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Posted: 2/5/2006 9:46:18 AM EDT
I have a spare room in my home that I'm considering using as a walk-in vault/armory. It's 15'x15' and located on the 2nd story. It has one window that is not easy to reach because of the height but will be easy to secure with a steel grate setup. The grate is of my own design; unable to open from the outside but able to open from inside the room made of heavy steel and welded joints.
Now the door. I've looked at the usual vault doors from the usual sources and the cost is out of my reach. After looking at some of them in person I'm not that impressed by their design/quality especially considering their cost.
My questions to my fellow security buffs; What kind of ideas for a door do you have. Crazy or not, lets hear them.
What kind of steps have "you" taken for security purposes.
We all know that short of a bank vault installation no place is 100% entry proof.
What would you do if you were me?

My goal is to be able to have a room that is setup so that I can walk in and have shelving for ammo, mags, misc. gear and racks for my "toys" without the need for multiple vaults. I can't move my vaults upstairs because of the weight and I would like to eliminate their use.

Let the ideas and info flow on door/security options.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:55:15 AM EDT
Steel door and frame. Two dead bolts. Hinges on the inside. Three inch screws into wooden frame.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 9:57:59 AM EDT
Are the walls 2x4 16"oc and drywall? If so the door doesn't matter.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 10:15:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MrClean4Hire:
Are the walls 2x4 16"oc and drywall? If so the door doesn't matter.

As a matter of fact the wall use to be an outside wall. The house it 175 years old! The wall is close to 10" thick and made with native timber. The interior wall of the room use to be the outside wall of the house and has the original layer of 1" thick oak planks running diagonally on the studs then there is a 1" layer of plywood on top of that which was added some time later. Then there is a layer of plaster on top of that. Friggen house is built like nothing I've ever seen. Should have seen it when I decided to rewire the house. I burned up more spade bits than the stores around here could supply.
I also have the option and ability to reinforce the wall on the inside with steel but I'm not sure it's necessary.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:43:29 AM EDT
How well built is the outside wall then? If at all close to what that inside wall sounds like then the steel door with double dead bolts sounds good. Or maybe a regular interior door that opens our for looks, with a steel security door behind that.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:51:51 AM EDT
Your biggest threat comes from someone who has seen the setup. Delivery person, contractor, scummy friend of daughter's boyfriend, etc.

If a chainsaw with a 16" bar will open the wall, it is not sufficient for your purpose.

Steel strapping and drystacked masonery is a bitch to chainsaw through, BTW.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 12:12:19 PM EDT
secret door disguised as bookshelf!
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 1:24:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Unicorn:
How well built is the outside wall then? If at all close to what that inside wall sounds like then the steel door with double dead bolts sounds good. Or maybe a regular interior door that opens our for looks, with a steel security door behind that.

I'm starting to develop a plan in my mind that incorporates something like your idea. I just opened up the back of my large vault to get a better idea of the design and operation. I have a mig and stick welder and a big damn garage. I think I'm going to purchase some steel and make my own vault door. Something that I can hide behind the regular door. I'll make it so it can close behind me and lock so the room will double as a panic room.
Well, time to set down to the drawing table and make some prints. I might also buy a commercial grade entry door and use steel to reinforce it. That would save some time and trouble.....
I feel the creative juices starting to flow.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:41:29 PM EDT
Cool. One thing I forgot about, and one of the reasons I like having it hidden, was the problem of repairmen, deliverymen, whoever, seeing your gun room. Even if they didn't see inside, a sturdy, double locked door would be sure to make them curious. If it looks just like another hall closet door then it won't even register.
Link Posted: 2/5/2006 11:45:31 PM EDT
If I'm a theif and I go into a house and see a door that certainly doesnt belong inside a house, I'm gonna want in that room. Quickest way will be to bang out the sheetrock and go through the wall.

So I'd want a door that looks like an interior door. And thats what I'd use. get an interior door, cut the top, run rebar down it and fil it with concrete. Then use a steel frame and install as above...(3 inch screws into studs)
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 12:00:17 AM EDT
Do any of the other rooms on that floor have an adjoining wall? Does the attic above allow acces to the roof above the room? If so then the steel grateing will need to be a compleete cage, not just at the door. I like the idea, and I applaud it, but you need to think in terms of a walk in closet with a 360 grate. Up in the attic you could use planks of screwed in plywood.
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 12:18:12 AM EDT
The interior walls are certainly at risk. Since it is a second floor, the exterior walls are somewhat less subject to chainsaw attack.

The good news is that an easy and concealable fix exists. Simply plate the interior walls with 3/4x9ga expanded metal. Apply it with screws and washers, right over the existing sheetrock inside the room. Use some 3 inch screws into the studs. Then simply drywall over it.

3/4x9 expanded metal will stop a chainsaw cold. The interupted cutting will trash the teeth quickly. It is easy to handle, and fabricate for installation.

Depending on your situation, you may need to protect the ceiling from penetration as well. Since expanded metal is fairly lightweight, this is a good application as well.

Take everyone's advice, and build the security door behind a standard bedroom door. No need to advertise the presence of your vault to casual entrants of your home.

Link Posted: 2/6/2006 1:19:20 AM EDT

Hinges on the inside

I prefer hinges on the outside. You can break into a door that opens to the inside simply by breaking the door near the deadbolt and handset. You can't do that with one that opens to the outside. Usually you have to push the frame and door out of the wall or cut through the door to get into a door with hinges on the outside. A door with security hinges that opens to the outside is much more secure than one that opens to the inside.

I had a customer that we broke into their vault for them. The lock on the door had rusted shut decades ago, so we had to use brute force. They had a simple 6x8 studs that had a bunch of extra nails put into them at random places to make them harder to cut with tar-covered string in between the walls. The plaster on both sides was spread on a thick mesh metal that was impossible to cut with the chain saw (it grabbed the chain and stalled it) and difficult to cut with a power tool since it would flex just enough to be annoying. The string would grab drill bits so suddenly that it would rip the drill from your hands. My reciprocating saw wouldn't cut through the stuff. I burned-up the motor in it pretty quickly. The chainsaw we tried on the string wouldn't put much of a dent in it either. Besides grabbing blades or chains, the build-up of tar would make the cutting edge useless. The string was made from silk, so the fibers were very strong. We had to cut enough of the wall to pull the string out. That wasn't easy since the tar had hardened the 80 or so years it had been there. It was also stuck into the metal mesh, so we had to heat the tar to make it pliable enough to work with. I'll never forget that smell.

Simple tar and string. It worked amazingly well. Has anyone else ever seen that used elsewhere? It's so simple.z
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