The Beginning Farmer’s Wife: Our New Storm Shelter

Well, our storm shelter project has kind of been like that through this whole building process. It is something that is extremely important to have in Iowa. We had lots of options of things to do, various places we thought about putting it (both underground and above ground – inside and outside), and just as big of a range of price options. So we talked about it with contractors and family, kicked ideas around, made decisions and changed our minds, and avoided the final decision as long as possible.

Well, spring is here and with that was coming nightmares of tornadoes and nowhere to take the kids. So it was time to make a decision.

First we decided to not have it in the mudroom – first of all because we didn’t want to give up the space and secondly because we wanted it underground.

Next came the decision of what to put underground. There were 3 choices.

Option A – Build one ourselves with my dad’s volunteered help. This was very generous of my dad, but with Ethan’s schedule we ruled it out since we didn’t want to make him build it by himself.

Option B – A 6X8 rectangular precast concrete shelter with a metal door and seats. This one didn’t call for a drain or sand underneath, and it was ready to go once installed.

Option C – A 6 foot wide, 6 1/2 foot long cylinder out of precast concrete with no doors and no seats. This one needed to have a PVC drain run and sand underneath. We would have to build 2 doors and get wood for seats. We can also get wood for shelves and it can double as a root cellar. This one installed was two-thirds the price of Option B, even with the sand and drain.

We went with Option C – the cylinder. I affectionately call it our glorified septic tank. It WAS made by a septic tank casting business.

Next was where to put it. To make a long story short, 5 minutes before it was dug in we picked our spot. We chose to put it at the end of the porch instead of behind the house by the mudroom door because of where we want our shed and winter cattle area.

So our storm shelter is in. We were happy to see that it didn’t get water – even after getting 3 inches of rain with storms that passed through this weekend. We now have some doors to make and landscaping to do, but I’m glad this decision is done!







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You know when you are cleaning the house and you have something that really doesn’t fit anywhere so it is continuously shuffled around but always in the way?Well, our storm shelter project has kind of been like that through this whole building process. It is something that is extremely important to have in Iowa. We had lots of options of things to do, various places we thought about putting it (both underground and above ground – inside and outside), and just as big of a range of price options. So we talked about it with contractors and family, kicked ideas around, made decisions and changed our minds, and avoided the final decision as long as possible.Well, spring is here and with that was coming nightmares of tornadoes and nowhere to take the kids. So it was time to make a decision.First we decided to not have it in the mudroom – first of all because we didn’t want to give up the space and secondly because we wanted it underground.Next came the decision of what to put underground. There were 3 choices.Option A – Build one ourselves with my dad’s volunteered help. This was very generous of my dad, but with Ethan’s schedule we ruled it out since we didn’t want to make him build it by himself.Option B – A 6X8 rectangular precast concrete shelter with a metal door and seats. This one didn’t call for a drain or sand underneath, and it was ready to go once installed.Option C – A 6 foot wide, 6 1/2 foot long cylinder out of precast concrete with no doors and no seats. This one needed to have a PVC drain run and sand underneath. We would have to build 2 doors and get wood for seats. We can also get wood for shelves and it can double as a root cellar. This one installed was two-thirds the price of Option B, even with the sand and drain.We went with Option C – the cylinder. I affectionately call it our glorified septic tank. It WAS made by a septic tank casting business.Next was where to put it. To make a long story short, 5 minutes before it was dug in we picked our spot. We chose to put it at the end of the porch instead of behind the house by the mudroom door because of where we want our shed and winter cattle area.So our storm shelter is in. We were happy to see that it didn’t get water – even after getting 3 inches of rain with storms that passed through this weekend. We now have some doors to make and landscaping to do, but I’m glad this decision is done!

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