Are Garage Storm Shelters Safe?
March 14, 2024

Garage storm shelters are structures designed to provide a haven for individuals during severe weather events, such as tornadoes or hurricanes. These shelters are typically installed in or near the garage area of a residential property, making them easily accessible to homeowners.

However, before homeowners invest in these safety measures, they should consider several important questions, such as:

  • Are garage storm shelters safe?
  • What are they made of?
  • How durable are they?
  • How much are garage storm shelters?
  • Are they accessible and convenient?
  • Is there room for customization?
  • What are their pros and cons?
  • Are they better than standard safe rooms?

Answering these questions is crucial for homeowners to make an informed choice. We’ll cover these questions and more in the discussion below.

How Safe are Storm Shelters in a Garage?

Garage storm shelters aim to offer protection during severe weather. However, it is important to note that their safety depends on crucial factors like construction quality and garage integrity since these structures are attached to your garage.

They may lack the customization and engineering standards of dedicated safe rooms, potentially compromising their effectiveness. Safe rooms, on the other hand, surpass garage shelters in FEMA compliance, ventilation, and durability, providing superior safety during storms. Investing in a dedicated safe room ensures optimal protection and peace of mind during extreme weather events.

To determine if garage storm shelters are safe, homeowners should consider several crucial factors, including materials used, durability, and installation.

Materials Used During Construction

  • Steel: Many garage storm shelters are constructed using steel, which offers strength and durability. The steel panels are often reinforced to withstand the impact of debris and high winds during severe weather.
  • Concrete: Some garage storm shelters incorporate concrete walls and ceilings for strength. Reinforced concrete can provide excellent protection against extreme weather conditions.


  • Impact Resistance: Garage storm shelters are designed to be impact-resistant to protect occupants from flying debris and high-speed winds associated with storms. The durability of these shelters depends on the quality of materials and construction standards.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Steel components may be treated to resist corrosion, ensuring the long-term durability of the shelter, especially in humid or coastal areas prone to salt exposure.


  • In-Garage Installation: Garage storm shelters are typically installed within the garage space or close to it. This proximity allows for quick and convenient access during emergencies.
  • Foundation: Proper installation often requires a solid foundation, which may involve excavation and placement on a concrete slab or footing. The installation process varies depending on the specific design and manufacturer.


The ventilation systems installed in storm shelters on the garage floor impact your comfort while taking shelter in these structures. Some units include high-end ventilation systems to ensure a fresh air supply for occupants during extended periods of use. Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining a comfortable and safe environment inside the shelter.

Pros and Cons of Garage Storm Shelters

Storm shelters in a garage have advantages and disadvantages. You should pay attention to these details before investing in these safe havens.

Consider the following benefits:

  1. Accessibility: Garage storm shelters are easily accessible within or near the home, allowing for quick entry during emergencies.
  2. Versatility: They can serve a dual purpose, providing shelter during storms while serving as a traditional garage or storage space during calmer times.
  3. Customization: While not as customizable as some safe room options, garage storm shelters may offer options for size and features.

Here are the cons of opting for this type of shelter:

  1. Limited Customization: Compared to dedicated safe rooms, garage storm shelters may have fewer customization options in size, layout, and additional features.
  2. Ventilation Challenges: Depending on the design, some garage storm shelters may face challenges in maintaining proper ventilation, potentially leading to discomfort during prolonged use.
  3. Dependency on Garage Structure: The effectiveness of a garage storm shelter is closely tied to the structural integrity of the garage itself, and any compromise in the garage’s structure may impact the shelter’s performance.

It’s crucial for homeowners to carefully consider the pros and cons of garage storm shelters based on their specific needs, location, and preferences before investing in such safety structures.

Garage Storm Shelters vs. Dedicated Safe Rooms

When comparing safe rooms with garage storm shelters, several factors make safe rooms a superior choice, especially during the hurricane season in Texas.

Here are some key points to remember:

Engineering and Construction Standards

Safe rooms, like those provided by Lone Star Safe Rooms, are designed and constructed to meet or exceed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards. This ensures that the safe rooms are built to withstand the impact of severe storms and hurricanes.

Garage storm shelters, on the other hand, may not always adhere to the same rigorous engineering standards. The quality and durability of construction materials can vary, potentially compromising the overall safety of the shelter.

Accessibility and Convenience

Safe rooms are typically designed with essential features, making them easily accessible within a home. This means that residents can quickly reach the safe room without going outside, making it more convenient during the fast-paced and chaotic situations that often accompany severe weather events.

In contrast, garage storm shelters may require residents to go outside into a separate structure, which can be challenging and risky during extreme weather conditions. Safe rooms integrated into the home offer higher accessibility and safety.

Ventilation and Comfort

Safe rooms often incorporate ventilation systems to ensure a continuous supply of fresh air during an emergency. This is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and safe environment inside the shelter, especially during prolonged storm activity.

Garage storm shelters may lack adequate ventilation systems, leading to discomfort and potential health issues due to poor air quality. Lone Star Safe Rooms prioritizes the well-being of occupants by incorporating effective ventilation solutions.

Customization and Design

Safe rooms can be customized to fit homeowners’ specific needs and preferences. This includes options for size, layout, and additional features. Garage storm shelters are often more standardized and may not offer the same level of customization.

Durability and Longevity

Safe rooms are built with high-quality materials and craftsmanship, ensuring durability and longevity. This is essential for understanding the harsh conditions often associated with hurricane season in Texas. On the other hand, garage storm shelters may not always have the same level of durability, potentially leading to wear and tear over time.

Choose Superior Protection with Lone Star Safe Rooms

Highlighting these points, it is easy to see the advantages of Lone Star Safe Rooms over generic garage storm shelters. During construction, our team emphasizes the superior safety and reliability of our shelters, providing security and peace of mind during the hurricane season in Texas.