Walk-In Safe/Basement/Building House Questions?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dimecovers3, Jun 24, 2006.

  1. dimecovers3

    dimecovers3 Well-Known Member

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    We plan on building a house soon that will have a poured concrete foundation for a walk-out basement. The rear third of the basement going width wise is designated for mechanical heating and air and to be unfinished. The rear 2/3rds other side of the drywall are two bedrooms and two baths and a T.V. room seperating the two bed and baths and there would be sliding glass doors. There is 3000 acres of woods out the backdoor, but no way a vehicle other than an ATV could get to those doors in the back, so a truck could not pull up with a chain, but could anchor to a tree with a power winch. The plans call for access to the mechanical area through one of the bedrooms between the bedroom part and the bath part. You would have to open the bedroom door to see the door to the unfinished area that forms the wall of the forward part of the foundation (that part entirely underground). I would like to put a gunsafe (and make it my workshop too) in this forward area, but I have been wondering about a steel safe door with combination leading to the area. I just don't understand what good a safe door does, when you could take an ax and knock out the adjacent wall of drywall and have complete access. Without having steel plating inside the drywall, how does this system work? Seems it only would work if you cemented the walls all around the enclosed area also. Would it be better just to put the safe inside and a deadbolt on the access door? I also will have a reasonable sized walk in master closet that could hold a gunsafe. I'm concerned about the relative humidy in the basement verses the groundlevel (from the front) bedroom which should remain drier. The furnace will be in the same area as the reloading area workbench and the guns (but not very close)so it may keep the basement pretty dry. Supposedly, a poured, and then waterproofed basement is not musty like a block basement. This would be in the Southeast climate wise if this matters (very humid summers and cold wet winters). What would you guys do if you where me? I hate to use up the closet upstairs, but will if it is neccesary. I don't want to rely on dehumidifers unless that is a given for the Southeast. Brand recomendations would be helpful. I was going to drop about $1600 on the safe, so what does a safe door cost properly installed? For the life of me, I just don't understand how a safe door is secure with drywall and studs on each side of it---what am I missing? And just for kicks May never do it, but might be nice to know) seems that to be an FFL holder nowdays you need some secure area for guns--what would be needed to pass that requirement over and above what I am planning? Maybe a seperate alarm on the gunroom independent of the house alarm?
     
  2. gonehuntingagain

    gonehuntingagain Well-Known Member

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    Build it like my Dad's basement. His house was built in the 60's, and one of the things that people were adding was a bomb shelter. It is built in the corner of the basement, thus using 2 of the basement walls, then 2 cinder block walls on the inside of the basement and a concrete ceiling. There is a vent to the outside - from the outside of the house it looks just like a dryer vent. The temperature stays constant all year long and there has been no issues with moisture/water (no rusting guns in there). He has a loading bench setup in there and it also has shelves to store things on so it also serves as a pantry. It is about the size of a small bedroom.
    All he needs to do is add a vault door to it to make it really secure. I was looking at a locksmith catalog that 4ked Horn has, and they even have vault doors that look like a normal interior door and it has a keypad that is mounted separately from the door so it could be hidden as well. I think the whole setup with concrete walls and a vault door would be the way to go for you. No worrying about someone busting through the sheet rock or even hacking into a safe. If they want your stuff, they can get it but they are really going to have to work for it.
     

  3. sewwhat89

    sewwhat89 Well-Known Member

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    A friend of mine put the bolts to bolt down the safe into the poured foundation, ie before it was poured, and then bolted the safe down with 6 or 8 grade 8 bolts. The safe is inside a reinforced room inside his steel-frame shop. Its not going anywhere.

    I too plan on building a vault into my house, but that is several years in the future for me. I plan to use a hexagonal shape with steel reinforced concrete walls, safe door, etc. My reloading stuff will be kept separate in my shop with a shooting bench nearby for testing loads on the range behind the shop. Lots of plans, and only more time to add to it. I would be interested to see what you end up with and any info you could pass along.
     
  4. RBrowning

    RBrowning Well-Known Member

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    Along the lines of gonehuntingagian mentioned, for max security make the wall between your mechanical room and your bedroom a block wall. but instead of referring to as a bomb shelter or gun room, it is your storm room (tornado or hurricane, what ever). It doesn't stand out and it is secure too. Then that reinforced door has something to hang onto besides drywall.

    (PS) If you are REALLY paranoid you can build up the block wall yourself after the contractors leave and you can add rebar and fill the voids in the blocks to make it a reinforced, solid wall that will be more resistant to sledge hammers too.
     
  5. dimecovers3

    dimecovers3 Well-Known Member

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    So basically, these safe doors are only used when the walls themselves are reinforced? But, cinderblocks are no real problem for a sledgehammer. What about the humidity issues? I'm not paranoid in that "gun collection" is nothing like most guys, its just that I may hit the lottery and would want to be ready LOL. I also have a 2 1/2 year old son that I want to keep out too as he gets older and wants to look for trouble. The contractor issue is important, because people talk and the wrong person may hear and think I own an aresenal worth big bucks and might even come to get them when we are home. Forced break ins are pretty common nowdays with people home watching tv and the doorbell rings and blam! Anybody else?
     
  6. gonehuntingagain

    gonehuntingagain Well-Known Member

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    Good luck knocking down a cinder block wall if the cinder blocks have concrete poured down the 2 holes in them along with some rebar. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    As for a vault door, they are pretty expensive and there is no reason to spend that much if all someone has to do is go through the sheetrock next to it.

    As for humidity - it has not been an issue - ever. It rains/snows a ton where my dad lives and it has never been a problem.

    Since you are building a house, you could have them put in the concrete room, and put a normal door on it for now. It will be far cheaper to build that room as the foundation is poured vs. trying to do it later on. You could just have them pour all of the walls and just make them reinforced concrete and add a concrete ceiling to it. It probably wouldn't cost too much for them to do at that time either. Just tell them you are using it as a "wine cellar" (just install the vault door later.)
     
  7. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Dime

    Have the third wall poured at the same times as the exterior wall and have it tied in with rebar. Have the correct bolts/ anchors for the safe door installed as the concrete is poured. Any Architect that can design a house can design this for you at the same time as the rest of the house as long as you pick out the steel door and give him the technical specifications.

    GHA is right about cinder blocks with rebar and concrete. Good luck on knocking it down. You will need to pack a lunch and bring help. The trick is that you will need a vibrator to get the concrete to go down through the slots to the base.
     
  8. RDM416

    RDM416 Well-Known Member

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    Dime,

    I'm just finishing a new house, hope to move in a couple of weeks from now. We have a full basement. Walk out on the back side, the other three sides underground.

    The basement walls are poured concrete 12" thick. I had a room built against the back wall 14'X 8' with the same 12" thick walls. The ceiling / main level floor is supported by steel joists and has a 4" concrete slab.

    I used a reinforced steel door with 4 deadbolts rather than a "safe" door. Maybe not quite as secure, but will take someone alot of time with conventional tools to get in.

    I also have a gun safe which will be inside the safe room, the safe will be bolted to the concrete. So if they get in the safe room, they still have to get in the safe.

    I also designed a hidden wall panel that has to be opened to see the safe room door. With the layout of the other rooms and the hidden door most people will not even notice there is another room. There is also a security system with door and motion sensors and hidden cameras

    My heat and air system is ducted into the room. I also drilled a hole for a drain line just in case I need to put a de-humidifier inside.

    Best of all, next to the safe room is a 14' X 16' room dedicated to reloading! Over 60 linear feet of bench space with lots of cabinets and drawers. I'll post pics when I get it set up.

    Good luck with your project.
     
  9. 11B2CV

    11B2CV Member

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    I am no expert by any means, but I have seen someone build a "vault" room on a budget. Unfortunately, the door (Remington) cost as much as your $1600. However, instead of CMU with rebar, the walls( he built in the corner of the basement)are metal stud, open plate metal reinforcement (walls and ceiling), then a double layer of 5/8" rock (1 hr fire wall).

    The thing about the reinforced CMU is the supporting floor, it has to be reinforced itself to support that weight, and this was my friends way around it, as the house was existing. Is it inpenetrateble, no. But a thief would have to spend a lot of time getting through that wall, the door would be a quicker bet if he knew how to pick it. As a bonus, the "door" doesn't look like a vault door.

    And I believe it cost him about 6K (with door)for a 8'X 10' room, which he contracted. If your house is still being built, you could probably haggle with your builder to get it cheaper.

    Just my 2 cents............
     
  10. aaroni

    aaroni New Member

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    [SIZE=-1]The best approaches for preventing basement problems will depend on your local climate, type of insulation, and style of construction. However, the following general rules apply to most basement designs for creating a water-managed foundation system.
    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]1. Keep all untreated wood materials away from earth contact.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]2.[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] Provide drainage, such as gutters, to conduct rainwater away from the house.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]3.[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] Slope the earth away from all sides of the house for at least 5 feet at a minimum 5% grade (3 inches in 5 feet). Establish drainage swales to direct rainwater around[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]
    [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=-1]4.[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] Add a sill gasket to provide air sealing.[/SIZE]
     
  11. Gunnersaw1

    Gunnersaw1 Active Member

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    I build homes for a living. In Kansas we have tornados every year. So this kind of room is common. A lot of good things have been said so far. If you talk to your builder and tell him you want a "safe room" hopefully he will know what you are talking about. There has to be footings poured where the walls will be to hold the weight. If you do this during construction the cost should not be too bad. The door could just be a steel door with some deadbolts and you could always get the vault door later.
    So I would recomend that you have poured concrete walls put in while they are already pouring concrete.
     
  12. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

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    I am a concrete finisher by trade also. We do these kinds of rooms fairly often in Minnesota as well due to tornadoes and such. Any concrete or block wall will sweat and will give you some moisture issues if you don't vent it properly.

    Waterproofing the walls w/ drylock will help but not totally solve the moisture issue... cold block or concrete walls simply sweat (the humid air condenses when it comes in contact with the cold wall. Talk to your HVAC contractor for some ideas on limiting moisture issues. Some contractors have us put 6 mil poly on the walls and pour the concrete up to it with a corrigated wall-edging to allow the moisture to go down to the drain tile.

    A poured concrete wall w/ reinforcement is probably the best way to go since they are going to be pouring already. We often do a block wall that is core filled and pour a cap over the room too. The thing about the cap is that it makes it a little more challenging to get venting and conduit in the room - just takes more planning ;). You will need footings under the walls or a thickened floor would be sufficient (refered to as a monolithic footing). Most rooms that we do are in the 6-8' wide range just big enough for some cold storage and room for the family in case of a tornado. We generally pour a 6 -8" cap with rebar about 12" OC for these. If you go much wider than you may want to beef up the reinforcement to a double mat IMHO. These little rooms do get a little spendy. If you are just trying to make a "safe" room for valuables you may be OK w/ simply laying up block and having the door mounted in a concrete block wall with some being corefilled.


    good luck, Mark.

    Oh... I wouldn't recamend putting a safe door on the room if you intend to actually use the room for anything other than a safe. Potental for locking yourelf in. I think a good deadbolt should be sufficient. IMHO if they want to get inside really really badly they will find a way. The whole idea of safes and safe rooms is simply to make it impractical for someone to get inside. Bank vaults are penetrable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009
  13. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    An FFl that I know built his vault with cinderblock walls, filled with cement and rebar. Poured cap with LOTS of rebar, 8" thick. Safe door, plumbed for a dehumidifier, and lights. He then covered the outer walls with drywall so it looked like the rest of the building. The safe room is roughly 15' x 15' inside dimensions. there is an alarm system on the building and on that room as well.
     
  14. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    You might want to look at the new styrofoam blocks they are using now for poured concrete walls and floors. About 2 inches of styrofoam on each side, you stack them up like toy building blocks and they simply pour the concrete in the walls.

    You use a "hot knife" to cut channels for electrical. Talk to your builder and architect about that type.

    BH