Today we want to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions about site preparation for a Safe Sheds storm shelter. If you want more detail, feel free to download the Site Preparation instructions on the Installation page.
1) Do I have to pour a concrete pad for my Safe Shed?
Absolutely not! One of the big advantages to a Safe Sheds above ground storm shelter is that the 6" steel reinforced floor eliminates the need for you to spend any more money to pour a concrete slab. In fact, we prefer that you set your shelter directly on bare earth or a shallow gravel pad.
2) If I want to put down a gravel pad, what kind of rock should I use? How deep should the gravel be?
Please use stone that's 3/4" - 1" in diameter with some limestone dust mixed in. Here in Illinois, we call it "road pack" - other parts of the country have different names for it. Put the pad down no more than 2" - 3" above grade and drive over it a few times with a car or lawn tractor to pack it down into place. DO NOT use pea gravel or large stone! And stick to the height restriction of no more than 3" above grade!
3) How level does my shelter site have to be for the shelter?
If you're setting your Safe Shed on bare earth or a gravel pad, just a generally flat surface is all that's needed. It's important that the site not have a crown, as that places stress on the floor of the shelter. You don't have to have your spot surveyed...just level it to the very best of your ability. Our delivery installers can rake a small amount of gravel out of high spots and into low spots, if that's needed at the time of delivery. But they won't be able to do any more site preparation than that...having the spot ready is your responsibility.
4) I want to pour a concrete pad. What dimensions and thickness should that be?
For starters, please use good quality concrete to pour your pad, and use rebar around the edges (about 3" in from the outside) to reinforce the pad. A semi truck with a 24,000 pound storm shelter on it will be driving onto your pad! Allow at least 10 days cure time for the pad before we show up to set your shelter in place. Make your pad 1' wider and 2' - 4' longer than the dimensions of your shelter (8' x 10' shelter needs a 9' x 12'-14' pad; a 6' x 6' shelter needs a 7' x 8'-10' pad). Bigger isn't always better with the pad, so if you want to pour a larger pad, please call the office first! And the pad should not be more than 4" above grade so the truck can easily get up and onto the pad.
5) My ground slopes...I've got this hill...can you get under this tree...are my gutters high enough for the truck to get under...can you stick it between my garage and my garden shed?
If you have any questions or concerns about where you want to install your storm shelter, please give our office a call! We can look at your site on Google Earth, maybe send a delivery installer by to see it first-hand, and help work out challenges BEFORE our installers show up to set your shelter. Take a few pictures with your cell phone and e-mail them to us, and give us important measurements so we can work it all out ahead of time. Our delivery installers are fantastic and can make most situations work. But they really don't like surprises! : )