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Posted: 4/5/2012 1:41:21 PM EST
I am building a house and taking advantage of the new construction and putting a real gun room in the basement. The one thing I cannot decide is whether I should install a vault door that opens in or opens out.

The thinking is that a door that opens out is stronger and gives you more wall-estate in the gun room.

The door that opens in is better suited if you want to also use the room as a storm shelter/bunker/panic room etc., because you can still open the door and escape in the event that debris blocks the door, or someone try's to trap you inside.

The house is not in a tornado or earthquake region, I don't expect to get nuked, so I'm leaning toward open out.

Both doors can be locked/unlocked from the inside.

What would you install?

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Link Posted: 4/5/2012 3:05:19 PM EST
Only you can decide.

Might help to write down the pros & cons of both.

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Link Posted: 4/5/2012 3:19:28 PM EST
I would like to not give up the interior space of the vault by having the door open IN, however, I will sacrifice that for the fear of being barricaded inside, because something blocked me from pushing the door OUT... so....

I would get one that swings IN
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Link Posted: 4/5/2012 5:06:55 PM EST
In... your vaults ceiling will be reinforced/hardened. The rest of your basement not so. So like said in previous post, due to colapse or piling up of zombie bodies on the outside of your door, opening in is the only way to go.
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Link Posted: 4/5/2012 5:12:56 PM EST
Open out. You'll use the space a helluva lot more than you'll use the might happen emergency situation. Just make it nice enough to be worth dying inside
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Link Posted: 4/5/2012 5:38:47 PM EST
I just finished my vault. I went through the same question. I finally decided on the open out. Glad I did, that door is big & takes up a lot of room. How often do you REALLY believe that you will use the vault as a shelter?

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Link Posted: 4/6/2012 12:07:49 PM EST
It seems like the hinges would be a possible weak point on an outward opening door. I realize the hinges are hardened, but still, they would be a potential weak point. If the vault is large enough that you are considering using it as a safe room, I don't think you'd lose any critical amount of space. I'd have it open in.

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Link Posted: 4/6/2012 12:19:58 PM EST
I would also go in, just based on the ability to still open the door no matter what, and to remove the weak point of having the hinges on the outside.

If you are worried about losing space on the inside because of the door opening in, then just increase the size of the room to compensate, you ARE building from scratch right?
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Link Posted: 4/6/2012 4:39:16 PM EST
It seems like the hinges would be a possible weak point on an outward opening door.


External hinges are more robust than internal hinges, and are not a weak point in any sense. This is why the vast majority of safes and vault doors have external hinges.


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Link Posted: 4/7/2012 10:36:36 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/7/2012 10:37:00 AM EST by SERVED_USMC]
I went with an outward swinging door.

I didnt over analyze my reason for doing it (unlike a lot of my build) and Im glad I went the way I did.

I had to have a custom channel built to accept the door since the walls are poured so thick, and an outward swinging door with external hinges were the way to go.

the only possible scenario that I could see wanting an inward swinging door is if the house caught on fire and the whole thing collapsed into the basement, blocking the door. However, I also figured that if this happened and I was inside the room, that the immense heat from the fire may not cook me like an easter ham but would suck any oxygen away from the room. Ultimately suffocating me. See, I didnt over analyze it


The house is started, but I havent moved in yet. Please PM me if you have any questions about any of the build process. Between talking with the guy who built the door and the engineer who designed the room, Ive learned a lot through the process. Best of luck!

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Link Posted: 4/8/2012 6:04:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/8/2012 6:06:03 AM EST by TheLastResort]
Originally Posted By a1abdj:
It seems like the hinges would be a possible weak point on an outward opening door.


External hinges are more robust than internal hinges, and are not a weak point in any sense. This is why the vast majority of safes and vault doors have external hinges.



Correct, external hinges are not a weak point on safe/vault doors. All they do is allow the door to swing, they do not lock it into the frame. The lugs/bolts lock the door into the frame. Once the door is closed and locked, you can completely remove the external hinges and it won't open.

Overall outward opening doors are considered stronger than inward opening doors.

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Link Posted: 4/9/2012 4:52:35 PM EST
You could buy a 6 foot pry bar and use the out swinging door. Kind of hedge your bets. you could use the bar to get the door open if it was blocked and if that didn't work, beat a hole in the side with enough time.

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Link Posted: 4/12/2012 6:06:39 PM EST
I would have a door that opened out and add a secret escape passage from somewhere in the vault to a place only you know about, at least 100 meters away.

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Link Posted: 4/12/2012 6:26:59 PM EST
Would it be prudent to keep a bottle jack –– or some other device that would provide mechanical advantage –– to force the door open?

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Link Posted: 4/14/2012 5:48:10 AM EST
Depending on what you are doing in your basement, ie, external foot traffic. That would drive my decision.

Finished basement, where you spend time/hang out with friends: In - if you are disguising it with standard house doors, you would have to buy custom oversize door (if it swung out). That might give you away if you are trying to keep it discreet.

Unfinished basement, no traffic, no plan to use as a shelter: Out

Unfinished basement, no traffic, plan to use as a shelter (no matter how remote): In - I would hate to survive a storm, only to be trapped in my shelter and potentially die.

Whatever you decide, if you do plan to use it as a shelter, have some means of communication available in your room (old cell phone or the like) and test it to make sure it has reception with the door shut (to call for help if you do get trapped). Also consider the needs of spending several hours or longer in the room (toiletry, water, food, lights, blanket/sleeping bags).

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Link Posted: 4/14/2012 7:20:25 AM EST
I'm no good at telling people what they want to hear when I dont believe it myself :)
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Link Posted: 4/16/2012 2:32:45 PM EST
Originally Posted By WhyTanFox:
Would it be prudent to keep a bottle jack –– or some other device that would provide mechanical advantage –– to force the door open?


this +1

or a couple of 10 ton Portable Hydraulic Ram Equipment kit, if you can't move 40,000 pounds out of the way of whatever debris you think will barricade you inside, how the hell do you expect to just open the door from the inside and walk/crawl out?

As far as someone "locking you in" they would have to weld the damn thing shut to withstand the force behind these rams, can't think of what else you could put on a door to keep it from opening under this pressure.

I also like the idea of a tunnel...but that might just be a pipe dream.

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Link Posted: 4/16/2012 3:24:57 PM EST
If it's going to double as a panic room / storm shelter you pretty much must make it in-swing or else it defeats the purpose. Only do out-swing if it is strictly a storage locker.

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Link Posted: 4/16/2012 3:49:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/16/2012 3:52:04 PM EST by coregon]
Well, I lost alot of sleep over this very decision

I am finishing up the plans for our house and this is what I have decided - NOT TO SCALE all you Architects out there:



The YELLOW line represents the door as it swings in. I built in enough "hallway" behind it for it to tuck nicely away, as I believe I will actually leave it open alot (only while I am actively in/out, obviously).

The RED box is the reloading room and helps make up one of the walls of the "hallway". The reloading room has a large door way that leads out into the open room. I realize that building a room, instead of just sticking a reloading bench in the corner, takes up some space, but I don't really want the door to just open up into the room. Also, behind the reloading room will be another storage area where a majority of my preps/bulk ammo boxes/gun cases/camping gear, etc will be stored. Shelves and organization - ahhhh

A majority of the basement will be finished - aside from a work area - but the entrance into my Vault room will be in a far corner, away from the entertainment areas and there will not be high-traffic close to the vault door.

ETA: Mine is also going to be used as a storm shelter, that was one of the main reasons I opted for a door that swings in.
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Link Posted: 4/16/2012 4:11:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By Thug_Hunter12:
It seems like the hinges would be a possible weak point on an outward opening door. I realize the hinges are hardened, but still, they would be a potential weak point. If the vault is large enough that you are considering using it as a safe room, I don't think you'd lose any critical amount of space. I'd have it open in.


Not really. on any real safe or vault the hinges just control the door when not latched. As soom as the bolts are thrown the strength comes from them, the hinges are not counted on in any way for strength


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Link Posted: 5/11/2012 2:53:38 AM EST
I'm starting construction on a new house and I'm planning to pour a vault in the basement. Any recommendations on doors would be appreciated. I'd like to keep the door under $3k.

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Link Posted: 5/11/2012 5:35:31 AM EST
I'm no good at telling people what they want to hear when I dont believe it myself :)
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