The idea of a panic room has gained popularity over the last decade. It provides a bolt hole or a hideaway in your house where you can be secure from a home invasion or from 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:
Step 1 - 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 hour or two. With a natural disaster it could be days.
Step 2 - 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 entering the room.
Step 3 - 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 in the construction of a panic room. It’s available in rolls that you can attach it to walls with ease.
Step 4 - 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 land line or ham radio to keep you in touch with other people.
Step 5 - Adding Electricity And Toilet
You’ll need electricity in your panic room and you won’t be able to rely on the house supply. That means you’ll need a small generator in the room itself although you’ll need to make allowance for ventilation through an outside wall to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
You’ll also need, at the very least, a toilet. The simplest option for this will be a RV toilet.
Step 6 - 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.