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maroonandwhite

I have an idea for a storm shelter.

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I just had what I hope is a great idea. I’ve been thinking of getting a storm shelter for a few years now. Each bad storm that comes through renews the thought. 
I have pole barn structure with my house portion built inside. I’ll attach a pic of my garage portion. 

My though is to use the back right corner shown in the picture to build out an above ground storm shelter using cinder blocks. I assume all I’d need to do is lay them, insert rebar, then pour concrete in them. I’d also run a light and some power inside to be able to run a space heater. I have an extra metal exterior door like the one in the pic I can use on it. I’d probably leave a few openings in the side bricks for circulation and to allow someone to hear us in case we were stuck in it. 
 

Im unsure of how to do the roof portion though. Build a wood frame then lay bricks over?

 

AEED3085-0DE9-42AC-BDF6-67462427E477.jpeg

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Looks like you have a tractor.  The room wouldn't need to be that big.  I would consider pouring a concrete pad and lifting it over the room.  Even if you had to do it in two pieces.  

I would use some pipe to create a vent out the top to the outside for fresh air.  A 6x6 room would be plenty of size for a few people in a worst case scenario.

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3 minutes ago, Hozzie said:

Looks like you have a tractor.  The room wouldn't need to be that big.  I would consider pouring a concrete pad and lifting it over the room.  Even if you had to do it in two pieces.  

I would use some pipe to create a vent out the top to the outside for fresh air.  A 6x6 room would be plenty of size for a few people in a worst case scenario.

I do. That’s about the size I’m considering. Just enough to fit 4-5 people at most. I guess I’m also wondering if it will actually be safe. I see pics all the time of homes completely gone with only the safe room left standing.
The alternative is in the hill side 100 yards from the house. The wife wants electricity though and that will be a pain. She is also nervous of critters that move in, spiders, etc.

 I know I don’t want one with the door on top. I’m to nervous of getting trapped in them. With a normal door I can at least attempt to kick or cut my way out.

 

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, maroonandwhite said:

The alternative is in the hill side 100 yards from the house.

To far to run if caught asleep.

 

12 minutes ago, maroonandwhite said:

With a normal door I can at least attempt to kick or cut my way out.

Make the door open into the room

Mine is above ground, concrete pad with rebar down into the footings up into the first run of 12" block. 12" block walls 8' high with tie wire grid every 2 runs and rebar in every hole(3 in the corner holes) down to the pad. 6x6 "I" beam with 1/2" thick webs, covered with 3/4 plywood, rebar from the block bent over the plywood to make a web of rebar for the roof. Formed a 7' thick roof pad and poured walls full and roof pad in one pour. We have a vault door that was in place when the walls were poured and is locked in by the concrete. The door opens into the room so storm debris cant block the door from being opened. 6' steel pipes with 2 90* elbows to make a 180* for vents.

Edited by RED333
Fat finger spelling
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6 minutes ago, RED333 said:

To far to run if caught asleep.

 

Make the door open into the room

Mine is above ground, concrete pad with rebar down into the footings up into the first run of 12" block. 12" block walls 8' high with tie wire grid every 2 runs and rebar in every hole(3 in the corner holes) down to the pad. 6x6 "I" beam with 1/2" thick webs, covered with 3/4 plywood, rebar from the block bent over the plywood to make a web of rebar for the roof. Formed a 7' thick roof pad and poured walls full and roof par in one pour. We have a vault door that was in place when the walls were poured and is locked in by the concrete. The door opens into the room so storm debris cant block the door from being opened. 6' steel pipes with 2 90* elbows to make a 180* for vents.

Wow. Thanks for the info. I’d be interested in seeing some pictures of you want to share. Great idea on opening in. I’d probably store my chainsaw in there as well just in case. 

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1 minute ago, maroonandwhite said:

I’d probably store my chainsaw in there as well just in case. 

Be sure to make it electric, gas and exhaust fumes will get you in a hurry.

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If its all concrete, make sure you have a blade that can actually cut the concrete.  I'm not sure a wood chain will.  Don't forget hearing protection since it would be crazy loud in that small room.  Maybe store a heavy sledgehammer in there too.

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1 minute ago, Shorty said:

If its all concrete, make sure you have a blade that can actually cut the concrete.  I'm not sure a wood chain will.  Don't forget hearing protection since it would be crazy loud in that small room.  Maybe store a heavy sledgehammer in there too.

I was thinking mostly for any debris/limbs that may be sitting in front of the door. Luckily I don’t have that much stuff or trees around the exterior of the building. Good idea on the sledge though. Maybe a pry bar as well.

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Would it be better to put a hole in the floor and partially bury (3-4ft) the bottom of the room to give it a lower wind profile if the exterior room gets blown away.  Should be more sturdy also.  Of course thats more work and means busting up your concrete pad.

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2 minutes ago, Shorty said:

Would it be better to put a hole in the floor and partially bury (3-4ft) the bottom of the room to give it a lower wind profile if the exterior room gets blown away.  Should be more sturdy also.  Of course thats more work and means busting up your concrete pad.

That’s probably gonna push it past my DIY ability. I was thinking of drilling down into the pad to anchor the rebar though. I also don’t want to create a hole for dust and other stuff to collect in. I can easily sweep it out if level. 
 

Im sure it will be far from bomb proof but hopefully a lot better than my bath tub lol. 

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One more thought, could you put the door on the east side of the shelter since we get the strong west winds?  That may lessen the debris concerns.  Either way its definitely better than the bathtub and the options we have at my house.  I'm in about the next town over from you.  The last couple of heavy storms have provided some less than restful nights.

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1 minute ago, Shorty said:

One more thought, could you put the door on the east side of the shelter since we get the strong west winds?  That may lessen the debris concerns.  Either way its definitely better than the bathtub and the options we have at my house.  I'm in about the next town over from you.  The last couple of heavy storms have provided some less than restful nights.

No doubt. The one down south pretty much sealed the deal for me. They actually showed a house missing with nothing but the safe room left. That’s what actually sparked this idea. Theirs didn’t look like anything special other than it was built into the house. Still used cinder blocks. 

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While maybe not as aesthetic, you could also consider building the room on the outside of the shop with an internal entry door opening into the room like mentioned.  Put up stickers to screw to and panel it to match the building and I don't think it would look bad.  You could put a small single angle roof over it to make it look like it goes.  Wouldn't take a lot more work or money in the grand scheme of things.  You could go a little bigger and not take up space in your shop.  That 36 sf is quite a bit when you start removing it from usable space inside.  I know it would bug me every time I need a little extra room for something.

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Posted (edited)

This outfit is in Jackson, Tn and has some DIY safe rooms that might interest you or at least, give you some ideas.

 
Edited by xsubsailor
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6 minutes ago, maroonandwhite said:

No doubt. The one down south pretty much sealed the deal for me. They actually showed a house missing with nothing but the safe room left. That’s what actually sparked this idea. Theirs didn’t look like anything special other than it was built into the house. Still used cinder blocks. 

You could think of this as a multi-function room too. Leave room for a small gun safe you put your most sentimental ones in and there are 2 layers to get through to get to them if someone breaks in. A few other additions and you have a "panic room" too. 

Take a good look at any trees that could potentially reach where you put it. You could take them down to lessen the possibility of the room taking a direct hit from a falling tree. Lots of force built up by the time they hit the ground. 

I have a opposite suggestion over sinking the room. I might actually raise it, or at least the interior floor, to eliminate the room flooding if the exterior metal walls are compromised. Run you some bolts into the existing slab and pour in place after the walls are up. Obviously I know the room isn't going to fill up and drown you. If you have to spend any extended time there, 2 or 3 inches of water on the floor might be very uncomfortable if you had to run in barefoot in the middle of the night. I would also think hard about leaving air holes in the walls. Those metal building skins are not very thick and you don't want another way for water to get pushed in if the walls are punctured or down. pipes coming out to roof of the room with 180 degree bends would be a better option in my mind. You could screen them to keep the critters out. 

 

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8 minutes ago, xsubsailor said:

This outfit is in Jackson, Tn and has some DIY safe rooms that might interest you or at least, give you some ideas.

 

Those steel shelters are intriguing. I do wonder how they anchor them though. I’ll look into them. I have no idea how much I’ll spend doing this myself. If it get over $2000 I would think it’d be worth buying something premade and just anchor it down. 

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4 hours ago, maroonandwhite said:

I was thinking mostly for any debris/limbs that may be sitting in front of the door. Luckily I don’t have that much stuff or trees around the exterior of the building. Good idea on the sledge though. Maybe a pry bar as well.

If you're putting in equipment to cut concrete, be sure to include glasses and a mask (when you had get them) along with the ear protection, and enough for everyone in the room. Concrete gets unbelievably dusty, and is not something anyone should be inhaling in any amount.

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@221 Fireball Didn't you do something similar to this recently?

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1 hour ago, Shorty said:

Since you got my interest going, I found this site with a downloadable build list so maybe you can get a cost idea.  https://buildblock.com/icfs/safety/safe-rooms/

This article also lists several other options and links to them:  https://www.ottawalife.com/article/building-at-home-tornado-shelters?c=9

That ICF material is intriguing. I kind of wish I knew about this when building the house. Insulation and structure all in one solution. Just add concrete!

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3 hours ago, KahrMan said:

@221 Fireball Didn't you do something similar to this recently?

Had mine built by Floyd at tornadosaferoom.com ... it's piece of mind during these warnings we've had lately. It's basically a 950 lb steel box with a gazillion bolts holding it into concrete. It's awesome. 

60099864742__D0C66082-EFD4-43FB-B8F5-B00633768AEE.JPG

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You want the air holes not so much for air but to equalize the pressures since the pressure differential can destroy the structure. 

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3 hours ago, 221 Fireball said:

Had mine built by Floyd at tornadosaferoom.com ... it's piece of mind during these warnings we've had lately. It's basically a 950 lb steel box with a gazillion bolts holding it into concrete. It's awesome. 

60099864742__D0C66082-EFD4-43FB-B8F5-B00633768AEE.JPG

That's a bit small for me. lol  Although it is literally small for me...I'd be trying to tear myself out in just a few minutes. My claustrophobia would be in full blown panic mode when that door shut.

Where we live now, flooding would also be a concern. Pretty much the lowest spot on the street, so all runoff hits us.

Now if we move, the storm shelter/safe room combo is what I'd want to do. Mentally, I've built up the image of something like an 8x8 room. Maybe a bit of overkill, but when you add more than 2 people, a few tools, weapons, and a bit of food and water; I think I'd like the extra space.

But that's all conjecture at this point. Doesn't look like we will be moving anytime soon.

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8 hours ago, 221 Fireball said:

Had mine built by Floyd at tornadosaferoom.com ... it's piece of mind during these warnings we've had lately. It's basically a 950 lb steel box with a gazillion bolts holding it into concrete. It's awesome. 

60099864742__D0C66082-EFD4-43FB-B8F5-B00633768AEE.JPG

No way I could get into something that small, Like hipower, just to small.

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