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Posted: 3/26/2006 2:51:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 2:52:58 PM EDT by GunLogic]
It's looking like I may be moving from an apartment to a house in the next few months, so I'll have to decide where to place the 750 to 800 pound gun safe. Dimensions are 26x30x60. The house is a rambler style, so the basement is below ground level moreso than in a split level style house. The reloading bench will be in the basement. My concern with the safe in the basement is humidity and possible water damage. My concern with it being on the 1st floor is whether the weight is too great for the floor. I haven't a clue about structural strength of floors. The house was built in 1961. I checked online for comparisons with the weight of a refridgerator and see that they can weigh at least up to 625 pounds, so it's sounding like the weight of a gun safe doesn't exceed what the floor could support.

There is a recent thread here with some collateral discussion of basement vs upper floor gun safe placement, but I'd like more input, if anyone has advice or information. If the safe goes on the 1st floor it'll be in the room devoted to books and the computer.

GL

edit - I just realized which forum I posted this in. If it belongs elsewhere, feel free to move it.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 2:53:35 PM EDT
Put it in a corner on the first floor where the structure is the strongest and the floor won't bow or sag. You should be fine.

Link Posted: 3/26/2006 2:55:16 PM EDT
Put it on the first floor. I have a Sportsman Steel safe of similar dimensions that weighs 1300# empty. If you want to be ultra conservative, get a large 1/8" piece of steel plate of larger dimension and place the safe on this so as to distribute the weight over a larger area.

Basement = moisture = bad.

Sam
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 3:28:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2006 3:29:08 PM EDT by ian187]

Originally Posted By Samuel_Hoggson:

Basement = moisture = bad.

Sam



Basement = No substructure to burn and fall through.

Basement = Concrete floor to bolt the safe to.

Basement = Less material to burn around, or under, the safe thus giving lower temps in the event of a fire.

Basement = Less likely to have the entire safe stolen.

Basement = Less attention.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 3:58:02 PM EDT
The "collateral thread" was mine.

I plan on putting my safe in the basement because:
1) It's easier to get the safe into
2) It's harder to get the safe out of
3) I have no water problems
4) My wife likes the idea
5) I have a dehumidifying rod to minimize humidity
6) I too have structural concerns for upstairs, and if the house ever burned to the ground, the safe would land up un the basement anyway.

I AM concerned that if there was a massive fire, there could be a lot of water in the basement, ruining guns, etc.

No method is perfect. I look forward to hearing additional opinions.
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 4:12:44 PM EDT
No matter where you put it, just make sure you have insurance...
Link Posted: 3/26/2006 5:32:12 PM EDT
Ok boys I have been construction for years and also into guns and fish tanks.
My tanks out weigh gun safes by a lot. Salt water alone is around 8 pounds per gallon and I have 2-200 gallon tanks 3200lbs just in the salt water alone.

If you were to stand on the ball of only one foot and weighed say 200lbs. that would be three times the force on the floor system per square inch than one of my tanks. Did you go through the floor? Nope. The weight of the safe/tank is distributed over a large surface area so you will be ok. Put the safe in the middle of the room on the first floor if you want without concern. No need to place it next to a bearing wall but if you feel safer with it next to a bearing wall so be it.

If the basement is equipped with heating and air conditioning like the rest of the house then it won’t be as bad in the rust department. It would be wise to raise the safe off the basement floor incase of flooding. But you should have an automatic sump pump down there to help with a flood situation anyway. If not then guess what! Put one in. Flooding will be your biggest concern over fire. Flooding happens all the time pipes break water heaters burst and of course you will not be home when they do. Thank Murphy’s law for that. As far as fire goes well your safe could be sitting in a pile of hot embers for hours if the house does burn completely to the ground so to speak. But if that is the case no mater where you put it in the first place it will wind up in the basement anyway. To me if it was in the basement against a wall only three sides would be exposed to the hot coals. In a corner just two sides. Most basements are made of concrete and we know how hard that is to burn. As far as the platform goes get one made out of steel and angle iron. Bolt the platform to the floor put the safe on it and bolt it to the platform then weld all the nuts to the bolts and you have done all you can do.



Link Posted: 3/27/2006 5:32:27 PM EDT
Thanks for the replies. I've decided to put it on the 1st floor.

GL
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 5:35:53 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 5:54:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Rollyman:
Ok boys I have been construction for years and also into guns and fish tanks.
My tanks out weigh gun safes by a lot. Salt water alone is around 8 pounds per gallon and I have 2-200 gallon tanks 3200lbs just in the salt water alone.

If you were to stand on the ball of only one foot and weighed say 200lbs. that would be three times the force on the floor system per square inch than one of my tanks. Did you go through the floor? Nope. The weight of the safe/tank is distributed over a large surface area so you will be ok. Put the safe in the middle of the room on the first floor if you want without concern. No need to place it next to a bearing wall but if you feel safer with it next to a bearing wall so be it.

If the basement is equipped with heating and air conditioning like the rest of the house then it won’t be as bad in the rust department. It would be wise to raise the safe off the basement floor incase of flooding. But you should have an automatic sump pump down there to help with a flood situation anyway. If not then guess what! Put one in. Flooding will be your biggest concern over fire. Flooding happens all the time pipes break water heaters burst and of course you will not be home when they do. Thank Murphy’s law for that. As far as fire goes well your safe could be sitting in a pile of hot embers for hours if the house does burn completely to the ground so to speak. But if that is the case no mater where you put it in the first place it will wind up in the basement anyway. To me if it was in the basement against a wall only three sides would be exposed to the hot coals. In a corner just two sides. Most basements are made of concrete and we know how hard that is to burn. As far as the platform goes get one made out of steel and angle iron. Bolt the platform to the floor put the safe on it and bolt it to the platform then weld all the nuts to the bolts and you have done all you can do.






Many good points here. Also I highly doubt a gun safe, or even a fish tank will fall through the floor w/o fire being involved, but there is a few concerns. Deflection will be an issue with alot of weight being distributed in a small area. Putting a safe near a bearing wall underneath, or close to an exterior wall would be a great thing to do as most houses dead load rating isnt figuring on a 800 lb object unless its a bath or kitchen. Also alot of older homes are under built, say 2x6 floor joists spanning 13' @ 18-20" on center. Also Ive seen that same floor joist notched and resting on a 2x3 face nailed into a 8x8 beam resulting in nearly every 2x6 joists split at the notch and the floor dipping a good 1". Alot of cast iron bath tubs (300-350 lbs) causes the floor to deflect also. Im not saying dont do it, but if your concerned ask someone who knows. Point of the story some houses it wouldnt even notice the weight but some will.

BTW Im a licensed construction supervisor just to back up my talk.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 6:05:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/27/2006 6:06:22 PM EDT by SelectFire]
My gun safes (locking cabinets really) are in my garage untill my daughter moves out next July.
Count your blessings you can even keep it in your basement.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 6:40:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ian187:

Originally Posted By Samuel_Hoggson:

Basement = moisture = bad.

Sam



Basement = No substructure to burn and fall through.

Basement = Concrete floor to bolt the safe to.

Basement = Less material to burn around, or under, the safe thus giving lower temps in the event of a fire.

Basement = Less likely to have the entire safe stolen.

Basement = Less attention.



Big +1 if you can get it down there this is a no brainer!
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:22:11 PM EDT
Put it in the basement!
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:41:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pigmy:
Put it in the basement!

+1 That's where mine is and I have no problems with rust, water, etc. We have a sump pump and I put a golden rod de-humidifier in the safe.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 9:43:45 PM EDT
I put mine in the basement.

I have a damp basement but no problems with rust or corrosion, ever. I use dessicant and rope-lights in the safe. Even dirty guns haven't rusted.

Bolted to the floor, safe from fall-through, harder to get out of the house, etc.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 10:57:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By swingset:
I put mine in the basement.

I have a damp basement but no problems with rust or corrosion, ever. I use dessicant and rope-lights in the safe. Even dirty guns haven't rusted.

Bolted to the floor, safe from fall-through, harder to get out of the house, etc.



Rope lights? Tell me more please.....
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:30:46 PM EDT
My safe wouldn't fit in the house, so it is anchored and out in the garage
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:17:35 AM EDT
buy some concrete blocks and an old surplus bank vault door

You will have a perfect walk-in safe + bomb shelter Didn't somebody on this board do this?

I have my safe on the first floor behind a "false door" bolted to the wall and floor timber. eithor way make sure it's secured.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:42:42 AM EDT
At 800lbs you are only putting 1.02 PSI on your floor. Say the average grown man weighs 200# and has a shoe size of, say 11, you can figure that 4 men standing as close as possible will generate approximately 1.59 PSI in a theoretical area of about 18x24. That said, it realy dosen't seem like that much weight does it? I'd still go with a corner over a joist, but I would'nt worry too much about your floor. --ST
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:02:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLogic:
Thanks for the replies. I've decided to put it on the 1st floor.

GL



FWIW, good call.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:02:38 AM EDT
Just don't forget to add the weight of everthing you stuff in the safe as well.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:13:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By GunLogic:
Thanks for the replies. I've decided to put it on the 1st floor.

GL



A buddy of mine back East had at least a 700 pound(empty) safe in his mobile home. IIRC he had added a section (maybe 1/2 sheet?) of 1 inch Oak plywood to the flooring where it sat, and he had ZERO issues with sagging. If the underside of your proposed 1st floor safe location is accessible, adding some extra bracing to prevent the floor joists from shifting might not hurt.

Although locating a safe in a dry basement would be sweet, I can imagine how much "fun" it would be getting one down there. And bringing it back up when you move would be even worse!

Paladin
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 5:21:11 AM EDT
I went through this decision making process ten years ago and ended up putting the safe on the first floor. Shortly thereafter a big rain came and the water flowing in the basement looked like Niagara Falls. I'm glad I didn't put it downstairs.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 7:01:17 AM EDT

I went through this decision making process ten years ago and ended up putting the safe on the first floor. Shortly thereafter a big rain came and the water flowing in the basement looked like Niagara Falls. I'm glad I didn't put it downstairs.


FWIW....this happened to a buddy. Guns & stuff all in the basement, a 12 inch water main ruptures slightly up hill from his house and his basement fills 6 feet deep in just a couple minutes. No sump pump exists for that scenario.

Pipes freeze, sewers back up, torrential rains overload the storm system....*I've* had all three of these happen, but I haven't burned to the ground. I think flooding is the more likely risk
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 7:02:00 AM EDT
Basement. Safer, harder to steal
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 8:09:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Sd_Kfz_182:
buy some concrete blocks and an old surplus bank vault door



Any idea where one could buy a surplus bank vault door and how much one would cost?

Also, you want poured concrete, not block walls. Block is pretty easy to defeat, relatively speaking. Yes, it is probably overkill, but if you're going to get a vault door you might as well do it right. Plus, a 10x10 bank vault in the basement would definitely eliminate the whole "lack of space in the safe" problem.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 3:06:23 PM EDT
Remember 4 men dont stand in one place for years at a time either. Like I said above, it isnt going to go crashing through the floor if the house is half assed built right, but its going to sag the floor, and 99% of people will never notice the settlement, but it isnt the best thing for the house. My reccomendation for a 1st floor safe is a smaller one like a 14 gun safe with enough ammo/mags for personal safety, then the main safe in the basement. If your in a flood zone then Ide say keep it out of the basement.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 3:21:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sd_Kfz_182:
buy some concrete blocks and an old surplus bank vault door

You will have a perfect walk-in safe + bomb shelter Didn't somebody on this board do this?

I have my safe on the first floor behind a "false door" bolted to the wall and floor timber. eithor way make sure it's secured.



I know of a guy who has done this. I have not seen the setup, but I have no doubt about its existance.
Link Posted: 3/28/2006 4:24:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ian187:

Originally Posted By Samuel_Hoggson:

Basement = moisture = bad.

Sam



Basement = No substructure to burn and fall through. We've established that the safe isn't going to fall through.
Basement = Concrete floor to bolt the safe to. This will not stop a determined thief......it may add 5 to 10 minutes to his efforts
Basement = Less material to burn around, or under, the safe thus giving lower temps in the event of a fire. This may be so, but in a real structure fire it's all gone anyway. Lower temperatures will not likely mean low enough temperatures. The basement can become a fire pit - sit back and watch, or break out the marshmallows. I think you're also forgetting where all the water goes. If you think I'm kidding about this go check out the aftermath of a major house fire.
Basement = Less likely to have the entire safe stolen. Again, the number of thiefs who will be deterred by basement location is dwarfed by both: the number who will be deterred either way, and by the number who will be undeterred either way
Basement = Less attention. Bullseye.......less attention........as in by the owner. Maybe you've never had a rust problem - discovered one of your firearms covered with pits. For every gun that is lost to thieves there are probably ten that are lost to rust and neglect. Sorry, but I've BTDT. To be fair, I live in New England. There is no such thing as a dry basement in New England. The original poster is from MN. If I knew with 100% certainty that the humidity of my basement never varied more than on the first floor I would consider locating the safe in the basement. Sorry if I sound cranky, but this past December (pls note where I live - Maine) I had standing water in my basement twice!!!! ARRGGHHHHHH



Link Posted: 3/28/2006 8:32:33 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2006 8:33:45 PM EDT by SeventhFleet]
My advice is to put your safe in the basement, providing it's a dry basement. It will generally be out of sight from visitors which is a big plus when it comes to security. Additionally you won't have to wonder about the strength of the floor and you can easily bolt it to the floor. If the basement is just a little humid, then get a dehumidifier. Sears sells them and they do a fine job of removing moisture from the air. My safe has been in the basement for 15 years with no problems. In fact I built a 8x12 secure steel room around mine in the corner of the basement to use as a storm shelter. This adds greatly to the security of the safe and gives us a safe place to go when the tornado sirens go off.

7th
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