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storm / tornado shelter in my garage floor here in Texas

Sebastian_Texas's picture

Ok guys, with all the crazy weather going on, I am thinking about adding a tornado shelter to my house, I am in Texas (DFW Metro).

Here is my idea, saw cut the floor in my garage let’s say, 3ft x 10ft, remove the existing slab, excavate about 5-6ft deep, pour a new slab,  build the walls with bricks and  cover the top opening (current garage floor) with a solid metal door (custom).

 

Questions from my end:

1) Do I need to pull a permit for this? 

2) If I do the slab, I am thinking 5" thick, #4 or #5 rebar every 10" OC as grid, should be plenty or any other ideas?

3) Do need to put gravel and a vapor barrier under the new slab? 

Since the opening will be in the middle of the garage away from the exterior walls by about 3-4ft anything else I should consider? 

 the idea is to keep the costs under control and not to have a shelter that is outside where you need to run to weather in the middle of the night, something available also for kids to climb into and close the door, some ventilation I am sure I need to come up with down the road, any other ideas or hints what to do / not to do? 

 

Thank you for your help in advance!!! 

How will you get out when the (post #207857, reply #1 of 9)

How will you get out when the garage has caved in on top of the doors? I think I'd just build a concrete block safe room in a corner with an inward opening door and not have to worry about a pit full of water or being trapped.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

1) Do I need to pull a permit (post #207857, reply #2 of 9)

1) Do I need to pull a permit for this?

Not if you keep the door shut while yu are doing the work.

2) If I do the slab, I am thinking 5" thick, #4 or #5 rebar every 10" OC as grid, should be plenty or any other ideas?

Why do you need a slab with a custom solid metal door?  If you mean jus teh floor of the hole, 3-1/2 with no rebar OK

Reinforce poured concrete walls though, forget trying to just use bricks.

3) Do need to put gravel and a vapor barrier under the new slab?

yes.  Like FL says, ya gotta get out - put a 20T jack and blocking down there on the door, 1/2 steel plate with 6i21 dkoublers shold do it.

1) Do I need to pull a permit (post #207857, reply #3 of 9)

1) Do I need to pull a permit for this?

Not if you keep the door shut while yu are doing the work.

2) If I do the slab, I am thinking 5" thick, #4 or #5 rebar every 10" OC as grid, should be plenty or any other ideas?

Why do you need a slab with a custom solid metal door?  If you mean jus teh floor of the hole, 3-1/2 with no rebar OK

Reinforce poured concrete walls though, forget trying to just use bricks.

3) Do need to put gravel and a vapor barrier under the new slab?

yes.  Like FL says, ya gotta get out - put a 20T jack and blocking down there on the door, 1/2 steel plate with 6i21 dkoublers shold do it.

For once Florida and I are on (post #207857, reply #4 of 9)

For once Florida and I are on the same page -- just build a safe room.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Keep safe. (post #207857, reply #5 of 9)

In 1941 the people in England built things called Morrison shelters.

The were made out of steel plate, they were the size of a large bed and 30 inches high.

They were designed with mesh sides that could easily be removed from the inside.

The idea was, that when a bomb went off nearby and the house fell down on top of them, they were safe.

You do not want to be in something where, when a truck lands on top, you can't get out.

garage shelter (post #207857, reply #7 of 9)

I posted this yesterday but for some reason it didn't take.  Maybe the powers that be thought I was advertising.  Not so. Just relating to the post.  Thought you might be interested.

FWIW, I was "listening" to TV and just caught the tail end of the conversation that moderater was having about a some local company that was installing shelters in garages.  I don't know if they were installing them in the floor or not.  It was on channel 11 in the DFW area.

Florida nailed it, alot of (post #207857, reply #8 of 9)

Florida nailed it, alot of thought needs to go into this. Permit is needed, everytime. A stamped architects plan is in dire need as well. DO NOT start hacking in to the floor with a set of plans, it will be money well spent.