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Old 07-29-2012, 02:44 PM   #1
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Making a safe room


Ok, here is a thought that I had, please don't laugh if this isn't a good idea.

My house is built on a slab, I have a large walk-in closet in the master bedroom. I was thinking about making that into a safe room, both for valuables and people (hopefully it will never be necessary, but you never know with all the recent home invasions).

My first thought was to rip down the drywall and then put up expanded metal and plywood, then put drywall back up and finish it. But that wouldn't do too much in the way of fire protection so I had a thought that might be easier in the end while yielding better results.

What if I went up into the attic, drilled down thru the top plate and inserted a couple pieces of rebar into each stud cavity, and then holesaw a larger hole and filled the cavity with concrete? I could have my son carry the bags up, just a few at a time so there isn't too much weight up there during installation. I could use an electric mixer to make it easier. The attic is very large so working up there would be easy.

One worry I had was that the concrete might make the wall bulge out, possibly breaking open the drywall. But I figured I could only fill each cavity up 2 feet per day, this way it could set before more is poured on top.

So.... how does this sound? Crazy or no?

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Last edited by Phildaglass; 07-29-2012 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:08 PM   #2
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Making a safe room


The whole Safe Room concept is silly for humans for a dozen reasons. But if you just need to expend the effort......

You will lose a lot of strength by letting the concrete set up between pours. That's about all that may occur.

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Old 07-29-2012, 03:11 PM   #3
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Making a safe room


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Originally Posted by Willie T View Post
The whole Safe Room concept is silly for humans for a dozen reasons. But if you just need to expend the effort......
I don't agree with that, but if you'd like to make another thread to discuss the topic, please do. Even barring humans, it's still wise to protect valuables from fire and thievery.

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You will lose a lot of strength by letting the concrete set up between pours. That's about all that may occur.
Would the end product result in better protection than a more typical method?
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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Making a safe room


I remember well the bomb shelter days of the Cuban crisis 60s. I knew my parents did not love me because they would not get our family one. They said a compartment buried just underground would make no difference since we were in Cheyenne at ground zero. They pointed out that family friends didn't have one and the patriarch was the top salesperson for the local shelter company.

Anyhow, if you must do this safe room thing. You have to start from the bottom. There is no reason to think about what walls should be until you determine how your foundation and floor must be enhanced to take on whatever weight you plan to put on top of it. You then will have to see if you can make the enhancements with the existing house in place by just making foundation walls deeper and thicker or whatever.

Last edited by user1007; 07-29-2012 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #5
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Making a safe room


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Originally Posted by Phildaglass View Post
Crazy or no?
As a concept, possibly not if it makes you feel more secure, but as a method, yes.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:41 PM   #6
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Making a safe room


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
I remember well the bomb shelter days of the Cuban crisis 60s. I knew my parents did not love me because they would not get our family one. They said a compartment buried just underground would make no difference since we were in Cheyenne at ground zero. They pointed out that family friends didn't have one and the patriarch was the top salesperson for the local shelter company. .
I think our 60's house might have one of these shelters, but I don't know for sure. We have a room build in under our porch, concrete block on all four sides, no windows, with a poured concrete roof that doubles as the porch floor. Maybe this was the norm at the time, but we found it peculiar. There is a doorway opening but it just had a screen door on it when we purchased the house. We now use it as storage, and would use it as a storm shelter if needed since we live in tornado alley.
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Old 07-29-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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Making a safe room


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Originally Posted by Pianolady View Post
I think our 60's house might have one of these shelters, but I don't know for sure. We have a room build in under our porch, concrete block on all four sides, no windows, with a poured concrete roof that doubles as the porch floor. Maybe this was the norm at the time, but we found it peculiar. There is a doorway opening but it just had a screen door on it when we purchased the house. We now use it as storage, and would use it as a storm shelter if needed since we live in tornado alley.
Could very well be a bomb shelter or given you are in Iowa maybe somebody built it specifically for shelter from tornadoes. The most ludicrous of the bomb shelters were prefab globe shaped things made of aluminum, fiberglass or something. Our family friend made a ton of money selling the things when people had to have them. He used the money to get a Volkswagen franchise. We bought our first family bug from him.

The other thing I remember from Cheyenne days were the duck and cover drills sometimes several times a day. Like a school desk was going to provide any protection against a mega ton, radiation laden explosion. What an absurd but frightening time for a kid.

My Dad's job was getting ranchers to sign off land rights for Titan missile silos. Sublime to absurd.

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Old 07-29-2012, 10:17 PM   #8
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Making a safe room


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Originally Posted by Pianolady View Post
I think our 60's house might have one of these shelters, but I don't know for sure. We have a room build in under our porch, concrete block on all four sides, no windows, with a poured concrete roof that doubles as the porch floor. Maybe this was the norm at the time, but we found it peculiar. There is a doorway opening but it just had a screen door on it when we purchased the house. We now use it as storage, and would use it as a storm shelter if needed since we live in tornado alley.
Tornado shelter and not that uncommon ...I've seen a few, still being done in new const. occasionlly.

I've had 3 tornadoes close by in the 5 years I've lived here closest less than 1 mile the others within 5.

Theres a pic somewhere on the net of a F5 lifting the cap and dropping it inside so not the greatest but still way better than taking your chances in a basement.

To the OP there's companies on the net that build steel shelters you can put out in your garage .
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #9
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Making a safe room


Unless your insanely rich or a drug dealer.....a safe room is a waste of time and money.

I don't know of anyone who was saved by a 'safe room'.....

Your watching too many movies.....

If you want to spend money...get video cameras and a fire proof safe for valuables....
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:37 PM   #10
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Making a safe room


Why dont you just get a shipping container ?
Dig a big hole in the back yard and bury it !
Strong and easy.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:33 PM   #11
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Making a safe room


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianolady View Post
I think our 60's house might have one of these shelters, but I don't know for sure. We have a room build in under our porch, concrete block on all four sides, no windows, with a poured concrete roof that doubles as the porch floor. Maybe this was the norm at the time, but we found it peculiar. There is a doorway opening but it just had a screen door on it when we purchased the house. We now use it as storage, and would use it as a storm shelter if needed since we live in tornado alley.
If it were in New England it would have been a root cellar. All else being equal there is lightweight concrete, but you may not find it in premixed bags. It uses something besides stone in the mix. Condo complexes use a layer of it for fireproofing between floors

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