Advantages and Disadvantages of Underground houses

In this era of global warming and people exploring alternate housing options for themselves, going underground makes sense. Such houses are also often referred to as Earth homes, or Earth bermed houses, or Earth shelter dwellings.

Though people still may not be comfortable with the idea of building all their house underground, but they do are exploring this option for at least a part of their villa.

Though it’s not something new. People have been building basements, tornedo and bombing shelters and underground parking in their houses since long. Some people opt to build a storey of their house underground, rather than building a double-storey building above the ground.

If you are exploring the option to go underground, completely or partially, we aim to inform you about the major pros and cons of this approach. It should help you a lot in making a better decision.

Table of Contents
  • Advantages of Underground houses
  • Disadvantages of Underground houses

Advantages of Underground houses

Protection against Disasters

Underground houses provide us protection against many natural disasters, such as tornedoes, and also human-made emergencies such as arial bombing, etc.

However, they may not prove as beneficial in case of disasters such as earthquake and floods. If you are living in a flood-prone area, it’s needless to say, don’t even think about constructing earth homes.

Aesthetic and Quiet

Some of these earth houses look superb, right out of a fairy tale. It’s one of the reasons some people want to get one for themselves. Psychologically, you will feel closer to the ground and hence closer to the mother nature.

Earth shelter dwellings

Moreover, apart from being visually appealing and psychologically soothing, they are very quiet. Of course, as you are living underground, you are insulated from most of the outside noise pollution. It may be a blessing for some people like creative writers, researchers, and people in general who value peace of mind.

Disadvantages of Underground houses

Water leakages

Earth homes are very prone to water leakages. Even though the dirt on the ground seems very dry to us, just dig a bit deeper and you will easily see wet mud.

The point is that earth, just below the thin top layer of soil, is very wet. It absorbs and retains a lot of water and the relative humidity is very high. This is true even for hot, desert climatic regions. So, the walls of your underground house may really get wet if not properly built, and you will have to face all the corresponding problems that accompany such wet and humid climate – fungus, molds, etc.

Lack of Natural lighting and Ventilation

Obviously, underground houses will have at least 2 or 3 of their sides covered. So, natural light and fresh air can enter the house only through one or two sides.

This may render a rather gloomy, dark ambience to your house, with stale air. To compensate this, you will probably have to rely a lot more on artificial light and install some exhaust fans to pull in some fresh air from outside.

So, earth houses need to be well planned. Or else, you may end up in a dark, wet, cold house for the rest of your life. It doesn’t sound that bad in summer season, but what about rainy days and winter season?

Difficult to inspect and repair

As most of your house is going to be underground, it would be difficult to inspect it from the outside. In case there is some cracking of walls, or termite damage, you can only guess the probable amount of damage from the inside. It would also be a bit tougher to repair the damage.

Bug issues

More than 90% of the organisms on our planet live below the earth. So, you may have to face a lot of bug issues (mold, termites, etc.). Afterall, you have created an optimal living condition for bugs and pests to flourish – damp air, darkness, limited ventilation and sunlight.

Limited resell options

If you ever decide to resell your house, you may not find many people interested in buying such an unconventional earth house. This is an issue with almost all unconventional houses, but with earth houses this problem may be a bit more acute – not many people want to live entirely in a basement. Also, an earth house, if not properly constructed and maintained, may sustain a lot of damage with time. It may look much older than it is. All this may accelerate the depreciation of the house value.

Well apart from all this, do expect some strangers to randomly come to your door and knock. Earth houses do attract eyeballs and people often have a lot of questions regarding them, and are curious to go inside and have a look. Imagine the number of kids knocking your door during Halloween! I am not sure this is a pro or con – will let you decide.


If you have decided that you are going to build your house underground or maybe build a basement in your house, there are some tips and tricks and some caveats that you should keep in mind while doing so. You may read about it all in this article of ours.

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