Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Building & Construction


Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-06-2010, 04:04 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2
Share |

Combo root cellar/chicken coop

My two big projects for the summer are to make a root cellar and to make a chicken coop. I want to someday build a straw bale house, so I decided to practice on a chicken coop. For this to be a true test of my straw bale construction technique, I need to give it a proper foundation. To get below the frost line here, one needs to go quite deep. This is why nearly all houses here have basements. Which got me thinking, I could build my chicken coop with a basement, and that could be my root cellar. So, I've been merrily toodling along trying to figure out how to do all of this. I have a root cellaring book that has building instructions, and I have straw bale construction books. For the most part, I think I've more or less got it covered. But some of the details are confusing me.

So, to sum up that bit, I'm building a straw bale chicken coop on top of a poured-concrete-walled root cellar.

The big thing right now is the roof of the root cellar/floor of the chicken coop. I'm looking at a size of 12 by 15 feet (exterior dimensions). The root cellar will probably be divided into two equally sized rooms. My root cellaring book recommends a concrete ceiling, as root cellars are supposed to be damp and wood will rot in such a space. Also, it would make an easily washed floor in the chicken coop (I would put a sealant on it). I ran this past a friend of my husband's who has construction experience, and he suggested that the walls (or maybe the ceiling?) would have to be very thick to hold up the weight of the ceiling AND the weight of the straw bale walls. He thought that it was a bad idea and we should just use wood. This isn't for my house or anything, so I don't want to hire a structural engineer. I just want to figure out if it would be feasible to use concrete for this application, because I think it's preferable functionally.

In case it's pertinent, I'll try to give a good idea of the overall plan. From the bottom up, the root cellar will be dirt-floored, with a gravel-filled sump to drain into if required. The walls will be built on a wide footing, and they will be poured into insulated concrete forms. The proposed concrete ceiling can sit on top of that? Or maybe only on top of half of the wall? The walls will stick up out of the ground at least a foot but under two feet. After addition of moisture barriers to prevent bale wetting, bales will be stacked up. They are going to bear the roof load. The roof plate will be tied down through conduits in the concrete under the bales. The bales will be stuccoed, probably with a concrete stucco. As you can see, I feel fairly confident in my root-cellar knowledge, and fairly confident in my straw-bale knowledge, but the interface between the two is kind of scaring me. The more input the better!

hykue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2010, 05:00 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,590

Combo root cellar/chicken coop

I always thought the concrete roof of a root celler needed to be covered with a foot or two of soil to maintain the desired temps. Won't your hybrid get too hot in summer and too cold in winter?

jogr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2010, 05:40 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 2

Combo root cellar/chicken coop

I think the insulated concrete forms and the slightly heated, very well-insulated chicken coop on top will take care of this. I think this because I left a max/min thermometer in the cold room of the basement while we were gone this winter, and it never got below -4 (celsius - that's +25 farenheit). The basement walls are uninsulated and the cold room has two exterior walls. The foundation walls stick up almost two feet. The max/min thermometer I left in the garden read -40 (same in celsius and farenheit). The scale on the thermometer doesn't go below -40.

Thanks for bringing this up, but I'm pretty sure I've got it covered.
hykue is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need help installing a combo fan/light over shower mbaughan Electrical 14 02-25-2011 07:55 AM
Bathroom Light/Exhaust Fan Combo Sabretooth Electrical 6 07-21-2010 10:13 PM
Need ideas for chicken coop expansion. Leah Frances General DIY Discussions 7 07-28-2009 10:37 AM
Moving from switch to switch combo, please help. Tritoon Electrical 31 09-05-2008 06:49 AM
root killer dangerous to pipes? darsunt Plumbing 6 05-26-2008 06:44 PM

Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.