Starting the Cellar

Discussion in 'Cellaring Beer' started by Brubaker, Jul 13, 2015.

  1. Brubaker

    Brubaker

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    It's time to get my beers off the basement floor. I've been talking about doing this for a long time now. Hopefully letting you all in on my plans will help me see it through.

    I've got a 12x14 crawl space that I'm going to convert into a cellar. It will not be easy. I may fail. I suspect this will take me at least the rest of this year.

    Current state:

    Here's my 3x3 opening into the crawl:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the inside (da lens flare):
    [​IMG]

    and a peak to the left:
    [​IMG]

    The plan:
    I'm going to have that opening cutout to 8x3 to make a doorway. Then, I'll excavate the dirt (math says its about 9yds that I'll need to move). The space above the crawl is a bump out for the home office, so the foundation walls do not go down a full 8 feet. I'll need to come in about 2 feet from each wall so as not to undermine the foundation - so essentially I'll be building a room within a room. I'm going to put in 3 foot(ish) cinder block wall, backfill behind it, and then cap it with concrete to create kind of a bench around the outside 3 walls.

    Steps:
    1. Dig a test hole down to full depth along the intended doorway to ensure no water builds up during heavy rains. It's rained for 100 straight days, no sign of water. Huge check!
    2. Get estimates for removing the 5x3 wall section. Check! This was more than I expected, but not a deal breaker.
    3. Check on permitting. This will be classified as unconditioned storage, but I still need to find out what sort of permits I'm looking at. A few calls to the gubmint have so far gone unreturned.
    4. Remove the wall section. Coming soon.
    5. Start hauling dirt out of there. It's a walk out basement and I have a large wooded area behind the house. I will pile the dirt in the wooded area and use it later for a separate grading project. I have no clue how long this will take me to complete. I'm only going to be able to work an hour here and an hour there since I've got kids.
    6. Pour a 10x10 pad. Hire a concrete guy to take me through the pour. I'm hoping I can find someone to take this as a side job as opposed to hiring a whole crew. It's not a lot of concrete to pour. I figure I'll need him 1) to check the site to make sure it looks good before pouring and 2) to manage the pour while me and my friends wheelbarrow the concrete in.
    7. Build the cinder block wall, backfill, and cap with concrete.
    8. Add shelving.
    9. Add barn door into cellar.
    10. Add no girls/kids allowed sign

    This is by far my most ambitious project ever. The ball is finally rolling now. Hoping I don't fall flat on my face here. Once it's all done, I'm going to spend just as much time photoshopping worthy beers into the pictures.
     
  2. Brubaker

    Brubaker

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I'll post pics and updates as things progress (slowly).
     
  3. SeaWatchman

    SeaWatchman

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Location:
    Oceania
    • Dig a test hole down to full depth along the intended doorway to ensure no water builds up during heavy rains. It's rained for 100 straight days, no sign of water. Huge check! Noah ain't got shit on your basement.
    • Get estimates for removing the 5x3 wall section. Check! This was more than I expected, but not a deal breaker. What's the cost of a sledgehammer?
    • Check on permitting. This will be classified as unconditioned storage, but I still need to find out what sort of permits I'm looking at. A few calls to the gubmint have so far gone unreturned. Don't ask don't tell.
    • Remove the wall section. Coming soon. See also; sledgehammer.
    • Start hauling dirt out of there. It's a walk out basement and I have a large wooded area behind the house. I will pile the dirt in the wooded area and use it later for a separate grading project. I have no clue how long this will take me to complete. I'm only going to be able to work an hour here and an hour there since I've got kids. Sounds like you have free labor available to me.
    • Pour a 10x10 pad. Hire a concrete guy to take me through the pour. I'm hoping I can find someone to take this as a side job as opposed to hiring a whole crew. It's not a lot of concrete to pour. I figure I'll need him 1) to check the site to make sure it looks good before pouring and 2) to manage the pour while me and my friends wheelbarrow the concrete in. Perfect opportunity to wall someone in Cask of Amontillado style.
    • Build the cinder block wall, backfill, and cap with concrete. See above.
    • Add shelving. And chains.
    • Add barn door into cellar. I'd go with steel.
    • Add no girls/kids allowed sign. He-man Woman Haters Club.

    Good luck!
     
  4. kzeon

    kzeon

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    Location:
    Montreal, Québec, Canada
    Good luck man, can't wait to see pictures!
     
  5. stupac2

    stupac2

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Man, if it were me I'd be way less ambitious with this. Widen the opening with a sawzall, keep the same level, don't bother with permits (around here they don't really matter, my basement is apparently unpermitted but I still get to use it fine), don't bother with creating a solid floor, etc.

    The only thing I can comment on directly since I'm also dealing with that now is moving the dirt. Do you mean 9 cubic yards of dirt? According to my wife (who works in environmental remediation and has to move dirt around a lot) each cubic yard is 2.5 tons. I'm filling a koi pond right now that takes about two cubic yards, and I think it's going to take me a couple weeks doing a a few wheelbarrow loads a night on weekdays and 5-10 on weekends. My situation is weird (the fill I'm using is in a sort-of crawlspace so I have to load the wheelbarrow hunched over, which isn't ideal) but I don't have to haul the fill up any stairs. Unless your "walk-out" part means it's level, in which case I suppose it'll be somewhat easier. But it'll still take a while.
     
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  6. bsc

    bsc

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Location:
    vt
    un-permitted work/spaces can be a bitch when you go to sell a property. I sure as shit would not build an un-permitted room that may not be up to code.

    That said, Don't go hauling out massive amounts of fill from a crawl space without having it looked at by a professional. You don't want to undermine the structure of the space above.

    You may not get standing water in there now, but after removing fill, adding walls, a pad, etc you are changing the dynamics of how water drains in the crawl space....Just an example of potential issues.

    It'd be much cheaper to buy a few fridges and run them for 15 years.
     
  7. stupac2

    stupac2

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    I'm not sure if you're talking to me or to him, but the dirt in my crawl space isn't structural and it's not in the house, it's under my porch. I'm also nearly certain that the dirt there is from when they originally dug out the koi pond, it's pretty different from the backfill in my crawlspace proper.
     
  8. bsc

    bsc

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Location:
    vt
    was speaking to OP :) just quoted you re: permits.
     
  9. Brubaker

    Brubaker

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I'm confident that water won't be an issue. My house sits on a crown. In fact I don't think the sump has fired once in 4 years. I test it every once in awhile to make she its still alive. I was checking mostly to see if any runoff found its way in there.

    I definitely plan to get permits as required.

    Here's a helpful pic to set the scale. It'll take some doin.
    [​IMG]

    I never said this was a good idea.
     
    ridglens, ChicagoGuy, nophunk and 3 others like this.
  10. GRDave

    GRDave

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Location:
    Canuck living in Grand Rapids, MI
    What's the air quality like in there? Humid all the time? Temps stable or change with the seasons?

    My first thought was avoid a concrete pad altogether and layout four 16" square patio stones on sand, and build out a floor and wall structure from pressure treated wood. Then just line the inside with plywood (or something prettier). I'd assume you'd use an insulated steel door for entry. If temps are stable year-round, you wouldn't even need to insulate.

    Truly a floating romm-in-a-room. If the authorities don't like it or give you a hassle if you do ever move, its easier to disassemble and haul out.
     
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  11. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    As just one more armchair engineer I think you are doing it right. I would take out the brick on my own for the door and hire some cheap labor(meth addicts will move a lot of dirt for beer and 100 bucks) to move the dirt but it sounds like you are doing it reasonably with no half measures.
     
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  12. Brubaker

    Brubaker

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I'd be down for taking it out myself if it were block, but that's a poured wall. I want no part of taking that out.
     
    ChicagoGuy likes this.
  13. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    Ahh, ok then. Not unreasonable.
     
  14. stupac2

    stupac2

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Oh jesus. Yeah that makes sense. Incidentally, why on earth did they do it that way?
     
    ChicagoGuy likes this.
  15. Brubaker

    Brubaker

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    From my man Tom Silva

    A:Tom Silva replies: What kind of foundation a builder uses is usually determined by practical matters: how far it is to the nearest concrete ready-mix plant, how remote the job site is, what the local foundation contractors are most familiar with, and your budget.

    All things being equal, I prefer a well-poured, steel-reinforced concrete foundation because it's better at resisting the pressure of water, which can seep through blocks, or of soil, which can topple them. But when a job site is more than 90 minutes' driving time from a ready-mix plant, there's no way the cement truck will reach the site in time to pour a foundation. You'll have to look at other options.
     
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  16. GRDave

    GRDave

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Location:
    Canuck living in Grand Rapids, MI
    So its a poured wall...huh..that's a lot harder to deal with. So the white interior "brick looking" surface is just a veneer?
     
  17. Brubaker

    Brubaker

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    It was just a fancy form that was used to give the look of brick. That's solid concrete - no veneer.
     
  18. stupac2

    stupac2

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Well someone cut a hole in it at some point, or they poured it with that gap there, my question is "why not just make/leave a full doorway?"
     
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  19. kzeon

    kzeon

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    Location:
    Montreal, Québec, Canada
    Used to be a window?
     
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  20. stupac2

    stupac2

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    That went all the way to the unfinished ceiling? Makes more sense than anything I can think of but still pretty weird.