one might as well make it larger.

Or do a larger dugout and cap it with an outdoor dining area with a rooftop or pergola over it. Hide the vent pipes in a rain gutter system. Have a ramp / drawbridge to enter the dining area, which when lifted reveals the entrance below. A nice below-grade structure for use as a cellar / tornado structure. Don't forgot to keep a hi-lift jack down there, in case a storm deposits heavy debris on the hatch.

/another building project I'd really like to do.


Good advice, this here.

I'd go with concrete. Cheaper in the end. Get a used cement mixer off Craplist and mix your own. Make your own wall forms. A stopwatch would probably tell you in the end it was faster than cutting and nailing wood, and all the measuring and fitting, etc, not to mention waterproofing, shoring it up to avoid collapsing, etc.

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Posted: 12/16/2010 8:25:59 AM
Originally Posted By Kibby:
Originally Posted By RichR:
walls don't look sturdy enough to hold back sandy soil. But it's a nice effort. For all that digging one might as well make it larger.

Or do a larger dugout and cap it with an outdoor dining area with a rooftop or pergola over it. Hide the vent pipes in a rain gutter system. Have a ramp / drawbridge to enter the dining area, which when lifted reveals the entrance below. A nice below-grade structure for use as a cellar / tornado structure. Don't forgot to keep a hi-lift jack down there, in case a storm deposits heavy debris on the hatch.

/another building project I'd really like to do.


Good advice, this here.

I'd go with concrete. Cheaper in the end. Get a used cement mixer off Craplist and mix your own. Make your own wall forms. A stopwatch would probably tell you in the end it was faster than cutting and nailing wood, and all the measuring and fitting, etc, not to mention waterproofing, shoring it up to avoid collapsing, etc.



My thought as well... BUt I have questions...
1. Would it ne better to 'pre mold each wall section on the ground then hoist them into place, or just make castings and pump the concrete into place?
2. Will the roof need to prestressed; and how does that get done?
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