Aug 12, 2022
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Basement or cellar – which is preferable?

Basement or cellar - which is preferable?

Many summer residents, after harvesting and the end of the home conservation season, have a question about storing all this stuff. Praise to the prudent and zealous owners who attended to the construction of the basement during the construction of the country house! And it’s good if the relief of the site and the depth of groundwater made this possible. And if not? And in general, what is the fundamental difference between a basement and a cellar?

Basement or cellar

What is a basement, in fact, is clear. This is a room that is below ground level and is located under the first floor of the house. The basement is arranged during the laying of the foundation of the house, it usually has the same area as the first floor above it, and is used, in most cases, for household purposes – they store summer equipment in the basement, equip a separate room for the heating boiler, various storerooms, including including for storage of preservation and vegetables-fruits of the last harvest. In large country houses in the basement, you can often find a laundry room, and especially enterprising owners can even make a pool in the basement!

Of course, the basement of the house in the summer cottage looks more modest and its functions are mainly limited to storing the crop harvested from the plot and country tools.

Unfortunately, the arrangement of the basement is not only quite expensive: in many cases it becomes impossible at all due to the close occurrence of groundwater to the surface of the earth, which even good waterproofing does not save.

It is in this case that the construction of a cellar on a summer cottage can be a real salvation. The cellar can also be equipped in the basement of the house, but, as a rule, it is a separately located building.

Unlike the basement, the cellar is intended exclusively for storing food, fruits and vegetables, home preservation – for this, shelving and shelves are installed in it, through a well-thought-out thermal insulation system they maintain the necessary temperature conditions, and provide good ventilation of the room.

The type of cellar is usually selected depending on the depth of groundwater in the area. There are ground, semi-buried and buried cellars. If groundwater is located almost immediately below the soil surface (0.5-1 meter), we can talk about the construction of an exclusively ground cellar. When groundwater occurs at a depth of 2 meters or more, you can already think about a semi-buried or buried cellar. It is also necessary to take into account the material for the construction of the cellar – it will not work to build a semi-buried or buried cellar without concrete and brick.

Currently, the construction of cellars from concrete rings is practiced, however, special equipment cannot be dispensed with due to the large weight of the structural elements. There are also ready-made cellars in the form of a “barrel” or “cube”, already equipped with hydro and thermal insulation and ventilation, and often with shelves with drawers.

To install such a cellar on the site, it is enough to dig a pit of the required size and carefully process its bottom.

For the construction or installation of a cellar, in all cases, they try to choose the highest place on the site. By far, the best type of cellar is recessed, it is easier to maintain a constant cool temperature without sharp fluctuations.

There are several simple rules that you must follow if you decide to build a cellar in your summer cottage with your own hands:

  • all construction work is carried out in the summer;
  • only high-quality building materials are used;
  • cellar walls and anti-scree structures must be erected correctly;
  • good ventilation is provided;
  • construction is underway.

At the beginning, it is necessary to dig a pit, and this is done strictly in accordance with the plan or drawing. On the outside of each wall of the future cellar there should be a free space of 1-1.5 m – this is necessary for the convenience of construction work. If the soil on the site is very loose, it is advisable to make the walls of the pit not vertical, but with a slight slope, so they will crumble less. In the case of a high location of groundwater on the site, the pit for the future cellar is dug wider and deeper by 50 cm, then this space is filled with waterproofing materials. A “pillow” of crushed stone and broken bricks is laid at the bottom of the pit, which is then filled with bitumen.

When erecting concrete cellar walls, only concrete grades with high waterproof properties are used. If a brick is used, then it is first treated with special compounds, then a cement screed is made on both sides of the wall, which is covered at the end with roofing material or roofing felt, fixed with special mastic. Additionally, the walls of the cellar from the outside can be coated with tar.

After several rows of masonry walls, a niche is made in it for the future ventilation pipe, there may be several such niches in the walls. In the upper part of the niche, it is necessary to close it with bars so that rodents do not penetrate into the cellar.

Particular attention is paid to the floor of the future cellar. If you are lucky and the groundwater is located deep in the area, the floor can be just earthen. If the occurrence of groundwater is high, then first a “cushion” is made of gravel and sand, which is carefully compacted. Then crushed stone is poured, which is also compacted. A formwork is installed along the perimeter of the floor and a concrete screed is made, after the concrete has hardened, the formwork is removed.

For the construction of cellar ceilings, you can use ready-made concrete slabs, which rest on the ground around the entire perimeter. It is also possible to create a combined overlap. For its implementation, first, roofing material is laid on the walls and soil, on top of it – wooden bars-beams. Wooden flooring with a hatch is nailed to the beams, covered with a dense plastic film. Then formwork is made, reinforcing bars are laid, concrete is poured and leveled.

The roof of the cellar is made above the ceiling, it can be gable or semicircular, but it must necessarily protrude slightly beyond the perimeter of the cellar. In the case of a recessed cellar, a cellar is equipped between the ceiling and the roof – a kind of shed above the cellar, which is always slightly wider than the cellar below it. The frontal part of the roof can be sheathed, for example, with boards, and roofing material is first laid on the slopes, then covered with any roofing material. It is also possible to sprinkle the cellar from above with earth, with an embankment thickness of 25 cm.

Stairs to a semi-buried or recessed cellar can be either fixed or removable. Last but not least, shelving and shelves are made inside the cellar, for which specially treated wood is used.

The cellar needs to be ventilated, cleaned and disinfected annually. The easiest way to disinfect is whitewashing with lime with the addition of a solution of copper sulfate (1 kg per bucket of water). After such whitewashing, the cellar is kept for a month with regular ventilation, then it is ready for use again.

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