As winter turns into spring the Nashville area looks to the skies for signs of super cell clouds and homeowners think about adding a storm shelter for the safety of their families.
Storm shelter choices range from those dug in the ground, those placed under garage floors, those built as a safe room within a home, and those that are bolted securely into a garage or other living space.
“Before you decide what storm shelter is right for your family, it’s important to focus on purchasing a storm shelter manufactured with the highest quality materials. We recommend buying a storm shelter made of galvanized steel. Galvanized steel is the toughest, strongest, and most durable material used to build a storm shelter. It also has an impressive lifespan, capable of lasting more than 70 years without maintenance, and if necessary, can be recycled multiple times,” says Jeff Turner, president of National Storm Shelters.
Turner says a high quality above ground safe room or underground storm shelter can cost between $4,000 and $6,000.
Smart Tornado Shelters offers above ground and in ground storm shelters, and Ken Porterfield says the amount of rock in Middle Tennessee is one consideration when selecting storm protection. “Above ground safe rooms are a great alternative to the cost of excavating rock,” he says.
Frank Miller of Storm Shield Stormrooms offers a DuPont Stormroom with Kevlar and points to the advantages of an above ground room which, he says, is as safe as an in-ground storm room but is easily accessible to those with disabilities and pets. “There’s less chance of entrapment in an above ground storm room,” he says, “and no danger from water intrusion.” Eleven sizes are available and range in price from $6,000 to $17,000, and the rooms can serve as a closet, bathroom, pantry, office, gun safe, or other space.
Saying that her company sells three times as many safe room shelters as below ground units is Ginger Varderheyden of Steel Storm Shelters LLC. Saferooms, she suggests, are easier to access and don’t require going into the weather as the company’s SafeDens do. Costs for a saferoom range from $4,500 to $5,700, while Safe Dens range from $6,200 to $6,500. The company also offers in-slab installations and a Safe Shed.
Also offering safe room alternatives to in-ground shelters is TornadoSafeRoom, Inc., which provides units for one, two, or five people, and also a five-person unit that doubles as a workbench in the garage.
Experts say compare products carefully, including construction and materials, as well as the rating of the product you’re considering.
There are a number of sources for storm shelters/saferooms in the Nashville area including:
National Storm Shelter
Steel Storm Shelters
Storm Shield Stormrooms