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How to Build a Gun Safe Room

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Having your own hidden room for gun safes is the stuff of movies. It is also the stuff of reality and careful security. In this article, we’ll show you how you can build your own gun safe room in your home.

How to Build a Gun Safe Room

When building this room, you’ll need a few things. A room or basement you can convert is the first thing. You’ll also need a clear vision of what you want to do. This might include a heavy vault door, which can be easily purchased.

These are just a few reasons why you’ll want this space. We’ll go in depth on some of these a bit later.

  1. You have a big gun collection. If it’s big enough to justify its own room, why not build one?
  2. You are at ​high risk for gun theft​. A secured vault is just common sense if you are worried about security and theft.
  3. You are at a high risk for home invasion. A walk in gun safe vault for firearms is also a people-safe gun vault. Nothing beats being able to hunker down behind a door in a locked room with lots of guns, while waiting for the cops.
  4. ​You like the whimsical nature of it. Because let’s face it, you can be practical and have fun at the same time. Who hasn’t wanted a home with a hidden vault of their own?

Exploring the Gun Safe Room Concept

You are probably asking, “what is a safe room for guns?” After all, it is a vague-sounding phrase that could conjure up all sorts of mental images. It’s a dedicated, secure, and hardened room for storing a gun, or for withdrawing to in case of an emergency.

While some create their own gun cabinets from scratch, or make their own firearm ammo, some people like to convert a spare bedroom or other room into a walk in gun safe room for an additional level of protection. Others will make some or even all their basement into one. The real limitations are your imagination and budget. A surprisingly good gun vault can be built with little money.

dark garage basement room for safe

Before you start building a vault, you need to consider a few security details. What do you plan to do with it, and how big do you need or want it to be to store your gun collection? Lastly, your budget and a realistic threat and security assessment and level of protection should be part of your planning.

Planning the Room

Before you build a vault or room to store your gun collection, you need to know what you want to build. Are you simply converting a room or using a windowless room to hide the vault? You might be able to get away with simply covering up the window and building a reinforced steel door frame for security. At that point, the only thing left is to furnish it how you like.

If you are turning part of a room or a basement into your safe room, you’ll need to decide how big it will be, what supplies you’ll need for the conversion, and if you’re going to bolt the safe to the floor or the wall. As with all room construction, you may need to get a building permit. You might also have to add plumbing to the wall or electrical wiring to the room.

You may need the services of a professional security builder unless you have the skills to perform the needed work yourself. The downside to this, of course, is it makes it hard to keep your guns and room a secret when it appears on permits and blueprints to hired builders.

​Gathering the Supplies

When you are ready to build your vault or room, you’ll need some supplies. For something simple, you’ll not need much except a heavy door and the supplies to reinforce a secure door frame and the walls around it. You’ll need to get wiring, plumbing, and climate control systems.

You’ll probably want to have your room well ventilated to avoid moisture to damage your gun collection and also able to be kept at a comfortable temperature year-round. A good quality gun safe dehumidifier will be great for this. You may also want to install an internet connection, or plumbing inside the walls. Some also will use layers of sandbags or cemented bricks around the door and inside the walls to create a ballistic barrier.

We’ve put together a comprehensive review, where we found the very best ​gun safe in the market.

Wall of beige vaults for gun storage

How to Build a Vault Room

Getting Started

By now, you’ve figured out where you are going to put the room. You’ve decided if you need any building permits and if you need a professional contractor. You’ve even got a basic idea of what you want the room to look like. It’s time to get started.

When working with a preexisting room, you’ll want to start by stripping away any unwanted carpeting and drywall. When installing a vault door, you’ll also likely be reinforcing the vault door frame. You may have to rebuild non-load-bearing walls and secure door frames.

This is where you have to make sure your location can handle the weight of what you have planned. Can your walls and floor handle the weight of a vault door? Are you reinforcing the inside of the door and walls with brick or sheet metal, and if so, can your door and walls handle the load?

Camou colored guns and ammo for gun safe or vault room storage

Interior Reinforcement

If you want to build in a basement, it is easier to use heavy brick and metal in your wall construction. This gives you a true vault or walk in gun safe rooms experience. This also makes the room all but impenetrable to any but the most determined and well-equipped intruder.

If you convert an existing room in your home, you may opt for things like Kevlar panels in the walls to deflect bullets. Or maybe steel plating on the walls, door, and gun cabinets for the same effect. Some room builders have lined their walk in gun safe rooms with cinder block or bricks on the wall and the door.

Others choose not to do any of this. It depends on your level of preparedness and what you think is best. For many, simply having a reinforced and locking vault door is security enough for their gun collection. Some may choose to take the concept to the maximum extreme and build a room that is truly impregnable.

Utilities

At the very least you’ll want an electric light, and an outlet so you can plug in a dehumidifier. If you are using the room for more than just gun storage, you’ll need to add more utilities. Consider a phone line or internet data connection. You might also consider keeping a spare working cellphone at all times.

If this safe room is also a retreat during emergencies, consider plumbing. A long-term wait is made more tolerable with running water and a toilet. You could even prepare it to be used for several days by adding a small shower if you were so inclined.

Laying out the Room

A room for gun safes isn’t just any room and should be laid out accordingly. It’s not just any room, it’s the room in your home built around maximum safety for your guns, yourself, and your family. What is it going to be like inside?

​You might just be content with some gun cabinets, guns, racks, and ammo storage. Maybe add a table and a couple of chairs for cleaning and gun maintenance. You could even double down on the security and install a gun safe inside as well, which would make theft all but impossible.

Or you can furnish it like any other room in your home with carpeting and comfortable furniture around the walls. Consider adding a small bed if you plan to use it for an emergency retreat. Are you going to use it for document storage as well, or just for gun storage? If so, will you need a filing cabinet on the wall or two?

Legal and Security Issues

There are few legal issues, outside of any building permits you might need. Some states and municipalities limit how much ammo or gunpowder can be stored without a special powder magazine.

You also need to minimize knowledge of the vault. Building permits are public record, and easily accessed. Contractors might talk, or inadvertently hire an unscrupulous person, making it possible to target your home before the vault is finished.

Compliance with dangerous goods storage laws and maintaining a level of confidentiality about your vault are important. Choose only highly reputable contractors to do the work and install any vault door. Make sure the work is legal, so your homeowner’s insurance covers the additions and changes.

Conclusion

As your safe room takes shape, consider the little things that can really make a difference while you’re building a gun safe room. Add a fire extinguisher or two inside, or even a dedicated fire suppression system. Has it been prepared and equipped to allow gun storage without your guns developing rust over time?

Have you checked with your homeowner’s insurance to see if a safe or room might give you a discount on your premium? Is all your construction legal, so that if you sell your house, the room is an asset and not a liability?

Now that you are better prepared to build your walk in gun safe room, it’s time to start work. You’ll find having a vault is highly satisfying. Your guns and valuables will be safer and better stored, and you’ll have genuine peace of mind in your home.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created KeepGunsSafe.com with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.