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How Much Does A Storm Shelter Cost?

Typical Range: $2,588 - $9,972

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December 23, 2020

Approved by Bob Tschudi, Expert Home Building and Remodeling Contributor.
Written by HomeAdvisor.

Tornado Shelter Cost

The cost to build a tornado shelter ranges from $2,588 and $9,972, averaging $6,213. Price depends mostly on size and type. An above-ground unit for 4 to 6 people starts around $3,000. An underground model for 12 or more can run up to $30,000.

If you live in an area with hurricanes or tornadoes, building a storm shelter can help protect your family during bad weather. Installing one is a major decision, as it can be a big expense for something you don’t use frequently.

Although most products are pre-made, you can also get one custom-built. Keep these factors in mind as you research your options.

Average Storm Shelter Costs

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National Average $6,213
Typical Range $2,588 - $9,972
Low End - High End $500 - $19,700

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 55 HomeAdvisor members in .

Prefab Storm Shelter Prices

Premanufactured storm shelters can cost as little as $3,000, including installation. The average cost of an 8 foot by 10 foot above-ground structure is between $5,500 and $12,000. This includes delivery, installation, and a range of features, such as a welded steel box and steel planks.

A 5 foot by 5 foot by 8 foot in-ground shelter costs $3,000 to $8,000, with an additional $1,000 to $3,000 for delivery and installation. If you want a larger size or additional features like electricity, you can expect to pay more.

Shelter Prices by Brand

With a typical range of $3,000 to $11,000, brand makes a big difference in the price. For an estimate, you’ll need to call or request a quote online.

BrandIn-GroundAbove-Ground
Atlas Survival ShelterYY
Oklahoma SheltersYY
Safe PorchYN
FamilySAFEYY
Ground ZeroYY
Survive a StormYY
Valley StormYY
The RefugeYN
HausnerYN
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Above-Ground Storm Shelter vs. Underground Cellar Prices

An above-ground storm shelter costs $3,000 to $15,000, compared to $4,000 to $30,000 for an underground unit.

Above-Ground$3,000 - $15,000
Underground$4,000 - $30,000

An above-ground unit or safe room typically goes in a garage or basement. You can also install it on a concrete foundation that is separate from the home. It’s ideal for properties with a high water table or for homeowners who don’t want to upset the landscaping.

In-ground storm shelters are usually more secure but harder to install. They are better at resisting falling debris and strong winds. They also free up space within the home or yard, but can be prone to flooding.

If you live in Hurricane or Tornado Alley (like Oklahoma or Missouri) and need protection from tornadoes, you can choose almost any option. Given the risk of flooding, it's best to buy above-ground shelters for hurricanes in states like Texas or Florida.

Cost of Storm Shelter in a Garage Floor

The cost of a storm shelter in a garage floor is $3,000 to $9,000. You’ll pay more for options with a staircase or one that will hold more than 8 people.

Garage floor shelters are great for homeowners who want underground protection without leaving the house. They tend to be smaller than other in-ground units.

Tornado Shelter Costs by Material

Tornado shelter costs vary by the type of material. Concrete and fiberglass tend to be the cheapest, while Kevlar-lined steel runs the highest.

Steel$4,000 - $30,000
Fiberglass$3,000 - $10,000
Concrete$3,000 - $7,000
Kevlar$5,000 - $30,000

Pre-fabricated units give you the most options, including concrete, corrugated steel, steel plates, fiberglass and high-density polyethylene. Generally, custom-built structures feature reinforced concrete.

Steel Shelter Cost

Steel shelters cost $4,000 to $30,000. This is the most common material, since it is generally lightweight but durable. You’ll find lots of options for above ground and underground installations.

Fiberglass Storm Shelter Prices

Fiberglass storm shelter prices range from $3,000 to $10,000. The unit itself may be one of the cheapest options, but you can only install it underground.

If you’re looking for an alternative that’s more environmentally-friendly, polyethylene shelters cost $3,000 to $7,000.

Concrete Shelters

At $3,000 to $7,000, concrete shelters are often the most affordable. The material is cheap but extremely heavy, which makes it able to handle high winds or flying debris.

You can have it poured custom or buy pre-cast options. Given an average weight of 15,000 to 25,000 pounds, you’ll need to install a pad for above-ground units.

Kevlar Storm Cellar Cost

Kevlar storm cellars cost $5,000 to $10,000 per room. This material gives you the strongest structure available that also resists intruders.

Pre-fabricated units are usually made of steel lined with Kevlar. You can also convert a room in your home using the material.

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Storm Shelter Costs by Size

OccupancyPrice
6$3,000 - $8,000
8$4,000 - $10,000
12$6,000 - $20,000
15+$10,000 - $30,000

As a general rule, you should plan 6 square feet per person for tornadoes and 10 square feet for hurricanes.

Average Cost to Build a Safe Room in Your Home

The average cost to build a safe room in your home ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. If you want extra features like cameras or security, you’ll pay up to $15,000.

Tornado Shelter Cost Factors

Building a tornado shelter may run up to $5,000 to $7,000 more if you need these additional products or services.

In addition to cost factors like your soil condition, the location of the unit and the pouring of a concrete pad, additional features will add to your total project cost.

  • Beds with Mattresses: $300-$400 each
  • Handrail: $50-$100
  • Emergency Exit: $500-$2,000, may only be available on custom units
  • Enhanced air ventilation or filtration systems: $100-$3,000
  • Plumbing (water supply, waste water, etc.): $100-$5,000
  • Electric or Internet: $100-$1,500

Soil Conditions

Land excavation and grading costs $1,500 to $5,000, and may not be included in the price of your shelter. If you have land that is easy to dig through, the installation should go quicker. If you have rocky soil or concrete to jackhammer through, it may be more time-consuming and expensive.

Location

For the best location, you may need to pay the cost to level land or regrade a lawn, which ranges from $1,000 to $3,000. The ideal spot is near the house but not so close that debris falls on it.

Measure the height of your house wall. Position the storm shelter as far away in distance from its height in length. Consider options with a sloped door so that debris will slide down rather than lying flat.

Concrete Pouring

The cost to pour concrete averages $6 per square foot. Manufacturers recommend installing it around most in-ground storm shelters. That keeps it from floating out, should the surrounding soil become saturated with moisture.

FAQs

How much does a 12- to 15-person storm shelter cost?

A storm shelter for 12 to 15 people costs $6,000 to $30,000.

Do I need a permit for a storm shelter?

In some municipalities, a permit is required. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has published guidelines for building a safe room (FEMA P-361 and P-320).

Will FEMA pay for a storm shelter?

FEMA funding may cover up to 75% of the cost of a storm shelter. The federal government distributes money to states, which set their own requirements. To find out your options, contact your State Hazard Mitigation Officer.

Do storm shelters add value to a home?

Storm shelters can add up to 50% of the unit cost in resale value. This applies most in areas where hurricanes or tornadoes are common. Some homeowners have increased the value of their underground safe rooms by using some of the space for a gun safe or a wine cellar.

Where can I buy a tornado shelter?

You can buy a tornado shelter through an approved installer, or through a big box store like Lowe’s.

What is the best type of storm shelter?

The best type of storm shelter is large enough for your family and easy for you to reach in an emergency. If you need protection from hurricanes, you’ll have different requirements than homeowners dealing with regular tornadoes.

Are storm shelters handicap accessible?

Above-ground shelters can be accessible for people with limited mobility. Many options can be installed with a ramp or flat for a seamless transition. Most in-ground units aren’t built for wheelchair users.

What are the benefits of a pre-built storm shelter?

With no building expenses, a pre-built shelter typically costs less to buy and install. They are also available in a variety of sizes and materials. That makes it easy to choose the one that is right for your family’s needs.

How long does it take to install a tornado shelter?

Most pre-built storm shelters take 4 to 8 hours to install. Custom-made options can take days or weeks to build the structure from the ground up.

How much space do I need in the storm cellar?

FEMA recommends at least 6 square feet per person during a tornado and 10 square feet for a hurricane. For example, a 5 foot by 6 foot shelter is suitable for a family of five in a tornado-prone area.

Can I buy my own cheap underground storm shelter?

Most storm shelters are pre-fab units. Some brands require you to buy through a licensed dealer, while others are easy to get for DIY.

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