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Safe door on a gun room. Fireproofing?

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by Derek Zeanah, Apr 3, 2013.

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  1. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    This is some last minute thinking, but better late than never.

    We're expanding the house, and as part of that I'm going to get a 6'x8' room that I'll use for gun and camera storage. I'm leaning toward buying the Armory vault door listed here for the room, and will use 3/4" plywood (and maybe some thin sheets of metal) to make the walls harder to get through. That's probably secure enough.

    Is this a reasonable way to go?

    Now, for the harder question: the new room has already been framed, and the plan right now is to buy a fireproof safe to keep in there so hopefully papers and such will survive a fire. The question is this: is it possible to fireproof a room like this, even though it's attached to the end of the house?

    It looks like 3/4" sheet rock, or kaowool, or other options can be used to keep fire from spreading into the room, but if the studs burn away there'll be nothing to keep the insulation up. HSO suggested a sprinkler system, which is easy enough to install (a water heater will be right there), but the damage that thing could cause if it went off when it wasn't supposed to makes this a scary option.

    What's my best option here for fire protection?

    Thanks. Sorry for the murky question -- I haven't thought this through for long enough to be able to think clearly about it yet.
     
  2. heeler

    heeler Member

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    If installed right the sprinkler should never just "go off".
    As a maintenance engineer in a commercial building with 27 years experience I have never once seen a sprinkler just go off without cause.
    Although I have had to have a few joints replaced due to small leaks.
    No doubt a sprinkler would be the best protection if a fire ever did get started at your house.
     
  3. Old Shooter

    Old Shooter Member

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    Lay another wall with concrete blocks either inside or outside of your framed wall?

    Fill the voids in the blocks with vermiculite or perlite for insulation?
     
  4. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Frame it with metal studs.
     
  5. dirtykid

    dirtykid Member

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    Heeler's correct, most modern-day heads HAVE to be subjected to a certain amount of heat, in order to open up
    Short of you busting the head off manually, you shouldn't need to worry...

    As far as fire-proofing the closet, I personally used on my own room a layer of steel
    on all exterior walls, then glued 2-layers of 5/8" type-"X" fire-resistant sheetrock,
    then framed-up the interior using standard steel construction studs, with 3M fire-wrap as insulation in between the studs,and a final layer of 5/8" type-X as interior sheeting
    All joints/corners were caulked with furnace/stove caulk (the hardening kind)
    I forgot to mention the steel I used was 4'x4' sheets of 3/16" thick, welded together with a 120-volt wire feed welder, You don't need a lot of weld-strength,when they are sandwiched in between the steel studs, and the exterior of your house,
    I only keep guns in my closet, so if it got wet, I could easily dry them off
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    You have to use fire rated wall board like dirtykid did. Skin the entire thing inside and out with 2x offset fire rated wall board and then use lightweight concrete block in the interior of the room to essentially build a "room within a room". Then you'd only need to address the ceiling.

    If you put in a residential sprinkler you might as well put it in the entire addition. You're insurance company will give you a break on rates on the addition. I'd make sure it was between the concrete and outer frame structure for the vault.

    As to fears of it "just going off", that's movies and not real buildings (kinda like guns). How many of the thousands of sprinkler protected buildings have you been in that had the sprinklers just go off. The link has to melt for the sprinkler head to release.

    Look at it this way, you're building a safe room against a tornado, fire, or theft. Make it work for you while you still can.
     
  7. sota

    sota Member

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    instead of water look into alternative fire suppression systems... non caustic foams, halon, CO2, etc. if you're worried about water damage.
     
  8. dirtykid

    dirtykid Member

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    I forgot to mention, the 3M firewrap is generally used to wrap duct-work that comes off of the large range-hoods you see in restaurants, and covers the ductwork completely, until it meets the fan/blower unit on the roof/wall of the building,
    It is rated to withstand 2000-degree temps for up to an hour,
    If you check with any local company that install HVAC , that does work on restaurants or commercial clothes-dryers, you probably will find someone that has the remainder of a roll left in the shop they would sell you,
    This stuff is not cheap though, a 25' roll , 1.5" thick x 4-foot wide I typically would sell for $375.00 or $15/lineal foot , so most "smart" contractors calculate EXACTLY the amount needed for each job and try not to over-estimate
     
  9. dirtykid

    dirtykid Member

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    One last design/construction detail I omitted was before I placed the plate-steel against the walls, I made a notch to run 4-loops of 5/16 steel cable over/around the entire structure, as my closet was built on the main-floor of the house,above grade,
    Then the ends of that cable were secured to the brick foundation in the basement below,
    the way I figure, even if a tornader takes everything from ground-level up, there will still be a steel framed "box" sitting on top of whatever's left
     
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Stay away from asphyxiants like halon and CO2 which can't be used in residents anyway.
     
  11. CB900F

    CB900F Member

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    Derek;

    I'd do some serious calculating on costs of securing the room vs a good safe. Of course I sell Graffunders and am prejudiced, but still.

    900F
     
  12. 1 old 0311-1

    1 old 0311-1 member

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    I agree. I got a HUGE 26"X76"X42" 1500 pound safe from a local guy who has been making them for years. It was like $1800
     
  13. wally

    wally Member

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    Pretty small compared to a 6'x8' room that is sure to be at least 6' tall.
     
  14. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, plus it's already framed. It's "free," or at least it comes with the bathroom and closet the wife wants...
     
  15. idoono

    idoono Member

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    Sadly I can tell you from experience that if you are planning on putting a decent size safe in there a 6x8 room will not be large enough. If you are thinking about putting in just one safe it may be large enough but I would suggest considering using "closed cell" foam insulation between your studs and "Hardi Board" cement wall board for your inside walls. The closed cell foam insulation will not burn and it will protect your studs in the event of a fire. Same with the Hardi-Board. Use the fire rated sheetrock for the outside walls and all should be well.

    Idoono
     
  16. a1abdj

    a1abdj Member

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    Google UL Fire Walls and UL Fire Doors.

    They have already tested all of your options, and determined the most effective methods. Since you already know what you have to start with, you can probably put some of their methods into use.

    You won't get 100% out of a non purpose built structure, but you can do a lot. A very simple fire wall of dual 5/8" gypsum X is used around here by code to seperate the garage from the house. They usually do a pretty good job at keeping a garage fire out of the house so long as the fire department is fairly quick at getting there.
     
  17. Pervell11

    Pervell11 Member

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    Very good thread and information. I was very lucky in purcahsing my current home, not only was it the home perfect for my wife and I (it only took us three years of hunting). The basement contains a built in safe/room (approx 6 ft x 7 ft) that sits under the concrete front porch. All sides have at least 18 inches of concrete with the ceiling a little deeper. The weakest would be the front wall, that has four inches of concrete and a walkin safe door. When we bought the house, I had a locksmith come over and change the combination and he said the door safe was made in the late 1800s. Good luck and let us know how your room turns out.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    One of the other issues not addressed is heat and moisture damage. While you may protect against fire, protecting against heat and moisture requires more than just fire protection.
     
  19. Outlaw Man

    Outlaw Man Member

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    Actually, halon isn't an asphyiant like CO2. It's safe to use in occupied spaces, including homes. Sapphire is another possibility.

    The Caddilac, in my opinion, is Ansul's Automatic Fire Suppression System. It offers a couple different chemical suppressant options along with multiple detector types. I haven't priced one, but I'm sure they're not cheap.
     
  20. Reloadron
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    Reloadron Member

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    With interior major renovations on the table this summer I have given considerable thought to a fire sprinkler system in my gun room. Sprinkler heads are relatively inexpensive and running a 3/4" pipe in with a few 1/2" sprinkler heads should be simple enough. However, among the due considerations is installing a back-flow valve in the line. That and allowing a valve at the end of the line to flush and bleed it on occasion.

    Just make sure if you consider a sprinkler system you think about a back-flow valve or check-valve.

    Ron
     
  21. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    Maybe I'm dense (probably!) but I'm having trouble figuring out the purpose of a backflow valve on a fire sprinkler system....
     
  22. Outlaw Man

    Outlaw Man Member

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    Teachu, one reason is to prevent the stagnant water that has been sitting in the pipes from flowing back into the drinking water.

    A back flow preventer is typically required by municipal codes.
     
  23. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Member

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    I told you I was dense!
     
  24. Outlaw Man

    Outlaw Man Member

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    Nah, it's notsomething you really think about. Had you said you didn't know why there was water in the pipe, I might be worried. :)
     
  25. guggep

    guggep Member

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    A better way to go may actually be to not have water in the lines at all. Investigate a pre-action nitrogen charged system similar to what is used in computer rooms.

    As one can imagine computers & water are not friendly. Having a gas charged system ensures that when some electrician grabs and busts a pipe the computers dont get accidentally flooded.

    If there is a real fire the system triggers the valve that lets the water in the lines and you are good to go.

    Possible drawback is expense - I bet its $$$
     
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