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  • Clarocet for Kids

    How This Man Converted “Underground Shelter Using a 20 Ft. Shipping Container”

    Mac Slavo
    February 24th, 2016
    Comments (93)
    Read by 19,612 people


    In a SHTF event, underground is exactly where many people plan to go to ride out the storm of whatever has descended upon society.

    With brewing unrest and economic collapse, the elite have poured millions of dollars into luxury underground communities – many fitted to be more like five-star hotels than emergency bunkers. Even the Davos elite have expressed worry. Those with the means to do so hope to use private planes and helicopters to escape and hideaway. Continuity of Government (COG) operations have a parallel government structure in place buried in fortified mountains redoubts that can withstand all contingencies.

    For the rest of us, it is only the most well-prepared among us who will have access to underground facilities – where families could seek refuge from marauding masses, extreme weather, criminals and rapists, police sweeps and paramilitary raids among other scenarios. With the right structure, retreat and hideaway preparations, it could be one of your most important assets.

    There are many companies that will install these shelters, but the main barrier for almost every prepper is cost, and a balance of priorities for your limited resources. So it is no surprise that many people have figured out how to build their own.

    There’s plenty of disagreement over what methods are best, and sufficiently safe enough, to endure time, the elements and the incredible weight of the earth when considering underground shelters. Further, everyone will have different preferences and needs.

    But this man successfully built a very nice looking underground shelter using a 20′ shipping container, with a reinforced concrete entrance using a process that is simple enough to be DIY, with the exception of lowering the container into the ground, and the use of heavy equipment to excavate the earth (which could be DIY).

    Whether you think buried shipping containers are ideal, or disastrous, is worth checking out this idea from Wayne Martin’s YouTube channel:

    Final attempt to record building of an underground shelter using a 20 ft. shipping container. For those wondering why I didn’t simply pile dirt over it without pouring a concrete cap first….. These containers are mostly sheet metal. Heavy duty as it is, the roof and sides will push inwards from the weight. Eventually the metal will rust through and you’ll be buried alive. My way will insure it is still there a few hundred years from now. Problem is, you’d better keep an eye on your sump pump. If it goes bad or loses power, you’ll go in one day and find it the whole thing flooded. A surface alarm letting you know the water level is above where it should be isn’t a bad idea. Putting the sump pump on a UPS is also a good thing.

    Some have ruled out shipping containers, however, because water and moisture are such important considerations, and these metal boxes are not water tight without being sealed up and reinforced, in spite of the sump pump system which is basically mandatory for these structures.

    SHTF commenter “Genius” explained that, for this reason, he recommended building a shelter inside a 2000+ gallon septic tank, which is plenty large enough for people and supplies, and is built for water tightness:

    Hey Man, you might want to rethink the buried container idea. I have seen first hand a man that buried a container and the next spring it had 3 feet of water in it. They are anything BUT waterproof! You will waste a lot of money and labor if you think it will seal your stuff. A better idea is to bury a few (or a lot) of the biggest plastic septic tanks with good lid seals, they are not as roomy but way way better sealed and rustproof and a hell of a lot easier to haul to your location and bury. If you buried oversea containers where would you get rid of all the excess dirt, how would you hide that? A 2000 gallon septic tank is big enough for 4 people and quite a few supplies. You also need to think about a powered ventilation system, I use 12 volt computer fans with 3 inch pvc pipe, a sealed 12 volt battery, a 20 watt solar panel and a small charge controller. get 2 batteries and a 50 watt panel and you can run your radio and charge small things and have light (led). Please think again before you waste your precious resources on buried containers, you will thank me later 🙂

    This YouTuber, RealWorldReport, shares his approach on how to build a buried structure from scratch with lumber – and on a limited budget:

    Mike Oehler wrote the classic book The $50 & Up Underground House Book on building underground homes on the cheap back in the 70s, geared towards minimalists and off-the-gridders.

    Many of these same ideas can be utilized in tailoring an underground shelter plan for your prepping needs. They center around sound principles of construction, using found or cheap materials, consideration for a water/moisture barrier, novel solutions to water runoff that could damage an improperly built underground home, and general principles for concealing your home and blending in with the beauty of the natural environment.

    Depending upon your situation, a well thought out panic room can be built – and concealed – in your existing structure, or a closely connected one either above or below ground. Joel Skousen is the leading authority on the DIY, common sense and time tested strategies for The Secure Home – including how to reinforce your entire home, as well as how to construct a protected and unnoticed safe room for any emergency that may arise.

    Further Reading:

    Elite Hiding in Bunkers to Escape War with China: “Intended Survivors Are Moving Underground”

    Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Through Any Disaster

    The $50 & Up Underground House Book

    Prepping Expert Joel Skousen’s The Secure Home

    Doomsday Planning: Underground Shelter Networks

    Elite Bunker Down in “Secure, Safe Rooms Hidden in Plain Sight”… And You Can, Too

    Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary.
    Advanced Tactical Gas Mask
    Please Spread The Word And Share This Post

    Author: Mac Slavo
    Views: Read by 19,612 people
    Date: February 24th, 2016

    Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.


    Vote: Click here to vote for SHTF Plan as a Top Prepper Web Site
    1. Warchild Dammit! says:

      As shipping comes to a standstill using these containers for homes/storage ect. seems a good reuse,the idea is well,genius,pun intended.

      Genius,congrats for hitting the big time on being mentioned in article,now,if we could just get,hmmmmm…..,say,a private chat room!

      • Philosopher says:

        WD: I agree about the chat room. Zerohedge has one. Why can’t we?

      • Genius says:

        I thought you were going to do that WC lol. Good to see my comments don’t go unnoticed 🙂 That is exactly what I may end up doing (the septic tank) I will fill it first and pour concrete around it then drain it when the cement is hardened. That will keep it from collapsing and I can build on top of it. One other thing I may do is install a drain valve and where it will meet the ground dig a pit and put sand and gravel in it for drainage (also doubles as a place to pee when your stuck down there lol.

        • Genius says:

          Mac, Thanks for bringing that up again, it is very important knowledge for people who want to make an underground shelter. You could waste a LOT of money and effort if you don’t think it through and weigh all your options first. Luckily I have the hole and it is framed out so all I have to do is dig up the roof of it and remove it then place the tank inside. I am curious to see how that mans shelter holds out in a few years.

          • Jeff says:

            Plastic septic tanks will float up out of the ground if they aren’t filled with water or strapped down to concrete. A French drain would solve the water problem for a shipping container or a plastic septic tank.

          • The plastic septic tank is a bad Idea. I know that first hand. When it rains they turn into a boat and float unless you have LOTS of weight in them. I had some buried 15 ft under the ground and they worked their way up thru the soil during the winter. This was with a couple of thousand pounds of stuff in it and sitting on 4′ beds of gravel.
            However most concrete septic tank manufactures also make storm shelters and they are not very expensive. They will deliver them in a few pieces on a flatbed truck with a crane and assemble them in the hole for you. They can even use latex instead of water in the cement which makes it completely waterproof.

        • Warchild Dammit! says:

          Now,if they would just do a prepper article here with the classic phrase”The smalls add up”,and,give credit!

          • eppe says:

            War, you are correct, smalls add up.

            Be well rounded all, makes a real difference, yall know that.

            Balance in all one does…

            • eppe says:

              Terra-dome is the way to go…

              • Genius says:

                eppe, isn’t a terra dome above ground? What would be the point?

                • eppe says:

                  According to the way you build.
                  8 ‘ in dirt stops alot of stuff.
                  Of course it is a bunker with windows.
                  But it is a way to go..
                  Kinda of an oxymoron…
                  But alot better than stick built…

                  • eppe says:

                    Everyone thank Mac for what he has going here.
                    What more can I say???

                  • Genius says:

                    eppe don’t forget 1 of the Mac days is coming up! 🙂

                  • Genius says:

                    This is as close a picture as I can find of our maine coon kitty her eyes are not even close but there are no others like her. The fur is close but our cats eyes are superdeep and amazing. She is a one in a million and thats no lie….

                  • Genius says:

                    I have looked at hundreds of pictures and cannot find anything like our cats eyes or fur. She has like a supernatural look to her, you see intelligence, love, curiosity, hunter instinct, communication, did I say intelligence?, loyalty, individuality, spirituality, and many more things. I have never looked into a person or animals eyes and seen what I see in her eyes it blows me away. Hope my wife aint readin this lol. But no shit, this feline is incredible!

                • Philosopher says:

                  Genius, thanks for talking about your cat. I had a Siamese and she was super smart. Too high strung but when I get another cat I am going to look for a Maine Coon.

                • Winston Smith says:

                  There is nothing wrong with an above ground shelter if you aren’t very close to ground zero. They used to build them back in the 1960’s, when shelter building was all the rage. You do have to configure the opening correctly though and have at least one or two 90 degree turns after the entrance door. So long as the concrete is thick enough, it will provide shielding and protection from the blast wave.

        • buttcrackofdoom says:

          i live in hi-desert, ca, and wonder if we would have the same moisture problem here.i’ve been in lots of mines, and there’s very litle water found in them…i always thought two 40 footers end to end would make a great underground shooting range…right in the middle of the city….ventilated, of coarse. i always thought that 56 degree constant temp would be a great place to store food…glad y’all brought it up….that’s why i read SHTFplan, because of all the GENIUSES!

        • Azrael says:

          I have been kicking stuff around myself. I have the hole and have seen the plastic septic tanks at the local lumber yard. The way my hole is situated on the side of a hill, I can easily put in French drains to keep it dry, so my options are pretty open on what to do.

          Check out this shelter in the U.K.

      • Orion... says:

        How This Man Converted “Underground Coffin Using a 20 Ft. Shipping Container”

        Headline should read…

    2. Philosopher says:

      The idea of using shipping containers for housing is interesting. I have to say it intrigues me to no end. I can’t enough of reading about, or seeing, how shipping containers can be recycled into housing, office space, retail space.

    3. Guru of knoall says:

      Other than a root cellar this is a death trap! First it is not grounded, so, it will rust out very quickly. Second, cargo containers are built for point loading, meaning that the fields (the sides and top panels) are extremely weak. I noticed he said to use temporary supports inside the container. If he hadn’t done that the container would have collapsed. Any ground movement will crush the sides. One entry without a second hidden emergency exit is a coffin. Anybody can park a car on top of the entry and you’re doomed, if inside.

    4. slingshot says:

      Way to go, Genius.

    5. Old Guy says:

      Those containers are not structurally sound enough to be buried. they do not have the sidewall strength needed to withstand the pressure of tons of dirt. They also will rust if the paint is scratched. A school bus is much stronger. Do a simple internet search before you spend time & money on a iffy project.

      • Genius says:

        OG, that is very true. If you are going to bury a container you would have to absolutely seal the doors and vents and coat the hell out of it with some thick rubber stuff and reinforce the insides with plywood and lots of bracing before pouring concrete. With a plastic tank all you would need is to fill it with water before concreting it in.

      • 50CALSHOOTER says:

        School bus collapsed the sides caved in with all the rain last year. Was built into the side of a hill. Put in a 10K fuel tank almost done. Tanks are cheap and was near new.

    6. Genius says:

      For those who have experience with concrete it goes without saying but for those who don’t you HAVE to use rebar and mesh reinforcement. I also use this stuff that is like 1/2 inch fiberglass fibers mixed in with the cement. A concrete supply company will know the name of it. Do not use fillers like rocks and old tires lol use nothing but concrete!

    7. the Lone Ranger says:

      Shipping Containers WILL collapse under the weight of dirt unless supported structurally and I would not live in one unless I secured the approval of the appropriate engineer.

      I can’t afford an underground shelter; part of me wishes I could.

      And even though I’m the biggest sinner I know, my Shelter has always been my Guardian Angel and my God.

      God bless you all.

      – the Lone Ranger

      • Genius says:

        LR, find a cave or old mineshaft and disguise the entrance. Pretty cheap and easy to do. Just make sure you skeer the critters out first lol.

        • passinwiththewind says:

          Not too much of a genius there…Genius.

          Do you actually believe you are smart or that you can baffle most people with your bullshit?

          Most caves, especially when the entrance is obscured or closed off, will be a ticking time bomb. Just like any underground bunker, it must have forced air circulation in order to survive. The more people inside, the more air circulation needed.
          If something happens to that generated air circulation, while people are sleeping, they most likely would wake up D E A D!

          Admittedly, most people under fifty, have very little common sense and with information like you are giving, you could cause people to actually do themselves more harm than good.

          • N'awlins says:

            Look up NASA closed environment MARS experiments using shipping containers. ANY outside vent can be found and exploited (ask Columbian FARC what happens when the other side drops a grenade down your vent!).

            The trick is to recycle everything to provide scrubbed air and water. Don’t build it like a shelter, build it like a spacecraft.

          • Genius says:

            Pissin, well no shit there dumbass. I just figured people already knew that. Sorry I didn’t spell it out for you. From now on I will post in great length so you can get the big picture or maybe write in in braille and shove it up your ass 🙂

        • watching and waiting says:

          Great comment and that would be what I would want to do.
          However, would have to clean (house) cave from all the varmints
          that walk and crawl.

          Also, set up micro cams hidden using the natural
          environment to set a perimeter observation areas. Putting dogs would attract attention. Use solar power to keep batteries charged.

        • old nam vet says:

          Take a page from the VC

      • passinwiththewind says:

        I am of the belief and mindset that an underground bunker like the one pictured, is not for me.

        It might be OK if one lives in a zone where you needed to have a quick escape from a tornado/twister, otherwise; it is nothing but underground storage to me.

        I refuse to run and hide like a rat or mole. I have enough faith in my Creator to keep me from harm when the tempest blows.
        If my fate is reduced to making a valiant stand on my God given land, I will go out standing and fighting like a soldier, instead of on my knees in a rat hole like a coward.

        • Genius says:

          “It might be OK if one lives in a zone where you need to have a quick escape from a tornado/twister, otherwise; it is nothing but underground storage to me.”

          Well no fuckin shit Sherlock, What else would it be? Your home?

          “I will go out standing and fighting like a soldier, instead of on my knees in a rat hole like a coward.”

          What the hell are you talking about? Your ALWAYS on your knees you worshipper of the words of man! Get out there and see how your words protect you moron. I thought you were leaving us but you evidently lied again. Eehhh whatever, you can get off your knees now, I know when I’m licked lol.

          • passinwiththewind says:

            You mock now…but in the end you will be on your knees crying and wimpering like a little baby and cursing the day you bad mouthed YOUR Creator. You are a blight on this site and evidently on society..just another evil maggot waiting on his demise, like wwti.

    8. Asshat says:

      The containers are stronger than people know. The walls are corrugated for strength and the 4 corners are the strongest they stack these on a ship. You can get them for a few thousand bucks. They are cor10 steel which resists corrosion from the sea salt. They can be adapted with some welding and some reinforcement in key places. You could build something with some old telephone poles but it would be dirt inside. If you did it on high ground water wouldn’t get in most likely. You could just build a root cellar that’s large enough to be shelter too. I’ve seen them built into hillsides.

    9. Consider using some sacrificial zinc anodes, unless you like unpleasant surprises down the road.

    10. Plan twice, prep once says:

      I’ve been wanting a combination wine cellar and man-cave!

    11. Dave in idaho says:

      I built a root cellar from concrete block, filled with concrete and rebar. formed the roof arch from plywood and poured a 10 inch rebar reinforced slab. Covered it with 24 inches of dirt. It keeps my veggies at a constant 60 degrees during the summer. Winter is closer to 45 degrees. It has 2 – 4 inch vents. The door is 6 inches thick with a special core filler.

      • Genius says:

        Dave, how does it to as far as condensation? Do you get any mold or water buildup? Are your vents fan powered? I would love to know, thanks.

        • The vents are at opposite ends, they rise 2 feet above the dirt and are double 90’s to point down(dust and dirt stay out). I grouted the blocks as I built it, so I don’t have any water build up on the concrete floor, But it does get moist in the winter. I have a option to hook up a 12v – 4 inch bilge blower through a heap filter if needed.

    12. Dave in idaho says:

      forgot to mention, total cost was cheaper than a shipping container delivered. I own a small backhoe attachment for my kubota , a piece of shit cement mixer and rebar cutter/bender. hiring a hoe (backhoe) would be around 5-8 hundred bucks. I mixed the concrete from scratch using my trailer for sand/gravel and 60 bags of portland cement. about 10 yards of concrete. I made a trough for pouring the concrete down the cinder block walls. Lots of work. not for pussys.

      • Kulafarmer says:

        Best and cheapest ive seen yet was hole dug, rebar net and shot with gunnite like a pool, then scaffold and span deck to pour 10″ thick structural lid, the room was 16×40, cost more than container, but was solid, was on high ground so runoff didnt affect soils, and vents kept condensation down, was a solar/battery forced vent, not sure temps but IMHO would be hard to keep air quality safe if outside was a war zone or such.

      • Genius says:

        Dave, I have 2 vents also one is at about 1 foot from bottom of structure level and the other is at the top by the entrance. Both are fan forced. 3 inch pvc with 12 volt computer fans. Both pipes are concealed as to be undetectable.

        I know what you mean by doing that shit from scratch, the first place I built I hauled gravel for a creekbed up a hill in 5 gallon buckets and dumped it in the back of the truck then dumped it in a pile by the site and mixed it with portland and wheelbarrowed it and dumped it into the forms for the foundation and then did the same for the entire floor. I used forked trees to bend my rebar by hand and hauled the concrete in 5 gallon buckets up a ladder to pour it in the concrete blocks the structure was made of with heavy rubber gloves and mixed the mortar with a hoe in the wheelbarrow and packed it by hand. Just doing the outer foundation for the blocks (in 1 day) fooked my back up so bad I was hardly able to get out of bed for 3 days. Your right, it aint for pussies lol.

        • Those computer fans draw very low amps. I think I will get a couple for routine air circ. The bilge blower will pull air through a hepa filter in a emergency, but has a higher amp draw on the battery……fuckin auto fill made me misspell HEPA. I ‘hand dug’ a 19 foot well near your old stomping grounds last year.

          • Genius says:

            Damn Dave, you must be a lot younger than be or a tough ol’ coot cause I aint diggin no 19 foot well by hand lol. I would just get my water from the Portnuef river and filter it 🙂

            • Genius says:

              Or any of the 7 or so streams in the area.

              • Genius says:

                God that was soooo many years ago I used to know all that country. Back roads and 4×4 roads and miles of non habitated beauty. A case of beer and a tank of gas was an entire day of coolness and new things. How I miss those days, before the police state took over….

                • Genius says:

                  The best of times man, the absolute BEST! Im so glad I grew up there I loved it. But fun was slowly made illegal and shut down and controlled, it made me sick the last time I was there (2001) the commie liberals had built shit everywhere and shut off the good places. But I still have the memories of crazy shit we did and the irreplaceable fun we had. It is even worse now but I got in on the good times! Where did my freedom go? What has happened to the good times?

                  • I still have fun up here. Most of my traveling is by foot, so gates are never a issue unless it is privately owned property, then I respect that. There is still miles of citizen/gov owned land for me to roam. trailhead 44 is one of my “go to” places as is Roman Nose, from various angles. 2 years ago in the spring, the snow was melting(about 2-3 feet deep) and I hiked 13 miles to the peak by the lakes. About 5am a moose stuck his head all the way in my tent as he thought he could take a nap with me. As soon as I had Mr Blackhawk drawn, He was gone. I did get a pic of him peeking around a tree at me. I tie a rope around the tent for warning, but a 6 foot moose just steps over it.

            • PO'd Patriot says:

              Hey Genius, question….few threads back you mentioned Zen filters. Will they fit any Berkey’s?

            • Genius….the words “by Hand” are in italics to make the “procedure” legal for our nosey friends. One Power tool “may have” been used. Static is at 12′. I could send you a pic of the finished product….just a upright culvert. We are the same age. We both had a mutual acquaintance visit us a few years back.

              • Genius says:

                You mean the tax assessor? That sounds cool Dave, a good idea. I also Like Kulas thing with the spray foam it sounds plausible. The thing is I would have to insulate my air intake pipe too as it cools the air on the way down.

    13. anon says:

      I can’t recall where I heard about this article, but it really provided some excellent information on the structural hazards and other common problems associated with burying a shipping container as a shelter or emergency storage area. Basically, it boils down to the intended design of the shipping container is to support vertical weight distributed evenly at the corner edges of the container’s vertical walls. The larger surface areas in the middle of the container walls are not capable of supporting weight, and the shipping container edges are really not horizontally reinforced either. This means that force loads from dirt backfill and topfill around the entire structure of the shipping container will exceed the load constraints for the large surface areas of the side walls and top ceiling. The lack of horizontal edge reinforcement will mean a whole sidewall could be bent inward, but even if the edges maintain their structural integrity, the surface area of the side walls will not be able to hold up against the large force of the backfill dirt on either side of the buried container. The same issue is true for the ceiling wall. The ceiling edges will certainly be able to handle the vertical forces of topfill dirt, but the large middle surface area of the ceiling wall will again be unable to withstand the weight of the topfill. Remember these things are really meant for stacking loads on the corner edges vertically. The corner edges are well re-enforced, but the surface area of the walls between the corners are something akin to corrugated sheet metal. This type of metal is cannot without substantial re-enforcement withstand load pressures caused by the dirt your backfill around your container.
      Below is the website that better explains this, just replace the text with actual periods to get there

      • anon says:

        Hmm that is strange. I had dot spelled out, but I guess it was interpretted as html tags. Let me try again replace the ‘ DOT ‘ with an actual ‘.’ to get to the website.

        www DOT graywolfsurvival DOT com/2625/why-you-shouldnt-bury-a-shipping-container-for-a-shtf-bunker/

      • Genius says:

        That is why you surround it with concrete. After you reinforce it with bracing inside. But still, I wouldn’t do it…

        • Old Guy says:

          If your going to surround it with concrete. Why spend all the money on a shipping container? Just to use the container as a form? just get a backhoe with a narrow bucket dig a trench and fill it with concrete and rebar. use the existing dirt as your form. after the concrete sets up dig the soil from the middle. dig a French drain fill the bottom with railroad ballast. lay on a layer of plastic sheeting and pour a floor. then form up and pour the roof. Ive got natural caves much better. they breathe and have good potable water dripping from the stlagtites.

      • Kulafarmer says:

        The best easy alternative and the one i am going to try is using corrugated drainage culverts, they are rated for direct burial, spray foam takes care of the condensation issues, and being that they are steel or aluminum they are easy to cut with a plasma cutter then use self tapping screws to join stuff like vent duct or steel framing to.

        • Genius says:

          Kula, what exactly does spray foam do for condensation? The theory is that a cool surface (like a glass of iced tea) condensates moisture. Insulating the container defeats the purpose (for food storage). Any joints that are not watertight (screws)will leak. You live in a high humidity environment man, any circulating air will bring in a ton of moisture. I don’t follow what you are trying to make but to me it sounds like a disaster. Steel culvert pipe would be the worst for condensation as it transfers the cold to a non pourous surface. Your insulation would just get soaked and be useless. Interior foam would just grow mold. If I am missing something please explain…

          • Kulafarmer says:

            The spray foam eliminates the temperature differential that causes the condensation, ie cool soil/warmer air on inside of space. If for a habitable space insulating to stop the condensation is optimal.
            If strictly for food storage, ie root cellar the condensation is good to some degree as it is part of the cooling process, so
            Coat inside with a microbe resistant paint, ie epoxy coating, create drains in bottom of tube and when setting, bed it on a crushed rock base so it drains.
            From experience burrying tube completely in crushed rock vs soil reduced the condensation. Condensation is almost impossible to eliminate unless your intake air for venting is cooled to the same temperature as the soil or rock surrounding the tube, would be same for a container. No matter what if you use natural air for ventilation you will get condensation. Only way to not get it is to run a forced air system ie AC. This will trap moisture and cool the air, but does also need to have an exhaust.

    14. TEST says:

      …recommended building a shelter inside a 2000+ gallon septic tank…

      No need to build it in a septic tank. The left has already turned America into one big septic tankl

    15. logicrazy says:

      I think being mobile is key. A bunker has its place and all, but unless you have more than one seperate entrance/exit your toast. To each his own, God bless this mess…

    16. JIMMY JAM says:

      What do you do when everything runs out ?
      Do you have good field skills ???????

    17. Satori says:

      and the move towards a police state continues

      Secret police? Virginia considers bill to withhold all officers’ names.

      ht tps://

      the Founding Fathers wouldn’t recognize this country anymore
      they would be arrested

    18. flechettes says:

      the water and moister battle makes this more hassle than it will be worth.

    19. Asshat says:

      The corrugated drainage pipe comes in large diameters. The block and rebar is probably the cheapest though.

    20. Gophero says:

      I have lived in an earthsheltered home for 34 years. 2 feet of soil on top, only the south side exposed. cost a lot to build, has saved so much over the years. It is reinforced concrete 8 inch walls,9 inch ceiling.

    21. Enemy of the State says:

      Coffins are cheaper , and you yourself won’t be doing the work to install that coffin
      I’m staying topside and giving them hell , if I’m going to be in a box , someone’s gonna have to put me in it , I ain’t going in one willingly

    22. I spent most of my life as a bricklayer. I put in many house foundations. Block would be the cheapest and most structurally sound.

      Dave and oldguy have the right idea. Dig your hole, then dig the perimeter footer out deeper. You can pour the footer and floor in one shot or just the footer. Put rebar lengthwise in the footer and stub some verticals into the footer for in the block holes.

      Pour all holes with vertical rebar when done.

      The way to stop seepage is to parge the whole outside of the block walls and then roll on tar. You also need a footer drain on the outside BELOW the floor level. 2b stones first, your drain pipe, more 2bs to cover and some straw before backfilling. Run the drainpipe away from the shelter downhill below ground to a hole filled with rocks, etc. that will drain it away.

      • No matter what you use, you have to put a footer drain in below the floor level or you will get standing water leaking in.

        • @ JRS. yes about the drain. It also helps having cobble/sand for soil as drainage isn’t a issue after 2 feet below surface. On the surface the ground freezes in the winter. Mine is a root cellar and storage. not a bunker. It can be used for extreme weather. I am not a fan of bunkers. History has proven them to always be breached.

      • Philosopher says:

        When I was in West Germany in the 1980s all of the houses being built had concrete block foundations and walls. They had to prove a house they built would last 100 years. Very impressive structures but the Germans were not big on keeping their houses warm. Some of the coldest hotels I have ever slept in were in Germany. Cold until you get inbetween those thick down comforters.

    23. Anonymous says:

      Whether underground is good or not depends on your location,

      Variations of “Earth Ships” can serve the same purpose if you live where the water table is high or where a flood is possible

      Mounds still left over from the mound builders (early native Americans and other older ancient natives in some parts of Europe) are still found intact on a regular basis with people living and farming on top of them without even knowing they are there.

    24. Oldfart says:

      I’ve had a bit of experience building structures to withstand loads.
      The shipping containers aren’t usually built to keep heavy wet earth out so concrete reinforcing is usually required. But a coat of sprayed-on urethane foam between the metal and the concrete will not only provide added strength, it will (if properly applied) also seal any leaks and reduce condensation on the inside.

    25. akvalmet30 says:

      Unless all of the work could be performed privately, this seems difficult to do (for security’s sake). I definitely would not want any company or anyone else for that matter to know exactly where I would be putting something like this.

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