Storm shelters are absolutely essential home enhancements for those who live in areas with active storm systems such as Oklahoma or Louisiana. Protection from hurricanes, tornadoes, and even electric storms can make the difference when it comes to safety for your family. Even if you don’t live in an area with frequent severe storms, you may want a storm shelter to protect your family from the worst due to our changing climate. You never know what’s coming, so if you’re interested in storm shelters, you can find them at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, or U.S. Storm Shelters. Ask these questions about storm shelters to learn more and found out if building a storm shelter is right for you and your family.

Do I need to hire a contractor?

If you have a team of able-bodied people ready to help you construct your shelter, you might not need to hire a contractor. However, hiring a contractor will ensure that the job gets done right and you will truly be protected in a storm or other weather emergency.

Is a shelter for a tornado different from a shelter for a hurricane?

Usually the shelters are similar, although states at risk for hurricanes will want to build shelters that are especially protected against flooding. In-ground storm shelters must be able to withstand mud and waters for long periods of time until the storm passes and the waters recede and rescue teams can arrive.

How much should a shelter cost?

A high-quality storm shelter can cost a lot of money, and with good reason. These shelters are designed with premium materials to withstand the most extreme weather imaginable. You can expect to pay a few thousand dollars for a high quality shelter, plus the cost of labor and landscaping. 

How big is my family?

You want to make sure that you purchase and build a storm shelter big enough for the whole family to sleep in restfully for a number of days. In some weather emergencies, it can be weeks until rescue teams can make it out to your location, so you need to make sure the shelter is big enough for supplies as well as your family and pets.

What materials do I need?

You will need high-quality materials that can withstand weather such as concrete and rubber. You will want to avoid wood and metal as they can rot and rust away, weakening over time, and you don't want to discover that your shelter has degraded when you need it most.

Do I need a permit?

Depending on where you live, you might need a permit to excavate your land or build onto your existing home to install a storm shelter. In addition, you might need to take it up with your homeowner's association.

Can I get a loan?

There are loans that exist for storm shelters. You can either get a home renovation loan from your bank, but there are also some FEMA loans available for those in high-risk areas to install shelters in their homes.

How long will it take to build?

This depends on the size of the shelter as well as the amenities you want inside as well as what kind of excavating needs to be done to ensure it is done properly. It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. It is best to get an estimate from the installers that you hire to get the best idea before you commit to the project.