How much does a bunker cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a bunker cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a bunker cost?

$200 – $400average cost per square foot
$40,000 – $80,000average installed cost (200 square feet)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$200 – $400 average cost per square foot

$40,000 – $80,000 average installed cost (200 square feet)


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Tara Farmer
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Kristen Cramer

Average underground bunker cost

Building an underground bunker costs $200 to $400 per square foot or $40,000 to $80,000 total on average. Large, luxury doomsday bunkers cost $9 million or more. People typically build bunkers to withstand serious disasters like nuclear fallout or bombs, but some use them for natural disasters like tornadoes.

Average cost to build a bunker - chart
Average cost to build a bunker - chart
Average cost to build a bunker
National Average Cost $60,000
Minimum Cost $20,000
Maximum Cost $9,000,000
Average Range $40,000 to $80,000

An underground bunker, also known as a bomb shelter or fallout shelter, is a structure designed to provide safety from nuclear radiation or physical attacks. Bunkers were more common during WWII and the Cold War but are now gaining popularity again.

Get free estimates from storm shelter installers near you.

Bomb shelter cost by size

Most economy or standard bunkers are 100 to 400 square feet in size, while some high-end shelters are larger than the average house and have amenities like swimming pools and bowling alleys.

Professional bunker installation companies typically include an emergency escape hatch, kitchen, bathroom, lighting, filtration system, and a bunk bed—depending on the size and model. Some come with extras like a decontamination room, solar generator, and extra storage.

Bomb shelter cost by size
Size (square feet) Average installed cost
100 $20,000 – $40,000
200 $40,000 – $80,000
300 $60,000 – $120,000
400 $80,000 – $160,000
500 $100,000 – $200,000
1,000 $200,000 – $400,000

Fallout shelter cost factors

The following factors affect the cost to install a fallout shelter or bunker:

  • Prefab vs. custom: Most bunker companies manufacture prefabricated units, but you can also hire a contractor to build one from scratch. Prefab bunkers typically cost less than custom work and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

  • Delivery: If you buy a prefab bunker, you may have to pay $1,000 to $10,000 extra for delivery. Some companies offer free shipping or build it into their pricing.

  • Reinforcement: Most bunkers use a simple steel shell or shipping container for walls. Some choose to encase the shell in concrete for extra durability. Concrete walls cost $15 to $40 per square foot or $90 to $320 per linear foot.

  • Above-ground vs. underground: An above-ground shelter typically costs less than an underground shelter but doesn’t provide as much protection against radiation or bombs.

    • A storm shelter costs $3,000 to $12,000+ if built above ground or $4,000 to $20,000+ below ground.

    • An above-ground indoor safe room costs $3,600 to $11,200, depending on the size and materials. Most safe rooms are prefabricated and made of steel.

  • Permit: Building permits cost $500 to $2,000 for large construction projects. Ask your installer if they’ll cover the permit for you.

Labor

The labor cost for installing a bunker varies depending on your location and the scope of the project. Many prefab companies include excavation and installation costs in their pricing.

Bunker installation costs
Project Average installed cost
Excavation costs $1,100 – $5,600
Tree removal costs $150 – $2,000
Gas line cost $360 – $740
Running electricity cost $1,200 – $7,100
Plumbing pipes cost $4 – $5 per square foot
Water heater cost $600 – $5,600
Septic tank cost $3,500 – $8,500
Appliances cost $2,500 – $6,800
Flooring cost $4 – $15 per square foot

Security

Adding security cameras and other related features can help you stay safe in dangerous situations:

An underground bunker with supply shelves
An underground bunker with supply shelves

Luxury upgrades

Some people consider bomb shelters temporary since you may only need them for a couple of weeks to avoid fallout from a nuclear incident. However, those who build full-on doomsday bunkers consider them long-term housing.

While long-term underground housing seems like an unlikely scenario, some people spend a lot of time and money preparing for any situation. Here are some features available in luxury bunkers:

Bunker FAQs

What is a bunker?

A bunker, also called a bomb shelter or fallout shelter, is an underground structure meant to withstand a major disaster. Most people build bare-bones bomb shelters and stock them with just enough to live there for a few days or weeks. Full-on doomsday bunkers, on the other hand, are a long-term solution.

Can I build a bomb shelter myself?

Bomb shelter builders use reinforced steel, concrete, or other durable materials to build bunkers as well as excavation equipment. While you could technically build one yourself, you run the risk of creating an unsafe structure. You’d also have to install complex filtration systems, septic systems, and some sort of power supply.

It takes a lot of work and experience to construct a quality bomb shelter safely and legally. Talk to a structural engineer near you for advice.

What kind of filters do bunkers use?

Bunker manufacturers use a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (or NBC) filter system for air. If you only need a shelter for natural disasters, or chemical and biological attacks instead of nuclear fallout, you may want to use a less-expensive HEPA filter.

For water, you’ll either need to have a large quantity of clean water stored in your shelter or a high-quality water filter.

How deep should I install an underground bunker?

Get free estimates from storm shelter installers near you.

In order to survive a nuclear blast, a bunker needs to be at least 3 to 5 feet underground. However, the exact depth depends on the size and type of disaster you’re anticipating.

Getting estimates from bunker installers

Before hiring a bomb shelter installer near you, follow these steps:

  • Compare 3+ similar bunker estimates.

  • Read customer reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Browse pictures of recent jobs if possible.

  • Choose a licensed, bonded, insured, and experienced company.

  • Avoid suspiciously low estimates.

  • Get a written estimate, contract, and warranty.

  • Only pay in full after they finish the job.

Questions to ask bomb shelter companies

Make sure you hire a high-quality bunker installer by asking the following questions:

  • What does this quote include?

  • How deep will you need to dig?

  • What kind of air filters do you use?

  • Does this include any appliances or fixtures?

  • Should I stay at home while you work?

  • Will you complete the plumbing and electrical work yourself?

  • Who do I contact if I have any issues afterward?

  • How do you make sure you avoid gas or power lines underground?

  • Can you add paint or install flooring, too?

  • How long will the project take?