Last year I built a storm shelter. I had absolutely no previous experience with concrete but was determined to build a safe storm shelter for my family. I didn't have a lot of money to work with and so I set out to research the best solution for a small budget. I quickly discovered that there was very little good info on he subject. Lots of people on forums saying "just get an old bus and bury it" but very few people saying "here's what I did". And even fewer pictures or videos of what was done and how.
I spent over 50 hours doing research. By the time I was ready to start building I knew that people going the DIY route needed some hard data, pictures, and video on how to do this. So I started documenting the process. The video that I produced is the result. My goal is to show people that building their own shelter is not an unattainable goal - it does take some hard physical labor - but it's not that complicated or expensive and doesn't require a lot of skill. And I wanted to motivate people to get moving. Storms can be deadly - I've seen the effects first hand.
This YouTube video contains the first nine minutes of the video - less than half the total length.
The full video is available as a direct download. It's $14 for a 21-minute video jam-packed with info which might save your life. In order to maximize the usefullness of the video I have also created several other files that I include FOR FREE with the purchase of every video. I also offer a full, no-nonsense, money-back guarantee. If you buy my video and decide you don't think it was worth the money I'll refund you 100%.
An 8 page PDF of plans I drew up of what I built and some illustrations to better explain key stages of construction.
The PDF is about 50 Mb in size - everything is very high resolution - you could easily print this out.
Note: These are not drawn up by an engineer.
So, what if you don't need a full 12x20 shelter? What would a 10x14 cost?
Enter in material costs for your area, punch in the desired shelter size, and this spreadsheet will provide details on interier square feet, materials needed, cost per square foot, and more.
This spreadsheet will allow you to easily explore different sizes of shelter and understand the materials and costs involved.
Large, new, projects can be daunting; it can be hard to know where to start or what to do next.
This two page step-by-step walk through/todo list will help with this by breaking the construction process down into 11 major steps and then further breaking down the major steps into sub steps.
Also included are tips and critical reminders.
This walk-through document will help you get started and move through the process in an efficient manner.
I'm confident that you will find my video and files helpful. If you buy the video and don't like it, or don't think it's worth the money I'll refund your money. You can purchase using the Paypal link below - after purchasing you will get an email with a link in it to the video and files. I also offer a full, no-nonsense, money-back guarantee. If you buy my video and decide you don't think it was worth the money I'll refund you 100%.
What a structural engineer had to say:
"after my friend looked at your drawings he also felt that the form work was going to be more than sufficient to support the new 7" roof. Also your steel detail and 4000psi/with fibers was great. Once again he commented on your diligence - Great homework!"
What some of my customers have had to say:
Informative and concise.Thank you for taking the time to make this video and sharing it. -T.H.
You helped fill in the gray areas and Gave Me Confidence -A.B.
- WOW! One of the best DIY videos I've seen. Well Done! -B.S.
Thank you very much. I saw the video and I really really find it informative. -C.M.
There's also a more expensive version that will filter down to 0.02 micron - that's small enough to take our even the smallest viruses. I haven't tested it yet, but I'm confident the product lives up to the filtration claims.
Here's a link to a field test that was conducted in Fiji with roughly 400 Sawyer water filters. Manyother humanitarian groups have distributed these in remote areas.
Here's why I really like to have bacteria filtered from drinking water: several strains take half and hour or more to be killed by bleach. In contrast, most viruses are killed by weak concentrations of chlorine in less than 5 minutes.
This was one of the most interesting discoveries as I researched water treatment: Vitamin C powder (particularly sodium ascorbate, although ascorbic acid will work almost as well) neutralizes chlorine. I recommend having some of this on hand, especially if you'll be drinking chlorine-treated water for extended periods of time. Here's what I'm stocking. Note: Be sure you don't add sodium ascorbate to your chlorine-treated water until you've let the chorine work for a little while (15 minutes for viruses, longer for bigger stuff).
For more info on this chemical reaction, take a look HERE.
I didn't mention this in my video, but some people like water treatment tablets. I don't really know enough about them to give a recomendation personally, but REI has a decent selection, and they generally only sell stuff that's decent.
Another nifty tool that I've added to my stash is the Classic Steripen. It runs off 4x AA batteries. There are also versions that run off CR123s. I hope to cover batteries in a later video - specifically rechargeables and charging solutions.
If money were no issue for me, I'd probably also add one of these per family member: HTI X-Pack. This is perhaps the most awesome filter concept I've seen. HTI also makes a backpack version that lasts for 90 days instead of 10.
Oh, and I forgot to mention this in the video, but the final product after filtration isn't water: it's a "sports drink" with electrlytes and stuff in it to enhance rehydration. These filters will turn water from a mud puddle into watery gatorade. Very awesome.
In talking with the VP of HTI I was told you don't HAVE to use their "recharge" packs. Other sugary concentrates like Coca Cola syrup will work. Also of note: the X-Pack is only rated for 10 days but can be pushed beyond that. They said they've have people use them for up to 30 days.
Tornado season it coming. Throughout the South tornadoes start hitting frequently in about March. Further North it's a little later.
This is important to consider if you want to build yourself a storm shelter. For me it was almost exactly two months from when we excavated to when we removed the supports holding up the poured concrete roof. Making and mounting the door took a few more days.
If you want a shelter for the coming season it's time to start making things happen. There's not a lot of time to waste.
Also, building a smaller shelter can speed up some aspects of construction. The spreadsheet included with the video can help you explore the cost, material requirements, weight, etc of any size shelter you want (but my roof design is only good to 12' wide - an engineer could design wider, though).
I've had a number of people ask if I could give them the plans I used in making my storm shelter. I did have some, but they weren't very presentable. So I went ahead and drew plans for what I built. I also made several other graphics to help explain various parts of the construction process. Specifically, there are plans for the slab and foundation, the walls, the decking, and the rebar for the ceiling. The PDF is about 50 Mb as all the images are very high resolution.
Earlier this year I set out to build a storm shelter for my family. I spent a lot of time googling and trying to find quality resources. Eventually, I made a plan and built a shelter. In the process I discovered that there's very little good information out on the internet when it comes to building a storm shelter from scratch. There's also a lot of non-viable ideas that get tossed out with confidence, like burying a CONEX shipping container.
What I'm going to do with this site is post some quality content that should make it easier for families to build their own shelter. If you stumble onto this site and this is all you see, well, this site is still a work in progress as of June 12, 2012. Check back in a month or so.