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#177873 - 07/28/09 12:17 AM Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter?
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3516
Loc: Spring, Texas
In light of recent tornado posts I've been thinking about my house. Currently our storm room is the downstairs powder room but I'm wondering if we could somehow add a storm celler somehow. Being in Houston, we have no basement. Our house sits on a post-tension cable concrete slab. Is it possible to cut through such a slab and dig a shelter below it?

That would be really cool.

-Blast
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#177877 - 07/28/09 12:43 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: Blast]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
Hey Blast, what about a storm shelter in the backyard? Probably cheaper to dig out, and install a pre-made shelter... ? Or even do one of the home made ones with the concrete rooms?
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#177881 - 07/28/09 12:46 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: Blast]
barbakane Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 196
Loc: Florida
Seems it would be easier to build an underground shelter ten feet from the house, then add an enclosed hallway/anteroom that leads from the house to the shelter, with a reinforced doorway at both ends. Just build a shelter, sink it, reinforce it, then enclose entry. Like the fallout shelters from the 50's/60's, or "Saferoom".
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#177882 - 07/28/09 12:55 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: Blast]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> Our house sits on a post-tension cable concrete slab. Is it possible to cut
> through such a slab and dig a shelter below it?

No. We've got the same kind of slab, and our condo association documents provide this warning:
"Each residential structure in the Development has been constructed on a post-tension concrete slab. This slab is approximately 12 inches thick and contains stressed steel cables. Any drilling, excavating or other disturbance of the slab could damage the slab and cables and could result in serious injury. If damaged, the slab will not function as designed."

Where's the water table in Houston? How far down do you dig before you hit water?

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#177883 - 07/28/09 01:06 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: philip]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3516
Loc: Spring, Texas
I wanted something inside the house rather than having to run through the storm to the shelter. The water table is around 5' deep, maybe a little less here depending on recent rains, hence no basements.

Oh well, one more reason my next home will be a monolithic dome.
-Blast

_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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#177885 - 07/28/09 01:14 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: Blast]
MoBOB Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1151
Loc: here
Originally Posted By: Blast

Oh well, one more reason my next home will be a monolithic dome.
-Blast
Exactly!! Go to Italy, TX this October when they have their open house. You'll love it. I've done it twice. I also have drawn a few plans myself.

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#177890 - 07/28/09 01:44 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: MoBOB]
Todd W Offline
Product Tester
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/14/04
Posts: 1928
Loc: Mountains of CA
5' water table, wow you are lucky!

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#177893 - 07/28/09 02:15 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: Blast]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1518
Loc: DFW, Texas
Originally Posted By: Blast
I wanted something inside the house rather than having to run through the storm to the shelter. The water table is around 5' deep, maybe a little less here depending on recent rains, hence no basements.

Oh well, one more reason my next home will be a monolithic dome.
-Blast



We need to talk. PM me tonight or tomorrow.

In the mean time, please do not cut your foundation. Hit a cable, and there is a good chance someone dies.

Imagine the pull string at the top of a dry cat food bag. Now imagine the cable is the string under 30,000 psi. Not a pretty site. Doesn't alway happen, but I have been there when it does.

You can trust me, I am you friendly Licensed Homebuilder in Texas.
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#177895 - 07/28/09 03:47 AM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: Blast]
jaywalke Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/07
Posts: 172
Loc: Appalachian mountains
Easy . . . Don't live in Texas. :-]

I know, I know, not helpful.

If you can't cut your slab, what about one of these right outside the back door? With the berm, it doesn't look deeper than 5'.

http://www.bargerandsons.com/storm-shelter/storm-shelter.html




Edited by jaywalke (07/28/09 10:23 AM)

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#177906 - 07/28/09 12:00 PM Re: Retrofitting my house for tornado shelter? [Re: jaywalke]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3516
Loc: Spring, Texas
We have a 10'x10' concret patio right outside the front door. I'm not sure if it's cable-tensioned or just poured concrete. I think it's just poured. I've been wanting it replaced with a nice pavestone patio someday. Maybe I could rip out the cement patio, put in a shelter, then have the pavestones placed over it...

My first choice is still the monolithic dome. Those things are amazing. Downside is finding an area around here that would 1) be rural enough to let me build it and 2) be urban enough for the DW. frown Her suggestion was a dome for me and a nice townhouse for her.

-Blast
_________________________
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

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