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Underground Shelters

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 shelters.

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 too.

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 home.

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 Option

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.

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