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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Safety & Services > Aboveground Storm Shelter

Aboveground Storm Shelter Cost


How Much Does an Aboveground Storm Shelter Cost?

 
low costNew Construction: $6,600-$14,300+average costAdding a Storm Shelter During Remodeling: $6,500-$17,100+high costPre-Fabricated Storm Shelter: $3,000-$20,000+

Officially called a safe room, an aboveground storm shelter is usuallyi a self-contained area within a house that is similar to a fortified bank safe or a prebuilt shelter (a welded steel box, a steel skeleton with steel planks or a prefabricated unit that is bolted together on site) which is anchored to the foundation. A safe room is typically located on the first floor or in a basement, but some are designed to be on a slab outdoors.

Typical costs:

  • When constructing a new house, building-in a structurally-reinforced and anchored safe room that meets FEMA standards that can double as a master closet, bathroom or utility room increases the total cost of the house by about $6,600-$8,700 for an 8'x8'x8' space or $12,000-$14,300 for 14'x14'x8', according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency[1] .
  • Costs vary depending on the location of the safe room within the structure, the number of exterior walls used, the type of door, the type of foundation under the safe room, the size of the room (based on the number of people expected to shelter in it) and the location of the house within the United States.
  • Adding a structurally-reinforced and anchored safe room as part of a remodeling project in an existing house typically costs about 20% more than in new construction, or $6,500-$10,600 for an 8'x8'x8' space or $14,100-$17,100 for 14'x14'x8', according to HighWindsSafeRooms.org[2] . Costs vary based on the same factors -- the location of the safe room within the structure, the number of exterior walls used, the type of door, the type of foundation under the safe room and the location of the house within the United States.
  • A factory-built aboveground safe room (either steel-reinforced concrete re-assembled on site or prefabricated steel delivered as a solid unit) that can be installed in a basement or a central, interior, ground-floor area of the home typically costs $3,000-$12,000 or more for up to 8'x10' for just the unit. Do-it-yourself installation is possible, but prebuilt shelters are typically heavy and massive. Delivery charges and professional installation can bring the total cost to $5,500-$20,000 or more.
  • For example, F-5 Storm Shelters[3] in Baskin, LA offers a 4'x4' aboveground safe room that is 5' for $5,395, or $8,555 with installation and an optional air conditioner; and an 8'x10' safe room that is 7' tall costs $11,395 or $17,855 with installation and an optional air conditioner; delivery costs adds $2.65-$3.25 per mile, depending on width.
  • Safecastle[4] in Prior Lake, MN sells a 4'x4' and 6' tall aboveground safe room for $3,995, or $5,595 installed; an 8'x10' and 7' tall safe room costs $8,795 or $12,770 with installation; delivery is $2.40-$4.60 a mile, depending on the width of the unit. Biggs Storm Shelters[5] in Piedmont, OK charges $3,700 to install a 4'x4' made-to-order, indoor/outdoor steel safe room that can be retro-fitted into an existing garage or framed around a closet in new construction; 8'x8' is $4,600.
Related articles: Storm Shelter, In-Ground Storm Shelter, Basement, Flooded Basement, Standby Generator, Roof Repair

What should be included:
  • The walls of a steel-reinforced concrete safe room are typically 9"-12" thick, while the walls of a factory-built steel safe room box are usually only 0.25"-0.5" thick, providing more interior space. The Federal Alliance for Safe Houses (FLASH) provides an animated video overview of safe rooms[6] .
  • Notify the local fire department or other emergency responders where the safe room is located, so they know where to look for survivors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines how to prepare for a tornado[7] .
Discounts:
  • FEMA lists possible safe-room funding sources[8] , which can include grants, rebates and special financing (such as FHA loans that cover storm shelter costs).
  • Many states in tornado-prone areas offer financial assistance for safe room costs; contact the state hazard mitigation officer[9] for details. For example, the SoonerSafe - Safe Room Rebate program[10] in Oklahoma gives eligible homeowners 75% of the total cost, up to $2,000.
  • Do-it-yourself construction is possible; FEMA provides construction plans[11] . The Family Handman Magazine offers how-to instructions[12] for a 7'x8' wood-and-steel shelter inside a basement or garage, or outside on a separate slab, estimating it costs about $1,000, requires basic carpentry tools and skills, and is a multi-day project.
Shopping for an aboveground storm shelter:
  • FEMA provides ready-to-use safe room construction plans and specifications[13] for new home construction or remodeling, including do-it-yourself projects. Most home builders and architects in hurricane- or tornado-prone areas will be familiar with safe room standards and requirements.
  • The National Storm Shelter Association lists its members who are storm shelter manufacturers[14] and storm shelter installers[15] .
  • Oklahoma State University offers a fact sheet for selecting a storm shelter[16] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.fema.gov/safe-rooms/frequently-asked-questions-tornado/hurricane-safe-rooms#Q16
  2.  www.highwindsaferooms.org/cost.html
  3.  www.f-5stormshelters.com/SafeRooms/index.html
  4.  store.prepared.pro/documents/shelterprices.pdf
  5.  www.biggsstormshelters.com/above.html
  6.  www.flash.org/video.php?id=18
  7.  emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.asp
  8.  www.fema.gov/safe-room-and-community-shelters-funding-and-initiatives/safe-room-fu...
  9.  www.fema.gov/state-hazard-mitigation-officers
  10.  www.ok.gov/OEM/Programs_&_Services/SoonerSafe_Safe_Room_Rebate_Program/Frequently_...
  11.  www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=5788
  12.  www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/how-to-build-a-storm-shelter/view-all
  13.  www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=5788
  14.  nssa.cc/ProducerRoster.php
  15.  www.nssa.cc/InstallerRoster.php
  16.  pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2179/F-1010web.pdf
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