Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum

Building a fireproof "safe'.


Mack Hacker, #60477

Recommended Posts

If fire is the primary threat and theft a secondary concern, is it logical to consider the following?

 

1) Line an interior closet with fireproof material.

 

2) Add a framed safe door from one of the gun safe manufacturers.

 

3) Finish interior with racks and shelves as desired.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If fire is the primary threat and theft a secondary concern, is it logical to consider the following?

 

1) Line an interior closet with fireproof material.

 

2) Add a framed safe door from one of the gun safe manufacturers.

 

3) Finish interior with racks and shelves as desired.

 

I've actually done this two ways or at least helped.

Before you line it remeove the sheetrocr drill and notch the studs for vertical and horazontal 3/4" rebar on 6" centers to form a grig and welding the new safe door to these rebars. Then line the walls with fireproof sheetrock. That's what many safe manufactors use. Other than the walk through safe door that one looked like any other room.

 

 

next, There is a company that makes 8x8x16 hollow concrete blocks (some call them cinder blocks) that have notches in the top so you can run re-bar horizontally and vertically as well. Now you have an 8" by 8" grid of re-bar in the block. You can buy just the door and frame of a safe and weld it to the re-bar. The blocks were poured as they came up. The top had re-bar bent over 90 degrees into the ceiling and the grid continued, this feller formed and poured the ceiling as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

:FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm:

 

I've done up a couple of these in some houses. I used double sheetrock for the fire insulation.

 

Another thing you ought to do for theft resistance is to put sheet metal (20 ga or thicker steel) under the sheetrock. Use a load of screws, too. That will make it a real SOB for anyone to beat their way through with a hammer.

Or is will make their chainsaw into a grenade if they try it.

 

MG

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want fireproof, don't neglect the floor/ceiling. If the budget allows there are various pourable or "wool" type products used in forge and kiln construction that can work wonders. My forge gets to about 2k degrees (just used for heat treating high carbon steel) but the outside of it is cool enough to all but touch even after being in use for an hour. Not many home fires burn that hot for that long. Of course, the cost to line any significant sized area with them would be rather high. High end safes that offer serious fire protection often use the wool type products inside their walls, with spacers "floating" the inside in a cocoon of a refractive insulator.

 

The problem is one of cost, most of these materials are meant for industrial or small scale use, not sealing a room. Also, you have to consider other ways the heat can get in. A vent, electrical conduit.... Wiring into it with one plastic conduit at floor level, coming through a hole wrapped in kaowool seems like the best option to minimize heat transfer. Even better is just using battery powered LED lights in the room, but then you've still got the issue of ventilation and humidity control.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The insulation of choice for fire is vermiculite. Cheap and easily obtained at yer landscaping place, this volcanic glass material will NOT transmit enough heat through a 4" layer to even be warm to the touch inside your safe. A 4" block or poured outside shell lined with 4" of vermiculite and an interior shell of 1x2 wood and ordinary sheetrock would be impervious to an ordinary house fire.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The fire protection level you need will require 4 layers of sheetrock on all 6 surfaces. You can put plywood or cement board over the floor layers. For security, there are sheetrock like products tough enough to discourage access, and wire mesh between layers will also work. Insulation, vermiculite is a very good one, will keep the heat down. If the structure falls into a lower level due to fire destroying the surrounding supports, you still might be doomed. Unless you have too many guns for a couple of safes, it might be cheaper and easier to go that way.

 

Local gun shop burned to the ground a couple of years ago, charring every gun in every safe. The candy bars in the freezer part of the fridge never melted.

 

CR

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the basement as it was being built we stacked blocks with a rebar on each course and each hole. Holes filled as it went up with cement. Ceiling has rebar and welded wire with 12 of poured cement. Cost of the vault door was about the same as a large safe. Doubled up on the rebar around the door opening. Will also work great for a fall out shelter.

Before pouring the floor we installed a mat that they use for heating tile floors.

Not sure of the exact cost but would guess $4-5,000 for an 8x12 walk in safe room.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If fire is the primary threat and theft a secondary concern, is it logical to consider the following?

 

1) Line an interior closet with fireproof material.

 

2) Add a framed safe door from one of the gun safe manufacturers.

 

3) Finish interior with racks and shelves as desired.

 

 

Mack,

 

I know you are not exactly in "tornado alley" but have you considered an above ground safe room? Texas Tech has done a bunch of wind research and the room they recommend is almost what you need. Take a look at this publication that outlines the standards developed by the TTU Wind Engineering folks:

http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/saferoom/fema320.shtm

 

Olen

Link to post
Share on other sites

... Will also work great for a fall out shelter...

 

Door will need to swing into the shelter, not out

Link to post
Share on other sites

Commerical building code in my area is two layers of regular 5/8" sheetrock screwed to metal 2 x 4 studs. That gives a fire rating of one hour.

 

Fire rating and fire proofing are different animals. The one hour rating is to allow safe exit before everything goes up in flames. Steel beams need to not collapse by over heating, 4 Layers of fire rated 5/8" is the standard for that. Heavy guage (20ga) studs are sometimes required.

 

CR

Link to post
Share on other sites

This all depends on where one decides to build the safe. If the safe/room is on a slab, or on upper floor. I would build on the slab. I've built a couple prisons, 12 inch block, #5 rebar in every cell, every fifth row of block is a "bond beam" with two #5 horizontal rebars. Then all the open cells are pumped full with grout. I would not add any wood or drywall to the interior walls of the safe. Nor would I carpet the floor. Type "X" drywall is fire resistant, not fire proof. All penetrations through the block should be filled with a fire stop type of material or masonry filler. Concrete contains alot of moisture, when heated all of the moisture in the block and concrete will turn to steam, this will be absorbed by any paper or absorbant material in the room; stocks, bonds, other important documents. Many county building codes are mandating home sprinkler/fire suppression systems. Perhaps, a quality safe would work just as well.

 

 

LL'

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fire rating and fire proofing are different animals. The one hour rating is to allow safe exit before everything goes up in flames. Steel beams need to not collapse by over heating, 4 Layers of fire rated 5/8" is the standard for that. Heavy guage (20ga) studs are sometimes required.

 

CR

 

It is really more a matter of how long your fire department response time is. In the city the response time is likely to be quick thus reducing the chances of a fire getting to far out of control. In the country, mobile homes snd hazardous chemical shortage the fire can get a good head start. However a hour is a long time for a house to burn and even then it will have to be where your guns are stored.

Link to post
Share on other sites

:FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm:

 

When we were fixing to build the last one, the guy who was selling me the safe door & panel said NOT to use solid concrete or socked-blocks for walls. He claimed that it is more of a heatconductor than a heat insulator.

 

:mellow: ---Just what he told --- :mellow::mellow:

 

MG

Link to post
Share on other sites

MG, Look up Concrete Masonry Fire Resistance, Tek Notes 2005. Your best fire resistance is from filled block, the thicker the better. Concrete blocks are very pourous, heat and gases can pass through some of the voids. However when the cells are filled with grout it stops the flow of gases and heat. Concrete is not a conductor, not much different than sand or any other earthen structure. The room will heat up eventually if enough fuel is available, most houses would be burned to the ground in less than an hour. It's funny that this topic came up, we're in the process of buying a new place and I've been studying up on building safe rooms.

 

 

LL'

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.