I know this is not exactly gunsmithing but I am needing advice of building a vault room for a gun collection. Wondering about wall dimensions, thickness, materials, vault doors, etc. I am not wanting to sink a fortune but want something relatively fire proof, stout, and obviously theft proof. Thanks hereford
Do you have a dry basement?
Lots of information is needed to help. How many guns ?
A couple of general suggestions. If you can, make your ceiling at least 9 feet high. It is so easy to poke holes in low ceilings.
Put in more lights than you think you need, then add some more. The modern non-incandescent bulbs are best as they burn cooler than incandescent lighting. Same advice for electrical receptacles. Add as many as you can.
You didn't answer if you have a dry basement. When I built my house, I built an 8'x16' vault in the basement. If you have a basement, I can offer some ideas; if not, I don't have experience.
I am not the original poster but would welcome your advise and experience on a vault in a dry basement.
There is a ton of information if you google “gun vault construction”
If you have a basement with masonry walls, you already have two walls of your vault in a corner. When I built my house, I set rebar in the concrete floor for the inside walls, but you can drill and place rebar with "Setcrete" into the existing floor. The easiest way is to lay 8"x 16" concrete block with vertical rebar @ 8" o/c( one in each cell of the blocks, and wire ladder reinforcement in every other course( every 16"). In an existing home, the ceiling will be much harder than mine, where I could pour concrete without the obstruction of the floor above. You will have to evaluate your own situation and decide between 3 choices. If you want a concrete ceiling, you will have to build a form, using either 4x4 or 2x4 and 1x4 cross bracing. I used 2x4 @ 16 o/c, because I was going to have a use for them during the rest of the construction. You will have to "worry" 3/4" plywood overhead during the placement of the posts, or place them over the top of the walls by leaving the last course of block until after setting the form. You will need to think backward with the idea of being able to wreck( remove) the form. You don't want to have to resort to chisels. Be sure to run conduit for an overhead light and a convenience outlet for a dehumidifier. While you are laying the walls, make arrangements for a drain, so you won't have to empty the dehumidifier manually( it will run over otherwise). You can drill anchors into the existing walls, to tie the new walls in. Since you will be limited for "headroom", you will need to use short sections of vertical rebar and tie( wire) them together as you go up, and fill the cells in the block course by course as you go up. People that sell gun safes also sell vault doors, so you should talk to one of them in the beginning of the project to find the dimensions you need for the opening. Someone above recommended a 9' ceiling. You are not likely to achieve this, you will be lucky to get 7 1/2'( 6 1/2-7 is more likely). You will have to pour the concrete for the ceiling over the top of the wall, so you should orient the vault so that the joists of the floor above run with the short side, to make pouring the concrete a little easier.
A second option is to anchor angle sections to the walls and fabricate a steel ceiling, from what ever is available to you. I have seen them built from PSP( pierced steel planks- airfield matting) and can understand using bars or plates. The comments on lights, door opening dimensions and drain still apply.
A third option is to just make the walls run to the joists above and place a ceiling in the room outside and one inside the vault, hiding the lack of a secure ceiling. The other comments apply here too.
Are we confused yet?
Sorry to respond so late but my on call schedule has been pretty rough. I have a huge basement but it's relatively high moisture and has a history of water in the past so I'm a bit concerned of that. It's an 1850 plantation home so I was figuring an addition. I want room for 100 plus guns as I'm realitivy young and already have over 50. Thanks hereford
Thank you for the reply. It is very helpful, most especially the info on building the ceiling. That has been where I have been a bit stumped.
Expanded steel mesh lag screwed with washers onto walls and ceilinghttps://www.metalsdepot.com/steel-produc...FBoCmPYQAvD_BwE
And 5/8 inch fire rated sheet rock
I have no desire to create a room like this, but I'd try not to loose sight of the house that it's in. Because it would be a pain in the tail to tear down, I'd prefer fairly easy 360 access around it, and absolutely no plumbing or ducting above it or obscured by it, with possible exception of very basic wiring. Best of luck with it.