Budget DIY underground shelter

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pengyou

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I think the ideal doomsday shelter is an underground house but the price of such homes is quite high. I was wondering if a quonset style home could be build underground - with about 10' of soil over the high point of the roof? Ignore the red lines in this drawing.


The objective of this thread is to collect ideas that can be done by most people without years of training- possibly with rented tools - that will produce a safe, durable structure. The initial frame for the arch could be made by bamboo, steel or reinforced concrete, followed by a layer of material that would be the final interior ceiling. Next comes a layer of corrugated metal or fiberglass, to protect the ceiling followed by a layer of rebar mesh. The mesh would be sprayed with sprayable concrete. At this point, if money were no object, a layer of lead could be added, followed by sand and then soil... What else would need to be done to this structure to make it strong enough? Poles in the center? I realize that the shape of this structure produces a lot of unusable living space - the sides - but this could be used for storage or even as a greenhouse...maybe even build in an aquarium to raise fish for food or a rabbit hutch (glassed, of course to retain the odor). I am open to putting poles in the center to hold up the roof but I would like at least one section to have a grand room that is 15' wide and 20'long that has no center supports in the ceiling. How about building a structure large enough to be 2 story? or one larger structure for the grand room and smaller, adjoining structures for bedrooms, kitchens, etc?
 

pengyou

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Is it possible to create a cave effect so that the concrete and other materials put on top of the reinforcement form a natural cave and support the soil above the house? I have heard of people using a mixture of clay, cement and soil to build with - could this be used to cover the house? Waterproofing, of course, is another issue, but I will leave that for later.
 

Kenprep1979

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these buildings are steel so if buried you would need to coat it with a good tar or apoxy paint to prevent rust. and the arched roof would definately need support to prevent cave in. you would probably be better off using a couple of shipping containers or a couple old school buses they require much less work to reinforce because they are already squared.
 

pengyou

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Is it possible to create a cave effect so that the concrete and other materials put on top of the reinforcement form a natural cave and support the soil above the house? I have heard of people using a mixture of clay, cement and soil to build with - could this be used to cover the house? Waterproofing, of course, is another issue, but I will leave that for later. I am hoping that the bamboo/steel/etc frame will only be necessary to support the roof while the concrete, etc is curing
 

pengyou

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yes, the building would be coated with some waterproofing, but then with the reinforced concrete.
 

pengyou

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yes, the building would be coated with some waterproofing, but then with the reinforced concrete.
Actually, the purpose of all of this is to build a cave...the frame, steel would just be used as moulds to support the reinforced concrete, etc while it was curing.
 

WILD MAN

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The objective of this thread is to collect ideas that can be done by most people without years of training- possibly with rented tools - that will produce a safe, durable structure.
I built an underground shelter using concrete blocks, I've never built anything out of blocks before so if I could do it anyone can. Here is a link to the post and some updated pics of the front door I've back filled up to the retaining walls since these pics were taken.

http://www.doomsdayprepperforums.com/index.php?threads/shelters-and-bunkers.1592/

20130504_150422.jpg
20130504_150400.jpg
 

Danil54grl

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Depending your location, I would look into building a secured dugout. That is how of pioneer ancestors started out and just a thought at this point. I have seen some that have been well over a hundred years old now and well hidden if someone is jut looking over the property.
 

jimLE

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i knew someone once who had built thier home where it's under ground..on the inside,it's like a normal every day home with no windows..but it's buried.and the front door is faceing away from the road.and driveing past it.a person who dont know any diffrent would prolly think that its just a large mound of dirt or what ever
 
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We were very fortunate with this property. Several buildings and about 4 acres, sits at the highest point possible, has water collection, gold/silver mine, fresh water stream, and an elk herd on the property every year. Deer frequently pass through as well as all sorts of small game. Very near several fresh water lakes full of rainbow trout.
 

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Brent S

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I looked into burying a cargo container for shelter and realized it wasn't just digging a hole and dropping it in. The square shape is a big negative as it doesn't disperse the weight of the dirt from above or the sides. You would need lots of reinforcement to make it work. The best shape is a circular tube, the Romans figured out how strong an arch can be, it still holds true today. I'm not sure how much the flat floor of a quansit hut would hurt, but know a full circle is much stronger. For the floor you can build a level surface and create great storage space beneath it. Moisture control is almost as important as structure strength, it needs to be considered first, not as an afterthought. Who wants to go into a damp, moldy hole, much less store your supplies in it. As I'm on a budget, I'm still working on food production first, but sometime in the next year a concealed bunker will happen. I'll update with info as I get closer to the design and build. Stay safe everyone.
 
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I looked into burying a cargo container for shelter and realized it wasn't just digging a hole and dropping it in. The square shape is a big negative as it doesn't disperse the weight of the dirt from above or the sides. You would need lots of reinforcement to make it work. The best shape is a circular tube, the Romans figured out how strong an arch can be, it still holds true today. I'm not sure how much the flat floor of a quansit hut would hurt, but know a full circle is much stronger. For the floor you can build a level surface and create great storage space beneath it. Moisture control is almost as important as structure strength, it needs to be considered first, not as an afterthought. Who wants to go into a damp, moldy hole, much less store your supplies in it. As I'm on a budget, I'm still working on food production first, but sometime in the next year a concealed bunker will happen. I'll update with info as I get closer to the design and build. Stay safe everyone.
Bunkers can be difficult to build. I remember a while back a guy in my area was building one on his property, he thought it would be simple, buy a shipping container, dig a big hole, and baddabind you're ready to go. Not exactly as it turns out. One his land had an arse load of gas and power lines going through it, so actually digging became a problem, once that was finished, he learned the hard way what you already know. His began buckling under the pressure. As it turns out the shipping container he purchased, although steel construction most the way around, the tops and bottom was only wood! can you believe that! So as he put dirt on the top it collapsed. He later was able to put sheet metal on the top and bottom, but it wasn't what he thought it would be, so just an FYI, apparently a large portion of shipping containers have wood roofs, as all the pressure from stacking rests on the steel support beam on the sides.
 
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Hi a bunker is a good idea if it is well hidden, and you have an old run down house on the property, so people will think you have nothing worth steeling and don't let everybody know about your supply's and always have a good escape route. with a bugout bag and a good 4x4 preferable an EMP proof vehicle. worth thinking about. temperatures underground are good with a lot of overhead fill. we have about 40 feet overhead solid rock. good luck with your project. Mountain Scout.
 

Brent S

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Hi a bunker is a good idea if it is well hidden, and you have an old run down house on the property, so people will think you have nothing worth steeling and don't let everybody know about your supply's and always have a good escape route. with a bugout bag and a good 4x4 preferable an EMP proof vehicle. worth thinking about. temperatures underground are good with a lot of overhead fill. we have about 40 feet overhead solid rock. good luck with your project. Mountain Scout.
I like the stuff about either being well hidden or 'camouflaged'. I want to teach people and help others prepare, but I may have told others too much about what I've done and have. You're lucky to have a cave, instant bunker! I was born in key, and lived in mo. Where they were common, but here in ga. I'm lookin at a shovel. I've tried to hire someone to do some digging for me but the work ethic here sucks, can't get anyone to even show up for an est. I found sunbelt rental has a full size backhoe for 1k a week. That's a lot for me but I have a lot of stuff I can use it for, not just the bunker. If I can get a close neighbor that needs some work I may be able to cost share. Good luck to you.
 
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Hi Brent S The cave house we built from scratch, Being a miner most of my life we already had the equipment to build the cave house the way we wanted it to be it is all modern inside, stays an even 70% year around has 3 bathrooms 3 bedrooms, all solar powered completely off the grid, water from a well pumped by solar only no battery's. water runs down hill to the house at 40lbs press. problem is everybody knows it is there so we have devised other methods of protecting our property and our loved ones. But to build a quick underground bunker I would use an old fuel tank they are made of 1 quarter inch steel and being round they will not collapse if the fill is compacted as they are put in. I have used halves of these tanks as mine supports in lose ground by bending 4x4 I beam to fit the contour of the tank it passed the mine inspectors and I think it is still there after 10 or 15 years. these tanks are easy to get and you can add as many as you need to get your bunker to the size needed, but if you are joining tanks at ends you will need additional supports where you cut the ends out, I hope this info is helpful I think it is the cheapest way to build a safe bunker. Need to go now! so all you preppers have a good time building your safety quarters. and be safe. Good Luck to all and God bless. Mt Scout.
 

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Probably a stupid question, but are any of you considering the soil you are building on/in? I know I wouldn't dare build any type of bunker in Florida with it's limestone and risks of sinkholes. Same goes for areas with lots of loose soil and risks of mud/rock slides, overly hard rock soil that will cost a ton just to dig down a few feet...
 

SWCCMAN

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Finally a topic that I'm very much experienced with! I have 3 (yes, three) underground bunkers, and one consist of a 40' shipping container with an adjoining 20' container. The other bunkers are single 40'ers. It is easy, If you do it the right way! First, you start with high cube 9.5" containers. You then flip it UPSIDE down, as the floor and four corners are the strongest points. Build you a platform on the inside with removable floor pieces for access, out of angle iron, 24-30" from the NOW floor. This is for under floor storage. Then on TOP (what was the bottom) you use 12" I-beam running the length of the unit, corner to corner, down each side. In between you will add some appropriate structural angle iron for bracing. Once you have placed the container in your hole in the ground, you need a stair entrance to one end. There should be air space all the way around the unit, approx. 24". Once placed in hole on leveled pea gravel, you lay corrugated sheets of metal across the top (side to side and extend over onto side wall structure at least a foot. This roof should be 12"-24" below ground. Place your rebar, pour a good 3500PSI with fiber concrete "Roof" approx. 4-6" thick. Backfill and cover, finish stairwell as needed or desired. Have temporary bracing on inside and outside of structure while concrete sets. Nah, I know nothing of these ;-)
 

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