“This is a root cellar we built out of an old grain bin that was going to be sold for scrap metal. When we had our CSA farm in Montana we needed a place to store vegetables to eat through the winter. We also wanted a place to keep the veggies cool while we prepared them for delivery in the summer season. We had so many rocks on our property that I was thinking about building a circular root cellar, using a rock wall that by design would keep the walls from caving in. That’s where the thought process started, circular things that would hold up to the pressures of dirt pushing against them. I was thinking about culverts at the time, and it led me to thinking about grain bins. Gigantic culverts! I’d always see what seemed to be abandoned grain bins in the fields along the highways and thought that maybe some farmer would be interested in selling one of them. So I checked into it. Low and behold, a farmer friend of ours knew somebody who tore down grain bins for scrap on the side, so I called him. He had two to choose from at the time, so I picked the 16 foot high by 18 foot diameter one. He said if I paid the $200 he would get for the scrap metal I could have it. SOLD!”
Read the entire article with step-by-step photos of construction at the source: Homestead Haven
3 thoughts on “Grain Bin Root Cellar”
that was pretty awesome. I would like to build a house underground, but how would you work the septic tank? It would simply be even lower in the ground relative to the house?
It seems to me berming would the way to go.especially here in GA where it rains regularly. I’d have nightmares about water coming thru the walls.
Building below grade, even a little, is risky. Even people in dry climates get flooded eventually during a sudden downpour. It’s not worth the risk in my opinion. Always build on high ground and slope the ground away from the structure. Good draining soil is a plus. Then berm soil against the house if you want. 30″ high berm is a good height. You get some decent thermal benefits without risk of moisture damage and heavy pressure on the walls.
If you did build entirely underground then you’d need to pump the wastes up to a septic tank. That’s how it’s usually done. I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what happens when the pump doesn’t work.
I was just thinking about the idea of an underground grain bin home. I had the thought that you could stack block 3/4s around the cylinder like Roy Roy did with his Earthwood home then have the grain bin sidewall dropped in by crane. bolt the “stiffeners” ( vertical sidewall strengthening beams) on the inside of the bin and then you bolt horizontal rings ( wind rings) to the stiffeners to make sure that the cylinder is super strong. Then you bolt your plumbing and electrical to the stiffeners along the circumference of the bin – then blow in insulation – bolt interior walls to brackets coming off the stiffeners. It is possible.