Interior Tornado Shelter or Vault Doors

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    Interior Tornado Shelter or Vault Doors

    Finalizing plans on new construction, I'm doing an interior storm shelter at the end of a hallway. Room will either be filled blocks or a monolithic pour. Leaning toward monolithic, might be over kill, but I'm thinking about making permanent forms out of some 11 gauge steel.

    Right now I've got a ~4x7.5' "closet" that will be a shelter.

    I need to put a door in it. I was shopping for lower end vault doors, but after some research, none of them meet the FEMA 320 standard for tornado shelters. I've changed my focus to "tornado doors."

    Priority #1 is tornado rating, I'm sure some of the vault doors are sufficient, or I could even build something skookum enough, but if it's got an official sanctioning body's stamp of approval from testing, it'll make "the boss" a lot happier. If she's happy I'm happy.

    Priority #2 would be fire rating, a lot of the low end vault doors I've looked at are hollow, and don't have fire seals, of course I could stuff them with rockwool, hang drywall inside, add seals, etc.

    Priority #3 I want it to swing in, the door will be inward facing, and if the whole house falls down on us, I'd like to be able to at least open the door and see, holler for help, dig myself out, rather than having the door pinned shut.

    Priority # 4 it would be great if it looked more like a typical residential interior door, and less like the door to the X-Men's Danger Room.

    ProSteel's Vanguard door has my attention, as meeting all of my priorities, but I'd love to find something similar, for about 1/2 the price, it seems to be around $2,500 at any of their vendors that actually advertise their prices.

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    Anyone have any experience with building their own interior tornado shelter? Any recommendations for another product? I know you have opinions, lets hear them.

    #2
    Bueller?

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      #3
      Nothing but earthquakes and grass fires around me so I’m not much help

      We did have a tornado warning near us a few years ago
      Army Veteran

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        #4
        Move?

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          #5
          How big of a tornado are you trying to survive? Nothing you build will stand up to an ef4/5. If those are a possibility where you live you need to invest in an underground shelter. If you are only dealing with smaller twisters an above ground is better than nothing. Can you build a false door jamb in front of the vault door and hang a decoy door in front of it?

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            #6
            Originally posted by smurfblue40 View Post
            Nothing but earthquakes and grass fires around me so I’m not much help

            We did have a tornado warning near us a few years ago
            Earthquakes are minor and have really died down since the gas companies have mostly established all of their wells and taken their fracking elsewhere. The local news likes to stir up the New Madrid Fault fearmongering about every 5 years or so, it's past due for a big one. The last "big ones" were in the early 1800s and estimated in the mid 7s on the Richter scale, there was a 5.5 in '68 but just little ones since then, and we're ~200 miles from the previous epicenters, so we'll probably be okay when the big one hits again.

            Originally posted by DozerDan82 View Post
            Move?
            That's the reason we need a storm shelter.

            Originally posted by Void_of_Light View Post
            How big of a tornado are you trying to survive? Nothing you build will stand up to an ef4/5. If those are a possibility where you live you need to invest in an underground shelter. If you are only dealing with smaller twisters an above ground is better than nothing. Can you build a false door jamb in front of the vault door and hang a decoy door in front of it?
            Unless the vault door has a UL/FEMA rating I'm not interested in it.

            We've had our share of tornadoes over the years, my high school was blown away in '99, I missed 2 weeks of school, and finished my Jr. year taking classes in FEMA trailers. Our new property is ~8 miles from Vilonia, and the "Vilonia 2014" EF4 tornado that made national news, also hit our community, my cousin died in it. Yes an above ground storm shelter can survive an EF4, I've seen them do it. There were some fatalities, due to the doors failing, which is what lead to FEMA coming up with a standard for the doors in 2015.

            Decoy door is a plausibility, but if I can get a door that looks like a door, that's the preference.

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              #7
              Ever seen an exterior hatch door leading to the bridge of a WWII battleship? One of those would probably suffice and fit your need.

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                #8
                Look for a local commercial door and hardware company, and ask for a “safer room door” FEMA door without the cost of FEMA approved hardware. You are paying for a test with the FEMA rating. These are available in a six panel design. This should be a welded hollow metal frame pored solid in concrete blocks or form poured concrete walls. 14ga steel stiffened door with three hinges and three points of locking. PM me you location and I will look to see if I know anybody close by.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by agriteach View Post
                  Look for a local commercial door and hardware company, and ask for a “safer room door” FEMA door without the cost of FEMA approved hardware. You are paying for a test with the FEMA rating. These are available in a six panel design. This should be a welded hollow metal frame pored solid in concrete blocks or form poured concrete walls. 14ga steel stiffened door with three hinges and three points of locking. PM me you location and I will look to see if I know anybody close by.


                  I'm in central AR though.

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                    #10
                    You want me to pick this up and throw it in a FlatRate?

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                    We had part of a Slinky. But I straightened it.

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                      #11
                      I keep reading the thread title as "Interior tomato shelter."

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by subybaja View Post
                        You want me to pick this up and throw it in a FlatRate?

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                        I want that...

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                          #13
                          subybaja How far is Spenard from Ketchikan or North Pole? I've got family in both that will be here for a wedding this fall...

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Lee View Post
                            subybaja How far is Spenard from Ketchikan or North Pole? I've got family in both that will be here for a wedding this fall...
                            That thing would be a monster to ship.

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                            We had part of a Slinky. But I straightened it.

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                              #15
                              What will you use for the ceiling? Sounds like this is not in a basement.

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