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Old 05-26-2011, 12:21 PM   #1
69supercj
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Default Homemade inground tornado shelter

Sort of out of the norm for here but with all thats been going on this week here in SW MO I think its time for me to consider a storm shelter and I'd like to build one myself to save some cash. The cheapest prefabbed one I've found is 3500 not installed, and that would probably run another grand or so. So far I've considered shipping containers, septic tanks, reclaimed underground storage tanks. Anybody else out there built their own or have ideas that are "outside the box" so to speak? I dont have a hillside to sink it into so it'll be buried on flat ground. Thanks for any and all help.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

You don't have a basement?
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

Well obviously not.
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

A shipping container would be pretty cheap if you have the space for it, although it would be pretty large (20x8) for the need. I assume you would need to bury it? How would you get into it? Probably could cut a hole in the top and add some stairs...
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Old 05-26-2011, 01:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

The reason I asked if you have a basement is that it would make sense to build a vault in the basement since the house can be blown off of the foundation.

Now that we've had a spate of twisters, the storm shelter companies are busier than usual. A company that builds above ground vaults advertizes how above ground are superior to below ground for some of the following reasons:
Snakes make underground vaults a home
Underground vaults can rapidly fill with water and drown those seeking shelter
People can be trapped in an underground vault due to debris

I would consider a life over dollars saved and would seek the services of a professional company that can build a reinforced above ground shelter that will withstand an EF-5.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

I actually thought about cutting a shipping container in half and splitting the cost with someone else and then just weld up a new end, cut a hole, build the door and stairs and add a few other features. 10x8 would be plenty big. I really dont want one above ground. I'm sure that the ones designed for an EF5 are guaranteed BUT, if it fails, you probably wont be around to collect the guarantee.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

You should know from experience that tornadoes and the damage they wreak are both unpredictable. I've seen cars that were badly mashed while another one no more than five feet away was untouched.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

Make sure you allow for air circulation.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:48 PM   #9
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

drop a schoolbus into the ground with dirt on each side and have stairs behind the back door
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_apr20...eckShelter.jpg
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter



David Koresh would be proud.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:27 PM   #12
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

I may or may not know someone who has buried a conex container "bunker"... it would work great as a storm shelter.. just make sure you treat it to handle moisture, and freeze/thaw expansion and contraction of the ground..
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

i saw an episode of mythbusters where they buried a shipping container. The container collaps under the weight of the dirt.
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

Quote:
Originally Posted by y20dth View Post
i saw an episode of mythbusters where they buried a shipping container. The container collaps under the weight of the dirt.
how deep did they bury it?
the one I speak of has about 3.5 feet of soil on top... and it was reinforced just in case, but I've never seen any reason to be worried about it..
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Old 05-26-2011, 06:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjc View Post
drop a schoolbus into the ground with dirt on each side and have stairs behind the back door
When I was a kid some neighbors had a old school bus in the ground. It was either a tornado shelter or a bomb shelter. They had welded over the windows and welded the windows over in the back. They had a hole dug then pushed the front of the bus in. The only thing not buried was the back where the back door was. To get in they just opened the back door and went in.Got a tractor or backhoe just dig a hole and find some old shell of a bus and weld scrap over the windows.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

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Originally Posted by y20dth View Post
i saw an episode of mythbusters where they buried a shipping container. The container collaps under the weight of the dirt.

That wasnt a metal cargo container they crunched it was fiberglass . The second one they used was metal and even withstood a bomb blast inside of it . I would say either the cargo container idea or simply dig your hole pour a concrete floor with rebar around the sides and use concrete blocks to build the walls . Then just build a metal top for it with a trap door and fill back in around it with dirt.

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Old 05-26-2011, 07:13 PM   #17
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

I think there was a tax credit availible for storm shelter construction(1/2 of cost or 2000.00 which ever is less) Does anyone know if this it still the case?
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

Get a used once shipping container.. dig a big hole. fill it with gravel (to drain) and burry it like 3ft under.. If you get one big enough you can even store a generator in there to give ya power for a while... just vent the exhaust thru the roof.
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

The one I have was built in the 70's. Six feet deep 8'x8' block wall "L" with stairs decending down one side. I've recently revamped it and now the slab ceiling doubles as the foundation for my 18x12 storage shed.
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Old 05-27-2011, 12:54 AM   #20
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Default Re: Homemade inground tornado shelter

The cellar on my GD's place was just a 7' high by 8' wide and about 12 ' long hole in the ground lined with cinder block and an arched brick roof. The roof is covered with about 3-4' of sod. A vent pipe in the center of the roof. Walk down stairs were added later in concrete and a concrete foor. The door sits at about 15-20' angle to grade and is about 8' abofe the floor. Even if it was ripped off, I doubt the occupants would be affected. It served as a root cellar in the winter and a Ice Box (block ice cut from the Missouri river packed in straw0 during the summer. Located in what Tennesseans would acll a "hollar" it has never been needed for tornados, but the design is good. It is very traditional for the midwest that has enough topsoil to dig that deep.

Labor intensive, but could be dug (was ifn fact) by hand, and Iwouldn't want to live like Blast from the Past but effective for the occasional tornado.
Dave.
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