Building A New House Designed To Survive Shtf

Discussion in 'Permanent Shelters' started by Hick Industries, Mar 11, 2019.

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  1. Hick Industries

    Hick Industries Well-Known Member

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    Son of liberty asked me to talk about building my new house.

    My idea of a perfect retirement, was to buy a rough piece of land, and build a ranch from scratch. If you were to guess that entails a hell of a lot of work, your right.

    My wife and I wanted a nice log house with a basement. The land we bought has a lot of slope to it, so I choose a site where we could build a walk out basement, and have access to all sides. I was very carefully to choose a place where surface runoff runs away from the house. So far, so good.

    We started in early June, by digging a hole. A big hole. Big enough for the basement and a two car garage. The basement walls are made from insulated concrete forms. This produces a very strong, very tight, well insulated building. On top the ICF walls, we built a cedar log home, purchased as a kit. Actually, a framing crew assembled the walls, and the roof for me, but I did write them a nice check.

    Once the house was dried in, I began installing the extra insulation to the outer walls, the power and water lines, and the vinyl flooring. My primary heat is a soap stone wood stove ( and my water storage is a 3,000 gal tank located on the hill side above the house.

    I still have a couple of systems left to install before I move in. I'm having a 3 ton mini split heat pump installed, with wall units for the basement, main floor, and the loft. My water tested hard with considerable sulfate and calcium/magnesium carbonate, so I'm installing a whole house filter/softener. Finally, I will be putting in a septic tank and a 500 gal propane tank.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  2. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member

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    Not water efficient then, pitty. How about electricity, off grid?
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  3. Hick Industries

    Hick Industries Well-Known Member

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    I believe you live in a dry area, perhaps Austrailia? I lived in the Mojave desert for 32 yrs so I know what it takes to find and store enough water, when it only rains a couple days per yr.

    So when I retired I sold my house in the California desert, and moved to eastern Oklahoma. It rains an average of 46" per yr, I have four springs on the property, and a small creek runs through my lower pasture. Far more concerned with draining flood waters, than conserving water.

    I have a couple of solar panels powering lights, and my shallow well pump. But since this is a real ranch, I have the deep well pump, and all my shop tools hooked up to line power. Not trying to go off grid, but we have ice storms that close the roads and damage the power lines.
  4. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist

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    Do you have well water or is it piped in from some municipality? Well water is not always pure or clean. Lotta folk must treat their well water.

    Good thing that you have a wood stove. I'd not heard of soap stone wood stoves. I've heard of huge masonry stoves like those of Scandinavian countries. So, I've just now found some online info about these soap stone stoves -- sound neat so far. Thanx for bringing up the topic.

    I think that it would be neat having an escape tunnel leading away from a survival house. I'm from an area of the South that was anti-slavery / pro-Republican during this country's first Civil War. A good-sized mansion about a half-mile from where I used to live had tunnels leading away from it and opening out in the woods. The place was one of the many safe-houses on the "underground railroad", a term meaning escape routes to the North. So, if that mansion had been the target of a Southern raid, the run-away slaves could head out of the house underground to the far end opening in the surrounding forest. What with today's durable piping, a tunnel could be made rather safe.
  5. Hick Industries

    Hick Industries Well-Known Member

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    Great question about well water quality. We have two deepwells, and one shallow well. We pulled a sample and sent it to National Testing Labs. Report indicate no bacteria, nitrates, or heavy metals. But it is alkaline and contains sulfates, calcium, magesium carbonate. We purchased a good whole house filter and water softener unit.

    Radar, CountryGuy and TMT Tactical like this.
    1. CountryGuy
      Hick, how hard is your water and what softener system did you go with? Here in PA where we are our water tested 25 grains hardness. We put in a Culligan system but we seemed to have swapped hard white calcium on everything to hard white salt as the unit requires so much to drop the hardness. I'm thinking about changing it to something else if I can find a better or different unit that doesn't trade one for the other. I really wish I would have went with a Kinetico though I think it;s the same salt for calcium ion replacement technology. Thanks for all the info.
      CountryGuy, Mar 16, 2019
      Radar likes this.
  6. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist

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    Well, good for you and yours. Municipal supplies will go intermittently or go off, period. This is why most folk need storage barrels. I live where there are streams and rivers all about.

    If getting water out streams, one must filter first with ceramic then with charcoal. Even after those treatments, one should still boil the water. Viruses must be killed. The number one killer of kids on our planet is dysentery.
    Radar and TMT Tactical like this.
  7. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member

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    Welcome, your house looks and sounds great. We built an ICF home back in 2006, we're about 10 degrees of latitude north of you and incorporated passive solar heating into the design. The sun and a lower level wood stove are our primary heat sources and we use less wood a year than many homes half the size of ours. First ICF home I ever lived in, and can't envision not living in one now. They have many survival advantages beyond energy efficiency too. Like you we wrote a check for the construction and did many updates ourselves afterwards. Modern homes just aren't well designed for griddown/offgrid living, the builders' solution to everything is to throw more kilowatts and BTUs at any problem until it's solved. If you want it done right you need to design it yourself.
  8. Sonofliberty

    Sonofliberty Master Survivalist

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    You did the digging yourself? Did you rent a backhoe or something? How hard is ICF to work with? Can you ballpark me on the cost to build the house and basement? Is it significantly cheaper than just building an all metal building?
    watcherchris and TMT Tactical like this.
  9. Hick Industries

    Hick Industries Well-Known Member

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    Icf is not difficult once you have seen it done once or twice. I would not suggest learning on your own home. Either work for a crew for a year, or hire it done.

    I bought myself a 65hp ag tractor with a backhoe when I first retired and moved here. I prepared the building site and trenched all the utilities, but hired the basement excavation, and concrete work.

    Icf is not cheap.
    I built a 24x40 post frame metal building for $3400.
    Add another $ 2000 to insulate the ceiling and walls, and pour a slab.

    My icf basement cost $44/sqft and that just supports the log home above.
    Radar, Duncan, watcherchris and 3 others like this.
  10. lalakai

    lalakai Well-Known Member

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    sounds nice. it will be interesting to follow as you live and refine the operation. Definitely a great source of highly useful info. thanks.
    TMT Tactical and watcherchris like this.
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