Is A Crawl Space Safe During A Tornado

When you live in a specific location, you have a lot of things to consider when buying a home. In all cases, a home buyer is looking for the safest home possible, located in the safest area possible. In all cases, you cannot control what storms arrive in your location. However, you can always make your home as secure and prepared as possible. Finding the right combination of rooms, amenities, and safety options in a home can become complicated. Always remember that you can add anything to an existing home structure for safety. If you live in an area with high tornado frequencies, always consider the safety options for your home so that you are prepared for any storm. Is a crawl space safe during a tornado? It is a safe place based on closeness to the ground, however, it is not 100 percent safe.

Let’s take a look at some other options below for staying safe during a tornado.

A basement hatch gives the homeowner easy access into out of during a bad storm.
A basement hatch for tornado safety.

What Are My Options For Shelter During A Tornado

If you happen to own a home in a location where tornadoes are prevalent, then it is likely you have studied up on the best places to hide during a storm. When you are out buying a home you should always consider the many places in a home that can keep you safe. Additionally, in some cases, a home might have a safe room or a panic room already installed. It is a great idea to ask for the structural plans and even consult the homeowner when you purchase the home. Making sure that your family is safe should always be the top priority. Let’s take a look below at some of the recommended safe places to stay during a tornado and see if a crawl space is safe during a tornado.

  • Under the stairs – this is a safe place as it adds an extra layer of protection. Also, most homeowners will have a room created under the stairs with reinforced walls for extra protection.
  • In the basement – the lower you can get the safer you will be. A tornado may rip apart your home, but it cannot come under the ground. So, you are safe in the basement or other underground setup.
  • Closet space – walk-in closets are great because you have extra clothes that can provide added protection. Anything that can stop debris from falling on you is important. The closets that are furthest from any windows and the exterior walls of the home are the best.
  • Bathtubs – bathtubs are the safest place for tornado protection. You get a strong structure to support around you and the plumbing will add extra structural support to the walls. Also, you will not often have windows around your bathtub.

How Are Crawl Spaces Bad

Believe it or not, crawl spaces are a decent option for seeking shelter during a tornado. However, it is not the most recommended option. Because a crawl space is an area between the ground and bottom floor of your home, there is a lot of potentials for damage to be done and this could reduce your safety. Keep in mind that the plumbing and electrical that are connected below that first layer of your home are often exposed. If damage to the home occurs, these pipes could break and cause you to harm if you are in the crawl space.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you have an understanding of the best places to take shelter during a tornado, you can make an informed decision about what your home needs next. Keep in mind that in some cases a crawl space might be your only option. If this is the case, make sure that you have your crawl space cleaned out on a monthly basis. This will ensure that insects and rodents as well as debris are promptly removed, in the event that you need the space.

Next, if you feel there is air coming out of the attic, you may need to air seal it. You will also notice if you have more animals from the outside coming in, as well as a higher electric bill to name a few. To air seal it, you will need a lot of materials. However, it is not an easy task and will take some time. Hiring a professional may be the best bet in this case.

Lastly, if you are finding that you have condensation in the attic, this needs to be taken care of. You can do this by making sure the attic is sealed, the attic has good insulation and ventilation, and the bathroom and dryer vents are routed towards the outside.

Having concrete block does increase the safety of a crawl space.
Concrete block support around a crawl space.

When Do I Call A Professional

After you have purchased the home, you will want to ensure that your family has a plan of shelter in the event of a tornado. There are many places where tornados can and will occur and understanding the weather patterns for where you live is important. If you aren’t sure how strong your interior rooms of the home are, or even looking to beef up certain areas of the home, reach out to a local licensed contractor. In many cases, there are local tornado safety experts that can help. If you aren’t sure which room or area of the house to fortify, call on your local home inspection team. They can inspect the home and recommend the best areas to invest your money to beef up the safety of your home. Additionally, they can refer the most reputable licensed contractor to assist with your project.


Before you go and purchase a home in an area that has a prevalence of tornado storms, go ahead and ask about the home’s structural support. If you aren’t sure where the safest places are in the home, make sure to ask questions. The last thing that you want is to purchase a home that doesn’t have a strong tornado safety set-up. If you haven’t had time to speak to the previous homeowner, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect the home and recommend the best tornado safety options for your new home purchase. Call on Heartland Inspections services in greater Minneapolis St. Paul and surrounding areas for your home inspection needs.