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Posted: 3/1/2006 3:08:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/1/2006 3:33:11 PM EDT by spanky02]
Anyone have experience with placing a gun safe on the second floor of your house (or first floor if you have a basement)? The safes I am looking at will weigh a minimum of 600 pounds empty so I am concerned about the load-bearing capability of the floor. Do I need to place the safe next to a load-bearing wall? Should I engage an engineer for a recommendation on placement? If you've been through this I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts.
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 4:57:12 PM EDT
I would think in a corner of two outside walls woul be the strongest place on a second story floor. That way both wall supports can help support the floor jousts (sp?).

My .o2

FWIW, I put mine on the garage floor.
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 7:11:43 PM EDT
The floor joists in a corner owuld be the strongest place, but I don't think 600 pounds would exceed the floor load capacity in a modern house.
An older house might not carry the load though. How old is yours?
Jim
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 9:12:07 PM EDT
It was built in '69.
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 9:31:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/1/2006 9:32:13 PM EDT by borat]
the woman next door to me weighs about 400 pounds and her floors seem to hold up all that blubber no prob.h.gif
Link Posted: 3/1/2006 9:38:58 PM EDT
You could ask an engineer to look at your floor.
A friend of mine put in a commercial range and he needed to reinforced the floor to support it .

But at the same time a 48" refrigerator weights 650lbs.
www.vikingrange.com/specs/pdf_assets/vcsb_48_wiwd_spec.pdf

I don’t Know
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 3:55:11 AM EDT
Most building codes require 40 psf live load for houses (some 50 psf). This is the load in excess of the weight of the construction. Most contractors will build very close to this requirement.

1. 600 divided by 40 equals 15 square feet. If footprint of safe is greater than 15 square feet - ok.
2. If footprint is less than 15 sq. ft., is it close? Modern construction techniques allow some load sharing between supporting members. The 40 psf is over the entire floor.
3. If the load is close to 40 psf, be aware that wood will creep over time. Long term point loads that are close to capacity of member will cause members to deflect to the point that they don't recover.
4. Remember to look at your route to whereever you place your safe. I discovered that my stairs were not built to code when I started looking at putting my safe in. I spent the time reinforcing them.
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 4:06:48 AM EDT
Probably also wise to take into account the anticipated weight of stored items, especially if the safe weight is close to the loading tolerance of your floor.


Link Posted: 3/2/2006 9:26:59 AM EDT
Why are you placing it on the 2nd floor? Are you renting or do you own the house? Is it for quick access to a gun?

If you own your home, you'd be better of placing a safe on the ground floor or bolted to the garage/basement floor (if you have one). A safe falling 2 stories if a fire breaks out is bound to damage your guns.

If you need quick access consider a in-wall rifle locker upstairs and a safe on a lower floor.

Rifle Locker
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 9:46:36 AM EDT

I discovered that my stairs were not built to code when I started looking at putting my safe in.

Good point about the stairs. When carrying my great-nephew's 300# safe up the stairs in his townhouse, my 230# self with size 8 feet went right through the 1/2" pine boards used for the tread.

The other issue are the stringers. Very often people will make them out of 2x10's with notches. The notches greatly weakens the wood. At my parents house, my father had a freezer drop about 10' down to the concrete basement floor when one of the stringers broke where it was cut. We replaced the stairs with 2x12's with no notches, and 45 years later, it's still standing.

Whatever you do, make sure your hand trucks have large underinflated tires. that spreads-out the load over a larger area.z
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 10:40:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hamel:
Why are you placing it on the 2nd floor? Are you renting or do you own the house? Is it for quick access to a gun?

If you own your home, you'd be better of placing a safe on the ground floor or bolted to the garage/basement floor (if you have one). A safe falling 2 stories if a fire breaks out is bound to damage your guns.

If you need quick access consider a in-wall rifle locker upstairs and a safe on a lower floor.

Rifle Locker



Thanks for the input, those are good points.

I prefer the 2nd floor for quick access. The guns are insured so I can replace them if they're damaged or destroyed by fire. I rent, so I can't cut the walls for an in-wall unit.

There are three reasons I don't like the garage option. One is the lack of quick access. Two is that it's easier to steal the whole safe from there if they just want to grab the whole thing (I would bolt it down, but still). Third is that even with a goldenrod dehumidifier, I am concerned about condensation due to the hot day/cold night pattern here in CA.
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 11:16:01 AM EDT
Dont lock up a firearm you will be using as a quick access gun in a safe.
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 11:28:38 AM EDT
I ended up putting mine on the first floor, with 4x4's under the cross-beams directly under the safe, on jack screws placed on 1ftx1ftx1ft concrete pads in the crawlspace. Seems to be working.

Link Posted: 3/2/2006 11:43:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By _Notch_:
Dont lock up a firearm you will be using as a quick access gun in a safe.



Quick is all relative...I just would rather have them in my bedroom than have to walk downstairs, across the house, and into the garage.

I have kids so all the guns will be in this safe except perhaps for one handgun in a gunvault safe.
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 12:02:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/2/2006 12:06:29 PM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
If you can find a take-apart safe that fits your needs, that would make moving it easier, and you wouldn't have to worry about weight loads except right where the safe is going to sit.

Can you put down some boards or rods or anything else onto the floor under the safe to help spread the load over a larger area? Or maybe screw a heavy eye-bolt or two into the ceiling joists above the safe and attach a chain or rope to the safe and tighten it up to take some of the weight off the floor and let the ceiling beams share some of the load?

Or consider two smaller safes instead of one larger one so the weight isn't all in one place?

Just trying to come up with ideas. Not sure if they'll work in your situation.
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 1:35:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By borat:
the woman next door to me weighs about 400 pounds and her floors seem to hold up all that blubber no prob.




For goodness sakes, DON'T show any pics!!!!!!
Link Posted: 3/2/2006 1:47:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/2/2006 1:48:15 PM EDT by txgp17]
Put it near the center of a load bearing wall. Use 3/4" or 1" (if you can find it) plywood to give it a greater footprint and span the distance of at least 3 floor joists. Everything should be OK. Sand it, route it, stain it, and polyurethane it as needed for aesthetics.
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 1:35:45 PM EDT
If your're say a 200 lb. guy and you were banging borat's 400 lb neighbor, would you go through the floor? Probably not, don't worry about it.
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 1:57:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By TARFU:
If your're say a 200 lb. guy and you were banging borat's 400 lb neighbor, would you go through the floor? Probably not, don't worry about it.



Gold star for thinking outside the box. Unfortunately it's not analogous because we would not be sitting in one place for several years with all the weight on a 4 square-foot area.

At least, let's hope not.

If I can't find a suitable load-bearing wall I think I'll have to bite the bullet and consult an engineer. Worst case I can put it in the garage and bolt it to the concrete...inconvenient but not the end of the world.
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 2:12:12 PM EDT
You could always go with a lighter safe.
Jim
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 2:34:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By pepperbelly:
You could always go with a lighter safe.
Jim



True, but I need enough space to grow my collection (5'h x 30"w), and I want something tough enough to withstand an attack with a prybar. If you can recommend something light that satisfies those criteria I am all ears!
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 2:39:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/3/2006 2:42:07 PM EDT by pepperbelly]
I have a Sentry. It isn't fire rated, and is actually a middle position between a full-bore safe and the cheap metal cabinets. Mine weighs about 250-300 pounds and a pry bar attack would be futile. It has 5 locking pins and a combo dial (I don't like the push button, but some do). At a little under $400.00, on sale for $250.00 it was too good to pass up. You can get them in various sizes, or buy 2.
Jim

eta: Mine holds 12 long guns and has rails to mount 2 or 3 shelves.
Link Posted: 3/3/2006 2:46:49 PM EDT
Hamel has it right on the head. In case of a fire, that safe is dropping. Forgetting damage to the guns inside, you may kill a firefighter.
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