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DIY Barndominium Storm Shelter | Is $elf Building Worth It? | Ep 7

Welcome back to MR Post Frame! This is part seven of our “Is Self-building Worth It?” series. Today we will once again be talking about our storm shelter. Having a shelter was extremely important to us because in our barndominium we did not build a basement. We live in an area which has a history of tornadoes so we needed to make sure we had a safe place for our family to go in the case of an emergency.

Barndominium basement

It our last video we had some concerns that this was not actually a storm shelter and that we should not be calling it that. While technically not a storm shelter, it's a place to seek shelter, and I did take precautions to reinforce it. It functions as a storm shelter in the sense that people view their basements as safe havens. 

Regarding doing things differently, I might have considered using Fox Blocks or other types of ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) if I had the opportunity. It would have been easier, but at the time, I was focused on saving money. Reflecting on it, I would have done it differently if finances allowed. Money is often a constraint for self-builders, and hindsight always offers insights into what could have been done differently. When it comes to building, you have to choose what's important for you to spend your money on as well as what’s important for you to save time on. Both time and money are the main things to consider when building, especially when self-building.

Building a storm shelter for a barndominium

We were just coming out of a phase where buying DeWalt tools was a significant investment. I had basic tools, and while you had a basic set, you were frugal with their use. Looking back, we realize the importance of investing in quality tools, like good ladders, which we've yet to acquire. However, back then, splurging on tools wasn't feasible.

Regarding tools, we've seen many professionals with every tool imaginable. While it's ideal for efficiency, self-builders often prioritize essentials over luxury tools. For instance, I never even bought a hammer; I found one on the highway and used it for all my projects. It's about making smart choices with limited resources.

Are barndominiums safe in storms?

Moving forward, let's discuss pouring the concrete. Pouring it was nerve-wracking, but the satisfaction of completing a significant job was immense. It took weeks of solitary work, but having family and friends assist in crucial moments, like pouring the floor, made it memorable. Despite mistakes and setbacks, completing such projects is a mix of satisfaction and learning experiences.

In the next phase, we'll focus on laying the piers, a critical aspect of the construction process. Stay tuned for insights into that stage. If you're interested in more DIY and construction discussions, consider joining our community on Patreon which is linked below.

In summary, building structures like these involves a mix of challenges, learning curves, and moments of pride. It's about making the best decisions with the resources at hand and learning from both successes and failures along the way.

Thank you,

MR Post Frame

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Interested in tackling your build on your own? If you want to explore the possibility of being your GC or self-building, our Patreon membership is for you! It's a community of like-minded people offering support, discounts, Q/A, and more.

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