How Much Does It Cost To Build A Root Cellar
Once upon a time, preserving food meant buying an excess of goods in the summer and relying on root cellars and smokehouses to keep food from spoiling. But as canning and refrigeration became popular methods of preserving goods, root cellars fell out of favor—even though they’re still one of the best ways to keep your food at its freshest. Root cellars use the natural temperature underground to keep foods cool, which means you’ll never need to worry about power outages or high temperatures ruining your groceries. Plus, unlike canning or refrigeration, there’s no loss of nutrients when you store your veggies in a root cellar. This is a big deal if you’re part of the growing locavorist movement or have decided to go vegan: being able to preserve fruits and vegetables without sacrificing their nutritional value is critical for making sure that your diet remains healthy year-round. All that said, building a root cellar isn’t cheap—especially if you want it done right (which we always recommend). In this post, I’ll break down what goes into preserving fresh ingredients using a root cellar so that you can decide whether it’s worth investing in one yourself!
Prep area – $0 to $500
The prep area is the place where you will process your harvest.
It’s also where it will live, until it’s time to move it into the root cellar.
Build out area – $500 to $1,000
The first step in building your root cellar is deciding what size you need. You’ll want to make sure that the root cellar fits all your fruits and vegetables so that they don’t get spoiled while they’re waiting to be used.
Your build out area is where you store your produce, so it needs to be big enough to fit everything. If you have a lot of food, this area could cost more than $1,000!
Sourcing materials – $50 to $200
Now that you know the basics of root cellars, it’s time to start thinking about what materials you will need.
You may be able to source some of these materials yourself or from friends and family members. If not, you can always look online and find a company that will deliver them right to your door.
The following list is a compilation of typical items needed for building a root cellar. The prices listed are estimates based on average costs found online or in stores:
Build out – $25 and up
This is the step where you get to build out your root cellar.
You will need to put in a door, door frame and hinges (or depending on your design, you might have an inset panel), as well as install shelving and/or racks for hanging baskets of produce. You can install cement flooring if you wish to do so. You may also want to consider installing a small sink with running water. The cost of this part depends on what kind of materials you use – cinder blocks or wood are both fairly affordable options, but stone masonry or concrete work would be more expensive.
The installation process itself doesn’t take that long – maybe six hours or so if it’s just one person doing all the labor (and probably many more if there are several people involved). Most DIY projects should take between two and three days total time spent working on them (lots of breaks included) – but again this will depend a lot on how much experience working with these types of materials/tools/appliances etcetera that person has already had before starting this project too!
Lumber and hardware – $250 and up
$250 and up: Lumber and hardware
Building a root cellar from scratch is going to cost you. A lot of the materials needed can be found at your local hardware store, or online if you’re looking for something specific. The lumber will likely be the most expensive part of your project, but you’ll need it to build the structure itself so it’s worth it!
A new shed – $500 and up
There are a few different ways to get a shed kit:
- Buy one yourself and build it yourself. Do-it-yourself kits range from about $500 for a basic shed with no foundation up to over $1,000 for a combination package that includes the foundation and delivery. The cost of the materials will vary depending on where you live, but the average cost of building your own shed is about $1,300 (including any professional installation costs).
- Purchasing all materials at once can save money if you don’t mind putting all the work into building it yourself. If so, buying two 4×8 sheets of plywood at $30 each would run you around $120; buying two 4×8 sheets of OSB (oriented strand board) instead would cost closer to $60 total; then adding in screws or nails at around 50 cents apiece would put your total materials at around $200-$300 depending on how many screws/nails/etc., assuming those items were included with your purchase. Builders often recommend using OSB panels instead of plywood because they’re stronger and cheaper than plywood (though this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll last longer).
A capable team of handymen -$800 and up
If you are a capable DIYer, and your friends or family members can help you with the job, a team of handymen will do the job quickly and efficiently. A good team of handymen will be able to do their part quickly, efficiently and accurately.
The cost of hiring such a team depends on where you live in North America. If your area is remote from major centers, then it will cost more than if it’s close to major centers. The hourly rate charged by contractors can vary widely depending on who they are and what they charge; typically $50 per hour is considered affordable for most home owners today (you may also have to pay them overtime). In addition, there may be other costs associated with travel expenses if you need their services far away from home or inclement weather conditions like snow days or hurricanes could interrupt scheduled work hours that would lead up until completion date!
Installation of a pre-built unit -$750 and up
If you want to install a pre-built unit, you will need to hire a contractor. You’ll also need to hire someone to build your root cellar if you decide not to purchase one already made.
The cost of hiring workers (or doing the labor yourself) depends on what type of building materials you choose, as well as how much time goes into building it. If you choose expensive materials and hire laborers who take their time in constructing it, then expect a higher price tag than if you had chosen less expensive options and hired unskilled laborers who work quickly.
Building a root cellar is an expensive project, but you can do it on a budget
The cost of building a root cellar depends on a few factors: the size of your project, the materials you use and how complicated it is.
- The larger your root cellar is, the more expensive it will be to build.
- If you’re using wood or concrete blocks for your construction materials instead of strawbales or other natural materials, then this will increase overhead costs as well.
- If your root cellar has multiple levels or tunnels with different dimensions than others (for example: one tunnel could have curved walls while others are straight), then adding complexity increases labor costs as well.
- Doing work yourself can save money but might not be practical if you’re not familiar with construction methods or don’t have prior experience arranging materials like rocks and cement blocks into useful shapes like walls and floors—but even if all else fails, just having someone help out who knows what they’re doing should take away some stress from building an underground storage space yourself!
Building a root cellar is a great way to make use of an unused space and, in the long run, save money on groceries. While it can get expensive if you try to do everything yourself, there are plenty of ways to find pre-built structures or just hire people who have the skills already. Just like with any major project around your home, you should always budget out beforehand so there aren’t any surprises down the road!