Best option, Safe or Safe Room?


Steve Smith
August 29, 2005, 02:31 PM
Ok, given circumstances such as a decent place to put it and persmission from the better half to do the work, would you folks build a safe room or just go with a larger safe? IF you went with a safe room, how would you build it? Please, toss in as many details as you wish! Of course, I'm not trying to build a room like in the movie "Safe Room" but something for guns and belongings. Also be sure to explain what type of door/jamb you would use. Thanks!

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August 29, 2005, 03:18 PM
I'd build a "safe room" if I could . . . but then, I'd be inclined to call it something like a "tornado shelter" and see whether or not I could get a tax credit for it.

Assuming it were in the basement (assuming I had a basement) I'd make the walls out of concrete blocks, but I'd drop some steel bars down the cores and fill them solid with concrete. (Good foundation is a given.) Spancrete ceiling. I'd have ventilation in there and put a steel door at each end . . . probably something like the vault doors from companies like Browning and Fort Knox.

And I'd build it big enough for my reloading setup, so it wouldn't just be "dead space" inside the home.

If I got ambitious, I'd conceal the doors behind sliding book cases or something.

August 29, 2005, 03:21 PM
I defeinately want to build a safe room. I would make it as large as possible to store everything like pictures and other important files. I would also put in a backup hard drive for my files down there in case of a fire. I would also try to put all my big supplies of ammo and stuff in there. If possible it would also be a reloading room and everything.

August 29, 2005, 03:36 PM
Safe room,

If you have a basement and don't mind the mess, use as much concrete as possible. Remember humidity and venting, one you don't want the other you need. If you can't make a big mess use cinder blocks filled with concrete and rebar for the walls and a double layer of treated fire rock for the lid (make sure to attach the lid first and build up to it using the walls you build as support for the sides. This will create a better seal and in the event of a fire the above wood will burn leaving gaps around the edges of the lid for bad things to get in. Frame out a skeleton inside the safe room supporting the roof, shelves etc... Get a good door or vault door. Remember theft, fire, and family protection. Oh yeah, don't forget to have room to get everyone in there if that is a goal (don't overfill it). :D

August 29, 2005, 03:47 PM
I have a small closet in a small room (originally designed as a sewing room, but I use it as office/den/computer room). I took the folding door off it, and put a large bookshelf in front of the opening - it completely covered the door molding. Put large teflon sliders on the bottom of the bookshelf. I put two more like bookshelves along that same wall so they almost fill the wall length... so it all looks natural.

I have an cheapie under-the-bed safe & a couple of gunvaults, but I really like that secret closet. My wife likes it too, since I put her jewelry & silver in there when we go on vacation & her mind is comfortable. I leave some cheap long guns in the under-the-bed safe so a burglar might find those & not look further.

It was grossly simple to accomplish; and with the bookshelves all loaded, it really looks unmovable. I installed some of those wire half-shelves inside the closet, so there's all kinds of space to hold "things".

August 29, 2005, 08:14 PM
A safe room has the huge advantage that you can make it as big as you like. It can hold guns, ammo, personal valuables, family heirlooms, etc., and when you go on vacation, you can move into it anything of particular value or sentimental importance, so that you can vacation in peace of mind. You can also make it fireproof, and even install an automatic sprinkler system, if necessary.

However, you can't take it with you when you move, and it may not add value to your house if buyers don't see the need for it. A safe (or multiple safes) are at least portable, so that you don't lose your investment in the safe room when you move (as you inevitably will, some day).

You pays your money and you makes your choice. Personally, I'd go with safes, rather than a safe room, because I don't have enough money to invest several thousand dollars in something that won't give me any return on that investment.

August 29, 2005, 08:24 PM
If you're building a house, a safe room is a simple and cheap investment. Being in the ready mix concrete business, I've seen many of them built and have one in my house. Only thing is, a vault door can often be as expensive (or more) as a quality safe. I think if done right though it is more secure than a safe. The one in my house was originally built as a tornado shelter and its NOT your ordinary concrete mix. I would be surprised if an intruder could even find it, much less penetrate the walls or ceiling. I would not be much help in the vault door department, but if anyone needs info on building the room itself feel free to contact me.

August 29, 2005, 08:35 PM
I have seen this discussion a few times around.

Like Preacherman basically is saying here; "safe" rooms (not a panic room) are a great idea - but very expensive to build correctly. A room in general made to adhere to the strength and security as a safe is a very demanding thing to do, and not realistically possible on most people's budget - and also it is permanent to the house. That is unless you find a bank that closed down and left it's vault for sale! :D You never will get your money back on the resale unless you find that very rare buyer who is like you that values it.

Realistically a real safe from high end manufacturers coupled with a strong home security alerting system to reduce the time available to the BG to work on your safe will work very well. Remember, security is best deployed in layers.

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