Underground Dwellings

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Gopherman, Dec 5, 2013.


  1. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    DISCLAIMER; I AM NOT TELLING ANYONE THAT THIS HAS BEEN TESTED!!!
    I ONLY IMPLY, THAT THIS IS WHAT I AM PLANNING TO DO!
    AS WITH ANYTHING IN LIFE, LOOK INTO IT FIRST!!!

    In my last year of pursuit to off grid living, I came across a couple things on YouTube.
    There is not a lot of video on the subject, There is a Permie's site I found that was pretty useful but mostly written info.

    I googled it and all I could find were Mansions, that would be nice but impractical. I think a more discreet approach would be more appropriate.

    Started looking at Culvert material, the kind of stuff the built overpasses with, too expensive, Alas.:(

    then I found The Quonset hut. the Half circle design is super strong, maybe not as thick a gauge as the culvert material but sufficient to meet the need.

    I looked up some steel building manufacturer online and started looking in there clearance section. I found 2 companies that will ship them right to the site and unload them. There predrilled and come with everything you need to assemble them. there a lot cheaper if you only buy them with the front and back. I want poured block in mine at the back and front.

    They vary in price depending on how many linear feet and the width you want, which affects how much head room you get, 20 feet wide give a 10' at peek point ceiling height, etc....
    If you dig out an area big enough to install the structure( preferably into a hillside) lay your rough out plumbing, and pour your slab, you can install the building, Cover it in Roofing mastic for extra water proofing the cover with heavy gauge visquine ( PLASTIC SHEETING) 6 mil., then cover it back with dirt and plant it. This helps because the some of the water is absorbed by the plants and it stops erosion as well as camo's your house from the air.

    Now your fully insulated, constant temp of 55-60*F, even when there's 3' of snow on the ground. The plants on top prevent erosion and water seepage. It even comes with sealant to keep water seepage from becoming a problem,(I would personally cover the whole thing with roofing mastic)
    You do want to install at least 2 x 12" pvc pipes with 90* s at the top, for fresh air.
    A hillside installation is practical for plumbing as well, your sewage lines need to run down hill anyway.

    This is just one site I looked at there are many. they are hurting to move them and when I was talking to the guy, he kept coming down on his price, They are very negotiable!! There are engineers at these companie's that will do the math for you.

    I have spoken with a rep. from a local supplier, He tells me that they are designed to take a 6 foot snow load, I am still getting answers, the consensus seems to be using a heavier gauge steel such as 10-12-14 should work. I talked to a couple of culvert manufacturers and they will not even sell them to you for that purpose, product liability. One of them was friendly enough "OFF THE RECORD" to tell me it would absolutely work, but Upper Management has forbidden selling units for this purpose.

    Never pay them what they want!!! Unless you really, really, really want it !!!!
    I put up some of my preliminary ideas if you want them e-mailed get ahold of me.

    Top Soil Cover Quantity And Cost Calculator
    Quonset Hut, Quonset Steel Buildings, Arch Metal Building
    quanset hut.

    plumbing diagram.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2015
  2. cdnboy66

    cdnboy66 Monkey++

    great idea, but I would be very careful with rated weight loads on a metal structure if you are top loading with soil gravel etc and then snow loads on top.
    also, something that crosses my mind is the moisture on metal aspect, I would think you could overcome this with a good dose of shotcrete or even something like rhino lining the exterior of the structure.
    some sort of external moisture barrier to keep the steel from rusting, I know they are said to be galvanized, but eventually even galvalume will rust, and that rust will factor into the integral strength.

    wonder if you could take one, build it, spray with 6" of foam insulation, then put a second metal pre fab skin on top with moisture barrier on the external skin to improve the lifespan and the weight load rating

    I realize these addendums would add to the overall square foot price, but they may add to the overall life span and comfort over the long haul

    I like the concept, not trying to be a naysayer, just wondering about some factors.

    oh, and as a by the way, check craigslist for used ones that have never been assembled, i have seen them on there at super chaep pricing

    Cheers
     
    HK_User and Gopherman like this.
  3. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Your right I forgot To post covering it in roofing mastic
     
  4. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Thats a valid point, but,I've already gone into the weight rating, and snow load, they can be made in custom gauging. They will only use that as an excuse to raise the price on you. I spoke with a second company and he said it because of the way they are designed with ribbing in place, they are inheranly strong enough. Look at an over pass culvert next time you think about it, it supports the weight of Semi-Trailor and the Guage used for those is not that much thicker than what a Hut is made of.
    There are many ww2 era standing tall and solid in the Allutian Islands, as well as other place around the world.
    They are very tough. I believe, if you cover them with roofing mastic, and a layer of Heavy duty plastic, which will be glued permanently in place, it will work pretty good. The use similar material to line land fills.
    You only need about 4' of dirt on top of it, The circular design of it is one of the strongest there is,
     
  5. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    When pop cans were a bit thicker than they are now, one could very carefully stand on one. But if you touched the side just ever so slightly indenting it, it would instantly collapse into a wad of aluminum just over a quarter inch thick. A close relative had a Quonset storage building for farm equipment. It was winter 7-8 years ago, maybe a foot of snow on it, had just barely bumped the side moving some equipment and the whole thing collapsed onto his combine and tractors. As an engineer, I am very very skeptical of the suggestion one could bury this under four feet of dirt. Sure ribs make a huge difference but metal thickness, dimensions of ribs, material strength, etc are also critical and you need safety factor on top of that. Can it handle when loaded a little bit of ground tremor from a modest quake 500 miles away? You need a good engineering analysis first and don't trust the sales guy who is obviously desperate to sell something, anything!

    AT
     
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  6. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    That's the cool thing about this site, lots of diversity amongst the membership, Make the wheels turn smoother!!!
    If you get a chance you can pull the specs on gauge size and other Greek Salad ratings that mean nothing to me, maybe you could get back to me on this, It would be greatly appreciated.
    I believe they have structural ribbing if I remember correctly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2013
  7. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    Another issue is many Quonset huts are "free spanned" ... no internal bracing which would help with the additional loads you describe... (I'm not an engineer but I did spend a night in a Holiday Inn express...;))
     
    kellory likes this.
  8. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Yeah, I was thinking about was said about the soda can.
    If you figure the gauge of the soda can, at 1 Ounce, and do the math on a 150 average man ( not me, Ha) the soda can supports 2400 x's its weight, until traumatic failure is achieved by forces equally as great comparatively.
    That's pretty impressive, now multiply the gauge of the soda can, versus the 21 gauge metal and do the math on that.
    I went to a site, had a look at some of their stuff, interesting, the engineering of these things has increased so dramatically over the years that the no longer require the additional interior framing structures.
    However, having said that if you framed out your walls with 2x4's and put in ceiling joist's and drywalled it in, you wouldn't even be able to tell you were in a Quonset Hut, and you would have protection if, catastrophic failure did occur.
    The other option would be, only bury it up to the peak. If your not driving over it with heavy equipment of trucks... It seems to me it might be ok. Its 6,400 lbs at a depth of 4 feet, 118 Cubic Yards.

    [bow]
    Yeah, I was thinking about what you said about the soda can.
    If you figure the weight of the soda can, at 1 Ounce, and do the math on a 150 average man ( not me, Ha) the soda can supports 2400 x's its weight, until traumatic failure is achieved by forces equally as great comparatively.
    That's pretty impressive, now multiply the gauge of the soda can, versus the 21 gauge metal and do the math on that.
    I went to a site, had a look at some of their stuff, interesting, the engineering of these things has increased so dramatically over the years that the no longer require the additional interior framing structures.
    However, having said that if you framed out your walls with 2x4's and put in ceiling joist's and drywalled it in, you wouldn't even be able to tell you were in a Quonset Hut, and you would have protection if, catastrophic failure did occur.
    The other option would be, only bury it up to the peak. If your not driving over it with heavy equipment of trucks... It seems to me it might be ok. Its 6,400 lbs at a depth of 3 feet, 118 Cubic Yards.
    You are probably, (I know) better at the math than me, what do you think.[bow][cow]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2013
  9. fmhuff

    fmhuff Monkey+++

    I see a lot of people wanting to bury Conex shipping containers while everyone warns them of the very real danger.

    Idea. What if you welded external rib braces every couple of feet like the underground shelter people do? I believe that would take care of the danger if you did it right. If you coated them with something to inhibit the rust and use good underground home design it should last a long time.
     
  10. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I'm on the phone now back and forth finding out structural load bearing info with an engineer. A culvert supports the weight of not only 10 + fett of dirt, but also semi trucks loaded down with material driving over it all day long, surely without all that happening on top of my structure it should hold up well.
    I can get it made to whatever specs I want as far as gauge of material. Should have info in a couple hours, I'll let you know what I find out
     
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    @Gopherman -

    I guess it's worth the mention that Quonset Huts were originally designed for temporary surface installation, and are NOT designed for burial at all. Some WWII installations are still in use today due to continuous maintenance which will not be possible in buried units. I suspect, but do NOT know that none were built for burial. That said (as you now know) there are a lot of culvert builds that are designed for various earth and traffic loading that will be as corrosion resistant as possible, without additional (read as cost additive) field (expedient, therefore questionable) add-ons or maintenance.

    I do not wish to discourage your planning at all, but I have to say that cheaping out is not the way to go here. Bite the bullet and spend the money to do it right. A proven off the shelf culvert item will always be less expensive than a custom design and build.

    (Side note: A semi-cylinder is NOT the strongest arch configuration, even in air where the side loads that might cause "oil canning" are essentially nil. I'll leave it for a student's exercise to find the strongest configuration considering the variation of side loading with depth. Take note of the arches employed by the Romans back in empire days. Follow that into middle ages architectural work on cathedrals, and you can see what developed over time without computational methods. Some of those early engineers were pretty crafty and built stuff that lasts even today. At least the ideas that are still in place worked, those that didn't got recycled into something else; maybe some lions got fed ---.)
     
    Gopherman likes this.
  12. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I am Talking with an engineer from one of these companies today he's going to get back to me with the info, I think Worst case scenario, rebar and 4 inches of fiber reinforced concrete the a coat of Roofing Mastic, a layer of 6 mil plastic should do it.
    What do you think?
     
  13. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Internal petitions that are load bearing would take care of your problems. Have a 40' school bus that will get metal over the windows, double coat of waterproofing, rubber roofing draped over it and 4" foam sheets before covering w/earth. To begin with school buses have a roll over protection rating and if petitions are added there should be no problem. A bud took down some corrugated silos to build his--with petitions. Just makes sense to have a safety factor.
     
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