building a storm shelter

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by JoyKelley, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    397
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I need ya'alls input. I live in SW Florida and have animals. We barely scraped by last year with Hurricanes. I want to built a storm shelter, bunker, bomb shelter type structure that will hold 2-4 adults, a horse, donkey 7 goats, 5 dogs, 4 cats and one hog.

    First off we don't have money to get a contractor to built this thing and need something we can do ourselves hopefully. It doesn't need to be very large, the storms only last a couple hours when they blow through but I want the security of housing the animals safely. Every time there is a storm we are trying to hustle to get the horse and donkey out of here and no one will let me take my goats to be safe and poor Pyg , there isn't any thing I can do for him but just leave him.

    I don't want to build something that will "devalue" the property and have considered trying to build something attached to the back end of the house and during non storm weather we can call it an office, my husbands ham radio room, a den , whatever. And it has to be above ground , our water table is just a few feet under the sand/soil and the property floods easily in big rain storms .

    So now, have any of you built anything like this, how thick should walls be, how big should it be , will my idea even work.

    thanks in advance for any and all input
     
  2. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,393
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    A steel shipping container bolted down to concreate deep footers, 8 x20 or 8x40 and 8 foot tall, all steel construcion with wood flooor, one end will open up,(like a semi truck box) and windows and walk in doors can be added,

    they uslay can be bought localy, and moved by truck but if properly bolted down I think they would with stand about any thing
     

  3. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Is moving an option?
    Just kidding.
    Thats what I tell my folks in Ocoee, Kissimee & Apopka.
    The only design that I'd trust, with your water table, is a bermed shelter. (Domed over with earth.) But that takes SO much space and is a joy to mow around/over!
    People come first, I love my pets, but me & 'the Missus' are more important than all the critters in the world.
    There are some pre-fab above-ground concrete shelters out there, but the ones I've seen are based on the expanded ceptic tank design. Sturdy as heck, but one way in, ONE WAY OUT. Not something I'd want with a hurricane tossed tree on the door.
    Have you tried a web search for such shelters?
    Good luck.
    Lex
     
  4. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    397
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Farming handy man, good idea and i will look into it

    Wyomn, I had thought the same thing, We have a good 24' truck body, and I thought if we could put up steel supports on the side and do something to really support the top, enough to hold the weight of the dirt as well as the animals as they enjoy it in good weather, It would work but I have been getting negative comments about the feasibility of it ( from family ) , I wonder if I took a shipping container and built a hill over it if htat would work, would they hold the weight and pressure of dirt on 3 sides????
     
  5. ibcnya

    ibcnya Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    South East Iowa
    We use to use conex boxes (military term for shipping box) and bury them with sand and use them for ammo bunkers (small stuff). In your humid climate I don't think a shipping box would last long in the dirt.
     
  6. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Gmodal.com listed their containers at 26',000 pounds top load. (More dirt than I wanna shovel.) But ibcnya is right, it won't last long in your soil conditions.
     
  7. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    AR
    that only holds that much weight around the edges thats the way they stack them
     
  8. nwilder

    nwilder Active Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    We built a 10 x 10 above ground storm shelter. Concrete block filled with rebar and concrete. 10 inch floor, 7 inch ceiling. Steel door. Cost us $2200 4 years ago. Only problem we have is it is VERY HOT in there in the summer. Want to build walls around it and fill with dirt this summer. Have never had to use it. The building inspector said a tank couldn't knock it over. Hope he is right.
     
  9. mommymushbrain

    mommymushbrain Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    388
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I don't know about where you live, but here in Arkansas, they are giving $1000 grants for storm shelters... Of course, you get the money AFTER you purchase one (they run about $2,000 right now... $1,000 after the grant).

    I'd check with the state FEMA place. :)

    Oh, and aren't animals supposed to have the instincts to find shelter in bad weather?? *paranoid look* I ask because we've only bothered to "protect" our cockatiel during inclement weather. All the others seem to take off and hide in their special places.
     
  10. wy0mn

    wy0mn Transplanted RedNeck

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    mtman is correct. these stackable containers load at the corners. I took it for granted that everyone knew that. Sorry. Some internal bracing would be a good idea. But I'm certain the shorter ones would need little if any.
     
  11. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    397
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    Florida

    We were talking over the possibilities at dinner and hubby thinks double cinderblock walls with re-bar and concrete filled , poured concrete roof with rebar and whatever you use to strenghen,( at this point my " girlness" is showing, I don't know all the right words for this project ) and possibly steel support under it. ( how did you do your roof ) However I am looking into FEMAs offer tomorrow to see if we qualify. Also thinking still about a big tank of some sort and cover it with earth.

    It needs to be a minimum of 15 X 25 just to cram every warm body in it for a couple hours.

    And no , my animals don't know what to do in a storm, the horse just runs around like a maniac if i don't get her in a stall, heaven forbid if a bit of sleet should hit her, you'd think she was being strafed she panics so bad. Of course we have notoriously bad thunderstorms here .
     
  12. nwilder

    nwilder Active Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    For the ceiling we took a long piece of rebar and bent it at a 90 degree angle and put it in the wall so that the other half was across the ceiling. We also put wire mesh in it. We also ran electric to it and use it as a shed. Hope this helps.
     
  13. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,278
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Single cinderblock walls even without concrete and rebar would be more then enough if covered with a berm of earth.

    To do the top... Make a "floor" inside the top of the concrete blocks with 2x6 on 16" centers. Sheet the top with plywood or aspenite. Brace it like crazy to the bottom of the structure. Bend a 90 degree on the rebar and drop it into the concrete blocks. Span the top with rebar and pour your concrete. Run the rebar in both directions to prevent cracks.

    When you form the top, use screws and screw from the INSIDE. That way you can take the forming out after and reuse the 2x6s on another project.

    Pete
     
  14. Ragamuffin2004

    Ragamuffin2004 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Location:
    Florida
  15. JoyKelley

    JoyKelley Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    397
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I will have my husband read these posts, he will understand the technical parts and I thank you all so much, I will let you all know how it goes when we do it.


    ragamuffin I am checking out your sites, thanks
     
  16. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Dig... & keep on digging.
     
  17. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    267
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Location:
    northern Oklahoma
    A lady survived just fine through the f5 tornado that Oklahoma city, with her pets, in an above ground shelter made of reinforced concrete. Build of concrete block, place rebar inside the blocks all the way into the ground, fill the centers of the blocks with concrete. You may have to get help for the roof. Maybe a reinforced concrete somehow. I suggest a double door, both steel.

    We got an in ground shelter here in tornado alley for 2500 dollars, installed. It is in the ground 4 feet and backfilled to the top with soil and landscaped with rock and flowers. Our water table is high also (under hour house at ground level the dirt is wet most of the year and there are springs all over the place here) This shelter is prefab and sealed together on your property and gauranteed to be dry and not leak for at least 10 years. It is dry as a bone inside.
     
  18. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    19,464
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    With Hurricane I'm thinking lots of water.Electric goes out so sump pump quits,you drown.If storm is coming up fast and I want to give the animals a chance open the Gates,get them back in afterwards.I'm not going to get trampled by a scared animal,get blowed away worrying about it.Plus its bad enough trying to dig you out much less a bunch of animals.

    big rockpile
     
  19. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Have a good hand powered water pump, and probably two or more to be safe, to pump out water. If keeping animals in it, have a seperate divided area for them to keep them seperated from you safely. Make sure you have food, some sort of portable toilet set up (sawdust bucket type perhaps?) lighting, and enough ventilation, but no big holes in the walls of course for that!