10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design Ideas
Keep safe with these solutions when the bad boys of nature come knocking.
An interior safe room is all that’s left of this Oklahoma farmstead after a devastating tornado destroyed the surrounding house. If built to the standards of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an interior safe room will withstand tornado-force winds and flying debris.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasSafe and Sweet
A storm shelter is designed to withstand destructive wind forces, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like a concrete blob. A decorative door, stone veneer, and a scattering of potted plants makes this outdoor storm shelter part of the landscape.
Shelters built underground are the safest, but heads-up on these factoids: 1) soils that freeze in winter put stresses on concrete walls; 2) high water tables may flood your shelter; 3) it’ll be expensive to prepare a site if there’s solid bedrock. Uncertain? Consult a soil expert by searching for “geotechnical engineering” in your area.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasSmall but Sturdy
You won’t be holding any rodeos inside this diminutive shelter, but if there’s an EF-4 nearby, we’re guessing you won’t care. Certified by the National Storm Shelter Association, this 3-by-6-foot enclosure must be bolted to a 4-inch-thick concrete floor. It’s simple design makes it a good DIY project. It costs about $3,350.
Image: The Perfect Storm Shelter
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasGet in Here — Now!
If a tornado is imminent, you’ll want to hunker down, fast. This small, dome-shaped shelter fits in many easily accessible spaces, such as a garage. The all-steel construction resists extreme winds, hurled debris, even bullets! It must be bolted to a steel-reinforced, concrete slab.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasGimme Shelter
If you live in a tornado-prone area, a storm shelter or safe room is a smart investment. A pre-fabricated fiberglass shelter is designed for underground installation, accessible by an above-ground hatch. Prices for a fiberglass shelter with seating for four adults range from $2,500 to $10,000, installed.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasPart of the Neighborhood
Looking like a simple storage shed, this stout above-ground shelter is made of pre-cast concrete panels covered with stucco. The doors of most residential shelters can be taken off from the inside, just in case there’s debris piled against the outside.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasTough-as-Nails Interior Design
Building an interior storm shelter is easiest during new construction. No matter what type of construction materials are used, the unit must be bolted to a concrete slab. The cost to build an interior storm shelter is $6,000 to $15,000, depending on the size, location, and door style.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasSafe and Unobtrusive
Tucked behind a guest room closet, this 4-foot-by-6-foot storm shelter is big enough to protect a family of six. The manufacturer says the pre-fabricated, FEMA-approved steel shelter is strong enough to withstand an F-5 tornado. The $8,750 cost includes installation.
10 Storm Cellar and Tornado-Safe Room Design IdeasFunding for Shelters
Certain states in high-risk areas will provide funding support for the construction of individual and community tornado shelters. Mississippi, for example, reimburses up to 75% of the cost of constructing a tornado shelter that’s built to FEMA standards. The funding is partially supported by FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program.