The Cost of Tornado Shelters (2023)

The average cost of a tornado shelter ranges from $3,500 to $15,000, including installation. Getting a storm shelter is a valuable addition to your home, mainly if you live in an area prone to tornadoes. The total cost of a storm shelter involves many factors like the type, materials and geographic location.

Understanding the Cost of Tornado Shelters

Tornado Shelter Cost by Type

Knowing the types of shelters will help you meet the needs of your house and get an estimate of how much the final cost can be.


An above-ground tornado shelter has an average price of $2,600 to $15,000. It’s ideal for garages and basements, although you can also place it inside your house.


The average price of a basement storm shelter is between $6,000 and $15,000. Basement shelters work for homeowners who don’t use their basements often or have extra space.


Bed storm shelters’ average price is between $2,100 and $4,500. These shelters are a choice for tiny homes and can fit two to three people.


A garage shelter’s price is around $3,000 and $9,000. The installation cost of a garage shelter depends on the work the garage needs. If you need to extend your garage to include the shelter, the average price of the work is between $60 to $120 per square foot.


The underground tornado shelter costs between $4,200 and $30,000. The significant variable of this shelter’s cost is its installation. The excavation and waterproofing can increase the overall price.

Secure Room

A secure room has an average price of $3,000 and $10,000. They usually include surveillance equipment, locks and other add-ons that can vary the total cost. A typical design is a closet-safe room, costing between $4,500 to $6,000. Another design is the under-stairs safe room, which average price ranges from $3,000 to $5,000.

Tornado Shelters Cost Breakdown

Tornado shelter materials and installation can increase the overall price of the project. Here’s a list of factors to remember when installing a storm shelter in your house.

Prefabricated vs. Custom

The total cost of a customized shelter can vary depending on the size, land and house characteristics, materials and labor. However, customized storm shelters are more expensive than prefabricated ones. Just the cost of the design work of a structural engineer is between $100 to $220 per hour.

Above Ground vs. Underground

Installing a storm shelter above or underground will depend on your house and land specifics. If your house has a flooding risk or higher water tables, above-ground shelters will be the best fit. Their average price is around $2,600 to $15,000. You can place them on a concrete slab in your garage, inside your house, or outside.

You can opt for an underground storm shelter if you have a basement, or you can pay for the excavation service. Their average price is between $4,200 and $30,000. These shelters are more expensive as they involve excavation, waterproofing and pouring concrete. However, it’s easier to access during a storm, making them valuable.

Shelter Size

The ideal tornado shelter space should be at least 6 square feet per person. For hurricane shelters, the recommended area is 10 square feet per person. If you’re planning to get six people, the average price of a shelter is around $3,000 to $8,000. The larger shelters for ten people or more can cost over $30,000.

Shelter Material

An important factor that affects the total price is the storm shelter materials. Here is a list of materials and their average costs:

  • Concrete: $3,700 – $7,000
  • Steel: $4,500 – $20,000
  • Fiberglass: $4,700 – $10,000
  • Kevlar: $5,000 – $30,000

Concrete is the cheapest and most weather-resistant material for storm shelters. Fiberglass can only be used in underground shelters. Kevlar is a recommended material for anti-ballistic shelters.

Additional Cost Factors to Consider

Besides materials and installation, some factors can affect the final price.

Shelter Brand

Different tornado shelter brands offer a variety of prices, models, materials and customization options. Ground Zero is a company that provides shelters across the country. They have a variety of prefabricated underground and above models and lifetime warranties. Their average prices go from $3,500 to $5,100. For customization options, you can opt for companies like Atlas Survival Shelters. Their prices range between $5,000 and $20,000.

Site Preparation

Your land or home preparation can take a big part of your budget. The average cost of excavation is around $3,200. The yard leveling average price is $2,000.


If you plan on constructing a tornado shelter, you must first check what permits your municipality mandates. The average cost of storm shelter permits is around $50 to $100. If your shelter has plumbing and electricity, this cost can get higher.


The accessibility of your storm shelter will affect its construction. And by that, its price. A shelter should be close to the house. The shelter should be less than 50 feet away in case of a quick tornado storm. Wheelchairs and limited mobility people access should also be considered.

Additional Features

Upgrading a shelter will affect the total price of the project. Plumbing costs range from $100 to $5,000. If you need to stay in the shelter long, consider beds and mattresses, which cost $300 to $400. Also, consider ventilation, with an average cost of $100 to $3,000. An emergency exit from the shelter can cost around $500 and $2,000.


The area where you buy and transport your storm shelter will affect its total price. The states of the “Tornado Alley” and hurricane-prone ones usually offer low delivery fees. The average delivery cost outside a manufacturer’s service area is around $2 to $10 per mile.


Hiring a general contractor for tornado shelters has an average cost of $50 to $100 per hour. An average tornado shelter can last from two to three hours to install. So expect to pay around $300 to $1,000 for the overall project.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Are tornado shelters worth it?

Yes. Tornado shelters and secure rooms are a valuable addition to your house. Mostly if you live in the Midwest or southern parts of the U.S. or anywhere prone to tornadoes or hurricanes. Shelters also protect your family and loved ones from home invasions.

What are the most popular tornado shelter brands?

A popular tornado shelter brand is Extreme Storm Shelters. They offer a variety of prefabricated Indoor, outdoor, above-ground, and underground models and limited lifetime warranties. Atlas Survival Shelters is also a popular storm shelter brand. They offer customization options.

What is the cheapest tornado shelter?

The price of the cheapest tornado shelter will depend on the material, size, location and land needs. Bed shelters are the most affordable, with an average price of $2,100 and $4,500. They hold from two to three people.