Pros and Cons of a Safe Room for Your Custom Home

December 8, 2020

When thinking about the features of your new custom home, some items will fall into the category of increasing aesthetic appeal, some will increase convenience, and others will provide a specific function, utility, or security value. A safe room is all about security and function and it’s a feature more homeowners are considering. Here are the pros and cons of a safe room for your custom home to help you determine if it’s a feature that makes sense for you:

What is a Safe Room?

A safe room is a reinforced room within a home that provides shelter and security from catastrophic weather events, fires, home invasions, or theft. A true safe room will be built to standards and guidelines laid out by FEMA.

Pros and Cons of a Safe Room for Your Custom Home

Here are some pros and cons of a safe room for your custom home to help you evaluate whether it’s right for you:

3 Pros of a Safe Room

A safe room can provide a lot of benefits to you and your family. Here are a few pros of a safe room:

1. A Safe Room Can Provide Peace of Mind

A safe room within a home provides a great deal of security, which also provides peace of mind. A safe room can help to provide added assurance of your family’s safety and well-being during external events that are outside of your control. When the highest level of home security is desired, a safe room is unparalleled at providing this benefit.

2. It Can be Built to Also be a Storm Shelter

A safe room can double as a storm shelter when it is constructed to FEMA standards. Depending on the geographic area in which you are building your custom home, extreme weather may be an issue that you will need to take into consideration for your family’s safety.

Additionally, many safe rooms are constructed to be fireproof. In areas that are prone or susceptible to fast-moving wildfires, a fireproof safe room can save lives when evacuation cannot occur fast enough to escape the danger of a raging fire.

3. Safe Rooms Have Flexible Placements

Safe rooms can be built above-ground or in-ground, which is below ground level. They can also be built into the home itself. Many safe rooms are located within the home’s basement level. However, a safe room can be built just about wherever you need it within your home plan.

For example, a secret entrance may be placed within a bedroom closet. They can also be built as above or below-ground detached structures that are outside of your home. This tends to be more common for storm-type shelters.

Safe rooms can also be built as separate structures adjacent to the home. The flexibility of the placement, layout, and design of a safe room is one of the benefits, as they can work with just about any custom home plan.

3 Cons of a Safe Room

In addition to benefits, there are some potential drawbacks to safe rooms as well. Here are a few cons of safe room:

1. A Safe Room Takes Up Space

Although safe rooms can be strategically placed just about anywhere in or adjacent to your home, it will still take up square footage in your home or your property lot. Depending on your lot size and home plan, a safe room could take up space that would have been otherwise available for other rooms or features within your new home.

You also have to determine how and where you will access a safe room. Typically, this means creating space for a hidden door of some kind. There are pros and cons of hidden doors as well, several of which overlap with the pros and cons of safe rooms. 

2. It Could be Unnecessary

A safe room may be unnecessary for your situation or for your area. If your area has a low crime rate or you’re not a conventional “target” for a home invasion or ransom types of crime, you may not need a safe room for security reasons. The same may be true if you opt for other types of home security measures that may be more than adequate.

If extreme weather is less of an issue in your geographic location and your lot is fairly protected, a safe room may be an unnecessary added expense to your home building project. In this case, a safe room might just take up space that could be used in a better way.

3. Safe Rooms Sometimes Use Materials That Can be Hard to Find

Due to the materials required for their construction, safe rooms will increase the building costs of your custom home. Furthermore, these materials can be hard to find and acquire, which can lead to an altered or extended timeline for your home building project.

The materials used in the construction of safe rooms can require additional installation considerations due to their physical properties and weight. This can also create extensions on the timeline of your building project if special equipment or additional crews are required for installation. It’s worth it if a safe room is necessary. But, if a safe room is more of a want than a need, this con is worth considering before you add a safe room into your home design.

Hidden rooms, whether they are a safe room or a comfortable getaway, are one of the popular custom home design ideas. Evaluating some of the pros and cons of a safe room for your custom home can help you determine if one is right for you.

For some homeowners, safe rooms are a necessity while their benefits may not outweigh the costs in some cases. Weighing the pros and cons along with your family’s needs and talking to your custom home builder can help you figure out whether to add a safe room to your custom home design.

Safe room or not, planning out a custom home can be a lot of work. Partnering with the right custom home builder can make it a lot easier, especially if they have a built-in design/build process. If you’re ready to get started on your custom home, give Custom Home Group a call at 717-284-4090. We would love to discuss all of the available options and ways we can make your dream home a reality!