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Atlas Safe Rooms Blog

How to Choose Between a Concrete vs. a Steel Storm Shelter

Posted by Emily Dunavent on Sep 13, 2019 11:06:31 AM

Protecting your family in the face of natural disasters is an inevitable consideration for anyone living in a tropical climate.

Storm shelters provide a safe place for your loved ones, offering protection from high winds, the heavy impact from debris, and even tornadoes. Choosing the best option for your home and family, however, can be a daunting task.

Shelters come in two main material types: concrete and steel. Knowing the differences between concrete vs steel storm shelter will help you find the best solution for your needs.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing Between a Concrete vs Steel Storm Shelter

The construction material of your shelter has a greater impact on your decision than you might think. Ask yourself these questions before you buy a storm hideout to make sure you're getting the best protection for your family. 

1. Simple Construction or Cheaper Materials?

Concrete is a cheaper option for your storm shelter... until you want to make it secure against actual storms. The brittle nature of concrete means it can easily crack and crumble. Without proper reinforcement, it won't protect against flying debris, either.

The cheap materials in a concrete bunker also introduce the risk of moisture and weak points. Moisture in concrete cracks will degrade the quality of the structure over time. 

The alternative to cheaper materials is to invest in simple steel construction shelters. The rigid sheet metal walls and bolts protect against water ingress. This means there's no opportunity for moisture to degrade the integrity of the structure.

2. Above ground or Underground?

The location of your shelter may influence the choice of your construction materials.

A concrete bunker underground is what most people still think of when asked to imagine a tornado shelter. This is because houses used to be frequently built with concrete basements as standard, especially in areas with a high storm risk.

However, fewer houses have basements doubling as shelters these days. There is now high awareness of the safety risks of in-ground concrete bunkers. For example, seven children died when their school shelter collapsed in the Oklahoma tornado of May 2013.

Above ground shelters offer easier access for rescue and escape, and reduce the risk of collapse or flooding. They're easier to find in the case of a rescue, and steel shelters can withstand significant impacts from flying debris without damage.

3. Indoor or Outdoor?

A concrete storm shelter is traditionally based outside. The depth - and therefore, the weight - of concrete required for storm protection makes it an impractical material to house indoors.

Modular steel hurricane shelters can be built indoors and outdoors with ease. All they need is an approved concrete slab for anchorage. This means you can place a shelter in your garage or anywhere on your ground floor - inside or outside - that's easy for everyone in your family to access in an emergency.

Find a Steel Storm Shelter for Your Family

In the argument of concrete vs steel storm shelter options, it's easy to see how metal tornado shelters will always win out.

The modular element makes them highly versatile, including the provision of multiple emergency exits. The fact you can place them almost anywhere makes a restrictive concrete shelter far less appealing. Finally, structural integrity is greater against flying debris and high winds than a concrete shelter.

Find a storm shelter for your family today: browse our range of exceptional steel shelters online and book a consultation with our experts to find the best tornado protection for your loved ones.

Topics: above ground shelter

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