How to Build a Storm Shelter

A storm shelter provides a safe place in case of storms, hurricanes or tornadoes. If you live in an area with extreme weather, you may want to consider building a steel storm shelter in your basement. The storm shelter should be built below ground level and should not be connected to your house from the outside. A storm shelter is extremely useful in areas where it's not safe to be above ground during a storm. Follow these steps and build a storm shelter to protect your family.

Materials needed:


  • 14 gauge steel sheets
  • Plasterboard
  • 2-by-4 studs
  • Concrete nails
  • Concrete
  • Nails
  • Steel frame with door

Here's what to do:

  1. Locate an appropriate place in your basement to build the storm shelter. It's best to choose a corner. You can make your storm shelter any size.
  2. Excavate one inch (2.5 centimeters) down over the area of the shelter. Mix the concrete. Pour it into the hole and let it dry. If your basement has a concrete floor you can skip this step.
  3. Make a frame the size of the shelter, using the 2-by-4s. Anchor the frame into the concrete floor with concrete nails.
  4. Nail two 2-by-4s into the ceiling on the sides where there is no basement wall. This will enable you to frame the shelter.
  5. Frame all the walls by placing a 2-by-4 stud every 24 inches (61 centimeters). Using the concrete nails, attach the studs directly into the basement's concrete walls. The studs extend from the floor to the ceiling. Attach the concrete nails to the studs from the floor frame to the ceiling, where the other walls will be.
  6. Nail plasterboard on three of the walls you just framed. Leave off the wall with the door, for now.
  7. Cover the plasterboard with the 14 gauge steel sheets.
  8. Measure the size of the door and frame. Decide where on the wall you want to place it. Remove any 2-by-4 studs that may be in the way of the door.
  9. Install the door and frame, attaching them to the studs.
  10. Cut the plasterboard for the fourth wall, allowing space for the door, and nail it to the frame. Cover it with the steel sheets [sources: Do it Yourself, Survival Planning].