Aussies Living Simply

cellar builds?

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    i am interested in building a cellar, but i would like to know if it has to be VENTILATED or not?? my idea is to have it built UNDERGROUND and i wondered if anyone has had experience or FAILURES in constructing one. thanks????


    We have a split level home which follows the lie of the land. The foundations are massive limestone blocks (this is an old house). We have a living room on the lower level with a small door going under old part of the house. My husband has lightly excavated the existing dirt floor (being very mindful of the foundations), laid a concrete floor and we use it to store provisions and of course wine :). We have good ventilation (vents and the fact our floorboards are timber so there are gaps) and it is very cool, even in high summer. In winter it isn’t at all damp.

    Cellar construction (the American model) is not often attempted here. Prime consideration would be suitability of the terrain, all types have their dramas. Even in sandy soil, you would have to have some good engineering to ensure strength/integrity of the walls/foundations. Ventilation is a serious consideration, as is the water table.

    Shire approval would need to be sought for a new or existing build, and some advice from a building engineer wouldn’t go astray either. After all, you want usable space not a death trap (toxic moulds are just as dangerous as dodgy walls).

    If a cellar space isn’t an option, think about utilising roof space, though again, you need to consider the ventilation and maintaining the integrity of the existing structure.


    I am interested to. I had thought of emergency in bushfires as well. One solution I was interested in is to use excavators, use containers, leave an air gap underneath for water to drain away etc, then back fill over the top. Then step down etc.

    There was a timelapse youtube video explaining how to do it, looked quite good. American of course.

    We have a “hill”, I had thought about digging into the side of it as another solution but it would be quite far from the house


    Ive got 2 separate ones on the go at the moment.

    Both are under sections of my house I will need to shore up foundations and create a floor and door.

    I dont think I will get the temperature control to use it as a cool store,so I will probably need to use fridges as insulated storage,I would use converted chest freezers for some to keep running costs down and just use dead ones as sealed insulated and vermin proof cupboards.

    The idea is for storing preserved foods and making and storing wine, cheese,salamis and hams.

    Its all a slow process Ive spent years digging by hand a small amount at a time.

    I usually wait for the cooler months.

    One is 3/4 done the other is only a 1/4 done.


    I really need to start digging again next winter

    I could use the stones to build my steps
    So many projects all intertwined


    Some of the older farms had a cellar they were built 1.5 meters in the ground and the rest above ground

    Auntie carries one had rocks cemented below ground and the above ground bit looked like telegraph poles and a pointy roof

    It was always cool

    I often thought of digging under the garage  it has a concrete floor  it only needs to be 2 metres wide


    A friend had a back hoe dig a hole and he buried a big concrete pipe in it standing up and then put a lid on it and a ladder to get down and used rio for wine racks.

    There no way to get a machine in for mine and my under floor has no stumps so its easy.
    And I do need heaps of rocks for my landscaping and its a good supply.

    Temp control of a cellar in Qld is hard though,it will be more storage than cool store.

    It also frees up a large room used for storage now to become a granny flat or spare guests bedroom or art studio.

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