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ClosetVaults / Storm Shelters / Storm Closets

U.S. Patent No. 5813174

ClosetVault is exactly what the name implies - a vault of closet size (strong room) which is intended to be built into its surroundings so that its presence and function are not noticeable. ClosetVault provides substantial walk-in space for storage of valuables and personal protection.

Because of its light weight, strong door and closure walls, modular design and assembly from within, it is easily assembled in existing "tight" spaces or in new construction. The unique glue, snap-in and screw construction, combined with very high strength to weight ratio, provides maximum flexibility for employing the product in a wide variety of environments and for a large number of purposes.

Storm Closet

Wall Construction (including floor and roof)

The secret behind ClosetVault's success is its unique cold-formed steel plank design which permits the solid, steel enclosure to be assembled completely from within the variable sized space it will occupy using snap-connectors, structural grade adhesive and screws in pre-punched holes. Inside plank flanges provide surfaces for screwing gypsum wallboard, paneling, or other finishes to the steel enclosure. The exterior is a solid steel plate surface which may be finished by the customer as desired. The finished and anchored vault will withstand 500 pounds of pressure per square foot and the forces produced by winds of 250 mph with a factor of safety of two.

U.S. Patent No. 5813174

Shelter wall construction

Door Construction

The concrete-filled, continuous hinged, bullet resistant, polished stainless steel door with pick-resistant lock is virtually impenetrable. The door is equipped with UL listed stainless steel panic type opening hardware, stainless steel exterior trim device, heavy duty continuous, stainless steel hinge, door closer, magnetic door switch, pick-resistant lock and peek hole.

The sturdy, stainless steel door, door jambs and header, which are factory-assembled into a single unit, are easily erected and can be placed anywhere on any of the walls. The door swings outward from ClosetVault. and left-hand or right-hand door swings are specified by the customer.

Front door to storm closet

Home Installation

Installing the ClosetVault is enjoyable and easy. It can be installed into an existing space since it can be completely constructed from the inside. The inside and outside walls of the ClosetVault can be finished to look just like a closet or small room. The polished stainless steel door looks good enough to go uncovered or is easily hidden by a bookcase. The ClosetVault can be assembled by an inexperienced person in one weekend. Most of the components even snap together! Erection of ClosetVault begins by:
  • Assembly of tubular frame constructed of 14 gauge square steel tube in the desired location.
  • Uniform, 20 gauge modular steel panels are erected to the tubular frame using screws and construction adhesive creating a six-sided enclosure consisting of uniformly thick walls, floor and roof or ceiling.
  • All fasteners and adhesive required for erection of ClosetVault are furnished with the kit.
  • Holes in all steel components for connection screws are factory-punched.
  • Steel panels are easily aligned for connection screws and assembled entirely from within the enclosure.
inside of shelter

Available Options

Tornado Door (TN-DOOR) (for StormCloset only)

Tornado door meeting FEMA 320 criteria, inward or outward swing (customer specified) -14 gage 2868 steel, flush, prime painted, prepared for hardware; 16 gage 2868 steel hinged jamb door frame, prepared for hardware 5 1/4" jamb depth (for 4 1/4" total finished wall thickness), multiple self-drilling, self tapping, No. 12 screw fastened "J" anchors designed to be installed after StormCloset walls are finished; 3 ball bearing, prime painted hinges, non-removable pins, Hager BB1168 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" USP; Falcon T521 lockset, Dane lever, satin chrome finished 3/4" latch bolt; 2 Falcon D441 deadlocks, satin chrome finished, ASA non-lipped plate. (All locks are keyed alike)

Lighting & Power Back-up System (LPOP-1)

Standard ClosetVault lighting is a 22 watt, UL listed, fluorescent light using a readily available FC8-T9 lamp. Fixture 9 1/2" in diameter with a soft white translucent diffuser and integral switch. Fixture is rated 1.6 amperes at 12 VDC. The standard ClosetVault power supply for lighting is 12VDC rated at 2.5 amperes continuous. Back-up power is provided by dual 7.0 amp-hour rechargeable batteries expected to independently operate lighting for approximately 7 hours when fully charged. The ClosetVault power supply normally operates from standard 120 volt building power. In the event of building power failure, change over back-up power is automatic and instantaneous.

inside of storm shelter

Six Zone Alarm System (AOP-1)

The ClosetVault alarm system is a standard 6 zone system with keypad control and a fully independent battery back-up. The system is designed to monitor the ClosetVault, AC power, and telephone line connection. System may be used to monitor portions of the premises beyond the ClosetVault with additional low-voltage wiring if desired. The alarm system is designed to be remotely monitored by means of an integral digital communicator via the standard premises telephone line (special line not required). System is preprogrammed to monitor intrusion, AC power, battery failure, panic alarm (manually activated), medical emergency (manually activated), fire emergency (manually activated) and an optional smoke detector.

The ClosetVault alarm system is fully expandable with additional keypads, additional monitoring points, motion detectors, smoke and heat detectors, etc. to the extent desired by the owner. An optional cellular telephone back-up is available to provide emergency signaling in the event of telephone line failure or tampering.

Cellular Telephone Back-up (CTOP-1)

The cellular telephone back-up system automatically switches the ClosetVault alarm reporting system and all premise phones on same line to cellular operation when the telephone line is cut or otherwise becomes inoperative. It has a UL Supplemental alarm listing.

It operates by monitoring voltage and current on the incoming normal telephone company (Telco) line to identify a line fault condition when the Telco line is cut or becomes inoperative for some reason. It also provides a relay output with two selectable delay times for tripping the ClosetVault alarm system so that it can report the line fault to the alarm monitoring center over the cellular system.

The cellular back-up system automatically switches the ClosetVault alarm system's digital signaling to transmit over the cellular link when a line fault or loss is identified. As an added back-up, it also switches the alarm system to cellular when the alarm dialer does not complete the transmission over a "good" but degraded Telco line after a preset number of attempts. The cellular back-up automatically (after waiting for any transmission over cellular to be completed) switches back to the normal Telco line upon line restoration.

Simple Installation:

  • The cellular back-up is fully compatible with the ClosetVault alarm system which uses standard digital transmission methods on either the normal dial-up phone line or the cellular back-up system.

  • The system has built-in signal strength indication for measuring cellular signal strength during installation. Six on-board LED's permit fast antenna placement for best cellular reception and there are ten LED's available for system installation aid for trouble shooting.

  • Included with the cellular telephone back-up system operating instructions is an application for a special cellular service rate plan, SERVICELL, which requires a small one-time activation fee and a low annual subscription fee. (SERVICELL may not be available in all areas of the U.S.)
Combination Lockset (CLOP-1)

The standard ClosetVault lockset is a military grade, resettable combination door knob and lock that is frequently used on military bases to guard the most sensitive areas. While its security and toughness meets the most stringent of military requirements, with its lever actuated handle it allows the easiest of access to even those authorized persons of limited strength. The push-button combination operation is simplicity itself with no hard to see numbers on barely visible vault knobs and certainly no door keys to be lost or duplicated. With this locking system, the door is combination accessible from the outside with free and easy exit from the inside.

Shock Sensor (SSOP-1)

The ClosetVault alarm system offers an optional door frame mounted shock sensor for detecting attempted break-ins. The ClosetVault shock sensor is a patented, solid-state piezoelectric device that is entirely self contained for simple connection to the basic ClosetVault alarm system. It is intended to detect attacks on your ClosetVault door, door frame and enclosure walls by measuring both shock frequency and amplitude. It is completely immune to low frequency vibration (the most common source of false alarms) for the most reliable and trouble-free operation possible.

Smoke Detector (SMOP-1)

The ClosetVault alarm system is easily expanded to provide fire and smoke detection. Detectors can be placed within the ClosetVault as well as throughout the building and premises. The SMOP-1 is a system compatible, ionization smoke detector designed to detect smoke concentration down to 1.5% per foot. The detector is equipped with alarm indicating LED's and is easily tested by the owner without extra equipment.

Why Should I get a Storm Closet?


Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $9.4 billion annually. When paneled with fire-rated gypsum wall board, ClosetVault provides one or more hours of fire resistance. Heat-activated, UL listed vent to outside of enclosure is automatically closed in the event of fire.

Natural Disaster

Each year 1,100 tornadoes touch down nationwide resulting in 120 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries a year. The safest part of most houses during a tornado is in an inside room on the first floor or basement. Small, closed-in spaces resist damage best and a closet or windowless bathroom is the safest shelter if you have no basement.

The largest cause of death and injury from tornadoes and hurricanes is impact by wind-driven debris.In large missile impact tests ClosetVault exceeded U.L. and Dade County (Florida) hurricane requirements for external protective devices by a factor of three. The ClosetVault is the answer to your need for shelter during a storm. The ClosetVault can withstand up to 400 mph winds and pressures of 500 pounds per square foot. That's better protection for you and your family.

News Flash: StormCloset and ClosetVault Pass Tough FEMA Tornado and Hurricane Tests!

On November 2, 1999 StormCloset and ClosetVault successfully passed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) rigid test requirements for above-ground, in-residence tornado and hurricane shelters. These tests were conducted in the laboratory of the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Exterior surfaces of StormCloset and ClosetVault, including walls and doors, were impacted by 15 pound 2x4 boards fired from an air cannon at 100 miles per hour! Roof surfaces and roof air vents were impacted by 15 pound 2x4's at 67 miles per hour in accordance with FEMA's Interim Guidelines for Occupant Protection, TRS-83A. StormCloset and ClosetVault are designed to withstand FEMA's required design wind pressures, those resulting from a 250 mph wind, with a minimum factor of safety of two against structural failure, uplift or overturning.


An intruder in your home can not hurt you if he can not find you. The ClosetVault offers a secret place of refuge and the means by which to alert the authorities. Even if an intruder knew where you were, he could not get to you before the police got to him. The ClosetVault is the answer to your need for a safe-haven in an emergency situation.

Safe Keeping

Valuable collectibles such as antiques, guns, paintings, art, musical instruments and even stamp collections need to be stored in a safe yet temperature-controlled environment. The options available today like gun safes and safety deposit boxes offer a small degree of protection, but have definite disadvantages to the ClosetVault. Since the ClosetVault can be built-into your own home, it is a convenient alternative to a safety deposit box that is only available to you at certain times. And, unlike the average gun safe, the temperature in the ClosetVault is easily controlled to best protect the things you treasure.

Commonly Asked Questions About ClosetVault® and StormCloset®

By Jim Waller, president of Remagen Corporation.

Q. Is ClosetVault fire-proof?

A. ClosetVault is fire resistant. When assembled and finished with gypsum wallboard (a.k.a. sheetrock or drywall) in accordance with Remagen's recommendations ClosetVault will have a 1-hour fire rating when finished with one layer of 5/8" Type X (fire code) gypsum wallboard screwed to the inside and outside of the steel panels. A 2-hour fire rating is obtained by screwing a second layer of 5/8" gypsum wallboard onto the first layer of wallboard, based on extrapolation of test data from UL tests of similar assemblies.

Q. Can't you get this fire resistance using just 2x4 wood studs and gypsum wallboard?

A. Gypsum wallboard-faced wood or metal stud wall assemblies have been given fire ratings by various laboratories, insurers, and code enforcement agencies. Gypsum resists fire by releasing water when exposed to high temperatures. However, during a fire, portions of a structure may collapse, penetrating the walls or ceiling which have no solid steel enclosure under the wallboard such as that which encloses all interior surfaces of ClosetVault. Once an opening is made in the enclosure surface, fire resistance is lost.

Q. What type of material are the walls, floor, and ceiling of ClosetVault and StormCloset made of?

A. 20 gauge, cold-rolled, zinc annealed steel. The door, jambs, and header are constructed of 18 gauge polished stainless steel. The StormCloset unit becomes a FEMA certified above ground tornado shelter when the walls are covered by Remagen's High Velocity Impact Sheild. The walls and ceiling can be finished with gypsum wallboard to obtain fire resistance.

Q. What about the door?

A. The door is constructed of 18 gauge polished stainless steel panels and is filled with a glass fiber-reinforced, insulating concrete. The door is slightly over 1 3/4" thick. Commercially available 1 3/4" thick, Class B (1 1/2-hour) fire-rated doors have 20 gauge plain steel panels with either cardboard honeycomb or polystyrene fill. ClosetVault doors are pre-hung with welded 14 gauge, continuous (piano type) stainless steel hinge with 1/4" diameter continuous un-removable stainless steel hinge pin to prevent unhinging of the door by burglars. The continuous hinge performs much better than standard hinges during a fire.

Q.What temperature fire will ClosetVault resist?

A. When finished per Remagen's recommendations to have a 1-hour fire rating, ClosetVault will withstand 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit; a two-hour fire rated assembly will withstand 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. Assemblies meeting either 1-hour or 2-hour requirements and which can be occupied must also withstand a flash fire of 2,000 degrees for 30 minutes and be subjected to a 30 psi cold water fire hose stream during the fire. These ratings also limit the temperature inside ClosetVault to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest inside temperature for listed gun safes and vaults is 350 degrees Fahrenheit. So, Closetvault provides better fire protection to contents than is required for gun safes and vaults. Note: paper ignites at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q. Do you include the gypsum wallboard?

A. No. Fire-rated gypsum wallboard is available from nearly every local building supply store. These stores deal in large quantities of this material and can supply you much more cheaply than we could ship it to you.

Q. Can other interior finishes such as paneling be used and still have fire resistance?

A. Yes, as long as the finish material is placed over the fire rated gypsum wallboard.

Q. What is included when I buy ClosetVault without the options?

A. All steel portions of the enclosure are provided, including adhesive, screws and anchoring hardware. The stainless steel door, jambs, and header, preassembled with Medeco lock, outside lever, inside panic opening device, door closer, door strike and stops, magnetic door switch, and peekhole, and a UL listed fire-damped vent are also furnished with the kit. If the optional Combination Lockset is ordered, it is shipped installed.

Q. Are the alarm, Telguard, and battery-backed up fluorescent light part of the basic kit?

A. No. Each of these is one of the several options which are listed in our brochures.

Q. Can I get a smaller (or larger) size ClosetVault?

A. Remagen furnishes two basic sizes of ClosetVault. Special sizes are available by special order. The minimum width required for the door assembly is 4 feet (48"). Other wall lengths may be purchased in 8" increments of width. Multiple units may be placed together. For example, two 7'-4" square units could be placed side by side to form a 7'-4" x 15'-2" long enclosure (6" are added by the double 3" steel tube frames). If only one door is required, the cost would be approximately 49% more to double the size of the vault.

Q. Why would I need an alarm or the Telguard system?

A. ClosetVault is designed to slow down unauthorized entry. Just as no ship is unsinkable, ClosetVault is not burglar-proof. But, a burglar would be slowed down; and the greatest enemy of burglars is loss of speed in entering, stealing, and getting away. The alarm would notify police while he labored to gain entry (with the Telguard system police would be notified even if the burglar had cut the phone lines; if you were inside you could describe to the police exactly what was happening, too)

Q. Can I hook up ClosetVault's sensors (or the Telguard system) to my existing house or business alarm system?

A. Yes. The sensors which we furnish are compatible with most commercially available security systems. The Telguard system will work with any domestic telephone system and is not dependent upon the signals it transmits. However, ClosetVault must be located in an area where cellular phone service is available and the antenna must be properly located to transmit and receive cellular signals. Telguard also backs up all telephones on the premises which are connected to it.

Q. What wind velocity will ClosetVault withstand?

A. ClosetVault has been designed to sustain pressures of 500 pounds per square foot ( the pressure caused by a 400 mph wind on the exposed surface.)Wind speeds rarely exceed 200 mph in the U.S. except during F4 and F5 tornados, where maximum speeds can reach 360 mph.

Q. Will ClosetVault and StormCloset provide protection from a tornado or hurricane?

A. Yes. ClosetVault and StormCloset successfully passed the large missile impact tests for tornado shelters at the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University. In testing, they resisted impacts of 15 pound 2x4 boards traveling at 100 mph. This meets FEMA requirements for Tornado Shelters and exceeds FEMA Hurricane Shelter specifications in accordance with FEMA's Interim Guidelines for Occupant Protection, TRS-83A.

Q. Has Remagen done any other tests that demonstrate the strength and resistance of the ClosetVault and StormCloset?

A. Yes. Remagen has subjected the ClosetVault and StormCloset to several tests that show just how strong these enclosures are. These additional tests included felling an 18" diameter live hickory tree on the vault and, repeatedly dropping heavy metal scrap on the enclosure roof from a height of 20 feet. A mini-van was dropped on the structure, and finally, a side panel was impacted by a 5,000 pound scrap yard magnet. The same vault unit was used in all these additional tests, and it was not penetrated at any time. A video tape is available from Remagen showing these tests. Call toll free 1-888-397-7142. There is a $10.00 charge for postage and handling.

Q. Can I control Closetvault's environment to be the same as in my home?

A. Yes. ClosetVault is furnished with a fire-damped vent which permits heating, cooling, or forced air ventilation to be provided to the interior of ClosetVault. Since ClosetVault is a room which can be occupied, provisions for electrical wall outlets are required. Therefore, dehumidifiers or other appliances may be operated within the enclosure. This permits greater temperature and humidity control than is available for even gun safes.

Q. Can ClosetVault be installed upstairs in buildings?

A. Yes. ClosetVault was designed to provide great strength with the least amount of weight. Therefore, its finished weight is approximately one-half of the allowable load for residential occupancies (40% of the minimum floor design load for office occupancies). Models are available for anchoring to concrete floor slabs and for installation in upper floor wood frame construction.

Q. Can ClosetVault be erected in new buildings?

A. Yes, ClosetVault can be built into new or existing buildings. Because it is assembled entirely from within the enclosure, ClosetVault may be built into existing closet space. It may also become a separate room which is accessible through a broom closet, for example so as to hide the door. Its flexibility lends it to virtually all situations.

Q. How does ClosetVault's price compare to that of a gun safe?

A. ClosetVault space costs five to seven times less per cubic foot than that of gun safes.

Q. Can I get locked in ClosetVault?

A. No. The locking system can only keep someone from opening the door from the outside.

Q. Do you (Remagen Corporation) install ClosetVault?

A. ClosetVault is simple enough to be installed by anyone with some basic home maintenance skills and the kit is furnished with illustrated assembly and installation instructions. However, Remagen's dealers do install ClosetVault and StormCloset.

Q. Can I put insulation in the cavities of the steel enclosure panels?

A. Yes. This also increases the fire rating by 15 minutes.

Q. Can I buy the door assembly only and put it into a steel-reinforced block enclosure?

A. Yes. Remagen sells the door separately. For slightly more than twice the cost of ClosetVault you can build a reinforced block and concrete enclosure and mount Remagen's door in the opening. But, it is quite impractical (and perhaps prohibitively expensive) to build a steel-reinforced concrete block vault in an upstairs location or in an existing building.

Q. Is the adhesive furnished to assemble ClosetVault environmentally safe?

A. Yes. The adhesive furnished is approved by the FDA for use in food-handling equipment.

Q. Can I use ClosetVault for a cooler?

A. Yes. The 3" wall space available for placing insulation batts would allow its use as a cooler, provided door seals were installed. The local building official should be consulted before using ClosetVault for a refrigerator room. Sometimes, special provisions are required for these types of enclosures in certain locales. ClosetVault probably meets the physical requirements because of the panic type exit device on the door. Additional electrical requirements may be involved. You can rest assured that the contents would be much less accessible to unauthorized persons.

Q. Do I need to install a threshold under the door to get the fire rating?

A. No. However, there is sufficient space to install a threshold if it is desired.

Q. Will ClosetVault provide protection from lightning?

A. Yes. The steel enclosure behaves as a "Faraday Box," an enclosure which shields the interior from ionization from the outside, acting similar to the skin of an automobile or aircraft in shielding occupants from lightning.

Q. Do I need to provide special grounding for ClosetVault to get protection from lightning?

A. No. ClosetVault and its 110 volt circuits are required to be grounded to the "house ground." Electricians know how to do this. An automobile provides protection from lightning and it is not grounded. However, if it makes you feel more comfortable, additional grounding can be provided.

Q. Is ClosetVault ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible?

A. Yes. However, local building officials should be consulted regarding accessibility requirements for the local area. The door and all hardware meet the requirements of ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities. This applies to public facilities only.

Q. If ClosetVault is so light-weight what's to keep someone from lifting it up and placing it and its contents on a flatbed truck?

A. When anchored in accordance with Remagen's recommendations, ClosetVault is able to resist 25,000 pounds of uplift. Also, ClosetVault is typically a part of the building and not a box sitting out where it could be moved or attached to by lifting devices.

Q. Do I have to drill holes to install screws when assembling ClosetVault?

A. No. All holes are pre-punched in the steel frames and panels. This assures proper screw placement; all holes provided are to have screws connecting the members. A manual, electric, or pneumatic ratchet with socket is all that is needed to drive the self-tapping screws.

Q. How is electrical wiring routed through the walls and ceiling?

A. Matching 7/8" diameter holes are located in all steel tubes and enclosure panels so that 3/4" flexible conduit can be routed throughout the enclosure.

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