U.S. Storm Shelters Exterior In-Ground Shelters

Exterior In-Ground Concrete Storm Shelters

The U.S. Storm Shelters "Original" is our most popular shelter model offering a 6' x 8' interior at the lowest cost per square foot of any shelter we manufacture. The interior ceiling height is slightly over 6'2" inches and this unit is designed for up to 12 people. One of our Original shelters was in the path of the Alabama tornado of 2011. That shelter saved 19 people and 4 dogs as the tornado destroyed their neighborhood.

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Construction and Specifications

  • Shelter weight of approximately 12,000 lbs
  • Interior height of over 6' 2"
  • Interior space of 6' x 8' and rated for up to 12 people
  • Built to meet or exceed FEMA 320 and ICC-500 standards
  • Constructed of 6,500 PSI, self-sealing concrete with fibermesh
  • Concrete additives self-seal and waterproof for 40+ years
  • 8" and 6" diameter; screened air vents
  • Powder coated 10 guage door with stainless steel hinges
  • Powder coated staircase with dual handrails
  • Reinforced with Grade 60, 3/8" rebar every 9 to 12 inches
  • Walls are 3" thick and ceiling and floor are over 4" thick
  • 15 year warranty

Limitation of Liability (Design)

U.S. Storm Shelters, LLC cannot predict actual performance of any structure for tornadoes or severe storms but our designs incorporate current knowledge to best protect the occupants. The engineer and fabricator shall not be obligated or liable for actual, incidental, consequential, or other damages to users of this shelter for any purpose, including those installing or maintaining thereof.

The "Original" - $4,795 installed plus delivery & sales tax if applicable

Built to exceed standards recommended by FEMA, the Original is constructed of 6,500 PSI, self healing concrete with fiber and 3/8" grade 60 rebar on 9" to 12" centers throughout.

Unique in the industry is our use of expensive additives in our concrete that make it "self sealing". Should a small crack ever form in your shelter creating a leak, our concrete can seal the leak forever in a matter of weeks depending on temperature. This protection against leaks is effective for at least 40 years and probably indefinitely. The walls are 3" thick, the ceiling and floor are over 4" thick, and the shelter weighs approximately 12,000 lbs.

This model comes with 8" and 6" diameter screened vents that create up to 185 cfm of airflow inside the shelter in a light breeze. The 3 latch, 4 stainless steel hinged, leak proof, 10 gauge steel door includes a gas spring to make opening and closing the door easier. An interior fixed steel staircase is also included with nonslip tape on each step and dual handrails. Both the door and the staircase are powder coated for great looks, rust resistance and long wear.

The interior of the Original is an open space, other than the staircase, allowing you to furnish it as you wish. Some customers supply them with a few folding chairs, some bottled water and a battery powered lantern while others finish them completely and have even been known to include A/C, wine racks and entertainment centers.

The Original is installed in an 8 ft. x 10 ft. hole dug to a depth of 5 ft. with approximately 2 ft. remaining above grade when complete. The dirt from the excavation is placed around the above grade portion on three sides creating a small mound and completely surrounding the shelter with earth. Normal installation can be completed in about 3.5 hours.

The landscaping shown below was completed by the owner of the shelter following installation. Below are photos of a U.S. Storm Shelters "Original" being installed at Dadeville, Alabama in May of 2006. Please note that the vent covers and door have both been updated since these photos were taken, however, they still illustrate well the installation process.

Structural Construction

Fitted & sealed seam
Top & bottom reinforced with 1/8" steel plating and grade 5 bolts
Dependable safety for the future

Shelter Comparison Chart

Concrete 6,500 PSI with fiber and 40+ year rated
6,000 PSI or less with fiber. No waterproofing,
no self-sealing concrete

Warranty 15-year limited warranty against leaks 10-year limited warranty against leaks

Concrete Reinforcement 3/8", Grade 60 rebar on 9" to 12" centers 3/8", Grade 30 rebar on 12" or wider centers

Replaceable; 10 gauge steel; 4 hinges;
3 latches
Non-replaceable; 11 gauge (more thin) steel; 3 hinges; 3 latches

Door Hinges
4 stainless steel & powder coated
3 plain steel, primed only

Door & Stair Coatings Powder Coated Primed only

Door Handle Pad lockable with safety override so
occupants cannot be locked inside
Pad lockable, no override

Ventilation Made in USA, 110 MPH hurricane rated,
Made in China, 35 MPH rated, standard rotating

Quality Control All shelters filled and thoroughly tested for leaks Unknown

Certification / Grant Qualified Producing Member - American Tornado Shelter Association - All shelters tested and certified Varies

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