Possible Gun Vault?


July 22, 2007, 04:07 PM
I am lucky enough to be building a new house. The contractor just poured the walls for the basement. It seems that I have a potential vault under the front steps. The walls that the steps sit on go down all the way to the basement footings. It makes a room about 6' X 6' with out a door. The concrete font steps have not been poured yet. Does it sound like I should be looking for a vault door? Should I be concerned with climate control? Would a small electric heater be enough to keep moisture at bay? Where do I look for an in-expensive vault door? Does it have to be a heavily insulated door for fire protection or does the size of the room and the fact it is in the ground help keep temperatures lower? That is a lot of questions. Any help would be great!

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1 old 0311
July 22, 2007, 04:15 PM
There is a TON of info on this site about this. Do a search, and read away.

July 22, 2007, 04:16 PM
Thanks! I'm on it!

July 22, 2007, 07:49 PM
Contact local locksmith. They might have line on vault doors used. I.E. local schools/older city offices use vault doors in the 60s. They have sold for little/nothing. (need to be recoded as everyone knows combo,never lubed)
Moisture depends on location.

July 23, 2007, 08:04 AM
Midway USA sells vault doors

July 23, 2007, 09:35 AM

Midway does not sell vault doors. They sell a sheet metal clad security door made by Browning. This type of door does not give bank type protection, either fire or burglary. Note that the Midway blurb specifically states 12/24 gauge construction. Gauge metal is sheet metal. The frame therefore does not appear to be of any sturdier construction. That means this type of door is susceptible to having the bolts pulled through the frame, ie "peeled", or having the frame itself pulled out of the wall.

If you want a vault door made of plate steel, with frame flanging, rebar weldment points, etc., they are available. But not through a mass-market outlet such as Midway. They cost more, weigh more, and give far more protection, given that they are installed correctly.


July 23, 2007, 12:11 PM
Please excuse the bad photo:

This is a vault door that you would often see on the used market. It is being removed from a local bank branch, and is on the lighter side at 5,000 pounds. The forklift being used to move the door weighs 10,000 pounds. These types of doors can only be installed in new construction, and you can forget about cheap. The cost to hire a crane to lift it into position will probably cost more than many of the gun safe doors cost. A door like this will end up running in the $8,000 range including equipment costs.


There are lighter vault doors available, including record room doors. These doors often run in the $1,500 to $4,000 range used, and $3,000 to $15,000 new. You can also buy doors from the gun safe companies which look like vault doors. These doors will also run in the $3,000 plus range, and offer easier installations due to their lighter weights, but not much protection. It is very difficult to move any of these doors into existing construction.

Most people (even salvage companies) know that some of these used vault doors are worth over $100,000. If a door is being sold cheap, it's for a reason. There is something wrong with it.

I would look into a commercial entry steel door and frame. It will offer you a decent level of protection, and be much easier to bring in and install. Run some electric into the room for lighting, and include an outlet for a plug in dehumidifier. We install vaults in homes on a regular basis, so it it can be done. Although it is going to cost more than a freestanding safe, the price per cubic foot of storage is much lower.


Gaucho Gringo
July 23, 2007, 02:10 PM
I am sure a commercial steel door and frame would be fine for your home gun vault room. I used to be in construction and was sent to replace a door at a business that someone had tried to break into. The steel door was bent and battered, but it held. The key word here is commercial grade door, not some light steel clad door that is sold at Home Depot or Lowes. And equal quality locks.

Brad Johnson
July 23, 2007, 02:33 PM
AMSEC makes a door that's setup for a standard-sized residential frameout.


July 23, 2007, 02:58 PM

The AMSEC door offers no real difference from the Browning door discussed above. I'm an AMSEC dealer by the way.

Plate doors are available through the Graffunder company. They do offer solid steel frames, flanges, weldment points if you so desire, and plate steel door panels. Costs vary because each door is built to your specs. If you want to go this route, it's essential that your contractor is involved, it keeps the expensive rude surprises to a minimum. These doors can be installed in an existing opening, without a pour. However, details such as sill, exact measurements, and wall construction are necessary for a satisfactory installation. The doors will weigh around 1000 lbs, give or take depending on how you want it made. Cost will be in the $5000.00 range, and the ball park is large until the details are known. I am also a Graffunder dealer.


July 23, 2007, 03:01 PM
Sounds like you are having a secret room then. Use a steel door with extra deadbolts and hide it behind a bookcase. Don't tell anyone about it. Good luck

July 23, 2007, 06:58 PM
Thanks everyone. Lots of good info here.

July 23, 2007, 10:40 PM
google up ballistic resistant doors. Northshield is one manufacturer.

July 23, 2007, 11:10 PM
The moisture problem can be dealt with. The need for a vault door is really up to you. The item that is most secure is that which no one knows about.
If you want a secret room, make sure the space is clean and free and has eletrical set up. In other words, have the contractor build you a regular old plain jane storage closet if you like. Or, leave the space unfinished if that draws less attention. As for fire, have the contents insured if needed; in a fire, they might get soaking wet and remain that way for days down there--but they likely won't burn. They will be trashed by water damage unless the cache is waterproofed.

July 23, 2007, 11:45 PM
A "liquor store back door" quality steel door shouldn't cost all that much, and will be a gnarsty thing to get through.

If you want, you can also "face" it with a piece of plate.

NOTHING is burglar proof. But you can really, really slow them down.

Use Medco locks too.

July 24, 2007, 08:27 AM

I'm going to presume that bogie meant Medeco locks. They are high quality, somewhat expensive, and very secure locks. I'm a dealer for them also.


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