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Discussion Starter #1
I was out making deliveries Monday and a customer asked me this. He has some money but is not wanting to make this a resort room (I have viewed with envy some of your really neat pictures) but a solid and functional room to store guns and powder. It would be installed in his basement and he would prefer concrete but would consider concrete block poured full and reinforced with rebar and fiber mixed in the concrete. Questions he has are:<br>
Solid concrete (higher cost needing a poured basement contractor) vs. concrete cinder block (that he can do himself)?<br> Air holes to let fresh air into room? <br> Fresh air (if needed) through concrete roof or side wall?<br> Best place to buy the safe door? Some doors cost as much as the entire safe.<br> How thick of steel to use? Waterproof paint the walls to keep moisture out? <br> How thick for walls? <br> Is 4" thick enough for the cap? <br> Web site that has information? <br> Can a retired bank vault door be used for this? <br> How long to let concrete cure before installing door? <br> Any pictures? <br> Anything he forgot to ask?
Thanks for any input. Your concrete may vary in drying. Omaha
 

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Well lets start with the Material: Guns and concrete dont mix well.In a basement It is going to be damp. Dehumidfier all the time till power is off. One day and 100 rusty guns. It would be better with block filled . I have done several in houses that are fire proof[for awhile] that are hidden secret door in back of bath room or closet. Using several layers of sheet rock. The only thing you need is hard enough to keep some one out for 15 min. If they have all day then there is nothing safe. rick
 

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Omaha, I'm a brick mason and I would think that in an existing basement it would be difficult to form and pour concrete unless you pumped it in.

If you use block, I would use 8in. (its easier to grout)reinforced with #4 re-bar in every core. Why does he want a safe door, for fireproof? A gate like a jail cell door would be secure, eliminate humidity problems, and the in-beds that hold them are easily installed in either block or concrete. If he wants a safe door, or jail cell door, that should be the first thing to make a decision on. You need to know the size and anchoring system of any door whether your using concrete or block.

I don't understand the question about the cap. Don't know about the paint. You should be able to hang the door after a week. Wayne
 

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Waterproof paint...best to use an Elastomeric made by Thoro-Seal. Use per the directions.

A good hollow metal steel door with welded hinges (anti-theft type). Door can be vented at top & bottom.

Room can be fitted with electric so as to add a small dehumidifer. Also, have an HVAC mechanic run a small duct from the existing heater if the house has forced hot air.

Or the simplest solution:

Buy a large safe and build a frame/drywall room around it. Make it look like an extra clothes closet.

Curt
 

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I vote for buying a big safe. secure, no humidity,and a lot easier get set up. You can also take it with you if you move.
 

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The only "gun room safe door" that I ever installed was 4 feet wide and weighed almost 1000 pounds. It was pre-hung in a two piece frame that required a twelve inch thick wall. The good thing that had a saddle that was approx. sixteen inches, making it free standing. The only thing that was necessary for it's installation was to shim up the saddle, to square it up, and to install about twenty bolts, to hold the two piece frame together. It worked well with twelve inch concrete block, filled, re-roded, and with durawall in every course.

Ed Yanchok
 

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I have built a number of banks, and a vault can run $50,000 - $100,000 depending on size. I would lay up a masonry wall and metal door with welded hinges (for security) and put a gun safe inside for fire rating. A security system on the entry door is cheap compared to all the construction costs and he would also get fire and water sensors in the alarm package.
 

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My friend got a door when they tore down a bank. Regular windows, bar frame on the inside so they can be opened in the summer if needed.

2 outside house walls, block with rebar and filled. I haven't been there for a while but I think the ceiling might be a Spancrete slab job. He even has a fireplace in there. Santa might be able to rob him.

HM
 

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Have helped build one as follows :6inch block concrete filled and with rebar.Where new block meets old we drilled holes in old block inserted rebar and carried it 24 inches into new block.Wire mesh between each course of block.A six inch door buck filled with concrete with clips that lock into the doorbuck and into the joint in each course.A solid steel door with a drillproof deadbolt lock finished the entry.Quarter inch diamond plate lag bolted into the joist to prevent cutting through the floor for entry.Drop ceiling for a finished look and lighting.Walls all drylock painted,floor epoxy finish with flakes to make it look nice.Dehumidified,seprate zone alarm with battery backup and message sent to police directly through cellular for added security. 20 in flat screen tv and stereo system.6 inch block was chosen because my freinds floor was freefloating and was concerned about weight cracking the slab.
 

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Here is a picture of mine...

<a href="http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q20/GunDr_Photo/?action=view&current=vault_inside_220.jpg" target="_blank">
</a>


It is done with 8" block, with re-rodded cores and each core filled. The top is 3" with rod, and wire, and pretty much any other metal scrap I had laying around. It measures 11ft x 11ft. I chiseled the top of the walls for 2x3 I-beams, layed 3/4" plywood on top and hand poured the cieling.

I got lucky on the door. It was used and I found it locally...$600. It's a 2-hr, 1200 degree door. I had is sanblasted and repainted...$600, and added the electronic S&G lock....$300

I didn't put any air holes in it. I figure I could last a day with no problems. After a day of me missing, I'm sure the wife would be looking.

I'm in the process of adding T&G boards to hide the block. And cheap paneling on the inside. I wish I had gone one block higher to accomodate the long bbl shotguns on the top shelf.

Doug Braker
 

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ks5shooter; I had one built in a new home about 10 years ago, out in the country, pretty much like you described. 6" hollow-core with re-bar in the voids and filled with slurry concrete. Stuck the rebar out the tops about 24" and bent over to reinforce the poured 4" thick concrete roof. They built a interior form and braced it from the inside and then poured the roof. They put in a 4" register for air conditioning. This room was in the middle of the house, 5' x 8' outside dimension, 4' x 7' inside with a 9' ceiling. Finished off the interior like a typical room, sheetrock and then painted to match reloading room outside of safe room. Installed a Liberty Safe "Vault Door" (800+ lbs.) with a S&G mechanical combination lock, not electronic. I could get in to the room in less that 20 seconds and didn't have to worry about electrical problems.

The only problem (kind of a running joke around this neighborhood, before I moved) was everyone who saw the house being built wondered what the "concrete room" in the middle of the house was. When I tried to describe to people where we lived at the time, the said; "Oh, the house with the vault in it!" I ran into a friend at a shoot who basically built a room like mine, but he istalled it behind a false wall in the end of a closet, but his wife said when they had friends over to see their new house, one of the first things the husband did, was show off his new "secret" room. I didn't even try to cover the vault door in my reloading room. I ordered it a pretty maroon color and it looked like a big built-in safe in the middle of a wall.

When we sold this house recently, the reloading/vault room was what would have been a third bedroom, and the people who bought the house had 2 small boys, so one of them now has a bedroom with a really neat private vault. It did have an internal release, so no one could get locked in without a way out. We actually used the vault room as a "safe room" during a couple of pretty violent South Texas thunderstorms during the night. Rode it out for an hour or so until the weather cleard.

Mike Hessong* (MH*)
President- Victoria Skeet and Trap Club
 

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You can order a safe door and frame from Fort Knox. Just make sure it isn't to big and heavy you can't get it down the stairs. Any good mason contractor can do this job.

I have dug a number of basements that we excavated the garage to basement grade. The builder used both block or poured walls and capped with pre cast concrete. Then installed in floor heat. This makes the ultimate vault.
 

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The block walls are tough, but they won't withstand the heat of a total house fire for more than 2 hours, and the temps inside the room will char the wood and damage the guns unless they are in a fireproof vault. A solid 12" concrete wall has a 3 hour firerating. Temps inside the space would be pretty high.
 

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Consider pre cast concrete panels- they can be made with insulation inside the panels

You get everything you want--- of course you have to figure out how to get the panels in the basement- probably a back hoe and cutting the existing wall- maybe making a storm entry to the basement

regards from Iowa

Gene
 

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Discussion Starter #15
His home has a walk out basement with a slider patio door, so getting materials in is not that difficult. Those of you that have built with concrete blocks, how long before you get the moisture out of the concrete? I have a humidifier I could loan him for a while during the drying process. His current home is about 5 years old with poured concrete walls. He could fur out the walls and put in 3/4" styro before he finished the walls. We have a locksmith in this town that has a gunsmith division as part of the family. What is the ideal temp and humidity to maintain? I may want to build one this summer after we figure out what we did wrong on his. Thanks for the input.
Omaha
 

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I'm in the process of building a vault in my house. Two sides are 10" foundation and the other two are cement block. The best deal I found on a door is www.sportsmansteelsafes.com . American steel, awsome relockers. As far as fireproofing. I was told that the average house fire lasts 20 minutes. Blocks will hold. Dave T.
 

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I didnt mention- that is an advantage with pre cast concrete that has the insulation inside the panel-- the moisture will probably be out already

it also will have insulation so wont be as subjected to surface collection of moisture

Gene
 

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Omaha, It can take months to get all the moisture out of the masonry, and even longer if you pour the cores with concrete. You're going to need that de-humifier for a long time. Apply temp. heat and air movement in the area to help the drying process. 65% humidity is considered standard. Getting the moisture out of concrete can be real bear.
 

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Setterman where did you get this info "The block walls are tough, but they won't withstand the heat of a total house fire for more than 2 hours, and the temps inside the room will char the wood and damage the guns unless they are in a fireproof vault. A solid 12" concrete wall has a 3 hour firerating. Temps inside the space would be pretty high.

Because concrete will explode before haydite block will...
 

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On the house fire question.............I am a volunteer and have been quite a awhile, about 10 years. We live in a rural community with about a 20 minutes response time to the extremes of our fire district.

If no one tries to stop a house fire, most of the time the house is on the ground in 15 minutes or so. I have seen two that we got to in 8 minutes, that were completely flat. These were reported at the first sign of smoke. A lot depends on the material of the exterior of the house, humidity, wind, etc.

The vault would not be smoke proof.....lots of nasty gases produced in fires, many very lethal. An occupant would probably die from lack of oxygen long before the fire was out.

What I would think would be a great consideration when thinking about being in the vault, if you could survive the fire itself, how long would it be before anyone could get to you. The ashes will be very hot a long time. Typically these structures will be in a basement, under it all, a long time.
 
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