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Old 11-26-2007, 02:27 AM   #1
Zymurgrafi
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Default Planning a beer cellar. Maybe? What do you think.

So I have been seriously cleaning (attacking) my basement. Again. It has been an ongoing neverending task since I moved in to my house over 5 years ago. I live in an old house (approx. built 1890's possibly older) and have a stone foundation with brick from the ground level up. there is about 6 feet of headroom with many pipes running through (ouch!). About 2/3 of the floor is concrete which was poured quite sometime after the house was built. The remaining part is dirt with boards thrown over it. Most of which are quite rotten. There was a lot of debris left in the basement, plus our junk keeps accumulating. Thus the reason it has never really been cleaned up.

So that is what I am working with. Well, today I finally pulled up the rotten boards.

Uggh.

This is where my gears started turning. I believe the reason folks left a part of the floor dirt in the past was to have a "root cellar" for storing veg. and fruit. Well, why not dig a beer cellar!

Perhaps this is nuts but I am going to give it a go. Please feel free to add your thoughts and or experiences as I work through this folly.

My thinking is that by digging out a hole towards the center; so as not to compromise the foundation, I will have a more temp controlled storage area. I will build a sort of "room" or really more like a box hat is insulated and has a vapor barrier. By being even lower than the basement in the ground it will hopefully be cooler and more temp. stable. My basement fluctuates. It goes from the low 70's in the summer (and very moist) to the high 50's (and dry) in the winter. I am replacing the wood that was there with pressure treated and figured now would be a good time to try this out.

Ideally this would be a place to store kegs and bottles. If it turns out to be cool enough possibly serve kegs (cask conditioned?) from this "cellar". Or even a spot to keep fermenters.

The idea so far is pretty vague. I think it will be maybe 4 feet deep and 4'x6 foot wide. Either construct it with pressure treated wood and foam insulation sheets or maybe cinder blocks or pour some concrete and back fill around. Or another thought was to just lower a big plastic tub in the hole and build an insulated top. OR, get a busted chest freezer for free and remove the guts wrap it in a vapor barrier and just lower the body into the hole. I dunno yet.

It is super easy digging. My property is really sandy soil and apparently it is that way down as far as the basement floor as well. I dug a little hole just to see. In fact one concern so far is that it is too easy. The sides of the hole cave in as I am digging it is so sandy.

I will post a pic tomorrow of the area I am looking at. Guess I'll sleep on it a bit.

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Old 11-26-2007, 02:30 AM   #2
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Oh, and I should mention. I have a kegerator and other adequate storage places. This would just be additional. Perhaps it will turn out better than my current fermentation methods and or storage. So, please don't tell me to get a kegerator or such.

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Old 11-26-2007, 02:50 AM   #3
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There may be other reasons that no concrete was poured over that section.
Gas / Water pipes?
Ran out of concrete?
Dead bodies?

Dig carefully my beer loving friend!

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Old 11-26-2007, 02:51 AM   #4
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use the cinder block to line the hole and put a slab in the bottom 4x6 would be 12-15 bags. it should be fairly temp stable,humidity will be the bigger issue. check out deepsixbrewing for info on his walkin build

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Old 11-26-2007, 03:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dibby33
There may be other reasons that no concrete was poured over that section.
Gas / Water pipes?
Ran out of concrete?
Dead bodies?

Dig carefully my beer loving friend!
Ha. True true.

About 100% sure, gas no. water no.

Ran out of concrete maybe.

Dead bodies, a distinct possibility. After all it is apparently still legal in VT to bury your family in your own backyard. I suppose the basement is not out of the question. That possibility had crossed my mind.


Yes humidity could be an issue. As it is I am certain that part of the basement is what causes it to get so humid/damp in the basement in the summer time. That is why I would definately set up a vapor barrier of sorts.

Root cellars you want lots of moisture, so thus the exposed dirt. I probably won't know for certain how it will work until warm weather returns in 6-7 months.
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Old 11-26-2007, 01:33 PM   #6
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okay, here is the mess.






I am regretting starting this project right now. So many other ones to finish first. However I want my basement! Yes mine. My wife hates going down there so it is pretty much mine to do with as I please. I would like it a little cleaner and nicer...

But not nice enough that anyone else wants to visit it!

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Old 11-26-2007, 03:00 PM   #7
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I hate to mention it, but that looks like a load bearing post that you are digging next to. Good luck with the project.

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Old 11-26-2007, 03:26 PM   #8
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Cheezy's right!

And you are too close to the pier footing. The of thumb is 1 foot away from any footing for every 1 foot you go down. In that sandy soil you might need considerably more than that. That would be a major red flag if I did an inspection for a home buyer and a considerable cost to the home owner as I would recommend a soil sample and structural engineer be consulted.

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Old 11-26-2007, 03:43 PM   #9
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I would just level the dirt and pour a slab over it, then put moisture barriers up and insulate the walls. In most locations once you are four feet down, the temperatures don't change much. The seasonal variation is driven more by heat infiltration through the top 4 feet of the wall and down from the ceiling.

[I had a place in Bremerton, WA that had a monster rock in the cellar. Took up about a third of the space.]

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Old 11-26-2007, 04:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abracadabra
Cheezy's right!

And you are too close to the pier footing. The of thumb is 1 foot away from any footing for every 1 foot you go down. In that sandy soil you might need considerably more than that. That would be a major red flag if I did an inspection for a home buyer and a considerable cost to the home owner as I would recommend a soil sample and structural engineer be consulted.

Yes I realize that. That was not going to be the location. It was the trial dig. I actually am thinking I need to better support that post and replace it. It is actually 2 2x4's nailed together and they are coming apart.

I have considered pouring a slab. I have not messed with the area for the very reason that I was afraid of what I might find and have to do. I am just going to build a deck essentially out of pressure treated for now. I have not given up the idea entirely but I suppose the voice of reason is starting to come through. I still like the idea of burying a broken down chest freezer.

As to the heat infiltration I dunno what I can do about that. Guess I need to call a pro to have a look. The brick part of the foundation (from ground level up) is covered with foam insulation sheets. The windows are in bad shape. However they are "sealed. There are 2 window frames with fiberglass insulation stuffed between and boarded up on the outside.

Weird thing is there is a cold storage room the previous owners had. Unfortunately it is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer unless i keep the door open. The built a room and insulated it from the rest of the basement but not the outside foundation wall. Ithink it is the placement though that was poor planning. It is located in the southwest corner of the basement. So it gets strong direct sunlight on the foundation all day. In the summer if I keep the door closed it is in th 80's in that room. Winter it is a pretty good lager temps. Though I don't really care to brew lagers and it is not always consistent.

I guess what I really need is to look at overhauling my basement!

Can I reclose the box now?
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