We all want the dream, don’t we? We all want the big house, the big yard, perhaps a pool or two, a home security system, and the whole shebang. We want the neighbors or anyone who’d pass by to be looking at our habitation with envy. We want them to see our homes from the corner of their eyes only to jolt their heads toward its direction while whispering to themselves, “man, those people are living the life!”
Well, here’s a man who wanted all that and decided to do something about it. Wayne Martin, one seriously enterprising individual, took it upon himself to make his home stand out from the rest of the cookie cutters in the neighborhood. And the first thing he did was get a shovel and start digging. Neighbors passing by think he was crazy, but when they saw his not-so-little project beginning to take shape, well, their jaws could only gape with wonder.
What The Hole Is That?
When a neighbor’s yard has a hole of this magnitude, the first thought that comes to mind is that they’re constructing a pool. Indeed, a pool this size would have already succeeded in making the neighbors drool with envy—but no, Martin had a better plan than that.
It wasn’t water that Martin wanted to fill the hole with, which is what any rational person would have expected. His plan, instead, was to plug the hole with the 20-foot shipping container he had a moving company deliver to his home. Needless to say, the mere presence of the container had his neighbors scratching their heads; they simply had no idea what Martin’s intention was.
The Gargantuan Shipping Container
Before Wayne even started his epic dig, he did a ton of research online, looking into where he could purchase a sizable shipping container that can serve as the structure of his secret project. He was surprised to learn that shipping containers were actually easy to come by, and a few on the market were even quite affordable.
The most experienced DIYers can tell you that one of the most important things to consider when it comes to projects such as these is the budget. One may need to keep the costs in check because the last thing we all want is to exhaust our budget on stuff that is not anymore required and risk destroying our money management scheme. As for the cost of the container, Wayne was right on track. It was affordable, sturdy, and just basically checked all the boxes. But what was the container for? You might ask. Well, read on to find out!
Sealing it Good
Wayne knew that for his purposes, the container had to be sealed really nice and tight. He initially thought of installing double doors but realized that the setup would require more sealing. So Wayne opted instead to install a single, swinging door.
Wayne also knew that no garden-variety type of sealing would do. Indeed, he knew he had to seal the container in such a way that would make it close to impossible for anything to come in or out—not water, nor gas, nothing. Wayne also chose to have the door (which was his main, and only, point of entry to and from the container) swing in one direction: inward. And, trust us; once you get the full picture, you’ll understand why.
One particular mistake Wayne thought he needed to avoid at all cost was the mistake of digging a hole much smaller than his shipping container will require. After all, his container needed to fit! So Wayne made sure the hole he dug was adequate. The effort to go back and dig a bigger hole once he’s in the process of moving the container in place was so great that Wayne knew he had to measure everything carefully.
Wayne tried to assure that the hole he dug had 2 feet of extra space on all sides so that his container will not only fit but will also have some degree of space for anything that will require the ability to swing-out.
The bottom area where the container will be placed will require lining, of course, and Wayne, being the all-around DIYer that he is, knew that pea gravel was what he needed for the job. Pea gravel was much smaller than stone gravel, after all, and it was this difference that Wayne needed to assure he’ll be able to reach the soil below through the flooring.
I bet that right now, you’re telling yourself: “yeah, I have an idea where this project is going.” But, trust us, you don’t—or, at least, not exactly. We bet that you’ll still be surprised to learn what the whole project was really about. The extra space above the container that Wayne created has an exciting purpose, so read on to find out!
Help Is On The Way
Of course, there are times when the assistance of a professional is required to complete a job. No matter how experienced or skillful one is at DIY, there are simply a few things one can’t reasonably or afford to do, and having a 10-ton crane in the garage to be able to lift shipping containers in the air is one of them. So Wayne contacted a septic tank company whose number he got from a lawyer friend and had them put the container into the hole for him.
And the septic tank company was perfect for the job—they had a crane, after all. Wayne was glad he contacted them, because, although he had many friends, all of their strength combined wouldn’t have been able to lift the container an atom off the ground.
Like a Glove!
One might be interested to know that Wayne had more than just the usual reasons to make the hole slightly bigger than the container. Sure, he needed some wiggle room, so to speak, and sure, one could say he needed space to be able to run some wires for electricity, but he had more reasons than that. Wayne, as it happened, left two feet of space on all sides of the container, and a few feet of space more for the swinging door.
Now that Wayne has the container lying snugly inside the hole that he so epically dug, he can now go to the more exciting part of the project. And while you’re sitting there thinking you have an idea of what the result will be, trust us, you haven’t got the slightest clue.
A Sump Pump is What Every Underground Shelter Needs
Another thing Wayne knew he needed to install in his epic underground shelter was a sump pump. This pump is commonly found in basements or areas of the home that are below the water table level. It is used to remove water that accumulates in an area to help keep the place dry.
After all, the last thing Wayne wants is for his underground bunker to be filled with water should a storm arrive. Wayne knew that the expensive sump pump that he paid for was one of the more important investments he’s made for the creation of the bunker.
Needless to say, what purpose would an underground bunker have if you had no way of entering it from above? With this in mind, Wayne constructed a concrete staircase leading to the underground bunker’s entrance. He also made sure that the topmost step was exactly the same level as the roofing of his container.
The staircase setup brought a little swag to the construction project, which was exactly what Wayne intended. He didn’t simply slap a ladder or a corny pole to his bunker, he went for the staircase, which was more challenging to build, but cooler to look at.
Support Beam For Support
Wayne was no novice in construction. He wisely installed these two I-beams that are pictured to support his bunker. A large shipping container like his can still be a victim to the movement of the soil below, and Wayne knew this; hence he installed these two large beams to give it the maximum amount of support.
The beams that Wayne installed, as seen in the picture, actually have more than just one purpose. They not only support the bunker and give it some degree of stability to combat the shifting of the soil below, but they also provide a frame for the exterior of the shelter that Wayne intended to construct.
Looks Like a Roof
Another thing that those beams provide support for is the roof above. As one can see in the picture, the beams are actually holding the roof-like structure in place. After all, underground bunkers don’t just need to be stable on the inside, they need to be stable on the outside as well, and the beams serve both purposes.
Wayne’s underground bunker is slowly taking shape, and as one can see from the picture, all that extra space that Wayne dug up is being put into good use.
Adding Wow Factor
Earlier, we’ve seen the staircase Wayne constructed. It looked cool, and it looked like it will serve its purpose well. Wayne, however, is not content with just a staircase, no matter how cool its addition to the bunker would be. He wanted to make his entranceway grand, so he got to work on doing just that.
Wayne left a somewhat sizable section of the roof open, making way for his staircase, and he added some reinforced steel around its perimeter for added support. Of course, Wayne didn’t have to do the kind of roof repair that he did, but he wanted to, to give it that wow factor.
Hollow Block Treatment
Wayne, as I said, is no novice when it comes to the ins and outs of construction. And, as such, he wanted his construction project to be up to code. He didn’t want to cut corners and build something that looked good enough, and rather, he wanted something that would stand the test of time—something that is built durably.
And, from what we’re seeing in the pictures, it looks like Wayne didn’t cut corners indeed. The shelter looks like it’s being built to remain standing after a hundred years. One doesn’t need an engineering degree to intuit from these pictures that Wayne took the construction of his bunker seriously.
We All Need To Breathe, After All
The installation of the sump pump was a crucial part of the project for the reasons we’ve explained earlier. But another very critical thing, if not the most vital, is the installation of the air vents. What purpose would an underground bunker have if you can’t breathe in it, after all? With this nugget of wisdom in mind, Wayne installed two 12-inch vents that ran from the front and the back of the bunker.
Wayne intended to spend a good amount of time in the bunker, as evidenced by the improvements he’s made to it. We’re pretty sure he won’t be requiring plumbing services on his bunker for years to come when he’s done.
And, you best believe us when we tell you that Wayne ain’t done yet. The man doesn’t take chances. He knows the ground can still shift ever so slightly during the winter season when everything freezes over, so he decided to pour a whole lot of concrete above and around his bunker for much-needed support.
And, as one can see from the picture, they’ve pretty much nailed the concrete pouring thing, seeing as it needs just a bit of leveling out after. From this angle, we also get to see just how big his bunker is from the outside. Even if Wayne loses his home for being unable to pay off his credit card, he at least can live in his container and subsist.
Six Inches Is Big Enough
If you thought, Wayne simply poured a thin layer of concrete over and around his bunker and called it a day, well, you’re wrong, since that’s not what he did. Wayne made sure that the thickness of the concrete he poured around his bunker amounted to 6 inches, which he estimated to be the amount of depth that is required for it to survive even the most dangerous of natural conditions.
Now that Wayne’s got the whole flooring fixed and the entire exterior set up, he can now concentrate on the interior and design it. What he has in mind is a design that includes as much creature comforts as it possibly can—maybe even have a classroom where he can conduct online classes.
Blocks Just Keep Coming
When the concrete dried up, Wayne decided to put more hollow blocks. He intended for the entrance of his bunker to stand out. So he piled the blocks like lego and didn’t stop until he was satisfied that they’ve reached the right amount of awesome.
Of course, it wasn’t all just to look awesome. There’s a useful purpose in covering the sides of the entrance with cinder blocks, as it is to keep the entranceway from being too open to the elements, which will cause a degree of damage to it eventually.
Safety Is Key
In a construction project such as this, safety is always paramount. An unsafe shelter, after all, is of absolutely no use. So, Wayne simply refused to cut corners, no matter how expensive it cost him. He made doubly sure that each of the design elements he chose to incorporate into his project had safety in mind.
Once all the concrete that Wayne had thoroughly poured around his bunker dried up, he was then able to remove the temporary support beams he installed to keep the roofing from collapsing. All those numerous hollow blocks Wayne put around his bunker has given the infrastructure underneath the right amount of support.
Terraforming the Outside
Of course, Wayne wanted his underground bunker to be as inviting as it could be, and not merely for it to be underneath an unkempt slosh of soil. So he purchased the best soil he could find to lay out at ground level, just around the entrance of his bunker. The intention, of course, was so he could beautify the area even further by filling it with plants, making his entrance blend with the other greenery in his lawn.
As seen from the picture, the entrance of Wayne’s bunker looked like it will end up blending with the surroundings and remain hidden from view, like some secret underground shelter. It looks like it could be the perfect hiding place for anyone trying to avoid the prying eyes of insurance companies.
Yes, That’s a Wine Cellar
Wayne, it seems, didn’t merely build a functional shelter. Instead, he built one that had more creature comforts than is necessary. After all, he wanted it to be a place that he’ll enjoy hanging out in, and not merely a place where he can wait out a nuclear storm. So, of course—of course!—he built a wine cellar, where he can enjoy some wine while waiting out the post-apocalyptic zombie invasion that is happening at ground level.
And, it’s not a bad idea, either, because the cooler temperature below ground level is perfect for storing wine. This means Wayne’s wine collection will be stored perfectly well without the need for electricity.
The bunker’s storage room wasn’t solely made for storing wine, of course, it’s big enough to store other things as well, like food items, supplies, etc. Wayne can pretty much live in the bunker for months without having any contact with the outside world because he’s got enough room to store all the essential items that he’ll need to be able to survive.
The man is ready for anything. I mean, if a nuclear missile destroys America and a nuclear winter ensues killing all the bankruptcy lawyers in the country, well, Wayne can hunker down in his bunker and wait it out. Hell, if zombies invade the planet, Wayne can still be safe, tucked in his bunker while subsisting on wine.
Sharing the Project
Thankfully, Wayne didn’t merely keep the construction plans of his secret bunker to himself. Indeed, Wayne shared his construction plans online, making it possible for other enterprising individuals with enough investment money and motivation to create super-secret bunkers for themselves.
Not only that, but he also shared the specifications of his container, so people will know the type of container that is required, should they be interested in creating something like Wayne did. Wayne also posted tips on what materials to use, what to watch out for, and other general tips that he learned along the way.
Wayne shared that he learned a lot from the construction of his bunker. And many of what he learned he was happy to share online. One suggestion he gives to those who intend to build their secret bunkers is to incorporate handrails on the stairs that connected the main entryway to the bunker.
He said that it would primarily be a good idea for places that can freeze up during the winter, because the flooring, the stairs or the outside area will inevitably get slippery, and the handrails can help bunker owners to avoid accidents.
Bunkers Are Getting Popular
Although there probably won’t be a threat of a nuclear attack anytime soon, bunkers and underground shelters are becoming popular in America. It used to be popular during the cold war, or during the Cuban Missile Crisis, precisely because of the possibility of a nuclear attack, but today, people want to build their bunkers and underground shelters just for fun, and to have a space in which to unwind.
Despite that money management is essential in the bunker-building business, the usual recommendation of bunker experts for anyone who wants to build his own bunker is that one mustn’t scrimp on concrete. Containers used to be designed very shoddily back in the 60s, but now people are becoming better at it because of the freely available information on the internet.
Business is Booming
It was in early 2017 when bunker-building companies saw their market increase. It seemed that, for one reason or another, more people wanted their own bunkers, either for protection or to simply have some extra space in their homes in which to chill out.
Rising Bunkers, which is a bunker building company that is based in Texas, saw its owner, Clyde Scott, revealed in one interview that the abrupt increase in demand for bunkers started after Donald Trump got elected into office. Indeed, Clyde Scott said that his sales had increased to approximately 400 percent. We’re pretty sure Clyde won’t need to worry about being visited by a bankruptcy attorney anytime soon.
How Much Was Wayne’s Bunker?
One will be surprised to know that Wayne’s bunker didn’t cost all that much. The price for all the bragging rights he acquired after completing his bunker was a mere $12,500—which was worth it. We cannot think of a better way to spend that much money because one needn’t have a finance degree to know that it was money well spent.
Of course, Wayne did a lot of the work himself, so someone unwilling to do all that work for a bunker might reasonably spend more than Wayne did for one. But there are many options in the market; one could even hire a bunker building company like Rising Bunkers to do the job.
They’re Mostly Moneyed
Paul Seyfried, another man who’s connected to the bunker building industry as president of Utah Shelter Systems, confirmed that their business has been booming in recent years to the degree that’s never been seen in history. Paul also said in an interview that although his clients hail from all over the United States, there are, in particular, specific states where huge markets exist, among which are New York, California, and Texas.
For an interview with Fox13, Paul Seyfried said, “The smallest shelters start at around $50,000. The largest shelters we build, a 12 by 50 [feet] usually runs right around $100,000.” Interestingly enough, Paul says that bunkers are so well built these days that they are even able to deflect electromagnetic radiation.
Bunkers In Different States
One decommissioned army base in South Dakota that goes by the name of VivosxPoint is said to be the staging ground for the creation of bunkers that will be used by the public. The base hasn’t been used since 1967, but it is said to have 575 war-era bunkers that can be used, and that there are plans to build quite a few more.
The bunkers here are being rented out to people at the price of $25,000 for 99 years, with an additional $1000 that is paid annually. Although they are not too shabby at 1,590 or 2,120 square feet, they don’t have provisions for water or electricity.
Many Kinds of Bunkers
Another bunker building company, Atlas Survival Shelters, confirmed what other bunker building companies have said; they’ve seen an increase in sales after 2016. They shared that they’re selling almost 30 shelters a day, which is a far cry from the 11 shelters they’ve sold for the whole year of 2011. Something indeed happened in the minds of the population after 2016 that made the prospect of owning a bunker more attractive.
The bunkers that Atlas Survival Shelters create are more than just bunkers. They provide a whole host of creature comforts. Going inside one of their bunkers doesn’t even feel like going inside a bunker. Rather, it feels like one is entering a well-appointed basement with a high credit score that has both function and form.