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Posted: 12/13/2010 6:35:53 AM EST
Do any of you guys have any experience with wood framed underground shelters?? I am in need of more storage space for some of my goodies and I have considered building an underground room/shelter for this. From what I have read, a underground wooden structure, if sealed properly, is a pretty good option at a fairly inexpensive cost. Any experience, thoughts, ideas are greatly appreciated.
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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 6:48:41 AM EST
I guess I should add I am somewhat familiar with block/concrete shelters, but I don't really have any prior experience with wood shelters. I know moisture would be a huge concern, but isn't it possible that the wood could flex and stay intact, as long as there is plenty of water proofing and support, in some situations that a block structure may crack and crumble in???
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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 7:17:14 AM EST
If it were me, I would look into dropping a large plastic septic tank with a ladder

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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 7:29:31 AM EST
While it doesn't give the exact info your looking for.....the "$50 and up underground house book" is about the closest I know of.

The basics are the author built a good number of wood framed earth sheltered homes that used poly sheeting to protect the wood. The p0ly sheeting lasts forever out of the sunlight and is cheap and easy to find. Wood is cheaper than concrete for the supporting structure. Its a pretty cheezy book but has some good info on the topic.

If you google the name a pdf download will show up about 5 links down. If you can't find it let me know and I can PM you the link.


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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 7:37:52 AM EST
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.
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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 7:59:02 AM EST
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress.


I really doubt it, but if you're worried, throw some 1/2 to 3/4 plywood on the floor. A least if you drop something it wont go through


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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 10:05:49 AM EST
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.



You need to define and focus on where shit matters. The plastic unsupported may not hold such a load, but are you talking about the floor or roof? If it's floor, you pack a sand base and set the tank on it, it becomes a non-issue. And the roof, you set your pit a couple feet below grade, top it with beams that rest on their ends on the adjacet soil and not directly on the roof, and that goes away as well.
Your budget for the project also greatly defines your options. The pre-made tanks plastic or concrete may be way out of budget. The expensice ow waterproofing or shielding wood from moisture might raise the cost to where concrete is a better solution.

Bunkers and mines and trench warfare dugouts, wood's been used for thousands of years to do what you want to do, and almost all of that time with very little additional efforts to protect the wood. Don't overthink it too much.

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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 12:17:35 PM EST
Check the archives (assuming you have access). There was a thread about this a couple of months back that went into some considerable detail with pics. Although the availability of the PDF for the $50 and under book is new
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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 2:30:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.


If you go look at a ~1300 gallon plastic water/septic tank, I think you will change your mind very quickly.

However, there isn't a lot of room to move around in one of those tanks, altho it is doable.


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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 2:45:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.


If you go look at a ~1300 gallon plastic water/septic tank, I think you will change your mind very quickly.

However, there isn't a lot of room to move around in one of those tanks, altho it is doable.



Thanks...I will check them out. I am also looking to use this shelter as a root cellar and storage for some preps. I need bunks for probably 6 people. I think the wood structure is what I am going with at this point, unless I find out there are problems with a underground wooden structure. Thanks for all of the input folks.
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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 3:15:32 PM EST
There was a guy on the Frugal Squirrels site that had a buried wooden structure. He was from FL and he only used, AFAIK, for storing food and survival supplies. I think wooden underground structures are moronic. I wouldn't use what the "$50 and up" guy has in his book if someone paid me. It's a wonder he's still alive.

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Link Posted: 12/13/2010 3:36:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/13/2010 3:37:33 PM EST by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
Thanks for the ideas guys. I appreciate it. I did consider going the plastic septic tank route, but I read that while the plastic is strong enough for a load (no pun intended) to be distributed over the floor of the tank, it is not designed to have a two hundred pound man standing in two square feet of space. I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress. I don't know if that is true or not, but it is definitely a concern to me. Another positive side of building with wood is that I can build to my desired dimensions pretty easily. Thanks again for the input.


If you go look at a ~1300 gallon plastic water/septic tank, I think you will change your mind very quickly.

However, there isn't a lot of room to move around in one of those tanks, altho it is doable.



Thanks...I will check them out. I am also looking to use this shelter as a root cellar and storage for some preps. I need bunks for probably 6 people. I think the wood structure is what I am going with at this point, unless I find out there are problems with a underground wooden structure. Thanks for all of the input folks.


There isn't room for 6 bunks. MAYBE you could sleep two in a 1200 gallon, but it would be difficult.

The issue with wood is moisture, insects and vermin, rotting, etc. Visquine plastic can't be relied on to hold up considering your investment in building something underground. Depends on where it is, rainfall, slope, soil, etc.

It might make sense to sleep the people above ground and use the root cellar for storage and to keep water from freezing during winter.

Rubber roofing membrane would be the minimum material for waterproofing an underground structure, even concrete.




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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 4:50:45 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/15/2010 4:51:31 AM EST by thereisnospoon]
Originally Posted By Merlin:
There was a guy on the Frugal Squirrels site that had a buried wooden structure. He was from FL and he only used, AFAIK, for storing food and survival supplies. I think wooden underground structures are moronic. I wouldn't use what the "$50 and up" guy has in his book if someone paid me. It's a wonder he's still alive.


With all due respect, care to explain why? Also include a list of shelters you've built above and below ground and the reasons for the failure of below ground wooden structures?

OP, check this link http://www.jumpjet.info/CEM/12/Radiation_Shelter/Family_Shelter_Designs.pdf It has plans for several types of underground wooden shelters. I am currently building the A-Frame shelter on my property as both a storm and root cellar type shelter.

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 5:12:42 AM EST

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 5:37:12 AM EST
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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 5:46:14 AM EST
Originally Posted By Orion_Shall_Rise:
lonnggg thread on wooden/ soilcrete underground house


You spoke truth.....97 pages....don't have the time for the man cave
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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 5:53:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
All of our root cellars when I was a boy was wood. The main issue with any underground construction is drainage. Keep it dry, wood lasts a very long time.

Tj


True dat. I've been in 100-year-old mineshafts supported by wooden beams that were just as solid as the day they were installed. And if you've ever pulled up a hedge (Osage Orange) fencepost that's been in the ground for 25-30 years it's pretty obvious how durable wood can be.

It's just like anything else... do it right (materials, construction, drainage, etc.) and it'll last a long, long time. Do it wrong and it'll disintegrate within a year or two.

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 6:13:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress.


I really doubt it, but if you're worried, throw some 1/2 to 3/4 plywood on the floor. A least if you drop something it wont go through


I'd actually suggest a gravel or sand substrate with a floor on top of it. (Don't those have a rounded bottom? Or am I thinking of some other sort of tank?) That would distribute the weight quite a bit more even if the substrate is only a few inches.

I might also put in a drain so any condensate collecting has a place to go.
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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 7:08:00 AM EST
Originally Posted By thereisnospoon:
Originally Posted By Merlin:
There was a guy on the Frugal Squirrels site that had a buried wooden structure. He was from FL and he only used, AFAIK, for storing food and survival supplies. I think wooden underground structures are moronic. I wouldn't use what the "$50 and up" guy has in his book if someone paid me. It's a wonder he's still alive.


With all due respect, care to explain why? Also include a list of shelters you've built above and below ground and the reasons for the failure of below ground wooden structures?

OP, check this link http://www.jumpjet.info/CEM/12/Radiation_Shelter/Family_Shelter_Designs.pdf It has plans for several types of underground wooden shelters. I am currently building the A-Frame shelter on my property as both a storm and root cellar type shelter.

Spoon


My experience is designing and building underground structures for high priority defense contracts, not for personal use. However, like a lot of work I do, that background can and does get used in my personnel life. Robust, and fairly cheap, underground structures can be built for about the same cost as wood, with absolutely none of the worries of rot and general lack of strength that wood has.

Can it be done? Sure. But why when there are better options. For example, simple concrete block design and building is within virtually anyone's ability to construct pretty much on their own. The only real problems might be the foundation and the roof, the rest is simple.

BTW, the link you provided only has one underground wooden structure, the rest are either steel or are above ground.

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 8:47:37 AM EST
You can find lots of relevant information if you google or otherwise search for info on pressure treated wood foundations. These have been around for decades. The technologies and materials are proven.

Some quick observations: regular lumberyard plywood (even the treated stuff) is not going to last well. While the wood is treated, the glue used for lamination is NOT up to prolonged contact with ground moisture. Regular pressure treated lumber is also not up to prolonged ground contact. If you want an underground structure that will last, you will need true foundation grade materials. In addition, the fasteners are not galvanized. I co-worker built a house (circa 1990) witha treated wood foundation and his system required stainless steel fastners. You don't want to know what a 50lb box of stainless steel nails or screws will cost....

One additional observation: I have no 'proof' or data to back up my concerns but I'd be particularly careful of site selection and drainage. I'd have absolutely no concerns about a treated wood foundation on a hilltop with good drainage in a low rainfall environment. I would not think of one here, where our soils are frequently clay, ground moisture retention is high, and drainage can be an issue.

I'd be paying close attention to providing excellent footer drains to a daylight drain, and would give serious consideration to channelling moisture and ground water away from the foundation. There are several products that lay against the outside surface of the foundation and act like moisture wicks or linear drains, moving water quickly towards the footer weeping tiles. Prolonged water contact with the wood will not be good.

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 9:37:52 AM EST
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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 9:49:38 AM EST
Also remember that pilings and piers are treated to withstand marine/salt water submersion. It doesn't get much wetter and nastier than that!

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 11:02:58 PM EST
Check these out for some ideas:

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=25078&highlight=cellar&page=3 Some pictures on the first page are unavailable, but page 3 has some of the pics.


http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=58425&highlight=cellar

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Link Posted: 12/15/2010 11:35:49 PM EST
walls don't look sturdy enough to hold back sandy soil. But it's a nice effort. For all that digging one might as well make it larger.

Or do a larger dugout and cap it with an outdoor dining area with a rooftop or pergola over it. Hide the vent pipes in a rain gutter system. Have a ramp / drawbridge to enter the dining area, which when lifted reveals the entrance below. A nice below-grade structure for use as a cellar / tornado structure. Don't forgot to keep a hi-lift jack down there, in case a storm deposits heavy debris on the hatch.

/another building project I'd really like to do.

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 12:20:50 AM EST
Originally Posted By RichR:
walls don't look sturdy enough to hold back sandy soil. But it's a nice effort. For all that digging one might as well make it larger.

Or do a larger dugout and cap it with an outdoor dining area with a rooftop or pergola over it. Hide the vent pipes in a rain gutter system. Have a ramp / drawbridge to enter the dining area, which when lifted reveals the entrance below. A nice below-grade structure for use as a cellar / tornado structure. Don't forgot to keep a hi-lift jack down there, in case a storm deposits heavy debris on the hatch.

/another building project I'd really like to do.


Good advice, this here.

I'd go with concrete. Cheaper in the end. Get a used cement mixer off Craplist and mix your own. Make your own wall forms. A stopwatch would probably tell you in the end it was faster than cutting and nailing wood, and all the measuring and fitting, etc, not to mention waterproofing, shoring it up to avoid collapsing, etc.

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 3:25:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By Kibby:
Originally Posted By RichR:
walls don't look sturdy enough to hold back sandy soil. But it's a nice effort. For all that digging one might as well make it larger.

Or do a larger dugout and cap it with an outdoor dining area with a rooftop or pergola over it. Hide the vent pipes in a rain gutter system. Have a ramp / drawbridge to enter the dining area, which when lifted reveals the entrance below. A nice below-grade structure for use as a cellar / tornado structure. Don't forgot to keep a hi-lift jack down there, in case a storm deposits heavy debris on the hatch.

/another building project I'd really like to do.


Good advice, this here.

I'd go with concrete. Cheaper in the end. Get a used cement mixer off Craplist and mix your own. Make your own wall forms. A stopwatch would probably tell you in the end it was faster than cutting and nailing wood, and all the measuring and fitting, etc, not to mention waterproofing, shoring it up to avoid collapsing, etc.



My thought as well... BUt I have questions...
1. Would it ne better to 'pre mold each wall section on the ground then hoist them into place, or just make castings and pump the concrete into place?
2. Will the roof need to prestressed; and how does that get done?
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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 4:02:54 AM EST
Originally Posted By ar154all:

My thought as well... BUt I have questions...
1. Would it ne better to 'pre mold each wall section on the ground then hoist them into place, or just make castings and pump the concrete into place?
2. Will the roof need to prestressed; and how does that get done?


1. It's actually not difficult to pour a concrete wall. Especially below grade. Plywood and bracing is all you really need. Wire up your steel, form your wall with plywood and braces (be sure to do your load calculations, and brace properly!) and pour. This is even easier if you have the ability to do shotcrete. Another, somewhat easier option for some, is to lay a concrete block wall, add rebar, and then pour it solid. (I really like this if you have inexpensive access to concrete blocks.)

2. I don't know if it 'needs' to be. You just have to make sure that it's not going to fall in. We built a storm shelter for a friend of ours, using cut culvert and concrete for the roof. We laid rafters across the top, then went across those with 18" culvert that we'd cut in half lengthwise to form arches. Tack welded it all, and then formed in, added steel, and poured it solid to a depth of 4" above the culvert.

I'm sure someone will mention that this isn't the best way of doing things, and I would be happy to agree with them. But sometimes you just do what you can with what you have.

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 4:22:49 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2010 4:24:53 AM EST by ar154all]
Originally Posted By mattimeo:
Originally Posted By ar154all:

My thought as well... BUt I have questions...
1. Would it ne better to 'pre mold each wall section on the ground then hoist them into place, or just make castings and pump the concrete into place?
2. Will the roof need to pre stressed; and how does that get done?


1. It's actually not difficult to pour a concrete wall. Especially below grade. Plywood and bracing is all you really need. Wire up your steel, form your wall with plywood and braces (be sure to do your load calculations, and brace properly!) and pour. This is even easier if you have the ability to do shotcrete. Another, somewhat easier option for some, is to lay a concrete block wall, add rebar, and then pour it solid. (I really like this if you have inexpensive access to concrete blocks.)

2. I don't know if it 'needs' to be. You just have to make sure that it's not going to fall in. We built a storm shelter for a friend of ours, using cut culvert and concrete for the roof. We laid rafters across the top, then went across those with 18" culvert that we'd cut in half lengthwise to form arches. Tack welded it all, and then formed in, added steel, and poured it solid to a depth of 4" above the culvert.

I'm sure someone will mention that this isn't the best way of doing things, and I would be happy to agree with them. But sometimes you just do what you can with what you have.


I am kicking around the idea of a 24x24 x10 underground shelter. Basically 2 12x24 rooms (2 car underground garage). One half (of the 12x24) for preps and other goodies, and the other half for all the crap that is actually taking up space in my 'real' garage. The other 12x 24 for the BOV.

My fear is that in the limited suburban area that I have to work in, there may be occasion where the shelter will have to be driven over or parked on by family and friends. None of us 'should' have the fear of a cave in. Surely there is a solution for this without breaking the bank. I am seriously considering hiring an engineer to work it up, but this sorta flies in the face of OPSEC...

Thoughts????

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 6:00:32 AM EST
Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:
Originally Posted By sarge38624:
I have read they plastic can rupture under that kind of stress.


I really doubt it, but if you're worried, throw some 1/2 to 3/4 plywood on the floor. A least if you drop something it wont go through



I would assume that if the tank is bedded in the proper material and is solid the plastic shouldnt even move as the earth is supporting it.

Why not just build a form and pour something?

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 6:18:16 AM EST
They are no go where I live. Termites will munch any wood that touchs the ground around here.
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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 8:06:00 AM EST
Originally Posted By Red2000SS:
Check these out for some ideas:

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=25078&highlight=cellar&page=3 Some pictures on the first page are unavailable, but page 3 has some of the pics.


http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=58425&highlight=cellar


That's the one that I was referring to. He last posted 11/30/10 referencing his shelter humidity, so it still must be working out for him. Still wouldn't use wood.

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 5:19:48 PM EST
Originally Posted By ar154all:

My fear is that in the limited suburban area that I have to work in, there may be occasion where the shelter will have to be driven over or parked on by family and friends. None of us 'should' have the fear of a cave in. Surely there is a solution for this without breaking the bank. I am seriously considering hiring an engineer to work it up, but this sorta flies in the face of OPSEC...

Thoughts????



There are precast options that are pre-enigneered for such applications. Ever been in a parking garage? They also make similar vaulted forms so that you can build a parking lot directly on top of runoff retention. Just start looking at precast manufaturers. It'll cost you, though.

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 5:23:49 PM EST
"It'll cost you though"


And that's the crux of the issue.

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 5:53:19 PM EST
concrete is cheap.

10X20X8 structure...

2.5 yards for a 4 inch slab
20 yards for 8 inch thick walls, call it another 5 yards for ceiling and stairs.

=30 yards +- to build an actual 200 square foot bunker.... concrete runs maybe 80~120 dollars a yard... so 3k in concrete, thats pretty damn cheap

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Link Posted: 12/16/2010 6:01:54 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2010 6:02:38 PM EST by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By Orion_Shall_Rise:
concrete is cheap.

10X20X8 structure...

2.5 yards for a 4 inch slab
20 yards for 8 inch thick walls, call it another 5 yards for ceiling and stairs.

=30 yards +- to build an actual 200 square foot bunker.... concrete runs maybe 80~120 dollars a yard... so 3k in concrete, thats pretty damn cheap


Yep, that's the only way to go underground IMO. Makes burying containers look crazy.

Make the roof a 12" cap with 2 layers of #4 rebar for a room size of 12' wide or a little larger. Then you can run anything over it pretty much.

I'd go with a 6" minimum slab for the floor and let it overhang the walls 6 inches. Pour it first with rebar exposed for the walls.

Then drainage, drainage, drainage...


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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 1:59:43 AM EST

My experience is designing and building underground structures for high priority defense contracts, not for personal use. However, like a lot of work I do, that background can and does get used in my personnel life. Robust, and fairly cheap, underground structures can be built for about the same cost as wood, with absolutely none of the worries of rot and general lack of strength that wood has.

Can it be done? Sure. But why when there are better options. For example, simple concrete block design and building is within virtually anyone's ability to construct pretty much on their own. The only real problems might be the foundation and the roof, the rest is simple.

BTW, the link you provided only has one underground wooden structure, the rest are either steel or are above ground.

Merlin


I agree that concrete is the best option, but wood is easier for DIYer to work with ( in most cases) and will last a long time if you do it correctly. That being said, what else can you share that would change my mind to go from wood to concrete? I have plans for both, but would have to hire someone to lay the block. Ever use dry stack construction method? Thanks for any insight you can share...

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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 2:56:19 AM EST
Originally Posted By thereisnospoon:

My experience is designing and building underground structures for high priority defense contracts, not for personal use. However, like a lot of work I do, that background can and does get used in my personnel life. Robust, and fairly cheap, underground structures can be built for about the same cost as wood, with absolutely none of the worries of rot and general lack of strength that wood has.

Can it be done? Sure. But why when there are better options. For example, simple concrete block design and building is within virtually anyone's ability to construct pretty much on their own. The only real problems might be the foundation and the roof, the rest is simple.

BTW, the link you provided only has one underground wooden structure, the rest are either steel or are above ground.

Merlin


I agree that concrete is the best option, but wood is easier for DIYer to work with ( in most cases) and will last a long time if you do it correctly. That being said, what else can you share that would change my mind to go from wood to concrete? I have plans for both, but would have to hire someone to lay the block. Ever use dry stack construction method? Thanks for any insight you can share...



Using wood for underground structures shares the one same attribute as burying shipping containers: By the time you mitigate all their disadvantages to burying them, you could have just done it right the first time with concrete (poured or block) or steel (culverts) or plastic (purpose-built for burying like septic tanks or storm shelters) with probably less or same effort and cost and none of the worries. I'll say it again: It can be done, but why?

I've never used the dry stack method, but basic concrete laying can be done by uneducated illegals, so it can't be that hard. Just make sure to make it strong, seal it well and, as someone said above, drainage, drainage, drainage.

Good luck.

Merlin

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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 3:27:26 AM EST
ok, serious question. im planning to build a concrete storm shelter. i want the walls minimum 8 inches thick, roof, minimum 10 inches thick.. how thick does the slab have to be to support all this weight without cracking? do i need to put a footer in before pouring the slab for additional support? i was already planning a minimum of 6 inches of gravel base, with drain tile to keep the water away, and coat it outside with a tar type sealer/plastic sheeting.........im just worried about not making the floor thick enough.
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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 4:52:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/17/2010 4:53:57 AM EST by ar154all]
Originally Posted By buck19delta:
ok, serious question. im planning to build a concrete storm shelter. i want the walls minimum 8 inches thick, roof, minimum 10 inches thick.. how thick does the slab have to be to support all this weight without cracking? do i need to put a footer in before pouring the slab for additional support? i was already planning a minimum of 6 inches of gravel base, with drain tile to keep the water away, and coat it outside with a tar type sealer/plastic sheeting.........im just worried about not making the floor thick enough.


I am thinking of the same thing...

Maybe we should start a new thread "building underground concrete shelters', and page ARF engineers....
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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 6:22:10 AM EST
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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 7:13:08 AM EST
About 10 years ago I needed a storm shelter so I dug a hole(8'X8'X8) and buried a 1500-gallon plastic water tank. I didn't put much dirt on top of it, and I reinforced the inside of the tank with a strong "skeleton" of thick-walled 1" pipe(from a playground Jungle Gym). I used the tank's drain opening for a ventilation pipe.
I'm in the northern Ozarks near the Missouri state line and put the shelter on high ground. I also mounded the dirt to divert surface water away from the tank.

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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 7:29:41 AM EST

Originally Posted By FourDeuce:
About 10 years ago I needed a storm shelter so I dug a hole(8'X8'X8) and buried a 1500-gallon plastic water tank. I didn't put much dirt on top of it, and I reinforced the inside of the tank with a strong "skeleton" of thick-walled 1" pipe(from a playground Jungle Gym). I used the tank's drain opening for a ventilation pipe.
I'm in the northern Ozarks near the Missouri state line and put the shelter on high ground. I also mounded the dirt to divert surface water away from the tank.

What is it's current status?

Any failures?
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Link Posted: 12/17/2010 8:24:17 AM EST
The roof sagged a bit where I put the most soil. The roof is dome-shaped, so there's a bit more dirt on the sides of the top than there is in the middle. Also, the tank took in a bit of water once when we had several days of heavy rain, but overall the shelter has worked well. It stays at about 58 degrees almost all the time, and the humidity is fairly low in it.

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Link Posted: 12/20/2010 1:49:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/20/2010 1:50:34 PM EST by Merlin]
While on the way out from hog hunting in the Bankhead NF, I saw this company this last Sunday: Storm Shelters Their yard was filled with about 40-50 of these things.

I recall about 10-12 years ago, my old boss on ISS having one of these (or much like it) installed at his house. He said it took one day for the excavation, set the forms and pour the concrete, then the next day to install the shelter and backfill. The link above states that they can install one in 3-4 hours.

Regardless of how cheap you think you can do it, a 3-4 hour installation time is outstanding. The downside is the size, since it's not very big. Plus, I don't know the cost (my boss told me $3.5K but that was back then.

FWIW.

Merlin

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