How to Install a Storm Shelter in a Garage


An F-5 tornado can reduce a house to splinters and scrape the slab clean in a matter of seconds. If you plan to install a storm shelter in your garage that’s of any use, you must make sure the shelter can stand alone and in place while the house is destroyed around it. Precast concrete shelters designed to fit in your garage are designed to be the last structure standing, even when hit by the worst tornado you can throw at them.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom
  • Epoxy concrete glue
  • Precast concrete shelter small enough to fit in your garage
  • Industrial forklift
  • Tape measure
  • Large adjustable wrench for installing the door
  • Clear a place in your garage toward the front of the space. It’s unlikely the delivery folk will be able to get the heavy equipment inside far enough to put it on the back wall and still seal it to the floor. Make sure the shelter won’t interfere with the opening and closing of the garage door. Sweep the floor so it’s clean.

  • Measure and mark the exact outline of the precast shelter where it will sit on the concrete floor of your garage. Call the company you bought the shelter shell from and arrange delivery. They will bring a boom truck or forklift. Be sure to tell them you are installing it in your garage so they’ll bring the forklift.

  • Apply the epoxy concrete glue to the outline of the shelter walls on the concrete once the shelter arrives. These types of shelter shells are open on the bottom so the garage floor will act as the floor of the shelter. The walls must be set on top of the epoxy.

  • Move the shelter door-first into the garage. You’ll want to be able to enter the shelter from inside the garage in an emergency to protect family members from flying debris. Have the lift truck set the door end of the shelter shell-down on the marked outline, then lower the rear onto the epoxy.

  • Hang the door and locking hardware according to manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t hang the door until the epoxy has set overnight. Once set, the epoxy will withstand more than one million pounds of pressure.

Tips & Warnings

  • When installing this type of shelter in your garage, you will lose the use of part of the garage.
  • Leave enough room between the outside walls and the garage walls so you can clean between them. If you set the shelter too close to an exterior wall, you can create a space for rats and vermin that you won’t be able to clean.

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