How to Build a Basement Storm Shelter

Lead Image
What You'll Need
concrete blocks
masonry screws
metal door

If you live in an area which experiences frequent and violent storms, then building a basement shelter for your home is a very good idea. A storm shelter provides safety and protection; it will spare you the risk of rushing to a common outdoor bunker in the face of an approaching tempest. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to construct. Follow these steps to build a basement storm shelter.

Step 1 - Choose the Location of the Shelter

If the arrangement of your basement allows you to select the shelter position, it is advisable that you situate it in the middle. That way you will avoid the debris that often accumulates in basement corners when a storm hits a house.

Step 2 - Mark the Perimeter of the Shelter

There are no limits regarding the size of your shelter. It’s up to you to make it large enough to accommodate your entire family. Follow the steps below assuming that the shelter has a total area of 64-square-feet.

Step 3 - Lay the Shelter Foundation and Build Its Walls

With a hammer-drill, bore 3/8-inch holes along the shelter outlineT he holes should be 3-inches deep and spaced at an interval of 2-feet. Put 6 6-inch lengths of rebar into the holes.

Place the first layer of concrete blocks by sliding them over the rebar and interlocking them. Use half blocks at the doorway to leave space for the door. Continue stacking the blocks until they reach a height of 6-feet.

Once you have finished laying the blocks, mix some concrete in a wheelbarrow. Fill a bucket and start pouring it inside the blocks. For optimal results, work with slightly wet concrete. Fill the blocks to the top and let the concrete dry.

Step 4 - Build the Shelter Roof

Take 2 .75-inch sheets of plywood with a total area that equals the area of the shelter, including the walls. As rebar will be protruding from the walls, you will need to bore holes into the plywood sheets before you place them over the shelter.

Cut 2 4x4-inch boards to the length of the shelter height and place them along the seam of the plywood sheets, 2.5-feet from the walls. Nail the boards in place from the top of the plywood.

Make a frame from four 2x4-inch boards and fix it to the plywood roof. Mix some more concrete and fill the frame to a depth of 1.5-inches. Crisscross rebar and pour more concrete to bring it to the top of the frame. When the roof has dried, dismantle the frame.

Step 5 - Mount the Door

Purchase a metal door sized to fit in the opening you have left in one of the shelter walls. Use masonry screws to secure the metal door frame into place. To increase the strength and stability of the door, position the screws 8-inches from each other.