Make Your Own Panic Room

Lead Image for Make Your Own Panic Room
  • 8-48 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 2500-25,000
What You'll Need
An adequate room in your house
Solid core door or metal door and jamb
Deadbolt or keyless deadbolt
Kevlar or plywood and chicken wire
Cell phone or ham radio
RV toilet
Microwave oven
Canned food and bottled water

Panic rooms have gained in popularity over the last decade. A panic room provides a bolt hole, or a hideaway, in your house where you can be safe, and secure. Be it from a home invasion, a tornado, hurricane, and other natural disasters. There are all kinds of panic rooms, and the most expensive can cost huge sums of money that’s beyond the budget of most individuals. However, you can make your own affordable panic room with the following do-it-yourself project:

Selecting The Right Room

Your panic room should ideally be on the ground floor of your house. Not only does it make access for you and your family easier, but it’s much safer if you’re using it as protection against extreme weather.

A large clothes closet makes an ideal panic room. There needs to be enough room for everyone and the room should have no windows. Consider, too, how long you’ll be in the room. If it’s a home invasion, it will only be a matter of an hour or two. With a natural disaster, it could be days.

Installing the Door

A panic room needs a very secure door. If you want a cheaper option then simply replace the standard hollow-core door with a solid core one and reinforce the hinges using longer screws before finishing off with an expensive deadbolt.

This will work if you’re on a tight budget. However, it’s much better to install a metal door and jamb with steel hinges. The door should have a built-in mortise lock or, even better, a Grade-1 keyless deadbolt. This will prevent any intruders from entering the room.

Securing the Walls

The best budget option is to line the walls with plywood over the drywall, attaching it with screws to the studs. This will offer a little extra protection but not to an optimal extent. You can also add chicken wire but the better options are lining the walls with steel or Kevlar which offers excellent protection against most intrusions or situations of adverse weather. Kevlar is also lightweight which is much better for the construction of a panic room. It’s available in rolls that you can attach to most walls with ease.

Setting Up Communications

Having a panic room is not enough. You need to be able to communicate with the outside world. Make sure you have a cell phone in there or use a buried landline or ham radio to keep you in touch with other people.

Adding Electricity And Toilet

You’ll need electricity in your panic room and you won’t be able to rely on the housing supply. That means you’re going to need a small generator in the room itself but you will need to make allowances for sufficient ventilation to an outside wall to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

You’ll also need, at the very least, a toilet. The simplest option for this application id to install an RV toilet.

Food and Drink

Make sure you have ample food and water in the panic room. You should allow a gallon of water per person per day. Food should be canned as this will last longer, but make sure you have can openers, plates, and utensils for everyone. For cooking, use a microwave oven hooked up to the generator.