The movement to build structures partially in the Earth has intensified recently, and building an underground home is becoming a popular option.
Humans living under, or in the ground is nothing new – in fact, it might one of the oldest traits of our species. From the early primitives that lived in caves to the people that built their homes in the Earth to escape the excessive heat, there are cases of underground homes littered throughout history and found around the globe. And like any trend, it is making a comeback.
More and more people are looking into building an underground home. For some, that means creating an ADU-like bunker structure – great for the zombie apocalypse, not all that easy to build – while for others, it means emulating the Hobbits and incorporating the surrounding landscape as part of the building structure.
If you are considering embracing the underground lifestyle Fleschner Construction can help you out, but there are a few things to know.
Know the Terrain
If you are considering building a structure either underground or partially underground, the first thing you need to know is what you’re digging into. The type of ground is important, as is knowing what is buried beneath you.
Before you even consider building down, you should check with your local government agencies to ensure you aren’t digging down toward something important – pipes, for example. Not only could you end up causing major problems for yourself (and neighbors), you could end up in legal trouble.
Assuming you are all clear, it’s still important to know the area. Make sure you are prepared for what you may unearth. Digging into soil is much different than digging into rock. You should also check to see what kind of drainage you may need to deal with. If your area is known for flooding, building an underground structure may not be the best idea. In other words, not every area is amenable toward an underground structure. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but the costs will rocket upwards along with the difficulty.
Know What Kind of Underground Structure to Build
While the Hobbit home may be the most popular, there are several types of underground structures. Some of the more common include:
- Earth Berm, aka Earth Sheltering – These are the classic Hobbit houses, built on a flat land or small hill, then covered in Earth. Traditionally only a side of the house remains exposed, although that has changed in recent years thanks to improved construction techniques.
- Constructed Caves – As the name suggests, one increasingly popular trend (and one of the oldest styles of human domiciles) is to use a cave. This offers a lot of advantages, including natural insulation, but you also need to be near a cavernous area, or be filthy rich, enough to afford digging directly into a mountain. So this probably isn’t an issue for most.
- Cut and Cover, aka Culver Homes – These structures are typically bunker-style. They are often premade using metal or concrete, and then placed deep in the ground before being covered. Good options for avoiding nuclear fallout, but not the most social of options.
Why You Should Consider Building Underground
There are several advantages to building a structure underground. Using earth can provide natural insulation against the elements, and it also helps to regulate the climate. In fact, underground homes are so efficient that they can save as much as 80-percent in energy costs, specifically heating and cooling. That makes it economical and eco-friendly.
And speaking of eco-friendly, houses built partially underground covered in earth have much less impact on the surrounding ecosystem.
Plus, they just look cool.
Seek Experts to Help in Building an Underground Home
Once you have an idea of where you are building and you get the approvals, you’ll need to speak to an expert. Building underground is similar to building a traditional structure, but there are specific hurdles that are unique to this style. You’ll need to use the proper materials, connect utilities in a new way, and speak to someone with landscape experience.
While there probably aren’t too many companies that specialize in this type of construction, most experts can help you to create your dream hobbit hole. Contact Fleschner Construction now to see what your options are.