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Posted: 10/23/2004 6:00:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/23/2004 6:00:57 PM EDT by usagold]
I am getting kick out of the room I am using know. Can you guys give me some ideas how or what to use to make my walk in safe. The idea is know to build a 12x15 room. Any ideas whould be a big help. I dont have a lot of cash to but in to project.

Could use info in all areas walls, heat, ect

Link Posted: 10/23/2004 6:57:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/23/2004 6:57:56 PM EDT by Jimmy_Hoffa]
I don't want a safe that I could fit into, for fear that I could be locked in it in a robbery. I think you need a second door that opens from the inside only so that you can get out in an emergency. maybe a secret hatch in the floor or ceiling?
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 7:03:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By usagold:
I am getting kick out of the room I am using know. Can you guys give me some ideas how or what to use to make my walk in safe. The idea is know to build a 12x15 room. Any ideas whould be a big help. I dont have a lot of cash to but in to project.

Could use info in all areas walls, heat, ect


That is a REALLY big room (for a safe). I think most make it the size of a good walk in closet. Most designs I have seen include using some sort of relatively thick sheet metal to line the walls. Also, they make them relatively hermetic so that they can control the climate, especially the humidity. I am sure that if you do a google search, you could find some plans.
Link Posted: 10/23/2004 8:41:37 PM EDT
It all depends on your situation...

If you're out in the boondocks, with no neighbors nearby and are known to own a lot of high-dollar gear that professionals might be interested in stealing, then you're going to need to go to a lot more trouble than if you're in town with enough surveillence by neighbors that thieves would only have a few minutes to B&E.

The "textbook" answer for an arms room says GSA-approved safe door and lock, reinforced concrete or brick walls, reinforced concrete floor and ceiling. That's overkill for a lot of folks, and maybe not enough for some. See Army FM 19-3 (19-30?) "Physical Security" for some good info.

In a typical house or apartment there are three weak points: the door and frame, the windows (if any), and the walls.

Installing a heavy duty metal door, or a safe door, does no good if the door frame is weak enough that the entire door assembly can be torn out quickly.

Windows are a problem and need to be blocked in some fashion. Removing them completely is an option, but may can make it obvious that you have a secure room. Closing the window off on the interior and leaving a "display" window visibile from the outside is one way to handle this. Interior bars are another option.

The walls are the major problem. At a minimum, they need to be reinforced to prevent a burglar from merely kicking through sheetrock to access the safe room. One option is to use a couple of layers of plywood, with sheetmetal between the layers, to form an inner liner for the room. Tied in, of course, to the hardened door frame. That will make it harder for a burglar to simply saw a new door in the wall with a circular saw.

The key is to use layers of security, starting at the kerb: good landscaping and lighting to encourage a burglar to pick another house, good relations with the neighbors so they'll notice and do something if someone is tampering with your house, good doors, windows and locks on the exterior to make it hard for thieves to enter the house, a good door, frame and locking system to make it hard to enter the arms room, good walls to make it hard to bypass the door, an alarm system to alert everyone that someone who doesn't belong is in the house, locking racks inside the arms room to make it hard for a thief to grab and go once he's inside...

Beyond the security issues, there's the environmental issue. Make sure it's well ventilated. You may need a dehumidifier in some places. It's not likely to flood after a bad rainstorm, no roof leaks, etc. If you're planning on storing ammunition in the room, is it cool enough in the summer (or air conditioned) so that your stockpile won't be baking at 90F or higher for months?

It's all much easier to do if you have the chance to build a proper arms room while the house is being built. Most of us, of course, will have to make do and retrofit.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 6:37:41 AM EDT
My boss built a two story concrete bunker then had the house built around and over it.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 6:52:36 AM EDT
One way of looking at this is to think of your safe room (or safe) as nothing more than a means of buying time. For example, if I have an alarm system and can expect the cops to show up within 30 minutes, I'll get a safe that will take at least 30 minutes to break open.

However, if you don't have an alarm system, then what good does the time do you? If the bad guys can spend all morning working on your safe room, they can get through just about anything you are likely to build.

Sure, it will discourage kids and low-level burglars, but while a hardened room might deter some people, it will just motivate others. They will assume you have something good in there, and come prepared.

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 6:52:37 AM EDT
Here's some of my thoughts if I was going to do it;

First select a corner in your poored concrete walled basement. Then build two walls with poored core blocks. Insert re-rod in each core. Leave a door opening up against one of the original walls. Orient door to make it harder to get bolt cutters or prying tools into it to open it. When building walls make provisions for door jam to be fixed to steel mounting hardware attched to re-rod that was inserted as outlined above. At top of walls bend re-rod at 90s to attach to re-rodded ceiling. Form and support from inside and pour. If you're really going to span 12" you'll need some additional support. I'ld go with no more than an eight foot span. Buy a good hardened safe door or if you have access to some 1/4" boiler plate and welding equipment, make a multi layered one yourself.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:08:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 8:32:25 AM EDT
Wow that's big. Now I got safe envy. Two or three layers of thick sheetrock on the exterior walls & ceiling/attic to provide some fire protection; maybe even two more thick layers in the interior (including interior ceiling). Maybe enter through a small walk-in closet first, then access through a commercial safe door (reinforced frames). Battery backup alarm system, independent of the home system. If done with reinforced concrete (including ceiling/roof), use it as a safe room (tornados, etc.)
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 9:11:44 AM EDT
If done with sheet rock and wooden 2 X 4 s I could be in, in less than than a minute... I'll just bring the Husqvarna pass key.

Link Posted: 10/24/2004 10:22:50 AM EDT
Check out FEMA's website - they have some plans for a basement tornado shelter that I used, with several modifications, to build my vault. It's not going to stop a professional, but it's definitely going to take 15-20 minutes to get in there even with a large number of tools. Plus, the family now has a place to go in the event of a tornado.
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 10:24:06 AM EDT
Sell you house and move into an old Mil Surplus Missle Silo.. I want an atlas silo..
Link Posted: 10/24/2004 12:43:22 PM EDT
I didn't want to spend $4,000 on two commercial built safes to put my stuff in so I built my own vault in the basement. I built in a corner and dry stacked the concrete blocks while pouring concrete down inside the block cells with rerod and other scrap metal as strengtheners. I will be applying Quik Wall (concrete bonding cement/mortar) to the outer and inner walls as a winter project, this product allows you to not use no mortar and is supposed to be 2-3 times stronger than mortar and blocks as the entire wall is bonded together and is water proof. Heat ducting for house goes thru vault at the top of one wall so heat is not a problem. Ventilation is not a problem as there's a small space below vault door as well as ceiling fan circulating air drawn in from top and bottom of one wall of vault. I have a dehumidifier up on blocks with a drain hose going to the sump pump so I can maintain a constant humididty. Door is a commercial grade 12 gauge steel set in a commercial grade steel door frame that is bolted into the concrete block walls, door frame is infilled with concrete as well as the blocks it is bolted into. Motion and sound alarms tied into heat sensors (mounted on door in case they try to torch thru it) go thru an Optima battery backup and inverter setup in case the power is out. There are other measures currently in place but I think you understand where I'm coming from. Walls lined with Gypsum board for fire resistance and peg board placed on one wall for firearms to be placed on rubber coated hangers so they can be displayed safely.

My vault was built large enough to also be used as my getaway room as well as a storm shelter for our family. We've got chairs in there, firearm/self reliance library/magazines on book shelves, blankets, sleeping bags, smoke/fire/carbon dioxide alarms, dressers filled with firearm and self-reliance items, cabinet filled with MRE's, canned food, flashlights, candles, batteries and about 40 gallons of water. This winter will also be the time to put my mini stereo and tv (also have b&w battery tv) in there so I can be self-contained in the recreational sense. We also have a phone jack in the vault along with other means of communication. I may put a "real" safe inside my present vault at a later time which would add even more protection but really don't want to spend the money right now.

I believe in the art of mental protection as well for your valuables. I don't publicly let people know that I have firearms so if someone did break into the house my vault doesn't scream "break into me" with Colt or firearm posters on the walls. The walls will be camo'd this winter with gypsum board or sheet rock and a partial dropped ceiling will go around the walls to hide the heat ducting and top of vault. A light metal shelf system will be bolted to the vault door and have light, or empty, bulky items placed on the shelves to hide the locks and the door. Reach thru or behind an item to unlock/open the vault and the entire shelf swings open with the door, shelf legs raised up just enough to clear the floor when swinging open but not emough space to be noticable without getting down on your hands and knees. If someone did break into the house knowing that I had firearms a cheap Homak gun cabinet is placed in another area of the basement with all kinds of gun stickers plastered all over it so they would be blind not to notice it. Let them spend all their time getting to my guns inside this cabinet and thinking they got the "mother lode" all the time smiling for the camera trained on the cabinet.

Sorry for the long rant but hope this helps and gives you a few ideas. I've been able to make my vault for much cheaper than a single vault would cost me and I have plenty of room. Good Luck!
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