Concrete shelter building considerations

Concrete shelter building considerations

Are you like me and sometimes play with the idea of having your own bunker mancave, but have to make up some reasons why to build it? Or maybe there are some real-life reasons to build it and you’re gathering some info about things you should consider?

No matter which one the reason is, I’ve done some brainstorming here and tried to put out some information that is relevant to real life. If you see something missing feel free to leave a comment as this is something that would be nice to get perfect.

Now, to move on with shelter building, read on.

Concrete safe room construction

If you are considering building a shelter, it is important to keep in mind the safety of your loved ones. A poorly constructed shelter can be a hazard, and falling concrete can be deadly.

Therefore, it is recommended to contact professional builders who can guide you in building a sturdy and safe shelter.

If you live in an area prone to tornadoes and hurricanes, a shelter in your home can provide a refuge for you and your family. Although the changing weather patterns are making it more important for homeowners to have a safe haven, building a shelter requires careful consideration.

Underground areas and basements are excellent choices for building a shelter. However, if your home is built on a slope or has a deeper foundation, alternative options may need to be considered.

One such option could be using an interior room that is designed to withstand high winds and possible damages. By using concrete, you can ensure maximum durability and strength.

An underground concrete shelter is also a great option for maximum safety. By taking the necessary steps to build a secure and well-constructed shelter, you can help protect your family from potential danger.

Underground concrete shelter

Necessities to be considered

When constructing a shelter to protect against natural disasters such as tornadoes or hurricanes, it is crucial to keep some key factors in mind. Firstly, the shelter must have only one door and no windows, as these can become weak points and increase the risk of injury.

It is also important to ensure that the surrounding structures are made of solid concrete, as this can withstand the impact of strong winds.

The size of the shelter is a significant consideration as well. While it should be large enough to fit your entire family, the size is entirely up to your discretion.

In areas where hurricanes and tornadoes are frequent, it is recommended to have a larger shelter as you may need to spend several hours in it.

Hurricanes move slowly and can force you to stay in the shelter for extended periods of time, so having enough space to move around can help prevent feelings of claustrophobia and discomfort.

Additionally, it is pertinent to ensure that the shelter is well-ventilated to prevent suffocation, especially if you plan to stay in the shelter for an extended period of time.

The shelter should also be stocked with essential supplies like drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights, and first aid kits, as well as any personal medications or supplies that you or your family may need.

In summary, a well-constructed shelter can provide excellent protection against natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. By considering the factors mentioned above, you can create a safe and secure space for your family.

How to build a concrete safe room ideas

Here are some ideas on how to build a concrete safe room. Ideally, the room has no windows so you don’t have to think about those as they are a weak spot. You can also consider building with polymer concrete, it’s more expensive but really water-resistant and strong.

Safe room doors

It is of utmost importance to ensure that doors are both strong and tightly fitted as they play a crucial role in providing security and safety. Doors that are poorly constructed can render all other security measures useless, making it easy for intruders to gain access to a building or property.

When selecting doors, it is ideal to opt for those that can slide into place and lock securely, instead of relying on hinges. This is because hinged doors are more vulnerable to being sucked in by strong winds and blown away, compromising the security of the property.

Sliding doors, on the other hand, provide a much stronger and secure barrier.

To achieve maximum strength and security, doors need to be hard, thick, and reinforced with metal on both sides. This ensures that they are sturdy enough to withstand forceful attempts at entry.

When sliding the door into place, it should be properly braced at the bottom to prevent swaying, as this can compromise its strength and stability.

In summary, it is crucial to invest in high-quality doors that are both strong and tightly fitted, and can slide into place and lock securely to provide maximum security and safety.

What type of concrete to use for safe room

If you’re planning to build a safe room, it is crucial to consider various factors such as the thickness of the walls and reinforcement needed to ensure maximum safety. 

When it comes to safe room wall thickness, it is recommended that the walls be made of poured reinforced concrete. This is because it is strong enough to withstand any natural disaster, be it a hurricane or an earthquake. In addition to the thickness of the walls, it is important to use reinforcement rods that tie the walls, ceiling, and floor together.

These rods should extend from one slab of concrete to another to provide additional strength.

Bars for reinforcement should extend into both the ceiling and the floor to provide tensile strength. This is important because it allows the walls to withstand heavy objects being thrown against them, and also helps to resist major wind forces.

It is important to use correctly filled and reinforced block walls. Hollow block walls alone will not be able to withstand major storm forces. They must be reinforced in the same way as poured concrete walls, with extended rebar going through the ceiling and the floor slabs.

Once the walls are built, all the cores must be filled with a mix of concrete and pea gravel. This mix is very strong and will fill gaps in the wall, making it even stronger. The walls should be at least eight inches deep to provide enough thickness, while ceilings should be four inches thick to ensure maximum safety. 

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your safe room is well-built and capable of withstanding any natural disaster.


When considering building a shelter made from concrete, it is essential to ensure that the safety of your family is the top priority. A concrete shelter is primarily designed to provide protection and security in case of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes.

Your shelter doesn’t necessarily need to be aesthetically pleasing or very noticeable, but it does need to be functional. If you have limited space, your shelter can also have a dual function as a closet, bathroom, or living room, which would be very convenient if you need to stay in it for long periods of time.

However, If using the shelter as a dual living space would compromise your safety or increase costs, you may choose to use it for other purposes.

It’s worth noting that the plumbing, outlets, and intrusions must not affect the integrity of the concrete. Any glass or wall fixtures must be secured or removed to prevent them from becoming unexpected projectiles during a storm. The shelter’s structural integrity is paramount and must be maintained at all times.

Proper ventilation is another crucial consideration. You must ensure that your shelter has a proper ventilation system in place to prevent suffocation inside a concrete shelter.

Depending on the type of disaster you are preparing for, you should think about how to ensure proper ventilation in all circumstances. You may consider installing a ventilation system that can function without power or one that can work with a generator.

Finally, water control is another essential consideration. Your shelter should have a drain and a proper system for managing any incoming water. This will depend on the way the shelter is built, so you’ll need to find appropriate solutions.

It’s important to consider the potential for floods or heavy rain, which might lead to water accumulation. Your shelter’s drainage system should be capable of handling such situations.

Overall, a concrete shelter is an excellent investment in the safety and security of your family. With careful consideration of all the necessary factors, you can ensure that your shelter serves its purpose in the most effective way possible.


A well-built concrete shelter can provide a sense of security that is unmatched by other forms of protection. The sturdiness and durability of concrete make it an ideal choice for safeguarding against natural disasters, such as tornadoes or hurricanes.

It is crucial to consult with professionals when building a concrete shelter to ensure that it is constructed correctly and can withstand any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.

Additionally, a concrete shelter can serve multiple purposes beyond just safety. It can be transformed into a cozy retreat or a man cave that can provide a peaceful and quiet space to unwind after a long day.

However, in the event of an emergency, a concrete shelter can provide a safe haven that can help protect you and your loved ones from harm. If building a new building and want a basement for this kind of purpose, maybe consider ICF. The extra insulation might be good for times when power is cut off.

It could also act as storage space while it’s not used for this kind of purpose. Do you need space for your tools or other equipment? No problem, use it as a such until it’s needed. It’s easy to build storage space for food, water, etc. in there if everything else is covered as well.

Here is a guide on water tanks if you’re interested in water supplies. It might be a good addition to any shelter if you need to have a water reservoir for a longer time. It could be part of the house and shelter.