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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Security Door options for a "Gun Room" instead of a gun safe? or dead-bolts?

I just posted asking about safes, and all are priced over $500 for a 15-20 gun safe...here's a thought out of the box:

We recently enclosed our carport and built-on an attached garage. There is a room that used to be in the carport, with a standard 36"W x 80" solid wood door, inside a brick wall. It does have drywall on the top of the brick wall all the way to the roof, and only drywall on the interior of the house for the back wall of the room. It is now enclosed inside the garage. It has electrical connections inside the room, but no ventilation or A/C. Originally, it was where you would store lawnmowers, tools, and yard equipment, with a sturdy door to protect it as the carport was open on one side, and was not a secure or locked area.

I was thinking about either:

1. Running a series of 5 or 6 deadbolts, all keyed alike, and converting the room into a gun room. I could add a dehumidifier to keep the moisure out. The door is solid wood, and although it is not air-tight, or water-tight, it could be quite difficult for someone to get into it, unless they used a chop saw and cut out the middle for access, which would take time and make a LOT of noise...

2. Replacing the door with a steel entry door, coupled with several deadbolts. That would eliminate the saw-in option, or at least make them change blades several times! Obviously it would be coupled with a house alarm to alert the neighborhood that something was going on if someone broke in, and draw attention to the house. Again, with a de-humidifier, it would give me a 10x6 room to store my weapons, ammo, and other valuables, and basically become a "safe-room".

It would be about the same investment, and give me a much bigger storage capacity...

Pros? Cons?

Again, just trying to consider some options here!
 

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For now, just use the wood door with a quality 1.5" throw deadbolt or so. Reinforce the jam with steel, both sides, bolted through and through, or single sided security lags.

Is it hinged on the inside of the "safe room"? You could always add some bigger hinges and some 10 gauge steel to the inside of the door. Is the jamb wood? Can you replace it with a steel jamb? Reinforce the wood jamb with steel and the door with steel by the deadbolt? There are a lot of ways to make a wood door stronger.

Shop for a used steel door of the correct dimensions, and then install it when you can, or buy one new.

If the section of wall that is merely drywall bothers you, just install a cinderblock wall inside your safe room on that wall.

Other than the door, then the roof is the weakest access point, and not much can be done there.

I really see now reason the line up five or six deadbolts.

Add a de-humidifier, and alarm, and I believe your are set.

Sounds like a great set up!
 

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I think you have the making of a perfec tman cave !!!! I would opt for a steel door, but if that is not your preferred choice, rock and glock hit the nail on the head. Make sure it is installed properly whgatever door you use, and reinforce the bajeebus out of it and the wall surround ing the door. If it has windows, brick them over. A dehumidifier will be a necessity. Sound like you are on your way to being one lucky SOB...... oh and dont forget the mini fridge and cable tv !!!!!
 

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Inward opening door conceals the hinges but is easier to break in. Outward opening door is harder to force open but hinges are exposed, the weak point. Welding the hinge pins in place will prevent popping the pins out, but do grease the hinges/pins well first. Definitely use steel door and jam, with the jams mounted very securely to existing wall. 3 quality deadbolts, mounted top-center-bottom, should provide adaquate protection against all but the most determined crook, and he'll probably have to make a lot of noise to overcome all three.

Do you have central A/C? If so, it shouldn't be too difficult to run an air vent into the "safe room" to help in controlling the humidity. Just make sure the room is adequately vented for easy air flow.
 

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I think the steel door is the best option, but regardless, I'd take pains to make it look as normal as can be. So no multiple locks, safe wheels, etc. If hinges are on the outside, I'd definitely put a set screw in the hinge pin (much easier and maintainable than spot welding the hinge) and install security pins in door frame. I'd probably pin the door even if the hinges are inside. Good quality anti-kick jamb and long-throw deadbolt, and you should be purty good.
 

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"Gun Rooms" really seem to be expensive overkill for most owners and offer far less sucurity than a good gun safe unless you are willing to fork out thousands for a truly secure vault-like room. A quality safe with an excellent fire and security rating (ie. a Liberty Lincoln or President, not a department store brand) with an ample capacity for most gun owners can be had in the $3000-4000 range. I can only speak for myself, but that's the value of less than 1 of the guns in my collection--a small price to pay for that peace of mind and investment protection. A large safe is secure, can be bolted to the floor, is fireproof and easily dehumidified. Other valuables such as jewelry, documents and the like are easily stored away as well. Most importantly, a good safe offers a level of security that far exceeds anything described here so far. Many manufacturers offer warranty replacement in the event the safe is burned or damaged by a disaster or attempted break-in. A quasi-determined burglar with simple tools and reasonable strength could be in any room described here in a matter of minutes--I've seen it personally. Why do so many folks spend thousands of $$$ for nice firearms and then take the Wal-Mart approach to protecting that investment?
 

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"Gun Rooms" really seem to be expensive overkill for most owners and offer far less sucurity than a good gun safe unless you are willing to fork out thousands for a truly secure vault-like room. A quality safe with an excellent fire and security rating (ie. a Liberty Lincoln or President, not a department store brand) with an ample capacity for most gun owners can be had in the $3000-4000 range. I can only speak for myself, but that's the value of less than 1 of the guns in my collection--a small price to pay for that peace of mind and investment protection. A large safe is secure, can be bolted to the floor, is fireproof and easily dehumidified. Other valuables such as jewelry, documents and the like are easily stored away as well. Most importantly, a good safe offers a level of security that far exceeds anything described here so far. Many manufacturers offer warranty replacement in the event the safe is burned or damaged by a disaster or attempted break-in. A quasi-determined burglar with simple tools and reasonable strength could be in any room described here in a matter of minutes--I've seen it personally. Why do so many folks spend thousands of $$$ for nice firearms and then take the Wal-Mart approach to protecting that investment?
Man, would I like to see your collection. :yup:
 

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Sounds like a good idea for someone with an extensive gun collection. I only have three handguns so when we go away on vacation I put all my ammo and the guns I'm not CCing locked into the trunk of our other car, locked in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
DocT65:

I don't think I'm taking the "Wal-Mart" approach to protecting my investments, but I also don't have any single weapon worth $3000-$4000 so I can understand your reasoning on spending that much for a safe. Most of my weapons are under $700 each, but I also don't have the money to drop into a $4000 safe so I am looking at other options. It seems a good strategy to me to utilize existing space that could have security improvements made and allow me to secure my valuables without advertising that I have any, which a safe does. I only have about 14 long guns and 12 handguns... but with ammo, it is more than most safes will accomodate. Add in scopes, magazines, etc... WAY more than most safes will store. Plus I'd like to secure my vintage baseballs, baseball memorabilia, wills, titles, deeds, trusts, insurance paperwork, and my prized collection of Pez dispensers.... (just kidding... i dont really have any trusts)

I believe a professional could get into any locked container, given enough time and resources. My plan is to deter the non-professional thief, making it difficult enough to move on to a potentially more rewarding target, like someone with a green safe bolted to the floor that has $4000 guns in it.

A reinforced or steel door will not advertise there are valuables inside, gives me much more space to secure more items, can double as a safe-room in case the Zombies take over the neighborhood (I would store water, food and ammo there as well), and all for the cost of a steel door and frame, which I will buy at a salvage yard later this week, for less than $300. I can add ventilation, there are no windows, and it is bricked on 3 sides, with only drywall on the inside-of-the-house back wall, and the ceiling.

I think it's a much better option than a safe, altho it is not fire-rated. However, my homeowners insurance would cover the loss in case of fire, so for me, the cost of a safe just doesn't m out-weigh the cost and flexibility options that I get with a reinforced door....but if that's a "Wal-mart" solution, you can call me Sam!
 

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On the outside of the door just add one of those Fire Department Signs indicating "Flammables" inside. Make it look like an old paint storage room. :lolp:

Or one of these:



Or:



Just something to through anyone off the trail.........
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Love the signs idea!

And since the main circuit breaker is on one wall, a "Danger - High Voltage" sign would be perfect!

still checking on a steel door that will fit, with steel frame, of course. And it is hinged on the outside, so some welding or set screws would be a good idea.
 

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Put a rhino steel or other quality 50 cubic foot vault in it, and the do the other stuff to create a good fire rating and defense in layers.
 

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I don't know, I think you are on the right track. I'd probably want to line with concrete block and fire proof it a little bit more, as that would be my main concern. Someone mentioned putting shelves on the door, that's a great idea.
 

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All good ideas.

Google FEMA tornado storm shelters. There is actually a prescriptive put out by FEMA. It's basically alternating layers of 3/4" CDX plywood and 5/8" drywall. The ceiling should also be done as well. Simple low cost everyday materials.

As for the door,at least 1-3/4" solid core( you can always add steel reinforcing on inside) if using wood jambs, reinforce with 1/4" plate. You can buy pre made online or have a local machine shop make

Hinges - use screws long enough3-4" min. Remove one screw per hinge and replace with 1/4" steel pin in jamb side. When door is closed and locked, door cannot be removed even if you pull all hinge pins.

These are all simple things that can be done over time. Multiple layers of plywood screwed and glued at 6"on center is a PITA to remove.
 
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