Build your own Underground Bunker

38 comments

Okay, so you might not be able to do all this by yourself, but this might get you started on your way to having your very own, very quiet and thick skinned underground bunker.

Why would you want one?

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it. Most people don’t do the whole underground thing, unless they’re mad dictators or something of the sort. The problem with this is that none of us are reallyready, if you catch our drift. If something were to happen, where you would need an underground, reinforced hideout, you’re out of luck now, aren’t you? Yes you are.

Whether you build this thing as a standard panic room or a separate shelter, it would be a good addition to your home, it’ll raise the property value (considerably) if you ever want to move away, and if the day should come when “they” decide to drop the big one on your local town, you’ll be up and about along with the cockroaches in no time, while everyone else are so much dust in the wind. Nice, huh? Yes it is.

What to do first.

According to BunkerBuilders.com, you have to find a suitable place for your bunker. They’ve got a nice checklist which we will take the liberty of reproducing here.

Things to consider when deciding where to build your underground shelter:

  • As deep underground as possible to protect from radiation, flying projectiles and debris.
  • Outside of areas known to be flood prone, including areas within the 100 year flood plain.
  • The bunker should be placed so that the evacuees have a short route to the entrance.
  • Away from any potential debris field and its emergency exits and air inlets can be extended on several sides of the building into zones that are free from debris and fire.
  • The bunker should have as much of its external walls against the ground as possible for protection from heat and for support provided by the surrounding soil.
  • Away from potential fuel concentrations, flammable materials, vehicles and hazardous materials.
  • Away from large objects and multi-story buildings, light poles, antennas, satellite dishes or roof mounted mechanical equipment.
  • The bunker should be made easily concealed.

Most sane people who decide to build themselves a bunker or a hardened part of their house to use as a panic room won’t fall in this trap, but we’re going to warn you anyway; If the people you’re looking to buy a shelter from (yes, some come pre-fab) has 2012 “Planet X” propaganda on their website, you should probably look elsewhere. “Stealth Installation” (yes, there are companies advertising this) isn’t really a viable option either, since a genuinely safe underground bunker will be noticed during construction. Also, you’ll probably need permits to build them, unless you live on a remote farm or on a huge property in the middle of a forest somewhere.

Ready-Made, perhaps?

We’ll mention one other alternative before we go on, however. There are a lot of read-made, nuclear-proof homes out there. It’s true! They’re on the market, too – readily available for purchase by anyone (who has the money). Granted, they can be expensive, but if you

have 400,000 – 4,6 million dollars just burning holes in your pockets, then this could be just what you’re looking for. What about a beautiful home built on top of an Atlas F missile silo with all the trimmings? 2000 lbs blast doors, several stories of hardened housing down into the earth, all the comforts of a top-notch residence on every level.

This probably isn’t for everyone, however, even if you’ve got the money and the financial planning for it. Most of these sites are pretty dreary – location-wise, at least. You pretty much have to choose between living in the middle of some desert or other (there’s one smack in the middle of Texas, for example) or deep in some woods where you actually need that private airstrip (like in the picture, there).

So we’ll go on to how you should go about building your own – slightly-smaller-than-a-missile-silo underground bunker. Should be fun.

Get your Permits, mister.

Make sure you’ve got the permits you need to dig and build in the place you found while following the list up above there. If you can’t meet all of the requirements, that’ll probably be okay, but you do need to come close, however. Also, you need to make sure that you’re not going to dig through your neighborhood’s watersupply, cables, drainage tunnels and all of those nasty things that seem to do nothing but cause trouble once they see daylight.

Once you know you’re allowed to dig, and you won’t cut off the nation’s internet access by severing a fiber cable down there, you’re good to go. Now you either get yourself a machine, or you hire someone to dig your hole for you. If you’re not in construction and you haven’t dug a hole like this before, hiring someone to do it for you is probably a great idea.

If you want to try doing this yourself, eHow has a nice write-up of a (very) basic shelter, which is probably possible to pull off on your own. It does require a lot of concrete work, which can be trying unless you have a lot of experience, but not impossible at all.

If you want something more than a basic shelter with four concrete walls and a bucket to do your business in, however, you should leave the construction itself to a professional contractor.

What you should do yourself is designing the place, making sure that you get it exactly the way you want it.

Bunker Design

One of the most fascinating bunker designs out there is the Vivos approach. This company is building bunkers all over the US, and will also build one for you, based on their own designs, but customizable to no end, apparently. Even if you don’t buy a bunker off them, it’s a good idea to check out their specs here (be patient with that pdf – their site is as slow as cold molasses).

As futuristic as anything out there, these bunkers will apparently be able to save you from anything – tsunamis, anarchy, radiation, blasts, heat, fallout – they’ll apparently save humanity when 2012 runs out too… yes, we said something about that up above, we know, but still. These bunkers are seriously neat.

The military has been building bunkers for a long time, and they’re probably the best people out there when it comes to making secure, timeless and useful bunkers, functional to the bone and efficient on top of that. You would do well to read one of their survival guides, for example, before you start prioritizing your bunker design. Basing your design on the army’s specifications is a very good idea, but you might want to add some more comfort to your hole – after all, you don’t know how long you’ll be in there, and if you plan on using this space as an addition to your normal living quarters, then you might want more than four concrete walls and a wooden bunk bed.

Sitting down and drawing up your bunker is a good idea – remember that you don’t necessarily need to reinforce every single wall in there, as long as the structure is sound and strong. Plan for drywalls inside the shelter, so you can hide air filtering, wiring and pipes, just as you would in a regular home.

Some things to consider when designing your new underground shelter:

- Light.There’s not going to be any windows, so plan for more light sourcesthan you would in a regular house. Make sure that you have emergency lighting on separate curcuits – you never know when that might come in handy.

- Air. Filtration systems aren’t cheap, but the most common flaw in private bunkers is a lack of adequate ventilation. Spring for the bigger one, if in doubt.

- Water. Again, filtration systems aren’t cheap, but they’re necessary if you’re going to use an outside source as a water supply down in your bunker. The alternative is to get a water tank, but depending on the size, that won’t keep you for long. Plan to have more resources than you think you’ll strictly need.

- Food. Stock up with emergency stuff, and get the fresh meats and fruits down there when there might be a need for them. Storage of food is what drains the most energy, so plan for this. Use ground cold/heat to store your food, and go for high-quality dried foods (such as MREs) and canned goods. That will get you a long way.

If you have other tips and tricks, please share them with us! Leave a comment or send us an email – the address is on the About page!

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess June 23, 2014 at 4:57 pm

I have done A LOT of research for about 2-3 years now about underground bunkers for me and my family. I have to say i have found one company in particular that makes the best bunkers out there. They have everything you need to survive whether its a natural disaster, economic collapse, or nuclear fallout. You can find them all over the web and I personally know someone who has purchased from this company and said they do an amazing job and go above and beyond to meet your expectations to keep you and your loved ones safe. Visit their website at http://www.risingsbunkers.com to find out more information.

SS June 21, 2014 at 9:21 am

That’s a very good comment, Russ. Thanks for the info and input – it’s definitely worth the read, people.

russ June 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

A lot of people either don’t know, or won’t remember, but Hitler’s “fuhrer bunker” beneath the Reich’s Chancellory in Berlin, was rated as highly, if not more highly, against potential nuclear blasts as USA’s Cheyenne Mountain facility, which still houses NORAD today. And Hitler’s bunker was built before there were nukes! Germany was the only one working on nuclear weapons prior to the Manhattan Project, and the closest they had come was a “dirty bomb” with no real blasting power (just radioactive fallout). Pretty impressive that Hitler’s bunker anticipated future needs like that.

Also, lots of people forget that the allies decided to destroy the majority of Hitler’s bunker after the war, lest it became some kind of twisted neo-Nazi shrine. The walls on this thing weren’t so bad to collapse, once they got through the roof and excavated the ground and sand around the bunker. But the roof itself, which was rated as “indestructible” (bold claim) actually turned out to be damned nearly indestructible in that it took over 6 years of constant, daily onslaught with modern construction/demolition equipment and next-generation explosives to get through the damn thing.

A show I watched actually said that even the nuclear and sub-nuclear “bunker buster” missiles and smart-bombs we use today wouldn’t make a dent in that bunker when it was intact.

That’s the bunker I want! Fresh air will always be an issue, but you can usually find fresh water and geothermal energy if you dig far enough. Security is the larger concern.

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Mike December 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Juan Juan Juan, You sir are an idiot who clearly doesn’t get his facts for himself from sources of authority on the subject matter who DO know what the hell they are talking about. Do you just repeat regurgitated things you hear from a bud? or from your sad education in grade 10 Physics classes that you likely failed miserably in? Your comments were so absurd I just had to take the time to comment. Do you even understand the physics involved here? do you understand what thermodynamics is and what it is applied to here? Obviously NOT. Next time just pass up these good people having a productive conversation on this persons great little blog, and go troll on youtube with your random bitchfest know it all wrong answers and opinions. Thank you.

History has proven that Bunkers DO work, DO shield you from Nukes, DO NOT cave in, and when dealing with “shockwaves underground from a nuke, we refer to it as “Ground slap” If you knew your history, you would know about a little old nuke test we once did, with a little town recreated to full specs, in a well known little old state, and have had this standing data to prove the contrary to almost everything you spewed out of your head.

To then tell the author about branded anything and not have read his material to see that he in fact did include such things, just shows you what a tool you are, and if you are going to troll good people smarter than you who put A LOT of thought into this subject, then you better try to get at least a handful of facts right. Nuff said.

Apologies to the great author of this blog, I was just floored at the absurdity of this person, such ignorance I could not believe it. Cheers for the nice writeup.

george November 18, 2013 at 5:50 am

the germans made bunkers in berlin and some of the bunker withstood a barrage of heavy shelling. berlin was built on a large marshland. if you were to build a bunker and have many tons of sand around it. the sand acts as a cushion from bomb and can keep a bunker intact.

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Build a dome home with a hardened bunker under it, to be used in emergencies only..a Geodesic dome is proof against fire, tornadoes and earthquakes.

SS November 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hi Brandon.
A Stirling engine is just that – an engine. It requires energy to run (heating, in this case), but it does have some interesting applications when it comes to producing electricity, for example. It’s worth looking into.
In regards to the EMP problem, you should check out our guides on making Faraday cages. They can be any size, and customized in many ways. If you want a simple faraday cage, you can use a shipping container, for example – but you’re right, you would need to isolate the interior from the metal “shell”, lest the whole thing be useless.

SS November 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Like the article says, the best thing would be to get your own ground water source. That can ensure you have water indefinitely. If that’s impossible, you’ll have to store water appropriately, and a large enough amount to last you however long you plan on staying in your bunker.

brandon November 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

i seen this energy producing machine called the sterling engine easy to make if it works it would be great im 17 and i have put a lot of thought into this subject and ive tried to find out all that can go wrong if in disaster scenarios a solar flare hits the world then an EMP would scramble all electronics so you might want to look into over coming this problem. they say if you place it in a metal container the EMP blast will hit the container and the electronics inside should be safe but you have to make sure the inside of the case is not metal or it will just act like a conductor and fry everything within it

Jess November 13, 2012 at 4:18 pm

What would be the best thing to do for a water source?

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SS June 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Thanks, Mooseskinner.
That’s an excellent point. If one opts for canned food and MREs, then rotation is very important. Staying underground for more than a year would probably not be a viable option in most cases, so the expiration date, once you’re underground probably doesn’t matter that much.
However, it’s always important to know what expires when, and rotate accordingly.

Freeze-dried food is also excellent to have in your stock, but remember that those require water to prepare, and that has to be taken into account as well.

Mooseskinner June 10, 2012 at 1:28 am

Great article. I have been trying to research for a project at my home and you have some good information here.

Food is one of the big issues here. You need to remember that canned foods and MREs have a relatively short shelf life. If you have to rely 100% on food you have stored, which hopefully you will not, then you should also include freeze-dried foods as well since they are the only foods that will last 25 years. Canned foods are only guaranteed to last for 1-3 years depending on what is in them and an typical MRE is only meant to last 5 years.

I guess it all depends on how long you need to stay underground.

SS February 26, 2012 at 8:38 am

Okay, first of all, “Juan”, stop writing in ALL CAPS! Writing in all caps just means I have to edit it, and also that you’re a complete DOUCHEBAG! So yeah… there’s that.

Second, reinforced concrete is made to withstand vibrations and shockwaves, since that’s also what happens in earthquakes. If what you say was true, there wouldn’t be a concrete/brick building standing anywhere after those. So you lose.

Third, we also looked at solutions like Vivos, see? Why don’t you do a couple of things before commenting, buddy boy – read the article, and then check your facts?

Juan Navarro February 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Bunkers are expensive, unreliable and death traps if any one knows where you are which they probably will cuz you can’t bring in that much construction equipment wihtout making some noise!!! ———- in case of a nuclear bomb your best bet is to get a sawed off shot gun and dig a 30 foot hole which is surprisingly effective against radiation and if you start to cough up your lungs from radiation poisoning blow your head off!!!! And all your troubles will be over!!!!!

Juan Navarro February 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

And if you are building a bunker to hide from the law i hate to burst your bunker but they have heat seeking equipment now days and even if you wrap your self in aluminum 24/7 the heat seeking equipment comes in a variation of levels that can spot a rats breath a mile away!!!! Plus they will send a swat team with demolition expertice to bust up in that thing and drag you out alive!!!! They are really good at that!!!! Or probably just a crackhead with a slingshot for you!!!

Juan Navarro February 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Bullshit!!!! Any type of hole,cave or man made structure under ground will collapse on top of you or cave in because when even a small missile strikes the earth it sends shock wave into the earths crust crumbling any voids that migh be present and it does this for miles and miles in radius of the impact site!!! You cant afford a bunker that can resist an explosive impact or else any one could build one!!!

SS February 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

What?

tom February 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Why the hell would you be concerned about items in an airplain or shoe knives?

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