What do you think of when someone says they have a stockpile room? Is it the zombie apocalypse or World War 3 that comes to mind? With me, it’s simple preparedness.
Maybe it was the seven years I spent associated with the Boy Scouts, but “be prepared” is something that has become ingrained in my philosophy of daily living.
In this article, you’ll find tips on how to choose where to store your own “rainy day” stockpile, or if building one is a better option for you.
Repurposing a Room or Basement
Maybe you have an extra-large house and want to use one of the rooms already available and not used on a daily basis. Perhaps your house has an unused basement that you think will make a great place for your emergency stockpile. Wherever you choose to place your stockpile room, there are at least six questions you should ask before beginning the fitting out of the room:
1. Is it above ground? The temperature in above-ground rooms is more difficult to regulate, due to the fact that at least one wall will probably be an exterior wall of the house.
2. Are there windows in the room? Windows can allow heat and insects to enter, which can damage your stockpile.
3. Is there adequate room for shelving and other storage? If there isn’t enough room for all of the shelves and plastic containers you will need to use for your stockpile storage, then the room is not a good choice to utilize.
4. Can you use an area of your basement? Basements are an optimal place to build a stockpile room, simply because the ambient temperature can remain between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
5. Is your basement finished or unfinished? Finished basements usually have had waterproofing, so there won’t be a problem with moisture getting into your stockpile and ruining it. If you are working with an unfinished basement, you will want to be sure that any waterproofing is taken care of before investing in what could be something that could save your family’s lives.
6. Do you have an outbuilding that would work? Outbuildings are seldom used as stockpile rooms, although they are still a viable option if temperature and moisture can be controlled.
Building Your Stockpile Room From Scratch
Many people who are building a stockpile room “from the ground up” generally intend for it to be a multipurpose room from the beginning. Often, it is intended to serve as a storm shelter for those who live in tornado alley, as well as provide storage space for their emergency supplies. Granted, a basement works well for a storm shelter, but not everyone has one.
As with any other project that you might initiate on your private property, there are a few things that should be considered and looked into before you begin:
- Building codes and zoning regulations. Find out if you are allowed to put such a room/building on your property at all.
- What is the water table in your area? Not just the area of the state you are in, but under your property in particular. Water tables fluctuate somewhat, depending on how the bedrock runs beneath the land.
- Do you have an adequate space for building a storm shelter stockpile room?
- Determine what kind of materials you will be building your stockpile room out of, as there are many that you can use. I will offer some suggestions a little later in this article.
- How large will your finished room be? The size of the hole you dig may be twice as large as your finished room, depending on materials, due to safety reasons.
- How large of a stockpile do you intend to build? Do you want it to cover a matter of months or are you looking at a year or more in food?
Below are a few suggestions on what you can build your stockpile room out of, whether you choose to have it be multipurpose or not.
1. Natural stone. While a good idea if you have a lot of head-sized stones (and larger) on your property, it would take a fair amount of know-how to properly build such a room. More than likely, you would still need to either pour a cement floor or build a cedar floor on top of the stone for a flat surface.
2. Cement cinder blocks. This is the most popular material to use, since you can pretty much customize your storm shelter/stockpile room. This method also requires a bit of knowledge on how to put it all together properly so that the walls and roof don’t buckle beneath the weight of the earth pressing against them.
3. Earth-packed tires. This is a green method that could work well if you could get your hands on a large number of tires. Again, you would probably need to either pour cement or lay a cedar floor to keep out insects.
4. Whole cedar logs. While cedar planks may be easy to gather; whole logs may be more difficult to find.
5. Unused, faulty septic tanks. Believe it or not, you really can use a septic tank for either a storm shelter or a stockpile room, or both. Faulty septic tanks have cracks after they have been cast. These can be the results of poorly mixed cement or improper chemical mixtures; maybe the cast was too old and should have been replaced. Whatever the reason, the septic tank makers now have a tank that can’t be used AS a septic tank.
No matter what you choose to build a stockpile room out of, or if you choose to place it in your home, you are one step closer to providing for your family should difficulties come your way. It may not be the zombie apocalypse or a thermonuclear war, but you can be assured that you and your family will have plenty of food.
What advice would you add for choosing or building a stockpile room? Share your advice in the section below: