If you’ve had the idea to build a basement safe room you’re in good company. Fortified Estate can teach you how to build a safe room in your basement and provide you the resources and materials you need to make the installation happen.
As we all know, a basement is significantly more secure in the fact that (in theory) 5 of it’s 6 sides are embedded within the most stable environment we know of: the earth. There are some downsides to having a safe room in a basement though, and it’s expected use scenarios can help determine whether a basement location is right for your safe or panic room.
A basement is naturally more secure than many other rooms in the house due to it being surrounded by unlimited amounts of earth and rock.
Criminals have a harder time knowing that a basement room is hidden or that it holds valuables, thus buying precious time from attack.
Possible to Escape
A panic room located in a basement provides the possibility to add a escape tunnel for complete peace of mind for ones loved ones.
Risks of Building a Safe Room in Your Basement
Having a structure deep in the earth does have its potential downsides. One common one is flooding. No matter how strong humans build their basements, mother nature always has a way of providing enough force for water to break inside. This can sometimes lead to disastrous flooding. This can make it a poor location to place one’s most precious valuables. Additionally, if the room will be used as a basement panic room, one may have perishable foods and drinks that can become compromised due to flood, or – even worse – sewage backup.
There are ways to mitigate this risk to your safe room. For simple solutions, shelving can be installed and strategically used to ensure that no items are within a foot of the floor. More complicated, homeowners may install, or already have installed, strong water pumps to avoid flooding. Still, we’ve all seen the occasional enormous floods that can’t be predicted, such as Houston, Texas in 2017.
Pests can also be a problem in the basement. Bugs and mice are more common in what much more closely resembles their natural habitat compared to the rest of the house, no matter how well manicured. This could mean the destruction of food supplies and degradation of perhaps fragile valuables. Considerations can be made to prevent this. All items, especially foodstuffs, should be kept in sealed containers.
Homeowners should also take the simple step of testing to ensure long stays in their basement wont expose their family to dangerous levels of Radon. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 7 our of every 100 houses has dangerous levels of radon gas present. Surprisingly, Radon is actually the second most common cause of deadly lung cancer after smoking, it being the cause behind 12% of these cases.
Distance to Panic Room
Perhaps the most realistic risk of locating a safe room in a basement is simply a logistical one. A basement location is often far from occupants will generally be residing. Most people don’t spend much time in the basement. Very few bedrooms are in a basement – about 70% of our time home is spent in bedrooms. If concerned about a home invasion or even a storm, that distance could be a critical error.
On the other hand, should the focal point of the room be simply highly secure storage for valuables, this may be of minimal importance.
Benefits of a Basement Safe Room
One of the greatest benefits of building a safe room in a basement is the possibility of leveraging the natural earth around the basement. Not only are foundation walls extremely thick and strong compared to normal wooden walls, they are naturally surrounded by thick earth. It is hard to achieve a bullet resistance level above this! It is quite easy to find a location that uses at least two of these foundation walls, sometimes three. This allows the homeowner to have much more resources available for the remaining room walls and door, resulting in a much more sophisticated area for the same budget.
Similarly, the floor is impenetrable. While an attack from a lower level into the floor of a vault is naturally rare, leveraging a basement floor removes one possible vulnerability in your vault room.
Panic Room Concealment
Another big benefit of installing a basement safe room is the natural concealment it offers. In above ground floors it is more conceivable for a criminal to notice a safe room. They can easily see exterior walls. There may be windows. If there is a certain amount of square footage on the second floor, for example, there must be at least that much square footage on the first floor. This isn’t the case with the basement. Basements have all sorts of different shapes and sizes irrespective of the rest of the house. There are no windows (in general). It is quite easy to partially or fully conceal a room. On top of that, burglars generally do not expect to find many valuables in a basement, and rarely prioritize it.
For those looking for sophisticated security, there is one other big benefit to a basement panic room: the ability to add an escape tunnel. While many looking how to build a basement safe room will not be considering such an elaborate feature, choosing a basement location allows for future expansion to include this feature. No panic room is completely impenetrable, nor can it forever safely contain its occupants. Digging out a small tunnel to a covered location (such as with plants) even just 10-20 feet from the house can provide a critical escape way for ones family.
Create a Basement Safe Room
Let our expert team guide you through the various strategies for creating the perfect secure space in your basement.