Tornadoes rampage throughout the Midwest and southwestern parts of the United States and Hurricanes ravage our coastal lands each year, and Huntsville and Madison are certainly not immune to these devastating storms . There is probably no one who has not seen, at least via video, the devastation and destruction that these weather monstrosities leave in their wake.
Safe Rooms and Storm Shelters
There has been a revolution of sorts, by people installing safe rooms and storm shelters built to withstand an F-5 tornado and the strongest of hurricanes. The wind speed of a tornado ranges from 150 to 300 plus miles per hour and it can get moving along the ground at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. Hurricanes are slower moving at ground speed, but can produce sustained winds of up to 200 miles per hour. A big danger from both types of storms is flying debris.
Why So Devastating?
A tornado is a quicker storm, but infinitely more violent. The wind is concentrated in a smaller area and can be devastating. An F-5 tornado, which plants a direct hit on a modern home, will leave nothing but the slab. A hurricane stays in one spot longer as it is very slow moving in comparison to a tornado, but the wind is still constant and creates severe flooding, of which a storm shelter or safe room may provide little or no protection.
The terms “safe room” and “storm shelter” really mean pretty much the same thing, the only difference is where they are placed or build in relation to the home. When a new home is being built there is more flexibility in placing a safe room because it can be built in along with the other construction. In existing construction the same concept can still be put into place, which will entail extra cost and inconvenience.
Storm Shelter Design Options
A storm shelter can be placed underground with entrance from the yard or basement. A safe room can be built into an existing room and look like a regular room except that it will usually have metal walls built to withstand the strongest of storms. A safe room can even be in a garage allowing room for an automobile with, perhaps extra area for a family to enter in case of a storm.
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After different studies and research has been done it has pretty well been decided that properly treated metal is the best substance to be used in the construction of safe rooms and storm shelters. Fiberglass is easy to install, but it is not deemed to be strong enough to withstand the stronger storms. Concrete walls will sweat and eventually become moldy.
The number of designs that companies can offer differs as much as house plans can vary. The only limitation on the type of design and amenities is the imagination and budget of the buyer. Some shelters are nothing more than a metal box placed somewhere handy to run into in case of a storm. Others have elaborate living space with a kitchen and a bathroom.
Wide Variety of Storm Shelter Prices
Some ideas of pricing are listed here, but understand that price will really be a function of how elaborate a buyer wants in the design, as most of the contractors can customize the design.
Company 1 – 4 to 5 person shelter $4,495 – All metal
Company 2 – 82″ X 82″ Safe Room – $5145 – Withstands an F5 tornado
Company 3 – 5X5X8 Shelter – $6,195 – Withstands an F5 tornado
Company 4 – 7 person safe room, sitting only – $5,295 – All metal
If a person lives in an area where these storms play havoc year after year, like we do, considering an investment in one of these safe rooms or storm shelters could be a wise investment, indeed.