DIY Tornado Shelter: Why and How To Do It Step By Step?
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If you live in an area where there are lots of natural calamities expected, especially hurricanes, storms, and tornadoes, then you need to get yourself a shelter where you can hide until the calamity passes.
Now, you can either make a shelter yourself, or you can buy a prefabricated one and simply install it.
Why Get A DIY Tornado Shelter?
There are several government institutions which offer you help. If you are willing to pay them, they will construct shelters or safe houses for you.
Agencies like Federal agency of emergency management and many such institutions offer you help in exchange for money.
They have blueprints and standard measurements for storm shelters but then again what's the whole point of hiring an agency if you have to offer a substantial amount of money to them anyway.
If you are reading this article, then you are probably low on a cash budget, and you want to build yourself a shelter too but at a low cost.
Don’t worry! Here, we will help you get yourself a shelter at a cost as low as possible.
Steps to Build Your Own Tornado Shelter
Now, there are certain steps that you need to follow to get yourself a nice, cheap, cozy, but most important of all, a reliable storm or tornado shelter.
We’ll take you through each step with as much detail as possible.
At the end of the article, all you will need is some building material, and you'll get going on building a storm shelter for yourself.
Below are the steps that you need to go through to understand what kind of storms or hurricanes that you will be facing and what kind of shelter you will need for a certain type of storm.
Deciding The Type of The Storm
Once you have decided that you are going to build a storm shelter yourself, then the next step on the agenda should be what type of storms or tornadoes you face in your area?
Generally, there are two types of storm shelters; above ground and underground.
The best shelter for tornadoes is underground shelters; if your tornadoes are from the range 1-5 EFS (Tornadoes are usually within this range).
On the other hand, best shelters for hurricanes are above ground shelters.
One important thing that we need to keep in mind is that whether the area you live in is exposed to floods or not.
If yes, then you do not have much of choice on building an above ground or underground shelter.
In this case, you have to go with above-ground shelter, but if you do not have floods in your area, then you can go with either one of them.
Again, underground shelters are recommended for tornadoes.
Want It Inside or Outside of Your House?
If you already have a basement in your house, then you can build the storm shelter inside your basement.
It will both cost you lesser and will be easier to construct as you have the foundation already laid for you.
If you don’t have a basement, then you have to build it outside your house, and you will have to dig pretty much.
Both the inside and outside shelters have their own pros and cons.
Pros And Cons of Inside Shelters:
If you build an inside shelter, then not only you will have your work cut out, but you can always get to the shelter faster in case of tornadoes.
However, it comes with a price of making a mess inside your house, and it can be complex building a shelter underground your house too.
Secondly, you will be taking up quite a lot of space from your house.
Pros And Cons of Outside Shelters:
On the other hand, if you build an outside shelter, you can not only build a huge shelter because of no space constraint, but it’s also easier getting the material here and there.
Yet again, in case of emergencies, it will take you pretty much time to get to the shelter and along with that, if you are making an outside shelter and it is above the ground, then it looks pretty hideous and will make your house look weird.
All of these things do not matter at all if your prime concern is safety and making sure that your friends and family are fine.
Now, here, we will go with an outside shelter;
Deciding The Size of Your Shelter
According to FEMA standards, your shelter should have a space of 7 square feet per person in case of tornadoes.
Along with this space per person, you will also need to calculate the space you will be allocated for your food and other supplies.
In case you are planning on making a bath inside the shelter, then you will have to leave space for it too.
Once you have decided how many persons you want to build the shelter for and how much space you want to allocate for your supplies and other stuff, FEMA standards recommend that you leave a space of about 5 inches from each side for the walls.
Selecting The Material For Your Shelter
The most common materials for building a storm shelter are;
However, our recommended material is steel and wood. Why?
If you are reading this article, then it means you probably do not know a thing about building a storm shelter.
This means you do not know how to work with pourable concrete or concrete blocks, so it should be easier for you to move and use shafts and rods of steel along with the wood.
Starting On Building The Shelter
What Can Be The Cost of this DIY Shelter Project?
The model we recommended is going to cost you around $3000. If you go with buying a prefabricated shelter, they charge you between the ranges of $5000 - $24000 depending on your size and specifications of the shelter.
Compared to these prices, $3000 is pretty affordable given that you have made a pretty satisfactory shelter yourself.
Thankfully, there are government institutions in some cities who offer to pay almost 70% of your expenses whether you buy a shelter or build one yourself.
Make sure that they do pay in your area or not because if they do, then your cost will reduce to just $900.
And, that’s almost nothing compared to those fancy and expensive shelters costing you thousands of dollars.