In this article, we are going to talk about how to build a storm shelter under your house.
In order to do so, we consulted with experts and did research on this topic.
A storm shelter is generally referred to as a super-strong safe room designed to survive dangerous high winds, tornadoes and flying debris. Even though your shelter is destroyed by the storm you will still be safe.
Building a storm shelter (now called a “security room”) should provide you with a little more peace of mind.
During a serious storm, most people go to an interior room or go to the basement and hope for the best.
Unfortunately, even those areas are not intended to endure extreme winds and other winds associated with them.
A drywalled, 2×4-framed room cannot withstand a storm traveling at 100-plus miles an hour, even if it’s in the middle of a house.
“Force 5” tornadoes or C5 hurricanes (the two most serious storms) can gather winds of more than 200 mph which is enough to blow a well-built house right off its foundation.
Therefore, a tornado shelter can pay off, especially if you live in a vulnerable area of strong winds.
Keep in mind that a safe room may be more than a storm shelter.
In the house, the room can be used as a closet, bathroom or pantry.
If you have the storm shelter somewhere at the back of the house, it can serve as a yard or storage.
Wherever you are, the bonus is that this is practically inexhaustible in value and can store safely, firearms, documents, and expensive equipment.
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how to build a storm shelter under your house:
Basically, storm shelters can be categorized into two which are above ground (or ground level) and underground storm shelters.
There are some certain things to put into consideration when building a storm shelter.
For example, avoid building a storm shelter in a flooded area. In case the target area is safe from either floods or ocean tides, then you can proceed to build your underground storm shelter.
Getting in touch with an expert builder or an architect might be a good idea. This is because they are familiar with the area and the soil. There is some basic advice you need to follow before laying hands on building a storm shelter both above or below the ground.
People who live in areas that have destructive storms, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, need to have safe rooms or storm shelters where they can safely navigate through these storms.
Contact FEMA for information on how to construct standards storm shelters, and it can provide either states or local governments grants to help pay for them.
The National Storm Shelter Association also provides helpful insight into the design and construction of storm shelters and safe rooms.
However, in case you have your own personal house, you may decide to build a basic storm shelter that can be used for a short period of time in order to stay safe while you make another arrangement for a professional to build a permanent shelter.
How to build a storm shelter under your house, steps:
- The first step is taking a decision on the type of storm shelter you intend to build. Tornado is an “EF” rating of 1-5. Hurricane is similar. This will assist you in deciding on how strong and powerful your shelter should be built.
- Go and check if the area you intend to build your storm shelter is in a “flood zone” or “storm surge zone.” This will help you decide on whether to build an underground shelter or above the ground storm shelter.
On the off chance that you live in an area prone to flood, you should not make the mistake of building an underground shelter in such an area this is because it can be flooded.
This makes the shelter to be even more dangerous instead of protecting you amid disaster.
- As soon as you have seen the place to be safe to build an underground storm shelter, the following is helpful. The next important thing you should put into consideration is whether the soil good for building a shelter or not.
- In case of a hurricane, the shelters measure a bigger space which is enough to provide about 10 square feet of space for each person who will make use of the shelter with room for supplies. In case your expectation is more tornados, about 7 square feet should be enough (since tornados last less than hurricanes).
- There is also a need to build a door on the ground level to gain access to the shelter from above. Excavate a hole larger than the size of the room to allow space to build walls and install a door. A storm shelter is not completely built underground this makes it easier for you to access the door without constructing a complete set of stairs.
- The next thing is to dig the larger shelter hole. At this point, you use concrete to make the walls. The thickness of the walls has to be 5 inches thick. Allow the concrete cure completely before going on to the next step. Allow it to cure completely.
- Built a dome-shaped frame using wood, fiberglass or steel, depending on the severity of the storms your area tends to experience.
Make use of a waterproof membrane to line the frame and strengthen it with a wire mesh. Use anchors to attach the frame to the foundation.
- Pour concrete over the frame. Reinforce the roof with additional layers of wire mesh to strengthen it, making it thick enough to withstand 200 pounds of force so it doesn’t get torn off by high winds.
- Install a steel door frame and door with three deadbolt latches. Make sure the hinges are on the outside of the frame.
- Cover the roof with a waterproof membrane and add masonry or other material to help it blend into the surroundings in an attractive way.
- you can improve the interior decoration of the shelter by putting some benches, even couches and more comfort in case of prolonged natural events and disasters.
- Install sturdy shelves to organize supplies and maximize floor space. Put in benches or other seating and consider ways to make sleeping on the shelter floor more comfortable.
Common materials for storm shelters are:
- Reinforced concrete, poured
- Reinforced concrete, blocks
- Fiberglass and welded solid steel
- Wood and steel
There are companies that can build a quick underground shelter for you(see video below) by using a pre-ordered metal box that they just put into the ground, this kind of shelters can be done very quickly and it is not so pricey.
You can even buy a ready underground storm shelter from Amazon (like in the image) and just place it in your garage or in a hole that you dug for this purpose.
Adding an underground storm shelter to your garage.
The dangers with underground shelters are like we have mentioned earlier, flood and a blockage of the door by fallen objects.
So, if your house is located in a “flood zone” area, avoid from building an underground shelter.
Regarding a door blockage, the doors of the underground shelters are doors that slide on a rail, so no need to lift them(which would be impossible if a heavy object is lying on them).
Some doors come with a hydraulic jack and mounting points so you can lift them even when a heavy object is lying on them.
In any case, avoid from putting heavy objects above or near the shelter’s door and always make sure that others know about the existence and the location of your underground shelter.
Another great option for a storm shelter is to buy a ready shelter and put it outside your house(if you have a place for it).
You can check out this great shelter on Amazon:
We hope that you found “how to build a storm shelter under your house” interesting and helpful.
You can also read about building a nuclear bomb shelter here!
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