How To Make A Safe Room in Your Home On A Budget

How To Make A Safe Room in Your Home On A Budget

How To Make A Safe Room in Your Home On A Budget

A budget safe room is by no means a state of the art panic room. However, that is not to say that it cannot be a substantial security improvement over your current accommodations. And when done properly, the security can be almost imperceptible from the outside of the locked door. With security you do get what you pay for, so the more you spend, the greater your base level of protection will be. But you can certainly make a safe room in your home on a budget.

Common Methods Of Compromise

When an assailant enters a home while the residents are still inside, it immediately increases the likelihood of violence. It is best to create distance between yourself and the criminal. But this may be difficult if they are intentionally seeking you out. Locking yourself in just any ordinary room within your home will not keep a determined attacker out. Much like considering an armored car, you must determine the likely types of risks you may encounter.

Door - Standard interior doors have hollow cores with very light wood construction. They are incredibly flimsy as they are intended to provide privacy rather than security. These types of doors will often be kicked clean through so that the interior door handle can be accessed.

Locks- Interior door locks are also intended for privacy more than security. If you use a standard latch bolt handle, the lock can be bypassed very quickly and even quietly. If you are worried about surreptitious entry, almost no door handle lock will provide you with the security you need.

Windows- Any glass boundaries that allow entry into a room can undermine any room’s security. The glass can either be broken significantly enough to create an entry point, or a small opening can be made to open a lock. If the locks on the windows are low-security, these may be manipulated without requiring the glass to be broken.

Room Security Upgrades

In order to make a safe room on a budget, you need to focus on preventing the success of the most common methods of interior room entry. If that basic level of protection is not enough, you should consider a more substantial investment in your security. These are the cheapest and most efficient upgrades you need.

Door- Hinges can easily be secured by replacing existing screws with three-inch screws that will bite into the stud. The same length of the screw should be used to secure the strike plate on the other side of the doorframe. The hinges and the strike are the most likely places on the door to give way during a kicking attack (once the door is strong enough not to break itself). The door must have a solid core. This will be more of an investment than the three-inch screws, but it is necessary. For even more security, you can invest in iron or even steel core doors.

Locks- You must have a deadbolt that is designed for high-security. And it should engage quickly with a thumbturn, or ever present key (the key should be removed during an emergency). The easier and faster you can lock the room, the safer you are. You may have to change locks if your current locks are not resistant to picking, lock bumping, drilling, and cutting. You do not want the bolt of the lock to break, or for the keyway to be compromised, so the lock must be internally complex and have hardened steel inserts if not a full hardened steel construction. Around the lock hardware, you should place a steel slipcover, to account for the weakness made in the door to drill the required holes for installation. If you are looking for the greatest amount of security, you must make room in your budget for a high-security lock.

Windows- Windows can be barred in the most extreme cases. It is relatively simple to do that work yourself. However, if you want more covert protection, you can purchase security film that installs similar to window tint. These products are available in a variety of prices with varying levels of protection. The strongest film will prevent the glass from shattering after being shot by an armed assailant. Criminals are more likely to get discouraged rather than to break windows protected in this way.

Getting Help

One of the biggest concerns with a safe room is the need to call out for help. Your budget fortress can only withstand so much. Even the best panic rooms will not last through a sizable assault. So you must have a way to contact the authorities for assistance. If you plan to use a cell phone, it is best to have a dedicated panic phone. This is a phone that will remain charged and never leave the room. You do not need to pay for any type of coverage because emergency calls do not require any payment plan. As long as the phone has reception and a charge, you can always call the police. 

If you have an issue with getting cell reception within the room, you can invest in a satellite phone. In cases where the concern is kidnapping, you may even want to look into a personal safety tracker system. Many people will choose to keep a gun or weapon and seek this out as a means of getting help. It is important that you do not only rely solely on a firearm or some other weaponry, as gaining access to these devices takes time (especially if they are not loaded and/or in a safe). No matter what type of help you are trying to get, your room security upgrades must give you at least enough time for help to arrive.


When it comes to budget safe rooms, a viable solution does exist for normal threat levels. However, if you require a more professional and bespoke Safe Room for a property please Contact Us. ETS Risk Management are subject matter experts in residential security and able to provide clients bespoke solutions tailored to risk and budget.