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Posted: 11/11/2012 6:36:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/25/2013 11:02:23 AM EST by Gatorcountry]
After living most of my life in a state where a basement is called a pool (Florida) I finally moved to the mountains of Tennessee where I ended up with a house that has a real basement. The basement has a separate room that is close to 7' x 18', which I figured would be a perfect for building myself a gun vault room and also a quite place to do some reloading. One of the good deals with this house was I got it from the builder who lived in it for several years, and she went out of her way to over build in some respects.

The room has 3 exterior walls which are 11" block solid filled with cement and rebar. There is also 5" of brick in front of the cement block, and part of it is built into the slope of the land. The ceiling is steel beams with 4" of steel reinforced concrete top deck. On top of the cement is 5" of brick, so I don't think I'll have to worry about anybody coming in through there.

So I figured I'd post my progress here and point out some of the tools and materials I'm using for the job.

Here's what I started with:



The first thing I did with the room was to address any future moisture problems. The room has been dry since I've been living in the house but there were signs of past moisture problems, so I decided to hire a crew to install a drain system and sump pump. In order to do this, they jack hammered out the cement floor around the exterior walls and added a drainage system. In the corner of the room a sump pump was installed. The house has a commercial dehumidifier in the other section of the basement, but I'm planning on running a room sized dehumidifier and draining it into the sump.

The other fix was to install waterproof rigid polymer panels on each exterior wall. The panels actually go down into the trench that was dug for the drainage system and then were covered with new concrete. This makes the joint where the floor and wall meet completely waterproof. These panels are designed to stop any water from passing through and instead will trap it between the block wall and panel where it will be directed down to the drain pipes. This will stop all moisture problems before they happen, and the sump is sized to handle a large amount of water flow.

Here's the sump pump and panels installed:



Sump opened up:



Closed up sump:



After the waterproofing was finished, I started framing the walls. One thing I had to avoid was putting holes in the polymer panels, so I ended up going with 2x4 framing on the three exterior walls instead of using furring strips. This meant giving up some space, but I had to in order not to destroy the waterproofing. When it comes to framing, the one tool I highly recommend is the Hitachi framing nailer. I built the walls in sections on the floor and it was a breeze nailing them together. The other tool that came is very handy was the Ramset power fastener. I used the yellow shot which worked most of the time, but I had some that needed to be finished with a BFH.


More framing and the electrical rough in:



There are a couple of tools that I've started using which are tremendous time savers. One of them is the Bosch digital level (great for calculating cuts on walls that aren't square and for quickly figuring out spring angles). Here it is helping get everything squared up:


Another nice thing about the rigid panels is that I can use regular insulation and not worry about ending up with the "wet diaper" problem, so I picked up a load of the faced pink stuff:


Room is now all insulated and rough wired. For the one interior wall, I used PT 2x4 as furring strips that I attached using Liquid Nails and the Ramset. The top board is a fire break that isolates the pockets between the strips.


Next up is drywall, then installing a drop ceiling. I'm also looking into an in-swing vault door with an inside release but I haven't decided on which one yet, so I'm open to suggestions.




Link Posted: 11/12/2012 3:08:58 PM EST
Battery back-up on the sump pump. Big storm, power goes out, sump overflows into room. Happens all the time.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 2:39:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By TARFU:
Battery back-up on the sump pump. Big storm, power goes out, sump overflows into room. Happens all the time.

Thanks! I didn't even think about having back-up power for the pump - it's on my list now.

Link Posted: 11/13/2012 9:32:23 AM EST
That would make a great emergency shelter. Can you trade the sump pump in for a sewage ejector and add a toilet? That would make it ideal for long-term use.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 10:20:02 AM EST
Just a thought...How about some outlets up at bench height?
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 10:20:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/13/2012 10:21:28 AM EST by wildearp]

Originally Posted By TARFU:
Battery back-up on the sump pump. Big storm, power goes out, sump overflows into room. Happens all the time.


There are also water pressure (venturi) styled sump backups that don't require power.

http://www.libertypumps.com/Products/Category/SubCategory/Product/?p=76&s=23&c=14
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 1:46:47 PM EST
Originally Posted By wildearp:

Originally Posted By TARFU:
Battery back-up on the sump pump. Big storm, power goes out, sump overflows into room. Happens all the time.


There are also water pressure (venturi) styled sump backups that don't require power. Unless you are on a well system, where electricity is used to pump the well water.

http://www.libertypumps.com/Products/Category/SubCategory/Product/?p=76&s=23&c=14


This is what I was going to recommend... if you are on a municipal water supply.

Awesome room you've got there! Keep us updated on the progress. I second the recommendation on some workbench height electrical outlets.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 1:48:20 PM EST

Originally Posted By robpiat:
Just a thought...How about some outlets up at bench height?

Thanks for the input - and I've gone back and forth on this. Since I'm using 2x4's flat on the wall, I don't have a lot of room for outlets and I don't want to start removing any cement to accommodate them. My work bench has a long power strip along the back edge which I really like so I'm thinking of the same thing for reloading bench. I placed an outlet at the right height where the end of the bench will be to plug the strip into.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 1:55:49 PM EST
Originally Posted By Gatorcountry:

Originally Posted By robpiat:
Just a thought...How about some outlets up at bench height?

Thanks for the input - and I've gone back and forth on this. Since I'm using 2x4's flat on the wall, I don't have a lot of room for outlets and I don't want to start removing any cement to accommodate them. My work bench has a long power strip along the back edge which I really like so I'm thinking of the same thing for reloading bench. I placed an outlet at the right height where the end of the bench will be to plug the strip into.


They make shallow boxes too. Makes it harder to write but they will fit with furing strips.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 4:32:08 PM EST
Started working on the drywall this evening and managed to get the long wall finished:


Link Posted: 11/15/2012 4:52:02 PM EST
That is REALLY nice!
Link Posted: 11/16/2012 1:12:32 PM EST
Tagged for more awesomeness
Link Posted: 11/17/2012 3:16:18 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/17/2012 3:17:09 PM EST by wagonwheel1]
A quick tip on the Ramset. If the first shot doesn't completely sink the nail, just reload the gun with the powder shot only and then

place gun over the unset nail and give it another shot. No need to ever swing a portable hand held driving device again..... aka, a hammer.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 8:17:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By wagonwheel1:
A quick tip on the Ramset. If the first shot doesn't completely sink the nail, just reload the gun with the powder shot only and then

place gun over the unset nail and give it another shot. No need to ever swing a portable hand held driving device again..... aka, a hammer.

I owe you a cold beverage of your choice seeing how I won't need the BFH anymore - I'm using this trick from now on.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 9:22:16 AM EST
cool stuff. can't wait to see how it turns out.
Link Posted: 11/18/2012 11:49:31 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gatorcountry:
Started working on the drywall this evening and managed to get the long wall finished:



Looking at the photos in this thread and then noticing the even and consistent spacing of your drywall fasteners, you do damn nice work Gatorcountry!
Link Posted: 11/27/2012 12:32:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/29/2012 4:33:26 PM EST by Gatorcountry]
Update on ordering a vault door.

One of the first doors I considered is made by RhinoVault because I liked the idea of their compression frame and they seem to build a quality door, so I gave them a call a couple of weeks ago. Took a few calls but I finally got someone on the phone to talk about my order. I got most of the information I needed until we got down to price. When I started giving them my door dimensions, I was told to send everything to them in an email. Strange considering I was already on the phone with them but I said OK and sent them an email containing all details. So far I haven't heard anything back from them. I'm always amazed when someone makes it hard for me to give them money

So today, based on the review of Crazy_Harry (thanks for answering my questions!) and others, I placed an order with Alyssa at Sturdy Safe. She handled everything over the phone and was a pleasure to deal with. I ended up ordering a custom size (84.5"H x 41"W x 11.5"D) Left Hand InSwing door (with the panic button - even though Crazy_Harry indicated it wasn't really necessary at 100 bucks the wife unit would not approve the purchase without one). She told me it would be around 7 weeks before it ships due to the custom size and the volume of work they have. It was funny as she confused me with another person who ordered almost the same exact door right before I called (was very surprised when she was able to quote me a price before I told her what I wanted). I was impressed with their customer service and feel like they will work with me if I run into any issues or problems.

I've also got a lead on some nice wall cabinets - if I can convince the manager to sell them at my price...
Link Posted: 11/29/2012 10:50:08 AM EST
Left Hand InSwing door (with the panic button - even though Crazy_Harry indicated it wasn't really necessary at 100 bucks the wife unit would not approve the purchase without one).


I have a In-swing door with the panic button from Sturdy as well. I think you will be very pleased that you included this option. Not sure where you reside, but it makes your gun room into a "storm shelter" and "panic-room" for increased versatility.
Link Posted: 11/29/2012 4:29:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By Rick_NE:
Left Hand InSwing door (with the panic button - even though Crazy_Harry indicated it wasn't really necessary at 100 bucks the wife unit would not approve the purchase without one).


I have a In-swing door with the panic button from Sturdy as well. I think you will be very pleased that you included this option. Not sure where you reside, but it makes your gun room into a "storm shelter" and "panic-room" for increased versatility.

Thanks for the update - glad to see another satisfied customer. And you're right, this room is turning into a combination gun vault room, storm shelter, panic room and reloading hide out.
Link Posted: 12/24/2012 10:48:28 AM EST
Finally finished framing and drywall (ended up with only one butt joint - I hate taping butt joints!)






Link Posted: 12/24/2012 9:33:33 PM EST
Looking good--glad I could help. I am interested to see if you have any issues with your door installation when it gets there. Where about in TN are you?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 5:05:01 AM EST
What are your plans for the floor?
Link Posted: 12/25/2012 5:40:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/25/2012 5:41:09 AM EST by Mongo7382]
Nice work!
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 5:44:44 PM EST
Very nice!
Link Posted: 12/28/2012 5:52:03 PM EST
Hat off to you Sir!
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 6:48:59 PM EST
subscribed!
Link Posted: 1/1/2013 7:01:07 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/7/2013 8:41:17 AM EST

Originally Posted By Crazy_Harry:
Looking good--glad I could help. I am interested to see if you have any issues with your door installation when it gets there. Where about in TN are you?

Just south of Knoxville.
Link Posted: 1/7/2013 11:32:20 AM EST
Originally Posted By Gatorcountry:

Originally Posted By Crazy_Harry:
Looking good--glad I could help. I am interested to see if you have any issues with your door installation when it gets there. Where about in TN are you?

Just south of Knoxville.


Was that an invitation? I'm in JC
Link Posted: 1/8/2013 5:24:44 PM EST
tagscribed.
Link Posted: 1/16/2013 4:29:40 PM EST
wow that is cool. no basements in houston..
Link Posted: 2/16/2013 4:13:34 AM EST
Update from Sturdy - I have at least another 3-4 weeks before my door is delivered. In talking with them yesterday they told me that thanks to Obama their sales are through the roof and they are looking at having their best sales year ever - and are working to keep up with all of the incoming orders. My door should be in paint sometime next week and then on to having the locks installed.

I guess one plus for Obama - he is single handily driving sales to record levels in certain industries...

BTW - Sturdy customer service has been great so far. When I called them I told the guy who answered that I was wanting an update on my custom door - he asked what size it was and said "oh yeah, I know that door (listed off all the features I requested)" before I even gave him my order number. He knew what had been done on it and right where it was.
Link Posted: 2/18/2013 12:47:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/18/2013 1:00:10 PM EST by Gatorcountry]
As a mentioned in an older post, I've been working on a deal for some cabinets - not something I was planning on and I didn't want to spend much money. Last December I was in Home Depot when I noticed they had a stack of returned cabinets. Talking with a manager, he told me they were custom ordered by a school, installed and then taken right down because the color didn't match the base cabinets. Very nice cabinets - 3/4" plywood boxes, solid maple frames, 15" depth, 30" high.

I made an offer that I would buy two cabinets for $100 - which the manager promptly responded "no way" but he would knock off $50 from the original price. I told him thanks and went on my way. Well, since I pass this HD almost everyday I made it a point to stop in at least once a week to check on "my" cabinets. I think I bugged the manager enough that he told me to come back at the beginning of February and he would try and do something since it was the start of a new month.

I ended up getting both cabinets for $100 + tax. I had leftover hardware from another cabinet install I did a couple of years ago and I couldn't even buy just the materials for building them for $100 so this ended up being a low-cost install.





Link Posted: 2/18/2013 12:55:52 PM EST
I didn't read the whole thread but aren't you going to paint first before putting those up?
Link Posted: 2/18/2013 1:34:25 PM EST
Originally Posted By stesch_s10:
I didn't read the whole thread but aren't you going to paint first before putting those up?

No - I don't like to paint...
Link Posted: 2/18/2013 2:12:33 PM EST
Originally Posted By Gatorcountry:
Originally Posted By stesch_s10:
I didn't read the whole thread but aren't you going to paint first before putting those up?

No - I don't like to paint...


Link Posted: 2/18/2013 6:23:10 PM EST
Needs RaceDeck for flooring . Very cool project OP, I'd love to have space to do this with.
Link Posted: 2/20/2013 4:26:30 AM EST
Link Posted: 2/21/2013 1:56:59 AM EST
Subscribed. You are doing a fine job and can't wait to see how it progresses. I have a similar space in my house and hope to start on it this year.
Link Posted: 2/21/2013 2:18:30 AM EST
Nice!

Wish I had a basement. Only very old houses have them around here and they usually leak.
Link Posted: 2/22/2013 5:56:33 AM EST
If it's not too late, I'd put some paint or epoxy on that floor. That should keep moisture from coming up thru the concrete.
Link Posted: 2/22/2013 12:59:52 PM EST
very nice indeed !

I've never seen a sump like that where the pump discharge goes through the side of the pit. All the ones around my parts discharge straight up through the cover. Is that a regional code thing ?
Link Posted: 2/22/2013 1:28:55 PM EST
Very nice.
Link Posted: 2/22/2013 4:17:31 PM EST
Originally Posted By bankfraudguy:
very nice indeed !

I've never seen a sump like that where the pump discharge goes through the side of the pit. All the ones around my parts discharge straight up through the cover. Is that a regional code thing ?

I asked them to run it up through the side because I wanted the pipe to be in the wall and not sticking up in the middle of the cover. Normally they would have run it straight up through the cover and then over to the wall.
Link Posted: 2/22/2013 4:28:49 PM EST
Originally Posted By LurchAddams:
If it's not too late, I'd put some paint or epoxy on that floor. That should keep moisture from coming up thru the concrete.

Thanks for the suggestion (right on time as I haven't put down the baseboards yet) - I like the idea of using an epoxy sealer on the floor.
Link Posted: 2/23/2013 11:05:26 AM EST
[Last Edit: 2/23/2013 11:41:14 AM EST by Gatorcountry]
Finished the cabinets by milling some filler panels from 3/4" birch plywood. Stained them by using a bit of custom maple stain and finished them with a couple of coats of satin poly to match the finish on the cabinets. The side panels were scribed to the walls and then glued and screwed in place. The top panel will give me a solid place to mount the rail for the drop ceiling .

Since I like how the cabinets turned out, I'm thinking about building a set of shelves underneath them.

Link Posted: 2/25/2013 11:41:45 AM EST
Looks good! If you put some lower cabinets in with a workbench, you won't regret it. A formica top should install easily easily there and is a nice cheap surface to keep clean and will give you a place to clean and work on your guns. And you can just walk out and shut the door if you get interrupted. I'm jealous... can't wait till my new house.
Link Posted: 2/25/2013 4:24:59 PM EST
I am curious as to how you waterproofed ceiling? Or is it waterproofed? What happens in case of fire? Water lines above he spray foam? I have room in basement with four concrete walls. No ceiling.... just exposed 1st floor joists. Trying to figure out how to water/fire proof ceiling.
Link Posted: 3/20/2013 9:42:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By rev-2004:
I am curious as to how you waterproofed ceiling? Or is it waterproofed? What happens in case of fire? Water lines above he spray foam? I have room in basement with four concrete walls. No ceiling.... just exposed 1st floor joists. Trying to figure out how to water/fire proof ceiling.

Ceiling is steel beams with over 4 inches of concrete with brick on top of that. No worries from water or fire.

Link Posted: 3/20/2013 9:45:48 AM EST
[Last Edit: 4/1/2013 4:20:55 AM EST by Gatorcountry]
The wait is finally over - I picked up my door today from the freight shippers. I'm happy with how Sturdy built the custom frame and they got the dimensions spot on. I've ordered some SS mounting bolts (8,200 lb shear strength) that I should have in the next day or two so I'm hoping to get it installed sometime this weekend or next. This sucker weighs in at just a bit over 560 pounds.



Link Posted: 3/20/2013 9:52:43 AM EST
tagged so I can see the finished awesomeness!
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