Bolting Safes to Foundation... Advice?


March 19, 2010, 12:49 AM
We're having WAY too many burgleries in my neighborhood. The MO seems to be for one guy to check the front door and watch the street while a second goes around back to pry open the sliding glass door at the rear of the house. Once inside, they consolidate everything at the front door, then apparently call for a friend to bring a car, quickly load the stuff up, and drive off.

I've got most of the guns in two small safes, and two guys would probably be able to move these safes to a waiting car with minimal problem. The safes need to be bolted down.

I've never drilled into concrete before. Does anyone have any advice before I start? Is there any danger of cracking the house's foundation?

- - - Yoda

If you enjoyed reading about "Bolting Safes to Foundation... Advice?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Texas Gun Person
March 19, 2010, 01:00 AM
This might help you some. :)

Buck Snort
March 19, 2010, 01:02 AM
There are masonic bits for drills but I'd advise you to rent an industrial sized drill. It shouldn't be all that hard to find some device you could insert thru a hole in the safe and stick it into the hole in the concrete. It'd have to be some kind of expanding plug you could cinch down from inside the safe.

Geeze, TGP posted at the same time as me. Do what he said.

March 19, 2010, 01:11 AM
if ya never want it to move use construction adhesive ...that stuff is tough

March 19, 2010, 01:12 AM
Get a hammer drill and hammer drill bits. The size of hole in the bottom of the safe will dictate on the size of anchor bolt that you can use which will also tell you what size bit to buy.

Since your floor/foundation has by now fully cured, any ol' drill won't be up to task, which is why I recommend a hammer drill. You could probably rent one if you don't want to pony up cash, but it's just a good investment.

Lowe's, Home Depot or Ace will have anchors at standard sizes that you can consider and they'll also tell you how deep to drill. A small (3/8" or .375 caliber) hole that doesn't penetrate the entire floor won't jeopardize your foundation unless it's already suspect.

Remember to clean the dust out of the hole before you insert your anchor. Vacuum or enema bulb (booger sucker in baby aisle) should suffice.

March 19, 2010, 01:43 AM
nevermind, covered in the posted thread

Rio Laxas
March 19, 2010, 09:34 AM
I had better luck with a rental rotary hammer than with a hammer drill. I've bolted a safe to a slab twice now and each time I rent a rotary hammer from a hardware store.

March 19, 2010, 09:39 AM
When choosing what kind of anchor to use be sure to consider which ones will make your safe a permanent fixture (ie you won't be able to move it when you get a new house). I like drop in anchors - they're super solid, and moving is no problem.

March 19, 2010, 10:45 AM
One word comes to mind...Hilti.

March 19, 2010, 10:57 AM
Home Depot, just tell them what you want to do, and they will point you in the right direction.

March 19, 2010, 11:21 AM
First, find out if your floor is concrete, wood, or gypcrete. The anchors described in the posts above only work in concrete. If wood, find joists or sleepers to anchor. If gypcrete, same thing but it's more difficult to locate the joists. On a joisted floor, most of you will have wood construction. But it's best to confirm before proceeding, there are steel joisted floors out there.

If concrete slab-on-grade, make sure your floor isn't post-tensioned. Very common in the west and southwest, uncommon elsewhere. Cables are pulled tight in the concrete slab after it sets, drilling through a cable will break it.

If all of this is scary to you, find someone else to do it.

March 19, 2010, 11:26 AM
I used a hammer drill I rented from Home Depot. I think you can get it for about 50$ if it's just a 4-hour rental. Drilled 5/8" holes in the concrete then hammered in red-head bolts. I was double cautious. I carefully cleaned the dust out of the hole, then squirted in concrete epoxy so the bolt is held in place by both it's wedge, and the glue. Buy a safe that has an access hole in the bottom. You can attach a short length of chain to your red-head bolt and lock it inside the bottom of the safe. You can't tip the safe over to get at the chain. The chain can only be removed from inside the safe.

Don't be startled the first time you run the hammer drill. It vibrates enough that you think something must be wrong! But, the way it glides through concrete is impresive! The foundation should not crack unless you're drilling just a few inches away from an edge. If you're a foot or more, it won't crack.

By the way, earlier while there were small children in the house, I made a very simple locking point in the closet. I screwed two O-ring bolts into a stud in the wall, positioning them so their two rings touched. I then locked the two rings together with a padlock. A cable lock running from the padlock to my gun secured it. You couldn't unscrew the bolts because they were locked together, and you couldn't get the gun because the cable ran through the action. It wouldn't stop a determined thief with an axe, but kept the gun safe from children.

March 19, 2010, 11:48 AM
I know I'm just echoing at this point, but:

hammer drill with proper bit.

heavy duty concrete anchors, probably 3/8" or even 1/2". Remember washers to go between the anchor bolt head (or nut depending on type) and the floor of the safe.

Took me about 2 hours with a friend's hammer drill and going slow. It can probably be done in under 30 minutes. I used a shop vac to clean up the dust from drilling.

Bolting your safe down is almost as important for security as getting a safe in the first place.

March 19, 2010, 04:32 PM
A few points, forget the hammer drill and rent the roto hammer. I wouldn't use wedge bolts and adhesives, adhesives can sometimes interfere with the way the wedge type works, and there might not be enough adhesive to work properly. Just get the adhesive, cut up some all thread, fill the hole up a bit with adhesive, drop in the all thread, turn it and push it up and down a few times to make sure there are no air pockets, and let it set for a day or so.

March 20, 2010, 12:33 AM
As we have wooden floors, I found the joists, drilled through bottom of safe and put 5 large lag screws in each joist, did the same on two wall studs at rear of safe. It can be ripped out with wrecking bars, but it won't be done quietly as very close quarters. Also have a battery powered alarm I installed in the closet where safe is. Wife learned the hard way (and I got a cussing out):D that she has 5 seconds to flip the overhead deactivation switch after opening the door. The flashing strobe lights and the loud shrill siren going off scared the hell out of her.

March 20, 2010, 10:50 AM

The link is for 3/8th and 1/2 inch rawl 5 piece bolts they are 100% bad guy proof. Used for rock clinbing, once installed "properly" they will not come out unless you break up the concrete around them.

March 20, 2010, 01:14 PM
One important note not mentioned above. If you have a post-tensioned slab, make sure you don't accidentally cut one of the post-tensioning cables while drilling your hole.

March 20, 2010, 03:39 PM
There are masonic bits for drills

Yea...but good luck buyin any unless you know the secret password and handshake........... :neener:

March 20, 2010, 08:56 PM
To hold anchors down in the slab, use Quikrete Non-Shrinking Precision Grout. It's what they use to anchor down machinery to concrete. If it holds down vibrating printing presses and manufacturing machinery, it'll hold down your safe. It's a lot cheaper than concrete epoxies, too.

March 20, 2010, 09:56 PM
Hilti, rotor hammer, hammer drill....what ever you want to call it. This is the best choice for anchoring to concrete. If by chance you have a tradesman (plumber,electrician, millwright, iron worker,..etc.) down your neighborhood you may want to bring some beer,cookies whatever and borrow theirs.

As far as anchor size, your holes in your safe will determine this. I will recommend you use a "starter bit" of smaller diameter to make sure your holes line up.

March 20, 2010, 10:10 PM
Safes now secure. Somehow, though, I think someone with a crowbar could probably get them out. Whatever, it'll delay them long enough for the cops to respond to the alarm.

Thanks to all.

- - - Yoda

March 21, 2010, 12:52 AM
Safes now secure. Somehow, though, I think someone with a crowbar could probably get them out. Whatever, it'll delay them long enough for the cops to respond to the alarm.

You're right. The floors of gun safes are usually so thin that the safe bolts would pull through it before the anchors would pull out of the floor.

However, the safe will not be moved easily, or tipped over to facilitate a proper beating.

If you enjoyed reading about "Bolting Safes to Foundation... Advice?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!