At first glance, the cellar may seem like a simple and boring room that can only be built in one way and there are no special options. But that’s where we come into play and realize the same boring cellars in a different way – as modern and interesting buildings made according to wishes.
Your earth cellar should not be a cold and dreary place to run in and out of. A wide range of modules, furnishing options and options with which you can create exactly the kind of cellar you want make cellars a place where you can not only store products, but also process, enjoy and present them. The first step is to think. You have to start by finding out your needs and planning of reserves. If 50 kilos of potatoes and 8 boxes of carrots need storage at the moment, it is worth thinking about the future as well. Because concrete modular cellars last from generation to generation, and maybe your descendants will become bigger cooks or gardeners than you currently are.
Our recommendations for future cellar owners to simplify planning are:
Choice of location
The indoor climate of the cellar depends on many specific features of the location: the soil, the depth of installation, the weather, the general area, and the location of the entrance.
Ideally, the cellar should be in a dry and shady place to avoid excessive humidity and excessively warm internal temperatures during the summer months. The deeper the cellar is installed, the more stable the temperature in it is. But when going further underground, you have to also start thinking about the stairs and also the attic, so that the entrance to the cellar does not get flooded. One of the best installation locations is, of course, naturally occurring hills or mountains on the side of which to build a cellar. However, one of the advantages of a modular cellar is that it can also be installed on the ground. Thanks to the insulation with PUR foam, the cellars made on the ground and beautifully decorated are sufficiently protected from the weather and an incredible sight in the backyard. In this case, at least one meter of soil could be stored on top of the cellar.
This means that if the average temperature under the earth’s crust is 5 to 7 degrees throughout the year, then the cellar has similar, near-ideal conditions for the long-term storage of garden products. When choosing a location, it is also important to make sure that it is accessible with a flatbed trailer or crane and that the road leading to it has a sufficient load capacity.
Since we produce modules in one piece, the probability of water entering the cellar through the ceiling or walls is non-existent. The only place for water to enter the module is through the bottom.
The bottom of the module cannot be closed because it is necessary to keep the ideal humidity level in the cellar at 70-90% so that moisture can get into the cellar from somewhere. For this purpose, our smallest cellar has a slab foundation, and larger models have a special opening in the floor to allow moisture to enter, through which the required amount of moisture can enter the cellar. We recommend always installing the modules above the surface and groundwater, but if you wish to install them in a location with a high risk of flooding or very watery soil – you must install drainage that would not allow the water level to rise above the floor.
In the case of a location with wet soil, we also recommend planning the installation at a time when the ground is frozen or for a period of drought.
Size, room layout, and storage conditions:
After installing the underground cellar, it is very difficult to increase its size, and for that it is important to make this decision right from the start. It’s always easy to make it smaller – close the hatch or, in case of a small harvest or store other things in the cellar – wines, garden equipment, hobby accessories. We often have clients who have already made a decision, but after coming to see them in real life, they still, decide on a bigger or smaller one. On our production site, we constantly have finished and unfinished projects that we recommend to come and see.
During the planning, a modular solution is the best, because rooms of different shapes and sizes can be created from just four modules. The modules can be connected to each other along the long side as well as the short side, the positions of the doors of the aisles can be changed to some extent, etc. In addition, in each individual module, conditions can be created for the things stored there. Store wines in the first module, meat, and dairy products in the next, and roots and other garden products in the third.
We also have a lot of cellar options with different purposes in our selection, and our sales representatives can certainly give the best advice on how to place and combine modules.
Other things to consider:
- When installing the entrance on the sunny side, it is worth considering the possibility of a canopy, so that the sun does not excessively raise the temperature of the entrance and thus the entire cellar.
- Lights, switches, and cabling. We make concrete modules as one piece, on top of which PUR foam is applied for insulation. However, for the long-term preservation of the module, we install the cabling between the concrete and the insulation. This means that the wires must be drilled through the concrete and attached to it before the insulation is applied. Later changes are difficult and often expensive. However, if the cellar is far from the power grid or there is no need for it, it is always possible to install battery-powered lighting solutions on the ceiling.
- Handedness – which hand do you like to open the door with? Which way should the door open? This question does not come to mind in the planning phase.
Because our doors are made of solid wood and handcrafted, the most important thing is the authenticity of the cellar and ease of use. The handiness of the cellar also determines the position of the light switch on the wall. There is no uniform solution or recommendation regarding handedness. It all depends on preference and need.
- Appearance – the earth cellar is a part of the home that offers a lot of eye candy in every season. In the wintertime – it is nice to look at the slopes buried in snow and in summer it is good to admire the plants blooming on them. By keeping a close connection with the cellar, you have a very good storage space, but also a nice design element that decorates the garden and often increases the value of the property. Many cellar owners, keeping traditions in mind, have installed earth stone decor on the facade of the module and used existing earth stones to support the soil with retaining walls, which provide an exciting natural solution. In addition to timeless beauty, such a solution is very maintenance-free and an excellent solution for insulating the cellar. It also helps to keep the temperature cool in the summer by planting vegetation on top of the cellar hill and next to it.
There is no better way to get answers than to ask directly! During our 10 years of operation, we have installed more than 900+ modular solutions both in Estonia and further afield, and we can advise in a wide variety of situations.