How To Build a Tunnel from House to Garage: Escape Unseen

It’s a dream come true for survivalists, preppers, kids, pirates, and anyone who ever wanted a secret place to call their own. Building a tunnel from your house to the garage as an emergency escape route is wise and rewarding. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to plan. However, don’t let the lighthearted parts of this project take over your common sense. Underground engineering is no joke. Moreover, you can’t cut corners if you want it to save your life. Sadly, doing it wrong can cause a lot more harm than you might think. That said, I think everyone should build an escape tunnel. So, with appropriate warnings, I’m going to explain how to accomplish this complicated feat. Be prepared to put serious time and effort in to succeed at this vital endeavor.

How do you build a tunnel from your house to the garage? You build a tunnel from your house to your garage by carefully crating a stable tubelike opening. Engineering a safe escape route is a very involved process. For example, bracing the walls and ceiling are imperative if you don’t wish to be buried alive. 

Before You Build a Tunnel from House to Garage

Building an escape tunnel from your home to the garage is far more involved than merely digging. Unless you have an exceptional amount of experience and knowledge in tunnel engineering, you should hire a professional consultant to help you. That said, I will give you an overview of the basics, so you know how to plan this project.

In an emergency such as a home invasion, getting to your bug-out vehicle becomes more difficult. Luckily, an escape tunnel to the garage is the perfect solution. Slipping away unseen to safety is a brilliant way to avoid injury and unnecessary fighting.

Engineering Warnings

Please do not merely begin digging at random. You need to have the mineral rights to the property, and the utility companies must come to mark the lines. Think before you dig, so you don’t cause a disaster. Carelessness and thoughtlessness could get you injured or killed doing a large project like this.

An escape tunnel is a superb idea when you do it right. However, I have seen far too many people who assume that stable looking dirt is the same as a safe tunnel. Moreover, you cannot simply bury a series of shipping containers or culvert piping to hold back the earth. Relatively thin metal sides that make good above ground homes will buckle under the pressure of tons of dirt.

Additionally, tunnels that have no air circulation can become moldy health hazards. You will need a way for air to flow freely. It’s vital to clean and air out your emergency passage regularly. Oiling door hinges, and removing any pests or insects inside is part of essential escape tunnel maintenance.

Preparing to Build an Escape Tunnel

There are two things you need before you can plan a tunnel from your garage to your house. First, you need to check the mineral rights. Excavating dirt constitutes a violation in some areas.

I recommend that you use portable garage will digging around your garage area.  Click here to view one that is 8 foot by 8 foot that is great for storage also.

Secondly, it’s crucial to have the utility companies come out and mark any relevant underground lines. Digging without a thought to buried wires and sewer pipes is a huge mistake. You don’t want to pay for repairs. More importantly, you won’t enjoy cleaning sewer gas and leakage out of your new tunnel.

I recommend digging a few shallow holes to see what’s beneath the soil in the general area where you plan to layout your tunnel. Unless you want to do a lot of extra work, you’ll need to go around any large trees. Similarly, some areas have granite or clay below the surface. Either one will make it substantially more difficult to dig.

Good Design Decisions

Next, you need to make a blueprint. Decide whether you plan to work entirely under the surface (boring), or dig down and cover over the roof (cut and cover). Each has its unique challenges.

An open pit is more exposed, both to anyone who might look and the elements. Moreover, you need to plan to cover it as you work. However, it’s easier for a novice to work from the surface down.

Working entirely below the surface helps you keep your secret. Regrettably, it’s also more dangerous. Bracing as you work is more intensive with a subterranean build.

Carefully map the distance. You’ll need to account for doors, vents as necessary, and even electrical conduits if you want power to light your way. I don’t recommend using flashlights or any form of fire as a permanent lighting solution.

Regrettably, flashlights get lost or broken, and they can run out of batteries. Meanwhile, flames eat up oxygen. Moreover, if you have wood-paneled walls, you don’t want a fire nearby.

Cut & Cover Vs. Boring

Your budget and capabilities will determine how you go about this project. Digging by hand is hard, time-consuming work. However, it’s much easier to move downward from the surface in the cut and cover style. Since you won’t need to brace a ceiling as you go, this is the best technique if you don’t have professional help.

Alternately, if you have a larger budget and can afford a boring machine, you can work below the surface. Sub-surface tunnels can be handmade. It’s going to take more time and materials to do so safely. Make sure you shore up and brace your dirt ceiling with wire mesh, beams, and other techniques as you go.

Another way to use this technique is in short segments. You could create a two to four-foot-long section at a time and complete construction on each piece as you go. Whether you use cement or wood, you’ll need to plan for moisture sealing on the outside of your walls.


Before you begin, it’s essential to decide whether you are going to lay flooring or leave bare dirt. If you plan to use cement, you’ll need to reinforce it with rebar. Setting wall beams into the cement or adding flooring after you finish is also an important question.

Safe Bracing

You’ll need to check local building codes to determine the requirements for subterranean walls. It’s vital to adhere to building codes, so you don’t create a sub-standard tunnel. Holding back tons of rock and dirt is no laughing matter. Unlike TV villains who are trying to reach a bank vault, you need to place a framework to hold your tunnel in place even before you put up the final walls and ceiling.

Roofing & Ventilation

Unless you’re boring straight through seamless rock, which is incredibly unlikely, you need superb roofing. If you cut and cover, it’s much easier to create a solid roof over your head that will be load-bearing. However, you may need vents for circulation either way.

Unless the distance is so short that you don’t need a tunnel, then airflow is an issue. Installing vents that will move air helps prevent mold. More importantly, it assures the ability to breathe.

Exits & Entrances

Since it’s best to have well-sealed, lockable doors at both ends of your escape route, you need to guarantee oxygen. If you have home invaders behind you and a blocked door ahead, you might need to hunker down for a while until they go away. Keeping both doors well hidden and simple to reinforce, should also be part of your survival tunnel blueprint.

Make sure there’s nothing in your garage that would block your egress. For example, you don’t want a floor panel that has a car on top of it. Sadly, that turns your escape route into a tomb or, at best, a long basement with only one exit.

House to Garage Escape Tunnel Upgrades

In addition to a primary tunnel from the house to the garage, you should consider adding a few features while you’re designing and digging. A fundamental narrow passage will get you from point A to point B. However, as a survivor, multitasking is critical.

An escape route is a superb location for bug-out-bags. Placing them out of sight, but along your escape route, is smart and sneaky. If you typically keep BOBs upstairs in the house, don’t get rid of them. Instead, place a backup set in your escape tunnel. Make sure they’re near the garage end for faster escaping.

Next, look at widening the tunnel. Too many people think of a crawl space or narrow passage where you need to stoop over to move, but this space needs to last a lifetime. It’s an escape route after all. Opt for an area at least four feet wide and tall enough to stand without brushing the ceiling.

Keep in mind that you may need to move an injured family member or friend. Furthermore, aging will change how you move. Give yourself lots of room to turn around, sit down, and maneuver.

Ultimately, this passage could also double as a storm shelter or backup. Particularly when you’re new to survival planning, spaces that fill multiple needs are excellent. Moreover, when you shore up the walls, adding shelves is a wise upgrade.

Storage space that’s easy to reach during an emergency isn’t something enough people consider. If you don’t have a cool, dry, dark area for food storage and other supplies, this is an ideal location. Fuel, batteries, and other non-foods all have similar needs as well. When you already have storage, this backup cache will make it easier to grab and go.

If you’re planning to add a full bunker, tornado shelter, or climate-controlled root cellar, a branch off of the tunnel makes it easy to reach. Long term survival plans can be executed piecemeal and still create a cohesive whole. Plus, you’ll save time and money when you don’t need to start from scratch.

Final Thoughts

Building an escape tunnel is not for the lazy or ill-informed. You will need to do a lot of hard physical work and invest in high-quality materials. Think of it much like a submarine. You don’t want to play a guessing game with your life and safety.

Once you have a properly engineered solution, your tunnel will last for years or even generations. A good escape route can save your life in an attack, or even a fire. Moreover, you can use the underground space for a temporary shelter in case of storms.

Build wisely and include features you don’t need yet. Extra space, shelves along the walls, and conduits for electricity are all smart additions to your escape tunnel.

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