Where to put a Safe


April 13, 2010, 01:48 PM
I know this is somewhat of a personal question, but where do you keep your gun safe. I am looking to upgrade from a cabinet to a safe and I am trying to figure out where to put it. I've got a 2 car garage, and ranch style home with a basement built in the early 1980s. Three bedrooms up, two down (and they are all in use), with a hobby/laundry room.

The cabinet has been wedged back into my closet (upstairs) and has been all right but has been a bit of a pain. I have less than 8 long arms currently but want something that holds up to 16 I think (I want room to expand :D ).

I am wondering about whether putting such a large safe upstairs is structurally wise. I don't relish putting a safe in the basement (its also farther away from me) and I am not to hot on leaving it in the garage.

So . . . What did you do? Thanks in advance for the suggestions.

If you enjoyed reading about "Where to put a Safe" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 13, 2010, 02:00 PM
In my old house I had it in a big walkin closet in the master br. I just moved and it won't fit through my closet door so it is way at the other end of my house in a second br. I would prefer mine in a closet off the master br. (out of sight to anyone in the house, but close to me). I think I'm going to get a smaller locker for a shotgun, handgun, and semiauto sten to keep in my closet for HD.
In your case, if the basement is dry and won't have any issues, I'd definitely suggest putting it there. If not and it were me, I'd try to put it on the groundfloor in a closet somewhere where the floor is well supported (near an exterior wall or over a down stairs wall or column). Also I would suggest getting the largest capacity safe you can. 16 might seem like enough for now, but what about in 5 years or longer? My wife and I have a deal that when the safe is full, I have to get rid of something before getting something new. Lately I've been getting handguns and keeping them in borestores in the safe. Handguns stack nicely like that.

April 13, 2010, 02:58 PM
I would put it where you can securely bolt it to the ground/floor

Husaberg Man
April 13, 2010, 05:13 PM
Be sure to let us know your decision. Please be precise. Also, it would be nice if you would include the combination, your street address, and your work hours. :D

April 13, 2010, 05:17 PM
Will do. I'll a some ammonia and a pair of gloves nearby for convenience. :what:

April 13, 2010, 08:27 PM
There should not be any problem putting it upstairs in your home. Remember that the safe may weight a few hundred pounds but divide the weight by the square footage the base covers, and you will discover that it weighs less than you walking or standing on a particular spot on the floor. The static weight won't matter. Just keep it backed up and bolted securely to a load bearing wall and it'll be just fine for the duration. If you have any room to spare in one of the rooms upstairs you could build a "closet" around it so it's inconspicous.
When I move from my house the safe thats here stays here. I'll use it as a selling feature that the house has a built-in gun safe.

April 16, 2010, 12:53 PM
I've owned gun safes AND designed and built houses. Here are a few thinsg to keep in mind:

- Garage is bad because the temperature and humidity swings will cause condensation and other issues, even with a a small heater in the safe

- Garage also makes it far easier for a thief to simply load up your safe onto a pickup truck or trailer, and break into it later at his convenience

- Houses are theoretically designed for only 40 lb/sq ft on main levels and 30 lb/sq ft on bedroom levels, BUT that is (a) conservative, (b) AVERAGE for an area, (c) of less concern if you put the safe near a bearing wall. You can identify bearing walls easily because they EITHER (a) are the outside wall where the roof actually comes down to the top of the interior wall (i.e. the drip wall where the gutters hang, not a gable wall), or (b) they are, or are directly above, a wall that goes right down to foundation level.

A safe that is say 30" wide by 24" deep has a footprint of 5 sq ft, so it might seem that since the floor can only hold 40 lb/sq ft, the floor is only good for 5 x 40 = 200 sq ft. BUT, that is only at the WORST case point, mid-span between bearing walls. If you are near a bearing wall, you can support a safe that weighs several hundred pounds easily, as the load does not have much "cantilever" leverage on the floor.

- Go for a safe heavy enough to prevent easy removal of the entire safe by a thief equipped with a refrigerator dollie. This also makes it easier for you to "hide new guns in a forest of old guns and accessories" so that the spouse doesn't notice them and ask "when did you buy THOSE?"

- Only put the safe in the basement if (a) you know it will NEVER get wet or humid, and (b) the stairs are strong enough to take the load of the safe PLUS the 3 burly men needed to handle it safely, and (c) you are prepared to undertake the epic task of bringing it back UP if you ever move or simply want to sell the safe.

- If you put it on a concrete floor, and want to bolt it to the floor to make it harder to remove, remember that the bolts will encounter lots of mositure UNDER the sealcoat of the concrete, and so (a) need to be corrosion resistant and (b) need to be sealed so that they do not act as a conduit for moisture to get into the safe and thus your firearms!

- Always leave a dehumidifier rod plugged in inside the safe. Cheap insurance against corrosion due to humidity.

- A fire rated safe is a good idea because (a) protects your guns and other valuables (like important documents) from burning up in a fire and (b) makes the safe heavier, so harder for a thief to remove. Get one that is good for at LEAST 1200 degrees for at least 1/2 hour.

Jim G

If you enjoyed reading about "Where to put a Safe" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!