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ICFs for a root cellar?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by pybyr, Nov 28, 2008.

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  1. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I don't have a root cellar, but would like to have one. I have a porch that needs re-building one of these years anyways, and it occurred to me that if I extended a separate chamber of cellar out under it, that would better support the porch, and, since it could be separate from the main cellar, also could become a root cellar (roughly 6 feet wide and maybe 18 feet long).

    Anyone have any knowledge of how well the ICFs do under semi-unheated conditions?

    thanks

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  2. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    insulated concrete form.

    they're like legos made of styrofoam, with hollow cores.

    you stack and join them all together, and then pour concrete in; the foam blocks serve the task of the "forms" for the concrete, but unlike the old-time forms that you have to take off, they stay in place as part of the resulting wall, and in so doing, also provide insulation.

    I am just wondering how they (ICFS) would do for an uninsulated below grade wall in really rich, loamy, not so well drained soil like mine-- which "works" so much with changes in season that concrete block walls don't stand a chance here over the long haul (frost breaks them up and then gravity pushes them in)
  3. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    I built a large home (2800sf above ground + 1750sf below) COMPLETELY out of ICF's. It is extremely strong and resistant to temp changes. I think that you have a very good idea. In fact, I have thought about building a separate out building/root cellar out of ICF's. If you have enough insulation in the ceiling, the temp will not change very much +/- 1F. I have radiant floor heat throughout the house, including the basement. The heat from the first floor does go down in the winter but in the summer, when the heat is turned off, it is always 56F, exactly. I am not sure what it would be in the winter if I did not have heat coming from the first floor, but I am sure that it would not freeze.
  4. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    Depends on what sort of foods you are going to store. Root cellering is not as simple as I wish it was. Temperature is just part of the deal. Ventilation and humdity are also very important - but again - depends on what you're storing. Apples, pumpkins, and potatoes - e.g. - all have their own particular needs. Potatoes, e.g. need cold - 40s temps are the best along with high humidity and total darkness. Pumpkins needs warmer temps and humidity not so important.

    We grow and store a lot of our own crops and storage is always a challenge. I suspect the ideal root cellar has different areas with different attributes - for different crops.

    I'll also add - another problem is animals. We get many finding their ways in. Mice, flying squirrels, red squirrels, voles, moles, etc. When they know food is around, they work pretty hard at finding ways in.
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    No experience, but I'd expect an ICF based cellar would be more critter proof than average - just the idea of monolithic poured walls would seem like it would be tough for them to get into...

    Gooserider
  6. jdemaris

    jdemaris New Member

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    True enough - but it all depends on what it is attached to. In my case, we live in a house that was originally built in 1820, with several additions added later. This is also a farm with 100 acres of woods contiguous to one side of the house. Some parts of the house have stone foundation, other concrete, etc. Unless a new room is sealed, it will only be as animal proof as the remainder of the house. In our case, we get lots of critters trying to work their way in - down through the foundation, and up high in the attic - especially flying squirrels. I do realize, that not everybody lives in a place like this. I have found that small animals can do some amazing things when they smell food, and it sometimes seem that they can smell food stored inside, from outside the house - and have endless amounts of time to work their ways in.

    Here are a few photos I took of a flying squirrel that was running around the house a while ago. Seems it lost its way for awhile - and could find its way back inside the walls, or its tunnel to outside, or whatever.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  7. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    hilarious? yeah... with the way my day job is going, I'd pepper the thing with a revolver with shotshells- no need for vet or pharmecuticals. then I 'd make a meal . ridiculuous?

    yes. ridiculous times demand ridiculous actions

    Absurdity- The Other White Meat!
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