Above-ground tornado shelter

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by countrygrrrl, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    With a chunk of the proceeds from the sale of a house (thankfully, not all of it), I'm planning on installing new septic AND building an above-ground tornado shelter.

    My plan is to face the entry to the shelter to the northeast, as most severe storms here come out of the southwest --- and the *earth mound* the shelter. I do not want to go underground with it because we have such a high water table and because it will be easier to keep track of all the snakes and whatnot (which will move into the shelter, believe me) if the shelter's above ground.

    I haven't yet decided on the actual structure of the shelter itself --- whether it will be rebar and cinderblock or ???

    I'm curious to know if anyone else here has ever built an above-ground tornado shelter or a small earth mounded structure.
     
  2. superduperchickenman

    superduperchickenman Well-Known Member

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    I know some people , new construction, build them inside the house, steel frame, covered in sheet metal and the bottom of the frame is poured in the slab. covered with sheet rock and used as a closet. I bet you could do the same with a large heavy slab and earth mound.

    ???




     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    So maybe pour a slab and use steel framing, with the framing going deep into not just the slab, but the ground --- maybe pour slab around the framing after doing deep footers on the framing? And extra framing because it's a shelter, then cinderblock and rebar? Then mound it?

    Or ... ?

    I don't want to do metal because I want to earthmound it and we're humid enough here that everything rusts anyway. :rolleyes: :D
     
  4. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Ferrocement dome. That is what I'm planning on doing for a storm shelter when we get our place.
     
  5. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    d00d! :yeeha:

    *off now to check this out!* :yeeha:
     
  6. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    I recently visited a NASA weather station that used a standard tornado shelter that was mounded with earth, but not buried at current earth level. It was neat and the wind rushed around it easily and safely with little or no effect on the weather instruments. I think your idea is a sound one. Keep us posted on how it goes.

    What about a shipping container or similar?

    Oh, and why not make it so you can use it for food storage when it isn'r saving your butt? Or to house a guest? Double duty so to speak.
     
  7. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    BCR, that's why I'm going to earthmound it --- the biggest dangers here are wind and lightening. All my life, though, I've seen earth mounded structures in this area --- and many are still up, despite age.

    I also plan for it to double as root cellar, so yes. :) And someplace to hang out when it's 110 out and I'm too cheap to turn on the air conditioner. :haha: Yet more reason to keep it above ground, as below surface structures here flood very easily and are hard to rid of our omnipresent snake and critter population. Although it's fine with me if the skinks and frogs move in.

    Kim, I don't think I can do the ferrocement, as from the little I saw, it's intended to be below ground --- ? Bear in mind, I hit water here very, very quickly --- also we're very rocky here and hit boulders very fast --- I'm in no mood to blast out boulders for this. However, geodesic above ground would work and be cool looking!
     
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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  9. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Great link, Kim! It certainly has some great ideas and good explanations.

    Hmmmm, now I need to sit down and weigh the risks and benefits of each type of construction. About all I know right now is, come next tornado season, I WILL have a good shelter and it WILL be an earth mounded structure! :yeeha:
     
  10. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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  11. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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  12. bubbba

    bubbba Well-Known Member

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    This does look very intresting. LOL I was looking up the cement boat idea and the gf could'nt stop laughing at me. I guess i can't blame her.
    Gotta love this site the way different ideas come up all the time.
     
  13. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Here in tornado alley most all our shelters are above ground mound or inside the house shelters made of steel and fiberous concrete. Only inground shelters are the fiberglass balls.
     
  14. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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    a city near us has a "EDSA" office it is concrete, above the ground, surounded by dirt the walls are concrete and they form a circle, alsoa concrete flat roof on it, with a antenna tower with a array of HAM antennas.
     
  15. soulsurvivor

    soulsurvivor Well-Known Member Supporter

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    back in the 70s, my inventor dad made a lift-pulley system and concrete forms in a circle shape that he used to build our silo. After dad died, my brother built his house, that he's still living in, using the forms to make a concrete house, but with a regular roof. Each corner of the house is a circle facing into a large rectangle middle. It's a neat house, but now that he's retired, he and wife are building themselves a large bed/breakfast farmhouse they plan to open sometime next year. My brother inherited all of dad's talent for building stuff. I can break a thumb ever time I try to hit a nail.

    Good luck on your project. It's been a fun post to read so far.
     
  16. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    I think a steel culvert with steel door covered with a couple of feet of dirt would do perhaps a window with heavy wire mesh on the outside. Shouldn't cost too much.

    mikell
     
  17. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    Or maybe a concrete septic tank.
     
  18. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I've considered the concrete septic tank route.

    For some reason, though, I keep coming back to a block house mounded with dirt.

    Although Cyngbaeld's suggestions are VERY tempting. I'm now also contemplating some kind of buried geodesic dome structure. With built in benches and shelves, and a door high enough that the neighbor's horses can come in to visit (considering my barn they now spend half their time in will be all the way gone, as soon as I get all the old straw and manure out of it).

    You know, I've worried over this for two years now and still have come to no absolute decisions, other than it must be earth-mounded, its door must face northeast and it must be above ground. :rolleyes:
     
  19. bugstabber

    bugstabber Chief cook & weed puller Supporter

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    I know someone who made a shelter using a cement culvert. They molunded dirt over it. Don't know the size, though.
     
  20. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    We'll be digging into the hillside for our tornado shelter. I like the idea of the metal culvert pipe. Easy enough to put a bench in the back of it with just a 2 X 12 going from side to side. Concrete blocks on the back wall and on the front with a framed door. Seems easy enough.

    Other than that, we'll probably do the above ground, concrete septic tank type of thing. There's a couple of companies around that have modified their septic tank forms to include doors on one end and a vent pipe coming out of the top. We'll dig a bit to flatten out an area and then set the thing into the resulting hole. Then we'll just finish covering it with dirt.