Basement In An Earth Berm House

Basement In An Earth Berm House

This is a discussion on Basement In An Earth Berm House within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Hey guys- Still doing research on my house design and I wanted to get some peoples opinions.......... I want to build the house with ICF's ...

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Thread: Basement In An Earth Berm House

  1. #1
    Member Array JCook5003's Avatar
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    Basement In An Earth Berm House

    Hey guys-

    Still doing research on my house design and I wanted to get some peoples opinions..........

    I want to build the house with ICF's and 3 walls bermed with earth and a single plane roof with a pretty flat pitch and then apply a green roof to it......

    I would really like to have a basement since I have heard slab foundations can cause nightmares later down the road if plumbing breaks. (Jackhammer)

    I was wondering if it would be possilbe to build an earth berm house with a basement, I mean in my mind basically it's just a single story house with a basement, then you pile dirt up around 3 walls so the water table wouldnt be an issue..........

    What do some of you construction types think?

    Josh


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    most houses i've seen had an above ground floor with walkout basement,but i imagine it could be done the home would just be the walkout part with the basement underneath,make sure you put in a drainage system under the foundation to prevent water seepage from hydrostatic pressure
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    Yes, you have to line the outside of the basement wall with a waterproof wrap, then about a foot of gravel.

    Plus the foundation has to have a slope under level gravel bed.

    This is to keep it well drained
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

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    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    Depends on several things..
    No 1 your wallet.
    No 2 the water table
    No 3 building codes in your area
    No 4 Radon gas, it is worse in some areas ventilation may be required.
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    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    Well if you would have radon in a 1-floor on a slab, you'd have less in the living space of a 1floor over a basement. $1200-1500 can remedy any radon issue assuming there's a slab in the basement or beneath living space.

    I see no reason why you couldn't do a basement as you describe... Drainiage, gravel, etc will help. ICFs will make it easy.

  6. #6
    Member Array JCook5003's Avatar
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    Thanks guys.......I will post up a floor plan and elevation today or tomorrow so you guys can see what I have in mind.

  7. #7
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    Check out Terra-Dome Corp.

    Saw their booth at a Home Show back in 1980 and picked up one of their planning books. They were just starting out then and almost 30 years later they are still in business.

    If I were building a new home, I would more than likely build one of these. If I am not mistaken they can be made two story, so you can definitely have a basement. I was very impressed and since they are in Missouri, I toured one of the show homes. Damn near a bomb shelter. If you want a total underground house the roof design will support 8 feet of earth plus the weight of a D-9 Cat. But as you can see on their website, most are partial earth bermed They will build in any state I believe or you can use local contractors. You can design your own floor plan or use one of theirs. They also have a design department so they can help you with your plans or tweak what you have in mind.

    Oh btw... they are bullet proof except for the windows.
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    Senior Member Array ridurall's Avatar
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    As for the plumbing, have your plumbing contractor lay larger external pipe and then the water pipe in side it. If it ever leaks you can replace the pipe by pulling a new pipe in it's place. With the plastic they have now it should never leak.
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    Member Array chuck brick's Avatar
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    Are you set on a full-sized, "walkin'-height" basement, or would you consider a "crawl-space" basement - say, 20 to 30 inches clearance? Here in Texas many houses are built "Pier-and-Beam" with just such ground clearance for air circulation, plumbing, electrical, ductwork, etc. If you can settle for a crawl space, the construction expense won't be so astronomically higher. (you'll still have a lot of room for "stash," too!)
    Just a thought.

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    Member Array Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridurall View Post
    As for the plumbing, have your plumbing contractor lay larger external pipe and then the water pipe in side it. If it ever leaks you can replace the pipe by pulling a new pipe in it's place. With the plastic they have now it should never leak.

    With the price of copper going up and up, a lot of people are switching to PEX for their water pipe needs. There are only two connections in a PEX water line, one at the faucet and one at the water manifold if it's installed properly, i.e. each line a "home-run" to the supply manifold.

    In the home that's on my design board, every water line will be PEX and routed overhead where it will be accessible (plus, if there any leaks I'll be guaranteed to notice )

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    VIP Member Array Guns and more's Avatar
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    I think you'd be better on a sloping lot, high above the water table. My main concern would be the pressure of all the dirt against the (unsupported) block.

  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Fitch's Avatar
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    ICF is a great choice for a livable basement.

    So are Superior Walls. ICF is about as strong a wall as you can get. There are pages of rules about ICF wall construction in the IRC. Follow the rules for reinforcement, water proof the outside, provide good drainage and provide physical protection for the portion above ground (it is easy to damage the foam with things like lawn mowers and week whackers) and strength isn't a problem. The thermal performance is outstanding.

    Drainage is critical for a living space basement. Best are french drains, or Form-A-Drain on both sides of the footing that will drain to daylight and provide a seperate connection for the Radon gas collection.

    ICF to the eves, if you can afford it, will have very good heating and cooling performance.

    Where you are located, what wind and snow load you have to deal with will also have an effect on your choice.

    Fitch

    PS I design houses - including mine I've done about 50 of them for people over the last 5 years. I'm a retired engineer, I do the house design for toy money and to keep my brain from turning to stone. House plans = new guns.

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