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Question DetailsAsked on 4/16/2012

How would I search for a contractor who would build a storm shelter? Obviously, Missouri Storm Shelters comes up, but nothing else.

My mother's house does not have a basement, and she would like to get quotes for someone to build a storm shelter for her.

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1 Answer


Foundation construction and Foundation Repair companies, General Contractors, and Excavation companies - pretty much any one with good reviews if a drop-in prefab shelter you are looking at, or one who also does Foundation concreting work if you are thinking cast-in-place. Which you choose probably mostly relates to whether you intend another use for it year-around (as long as you are paying for it). Of course, if looking at providing full interior amenities for year-around use then a Builder - Garage/Shed/Barn or General Contractoris a better bet.

Another alternative which avoids the cost of excavation, but obviously is not quite as secure in a direct tornado hit - is building a safe-room internal to the house - you lose about 4-10" in each dimension in putting in a poured concrete or reinforced concrete structure within the room, but can be a good fit in a large closet or mud room at times. You can also build an out-building onto the side of the house anchored into the ground - basically add a room that is cast concrete, sided and roofed to look like a normal room - or waterproofed and roofed with a walk-out deck off the side of the house from the second story. Also a good solution in high groundwater areas - but need to consider flotation in the design if area is subject to flooding.

Cheapest solution is sometimes a large-diameter culvert (like 6 feet or so) with steel doorway added - either horizontal and covered with several feet of earth or vertical, though that solution probably not so good with elderly people - now or thinking to future.

Be sure to consider groundwater levels (and shelter drainage) and heavy storm runoff water in your considerations, whether you want power to it or to heat/dehumidify it when not in use if outside house, and MARKING IT. Most people forget that - put a highly durable sign by front door that there is a storm room inside (and indicate - preferably with sketch - if on ground level or in basement), or a sign saying there is an outdoor storm cellar and indicating direction and distance from door AND mark the entrance with a strong (say 4" steel pipe or telephone pole) embedded deep in the ground and painted red or orange and labelled as STORM SHELTER, in case it gets covered with debris in a storm. Of course, 2 exits is also a very good idea if feasible, as are two air shafts or openings. Also, be sure neighbors know about it - there have been cases of people being trapped in a storm cellar by debris.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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