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Storm Shelter | Part 2

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Welcome back to the MAD County Build Series! In this episode, we'll continue our journey into constructing a DIY storm shelter. If you missed the first part where we discussed initial steps, don't worry; we'll catch you up on how to form your walls using 3/4 inch plywood and 2x4s. Let's dive in!

A rock truck parked on the land

Forming the Walls: Building a storm shelter requires precise planning and construction. One crucial aspect is forming the walls. To get started, mark your plywood. Each piece of plywood will have 8 holes or 8 snap ties. To ensure proper alignment, mark one foot in from the end of your plywood. Remember to maintain a two-foot gap between your marks, starting from one foot in. This staggered approach ensures even spacing.

To drill holes through the plywood, I typically use a specialized bit that penetrates four sheets of plywood at a time. This process is repeated for each sheet. To prevent the plywood from shifting during drilling, I screwed two opposite corners. This ensures consistent measurements and alignment.

Assembly and Bracing: With the holes drilled, it's time to assemble the walls. Start by attaching the tops and bottoms of the plywood sheets together. This creates the foundation of your wall structure. Once the tops and bottoms are secured, you can stand the wall upright and brace it in position. This will make it easier to insert the snap ties and attach 2x4s on the back side of the wall.

a picture of a snap tie

The snap ties are designed to pass through the holes in the plywood. They have wedges that pull the ties tight and straight against the wall, ensuring stability during the pouring of concrete. This meticulous bracing and support system is essential for the strength of your storm shelter.

The same steps are repeated for the inside walls, but with a slight variation. Since the inside dimensions are smaller, each piece of plywood is added one at a time, ensuring a precise fit. This attention to detail ensures that your storm shelter will be a perfect fit for its intended purpose.

the storm shelter waiting for concrete to be poured

Preparing for the Pour: With the walls properly formed and braced, the next step in this journey is preparing for the concrete pour. The snap ties and bracing system will provide the necessary structure to hold the concrete securely in place during pouring.

Building a storm shelter yourself offers both challenges and rewards. While it may be more time-consuming for a one-person crew, the cost savings and sense of accomplishment make it a worthwhile endeavor. Plus, you get to tailor every aspect of the shelter to your needs and preferences.

Building a storm shelter is a significant project, but each step brings you closer to having a secure shelter for your family during severe weather events. The attention to detail in forming the walls ensures that your shelter will be strong and reliable when you need it the most. In our family safety is one of our most important goals, and knowing that when situations arise we have somewhere that I know is safe to go, sets our worries at ease.

the storm shelter after the concrete has dried

In our next installment, we'll follow the exciting moment when the concrete is poured to complete the storm shelter construction. Stay tuned for more updates in the MAD County Build Series! Comment if you have any questions!

Thank you,

Mr Post Frame

mr and mrs post frame

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