The idea of having a concealed space inside a home is becoming more appealing due to the rising number of threats. Having a hidden panic room protects from thieves, home invaders, and other criminal elements and keeps occupants safe. During a time of crisis, you can shelter in a panic room and stay until the threat is gone or neutralized.
The idea of having a panic room sounds great on paper. However, these rooms are often too expensive for the average homeowner. Many panic rooms we see online have complicated systems and bank-like vaults, making panic rooms a huge investment.
However, there is a creative solution that can help reduce costs significantly. SOSS dives deeper into this innovative solution so homeowners, architects, and contractors can incorporate the concepts into upcoming projects.
Panic Rooms Vs. Hidden Rooms
Is there a big difference between hidden rooms and panic rooms? In most cases, a panic room is a type of hidden room. The location of the room is known only to the occupants. Other types of hidden rooms can be used for entertainment. However, a panic room’s purpose is solely to shelter families during moments of crisis.
While many panic rooms are hidden, some are not. For example, panic rooms for natural disasters may be out in the open. Since the homeowner’s priority is protection from severe weather, the hidden aspect is not important.
So, what makes a panic room distinct from other types of hidden rooms? Here are key features to consider.
- Reinforced Construction: Panic rooms have walls that can withstand physical attacks. Most American homes use drywall, but these hidden rooms have reinforced concrete. Some even have walls made of complete metal for extra protection. As an alternative, you could use heavy-duty plywood such as ½ inch plywood reinforced with studs, which would be very difficult to get through in shorter time periods.
- Secure Entryway: Hulking vault doors and passcode systems are usually incorporated in modern panic rooms. However, a panic room can have any kind of secure entry. So long as it can let in occupants and keep out intruders, then it’s considered secure. There is no need for complicated entry mechanisms.
- Ventilation: Occupants may need to stay for a few hours — or even days — inside a panic room. Due to the limited space, a ventilation system is essential to provide fresh air and keep occupants from suffocating.
- Means for Communication: Occupants will need to have a way to remain connected to the outside world. Panic rooms can have landlines or signal boosters for this purpose.
- Accessible for All: Builders usually place the panic room in a central location. That way, everyone can easily reach it during an emergency.
Reasons Why People Want a Panic Room
Even though panic rooms can be expensive, a considerable number of homeowners still want one. Here are a few reasons for the appeal.
A Safe Haven for Families
In areas with high crime rates, a panic room can serve as a shelter for occupants. Thieves, trespassers, and other criminals can threaten the lives of families. With a panic room, the latter can get another level of protection.
Sanctuary From Severe Weather
Panic rooms are also ideal for those in Tornado Alley and locations prone to hurricanes. Since the walls are reinforced, winds won’t easily enter and wreak havoc. There are even types of panic rooms that can withstand earthquakes.
Can Act as a Deterrent
Simply having a panic room can be a deterrent to criminals. They know that occupants can easily hide and even call for help, making them less likely to attack the property.
A homeowner can gain peace of mind knowing that there is a place where their family can be safe. This mindset may help reduce stress and anxiety.
Panic Rooms Can Be Too Expensive
While panic rooms have a lot of advantages, few American homes have one. Here are a few reasons why panic rooms may seem too costly for most people.
The pricing of the components of a panic room can quickly add up. For example, bank-like vaults may cost thousands of dollars. Panic rooms that use passcode mechanisms are expensive as well. Further, homeowners must consider additional factors like landlines and ventilation systems.
Unlike the cheaper drywalls used in most American homes, the walls of panic rooms should be stronger and more durable. Purpose-made panic rooms usually have reinforced concrete, which has steel and other components that are significantly costlier than other materials.
3. Security Features
More advanced or luxurious types of panic rooms have their own security features. Components like a CCTV network, signal boosters, and keyless entries all increase the cost.
An Affordable Approach to Designing and Building Panic Rooms
There is a creative way to get around the huge expense of panic rooms. Consider the features of the costly ones: bank-like vaults, passcode entries, etc. These are all too visible, increasing the need for robust, impenetrable walls.
What if there is a way to conceal panic rooms, making them truly hidden? This solution removes the need for over-the-top entryways, reducing the expense. An invisible panic room already takes away 50% of the effort to make it secure — intruders won’t be able to find it, reducing the need for thick, reinforced walls.
Architects and contractors only need to be creative to effectively hide the panic room. One sure way is by using invisible hinges. These can completely hide the conjunction of a door and a wall, making it harder for criminals to spot the hidden room. They won’t see where the pin is located, unlike in traditional hinges.
If a homeowner can use invisible hinges, they can easily transform a regular room into a panic room. No need to invest in reinforced concrete or heavy vault doors. So long as the entryway is unseen, the occupants can remain safe.
What About the Reveal Line?
There is one thing that may tip off criminals that a panel is actually a hidden door: the reveal line. This line is the clean gap that allows the door to swing. While invisible hinges can come close to completely closing the gap, the line remains visible. It will only take one detail-oriented thief or intruder to see it.
How to solve the reveal line issue? You can simply add molding or trim over it. Easy, right? Not quite. The door may jam because of the molding, making it harder for occupants to enter the room.
You need an invisible hinge that can counteract all the aforementioned issues. At SOSS, we’ve designed a hinge that does just that.
The 518 Wrap-Around Invisible Hinge
We’ve engineered the 518 Wrap-Around Invisible Hinge to wrap around molding and trim. It does this by projecting the door away during opening, removing contact between the panel and the molding. With this design, contractors can hide the reveal line effortlessly. Homeowners won’t have to worry about a door that stalls or refuses to open during an emergency scenario.
Final Thoughts on Designing Affordable Panic Rooms
A panic room serves as shelter during emergencies. Having one helps protect families from criminals and natural disasters, bringing safety and peace of mind. However, modern panic rooms are expensive to design and install, which is why innovative solutions like invisible hinges like the 518 Wrap-Around Invisible Hinge are important. They can help create completely hidden entryways, removing the need for huge vaults or passcode systems.
To learn more about panic rooms, our invisible hinges, and related topics, reach out to us today. You can also browse our collection for high-quality invisible hinges.
How expensive are panic rooms?
In general, the cost of a purpose-made panic room can start at $40,000. The amount will increase depending on additional features the homeowner wants. However, architects and designers can offset the expenses by using cost-effective solutions. Invisible hinges, for example, can hide entryways and remove the need for fortified doors and more expensive bank vault like panic rooms.
Should I go DIY when installing invisible hinges?
You can follow the DIY route. However, it will take a lot of effort, and you may not have the right tools and skill set to do things correctly. Errors could result in costly replacements or an ineffective installation. To ensure that things go right the first time, we recommend working with a trusted contractor when installing specialized hinges. If you want to install SOSS hinges on your own please watch this SOSS hinge installation video.
What part of the house should have the panic room?
In general, the ideal place for a panic room is a central area. However, homeowners can put it anywhere that’s easily accessible to everyone. When planning the location, make sure that it’s accessible for each family member, particularly people with disabilities and the elderly.