When you've made the decision that you want to
have some sort of shelter for whatever emergency that may come
in the future, you have to first do some research into underground
You need to know what your needs will be while
you're in the shelter, and you most certainly need to make sure
that the shelter you build will be strong enough to protect
you, not collapse on you and become "your gravest mistake."
Underground shelters need to be sufficiently ventilated
and have a plentiful supply of certain items that will ensure
your survival, such as the basics of food and water. And don't
forget plumbing. Just like your home has either a sewer or septic
system, your shelter will need some way of dealing with waste
Underground Shelters Need To Be Constructed
With Proper Materials
There's a wide variety of materials you can use
in constructing underground shelters. Some materials and recycled
items that some people suggest are more fads than anything else
and should be avoided. Think twice before you consider using
such things as pre-built steel shipping containers or large
plastic pipes used for construction purposes. Every so often
someone comes up with an idea to use these kinds of items for
underground shelters but engineers will tell you that a lot
of these "latest fad" suggestions are nothing more
than death traps.
More common sense materials for building underground
shelters include: concrete blocks; reinforced poured concrete;
stone; wood and steel. The most important factor to consider
in the design and construction process is the amount of continuous
strength and support you'll get with the end result.
In other words, you can make something that's
strong for a short period of time, but could become weakened
or collapse with the passage of time or of course if a major
disaster like a bomb blast or earthquake hit your area.
Don't just take someone's word for it that their
design is right for your shelter just because you saw them build
one on an internet video. If you're serious about underground
shelters that save lives as opposed to take them, spend the
extra money and consult with an engineer before building.
Consider Using Wood for Underground Shelters
While it may not be the very best option in terms
of strength for underground shelters, wood is still a good option
in terms of strength compared to a lot of other options and
it can be the least expensive, depending on the cost of lumber
in your area. If you're building a wood shelter and you don't
have the services of an engineer or architect to tell you how
to design it, you can probably build one yourself that's about
eight to ten feet wide, and whatever length you choose.
But don't make it too long. Use common
sense. Remember, you're building a shelter, not a second
As long as you keep the width no wider than eight
or ten feet and have vertical support beams running down the
center of the shelter to maintain structural integrity for the
roof or ceiling, you'll be doing ok.
Concrete Block Underground Shelters Are a Great
Underground shelters made of a combination of
concrete blocks and mortar is a much stronger option than wood,
although they do cost quite a bit more. When comparing the materials
only, the cost per square foot between wood and concrete block
underground shelters is just about the same with the block version
leaning just a little more expensive.
But the concrete block option gets more expensive
if you're not a trained brick mason and most of us aren't. If
you are not highly experienced with masonry work, don't try
to learn in a day and hope you'll be a quick learner. Masonry
work takes a lot of practice and it's better and safer to hire
a mason to build a concrete block shelter for you.