For some homeowners, a bunker is a comforting layer of security and shelter during emergencies. For others, it is a functional modification to avoid severe weather or provide flexible, secure storage space. No matter the purpose, all bunkers should be built to hold up under pressure. Force exerted by the surrounding soil places stress on the structure, so owners who want to create a lasting shelter need to take extra steps to reinforce the walls and supports to ensure long-term stability.
Choose Strong Construction Materials
The best time to pick the right materials is during initial construction. When building a bunker, owners should do ample research into different types of concrete mixtures and pouring methods. In general, hard concrete mixtures that are rated for basement or home construction are the most desirable. Concrete strong enough to support a home is often enough to create a shallow subsurface structure.
Reinforce with Mesh or Rods
Owners who want to reinforce an existing bunker can’t do much to modify the concrete or cement structure, but they can reinforce it. Embedding wire mesh along the structure or stabilizing it with metal rods can make a big difference. This extra layer of stabilization helps mitigate pressure from soil movement and eases the burden of the standard load. Using welding services can help you set up this reinforcement.
Use the Surrounding Landscape
Using the natural landscape to reinforce a bunker is often an affordable and accessible way to shore up the walls. Being completely buried does offer more protection from severe weather, except flooding, but too much soil on top only adds to the load on the structure. Property owners should consider sculpting the surrounding terrain to support the structure and ease the overall load if possible.
Account for Drainage Needs
Water and moisture are among the most powerful destructive forces on the planet when it comes to man-made structures. While there is plenty of variance depending on climate, soil type and location, almost all bunkers are consistently exposed to moisture through the soil. Owners should ensure that there is a system in place to move excess water away from the bunker’s walls and floor, just like there is for their home.
There are dozens of different ways to approach bunker design, maintenance and reinforcement. Owners should carefully consider their specific goals for the shelter from the beginning so they can approach the project with purpose and clear objectives.
About the Author:
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.