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11/20/2019 5:07:11 PM
Posted: 10/29/2009 3:24:19 PM EST
Anyone here ever built an underground shelter? If so, what materials did you use? Concrete, cinder blocks, railroad car, water tank? Any suggestions, opinions, experiences? I'm pondering such a project at the ranch.
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 6:13:54 PM EST
Opsec
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 6:19:28 PM EST
tag for the off-chance somebody actually answers seriously.
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 6:38:43 PM EST
I'd love to do one out of reinforced concrete, but I'm sure it would be huge dollars

Maybe I can get some sort of tax credit for it being classified as a tornado shelter or something?
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 6:53:40 PM EST
Originally Posted By aceranch:
Anyone here ever built an underground shelter? If so, what materials did you use? Concrete, cinder blocks, railroad car, water tank? Any suggestions, opinions, experiences? I'm pondering such a project at the ranch.


Couple questions first.

How big, what's the water table at the ranch, and what's your budget.

Do you want to build it stealthy or with permits, everybody watching etc.

Link Posted: 10/29/2009 10:57:05 PM EST
There is some hipppy survivalist group, I think in canada or something that buried a complex of school busses under about 6' of earth. Different school busses served as different types of rooms and were connected by tunnels.
Link Posted: 10/29/2009 10:59:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By rightwingnut:
There is some hipppy survivalist group, I think in canada or something that buried a complex of school busses under about 6' of earth. Different school busses served as different types of rooms and were connected by tunnels.


i had an idea similar to this, but with shipping containers. the problem is coming up with an air exchange system.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 1:11:37 AM EST
Originally Posted By 1903pa:
Opsec


+1
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 1:26:30 AM EST
We used a brand new(but slightly damaged) fiberglass underground gasoline storage tank. I believe it was about 5000 gallons in size? Rough size is 10ft wide by 30 long.

We repaired the slight damage on one end...made a hole and buried it. Used marine plywood and fiberglass and made a entrance at the mid point and then built some bunks and shelves inside. That's about as far as it got. No ventilation yet and the entry is still a old ladder and a piece of plywood covering the entrance.

I'll be happy to provide a nice detailed map to where its at

If your going to do something like this as a group make sure you either own a portion of the land or have a good legal foothold so you don't get screwed. Cockstain who owns the land decided to screw me over on a car title then refuse to return my stuff at the site.

Like i said..anyone who wants a map or directions...
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:12:51 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2009 4:18:29 AM EST by aceranch]
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By aceranch:
Anyone here ever built an underground shelter? If so, what materials did you use? Concrete, cinder blocks, railroad car, water tank? Any suggestions, opinions, experiences? I'm pondering such a project at the ranch.


Couple questions first.

How big ,what's the water table at the ranch, and what's your budget.

Do you want to build it stealthy or with permits, everybody watching etc.



10x10 minumum, watertable is low, budget is tight but this will be a long term project. I would like to incorporate waterproofing, drainage, ventilation, chemical toilet, dry storage, etc. Permit? Shelter? I'm sorry, what shelter?
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 4:24:40 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2009 4:38:31 AM EST by shibumiseeker]
Do it yourself, over time, going minimum, maybe $1k-2k tops. Check out my thread on my shooting shack
with links to pics), it could easily be completely underground. I just posted within the last 30 days so it's still
accessible. Describes in detail how I built it.



Link Posted: 10/30/2009 6:20:41 AM EST
When we built the house we took the planned footprint of what would have been the one stall attached garage and poured walls along with the foundation and covered it with spanned concrete and about 2' of dirt. Can't even tell it's there from the outside. The basement of the house has 3 distinct concrete walled rooms including this and to looky lous during construction it would have looked like a basement. The spanned concrete cost $2250 delivered and was installed in about 2 hours from a mobile crane, covered with dirt and outta site the same day. 3 people saw it and they all think it's a tornado shelter and never thought twice about what they were building. All the well mechanics are in there faucet, toilet,crude shower and drain it's mainly used for food storage/root cellar. No ventilation or anything like that. but the inside entrance would have been a stairwell from the garage to the basement. It's got a concrete barrier at 90 degrees so there is some radiation protection at the entrance too. Then I built a detached 3 stall garage with a heated shop separate from the house.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:16:12 AM EST
Here is a link to the plan I am using.

http://bioengr.ag.utk.edu/extension/extpubs/Plans/6209.pdf

I am starting construction on this project next weekend (this weekend is a Tac Rifle Match).

It has been very wet, so my bulldozer guy has been waiting for dryer weather to level my barn place, but once he gets that level we'll start barn construction as well, and hopefully be on the property full time by Jan 1, 2010 or shortly thereafter.

Spoon
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 9:41:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/30/2009 9:41:47 AM EST by blueheeler66]
1big_bunker had a plan for his buddy; @ 24' dome iirc
I think he prefers "tunnels" using similiar type construction for this application.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 12:55:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By thereisnospoon:
Here is a link to the plan I am using.

http://bioengr.ag.utk.edu/extension/extpubs/Plans/6209.pdf

I am starting construction on this project next weekend (this weekend is a Tac Rifle Match).

It has been very wet, so my bulldozer guy has been waiting for dryer weather to level my barn place, but once he gets that level we'll start barn construction as well, and hopefully be on the property full time by Jan 1, 2010 or shortly thereafter.

Spoon


I saved your plans. Looks like what I am after except different floor dimensions. Thanks.
Link Posted: 10/30/2009 7:41:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By aceranch:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By aceranch:
Anyone here ever built an underground shelter? If so, what materials did you use? Concrete, cinder blocks, railroad car, water tank? Any suggestions, opinions, experiences? I'm pondering such a project at the ranch.


Couple questions first.

How big ,what's the water table at the ranch, and what's your budget.

Do you want to build it stealthy or with permits, everybody watching etc.



10x10 minumum, watertable is low, budget is tight but this will be a long term project. I would like to incorporate waterproofing, drainage, ventilation, chemical toilet, dry storage, etc. Permit? Shelter? I'm sorry, what shelter?


Then you need to pick up a Hilti TE-72 and a spade bit for it and get busy.

Link Posted: 10/31/2009 1:36:30 PM EST
I've read this thread and can't stress enough how much I do not recommend burying anything like an old bus, gas storage container, or anything else to make your own underground shelter. None of these items was ever intended to provide underground shelter for people. If you bury something underground it will need to have enough structural integrity to hold up an average soil density of 100 to 110 lbs per cubic foot. These soil densities can vary greatly based upon the amount of compaction that has been applied to the soil, water content present, etc. The only way to do this without putting yourself in danger is to hire someone with enough training to design a reinforced concrete structure that will be able to withstand the soil load and any live load placed on it. Trying to design your own reinforced concrete is a mistake too, as steel that is not properly protected and placed within concrete will eventually lead to spawling of the concrete or provide little or no structural value.

Do not believe that because an underground storage tank was intended to be placed underground that it is okay to be used as an underground shelter. When these tanks are placed in the ground for their intended use, they are filled with liquid, most commonly fuel. The fact that they are filled with liquid is the reason why they don't collapse, because the hydrostatic pressure offsets the soil load which is placed on it.

I just don't want anyone to be digging their own grave as part of a "project". If I were looking at doing something like this I would hire someone to design and build it for me. Yes, it will cost more and your level of Opsec will be greatly diminished, but you will know that you have something that won't kill you or your family. Proceed with caution.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 1:43:52 PM EST
"The fact that they are filled with liquid is the reason why they don't collapse, because the hydrostatic pressure offsets the soil load which is placed on it. "

So, the tanks are never emptied?

That being said, the rest of Kid's post is pretty much true.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 2:00:35 PM EST
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
"The fact that they are filled with liquid is the reason why they don't collapse, because the hydrostatic pressure offsets the soil load which is placed on it. "

So, the tanks are never emptied?

That being said, the rest of Kid's post is pretty much true.



I never said they are never emptied. They are usually not kept empty for extended periods of time, like they would if you were using it as a shelter, and expected to be in good condition. These tanks are also very susceptible to corrosion and stray voltage both of which will weaken their structural integrity. I'm just trying to help out, but if you or anyone else wants to use one as a shelter be my guest.

Link Posted: 10/31/2009 2:43:05 PM EST
Well, I just finished a root cellar/ fallout shelter built into the side of a hill next to my cabin. I have a lot of trees, so it was built sort of like a buried log cabin. Three ft. of earth all around including a double wall, earth filled front with inner & outer doors. The cost was just a few bucks in pole nails & hardware..... a lot of pick & shovel work though!
It probably may only last 20-30 years, but long enough for me...
It does help if you have some engineering background to do some stress anaylisis..
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 5:55:49 PM EST
There are all kinds of things you can do. Probably anything you can do has been tried by someone else already.

If you are looking for a simple storm shelter, it is a lot simpler than a fallout shelter. A fallout shelter is simple compared to a blast shelter.

What is practical to do is influenced by enough factors that I doubt there is any good general answer.

A high water table or unsuitable soil can make an underground structure very expensive.

I once looked at this very closely as I was seriously considering building a house on some acreage out in the country. In my area, the permits and codes for rural building is not real painful. I talked to an architect about it and he all but talked me out of anything other than maybe a traditional basement that had precast concrete as a ceiling on one end. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I would not want an hour commute twice a day, so decided against the whole thing on that basis.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:18:52 PM EST
Originally Posted By 14TheKid:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
"The fact that they are filled with liquid is the reason why they don't collapse, because the hydrostatic pressure offsets the soil load which is placed on it. "

So, the tanks are never emptied?

That being said, the rest of Kid's post is pretty much true.



I never said they are never emptied. They are usually not kept empty for extended periods of time, like they would if you were using it as a shelter, and expected to be in good condition. These tanks are also very susceptible to corrosion and stray voltage both of which will weaken their structural integrity. I'm just trying to help out, but if you or anyone else wants to use one as a shelter be my guest.



I'm curious about the tanks.

Why would they collapse empty and why don't they collapse when they are full? They are vented and it seems if there was enough pressure to crush them, then the fuel would just be pushed out of the vents.

What am I missing here?
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:36:04 PM EST
tag
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 6:51:49 PM EST
this is better
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 8:39:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By krpind:
Originally Posted By 14TheKid:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
"The fact that they are filled with liquid is the reason why they don't collapse, because the hydrostatic pressure offsets the soil load which is placed on it. "

So, the tanks are never emptied?

That being said, the rest of Kid's post is pretty much true.



I never said they are never emptied. They are usually not kept empty for extended periods of time, like they would if you were using it as a shelter, and expected to be in good condition. These tanks are also very susceptible to corrosion and stray voltage both of which will weaken their structural integrity. I'm just trying to help out, but if you or anyone else wants to use one as a shelter be my guest.



I'm curious about the tanks.

Why would they collapse empty and why don't they collapse when they are full? They are vented and it seems if there was enough pressure to crush them, then the fuel would just be pushed out of the vents.

What am I missing here?



I'm not saying they would collapse or not, but what you are missing is that when full, the weight of the fuel in the tanks exerts a lot of force against the tank walls to keep it from collapsing. Being vented doesn't change this - it's not atmospheric pressure that resists crushing / collapsing, it is the weight of the fuel in the tank.

Imagine you had a 20,000 gallon tank build out of the thinnest plastic imagineable - totally waterproof, but not very strong. Your question is equivalent to asking why your tank would burst when filled with water or fuel when it doesn't when filled with air even though in both cases the tank is vented to the atmosphere.
Link Posted: 10/31/2009 9:15:20 PM EST
Originally Posted By GTLandser:
this is better


I'm beginning to seriously consider building a monolithic dome. I'm thinking maybe one with an 18 foot stem wall.

If you excavated for the dome down 18ft, installed the dome, and then back filled against the stem wall you'd have two stories underground with the dome propper visible above ground. You'd end up with a "regular" looking dome, a basement underneath, then also a 'shelter' level below that. I don't know if that would be necessary, but it would probably help shield an awful lot. Thoughts?

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 4:14:50 AM EST
I once looked at this very closely as I was seriously considering building a house on some acreage out in the country. In my area, the permits and codes for rural building is not real painful. I talked to an architect about it and he all but talked me out of anything other than maybe a traditional basement that had precast concrete as a ceiling on one end.


Sounds like your architect didn't have any real world experience or was lazy. People have been building underground (e.g. basements) for a long time and a shelter is really not that much different from a basement structure, except for the roofing if you intend it to be a strom/blast shelter.

If you really want to find something pre made to build your shelter, find a 10-12' steel (or even better concrete) drainage pipe. It is manufactured specifically to to be underground and withstand all the forces discussed above for a long period of time and can be finished out in various ways. I recall a post where someone had used a 12" steel drain pipe and built florring into it at the 3.5 or 4 foot mark so he had a level floor, and underneath it provided storage for his stash of goodies.

Here's a quick get ya started:

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago74.html
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 9:58:43 AM EST
Originally Posted By Red2000SS:


I'm not saying they would collapse or not, but what you are missing is that when full, the weight of the fuel in the tanks exerts a lot of force against the tank walls to keep it from collapsing. Being vented doesn't change this - it's not atmospheric pressure that resists crushing / collapsing, it is the weight of the fuel in the tank.

Imagine you had a 20,000 gallon tank build out of the thinnest plastic imagineable - totally waterproof, but not very strong. Your question is equivalent to asking why your tank would burst when filled with water or fuel when it doesn't when filled with air even though in both cases the tank is vented to the atmosphere.


Nope still doesn't make sense because they aren't made out of the "thinnest plastic imaginable"

The only problem with empty fuel tanks is the groundwater floating them out. If they are properly cemented in your concerns are a non-issue.

Think about a coke can. Pretty damned thin and not strong at all. Squeeze it while it is sealed. Then open it [vent it]. Is it easier to squeeze? Now squeeze an empty can. Is it any more difficult to squeeze an empty can than an open can? Not really.

I think you are not realizing that those tanks are designed to be buried and not always have fuel in them. They might float, but they don't collapse.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 3:21:59 PM EST
A section of corrugated or concrete storm drain may be an idea to look into. I would still want to reinforce it from the inside but I will definitely look into it.
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 6:17:00 PM EST
Originally Posted By thereisnospoon:
I once looked at this very closely as I was seriously considering building a house on some acreage out in the country. In my area, the permits and codes for rural building is not real painful. I talked to an architect about it and he all but talked me out of anything other than maybe a traditional basement that had precast concrete as a ceiling on one end.


Sounds like your architect didn't have any real world experience or was lazy. People have been building underground (e.g. basements) for a long time and a shelter is really not that much different from a basement structure, except for the roofing if you intend it to be a strom/blast shelter.

If you really want to find something pre made to build your shelter, find a 10-12' steel (or even better concrete) drainage pipe. It is manufactured specifically to to be underground and withstand all the forces discussed above for a long period of time and can be finished out in various ways. I recall a post where someone had used a 12" steel drain pipe and built florring into it at the 3.5 or 4 foot mark so he had a level floor, and underneath it provided storage for his stash of goodies.

Here's a quick get ya started:

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago74.html


You will note what the architect suggested was a traditional basement with a precast concrete ceiling, as opposed to a full underground structure as I was initially considering.

The cost of creating an underground house that was livable was 30-50% more than a more traditional house, and what little energy savings there would have been would have taken 50 or 100 years to break even on.

I think the idea of a buried large diameter pipe is a fine idea for a small storm/fallout/blast shelter. Its not an underground house though. I would think one of the square culverts would give you more usable space than a cylindrical one, although a cylindrical one can probably be a lot thinner for the same level of strength, making it cheaper and lighter.

Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:19:09 PM EST
Originally Posted By krpind:
Originally Posted By Red2000SS:


I'm not saying they would collapse or not, but what you are missing is that when full, the weight of the fuel in the tanks exerts a lot of force against the tank walls to keep it from collapsing. Being vented doesn't change this - it's not atmospheric pressure that resists crushing / collapsing, it is the weight of the fuel in the tank.

Imagine you had a 20,000 gallon tank build out of the thinnest plastic imagineable - totally waterproof, but not very strong. Your question is equivalent to asking why your tank would burst when filled with water or fuel when it doesn't when filled with air even though in both cases the tank is vented to the atmosphere.


Nope still doesn't make sense because they aren't made out of the "thinnest plastic imaginable"

The only problem with empty fuel tanks is the groundwater floating them out. If they are properly cemented in your concerns are a non-issue.

Think about a coke can. Pretty damned thin and not strong at all. Squeeze it while it is sealed. Then open it [vent it]. Is it easier to squeeze? Now squeeze an empty can. Is it any more difficult to squeeze an empty can than an open can? Not really.

I think you are not realizing that those tanks are designed to be buried and not always have fuel in them. They might float, but they don't collapse.



If they are designed to withstand the pressure, no it won't collapse when empty - but your original question made it seem like you saw absolutely no difference whether the tank was empty or full if they both were vented to atmospheric pressure - my point is that there is definately a difference. I didn't say it would collapse or not - just that it is more likely to collapse if empty than if full - a point you seem to totally dismiss.

I have a degree in mechanical engineering but less than 100 posts. You have > 25000 posts, but I am guessing you maybe were posting on AR15.com instead of going to physics class... Just trying to point out what your were "misssing" Somehow I think you are still not going to get it...
Link Posted: 11/1/2009 7:56:18 PM EST
You will note what the architect suggested was a traditional basement with a precast concrete ceiling, as opposed to a full underground structure as I was initially considering.

The cost of creating an underground house that was livable was 30-50% more than a more traditional house, and what little energy savings there would have been would have taken 50 or 100 years to break even on.


Not true at all. We are building earth bermed (partial subterrainian) and there are products on the market (ICFs for one, Safecrete blocks for another) that produce tremendous savings at a cost that is comparable to and sometimes actually cheaper than traditional stick built manufacturing. Plus you get the added benefit of subterranian living. we actually will not have to build completely underground to reap the benefits (hence the earth bermed) and still will ony have $50,000.. tops in our home that will be right at 2200 sq ft.

Spoon

Link Posted: 11/2/2009 5:40:46 AM EST
Originally Posted By Red2000SS:


I have a degree in mechanical engineering


Then you should have never posted that those tanks were not suitable for burial when empty. They get buried EVERYDAY. They WERE getting abandoned and none were collapsing even though they were empty. Now of course landowners are forced to dig them up because of contamination fears.

My original question was to question you why you would even say anything like that, but I was trying to phrase it in a nice way since this is a tech forum.

But as usual I'm reminded why I don't post much here, because of all the experts who don't have the first damned clue yet get a pass because of the stricter rules here.



Looking back you aren't even the guy I quoted?????

Do not believe that because an underground storage tank was intended to be placed underground that it is okay to be used as an underground shelter. When these tanks are placed in the ground for their intended use, they are filled with liquid, most commonly fuel. The fact that they are filled with liquid is the reason why they don't collapse, because the hydrostatic pressure offsets the soil load which is placed on it.


This is the quote I questioned and is the post this is about.

Take your mechanical engineering degree and try to figure this out.
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