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I am getting ready to purchase a 23 cf gun safe and want to put it in the house instead of the garage. My house is not on a slab. Do I need to block up under the floor where the safe will be?
 

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I don't know much about engineering but it would help if you knew how much weight your particular floor construction can take and how much your safe will weigh when it's full.

Answer those two questions and you should have a pretty good answer.

Just out of curiosity, why don't you want it in the garage?
 

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depends on what part of the country you live in.. If its a desert the garage would be fine. If you put a dehumidifier in the safe, it should be fine in the garage.. Ive seen alot of tools ruined in uheated garages, sheds and etc in montana and washington state.. dave..
 

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Actually, most of Montana is pretty dry, and Washington isn't known for high humidity (just for the rain-god legends!). In any case, make sure the safe has an entry port for an AC cord. A Goldenrod is a must in any climate (Closed safes just seem to accumulate moisture, even in a house.) and will take care of the moisture problems.

-vic

ffffg said:
depends on what part of the country you live in.. If its a desert the garage would be fine. If you put a dehumidifier in the safe, it should be fine in the garage.. Ive seen alot of tools ruined in uheated garages, sheds and etc in montana and washington state.. dave..
 

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I'm no engineer, and I certainly could be wrong on this. But I would think if you placed it in your house up against an exterior wall and over a couple of floor joists, that the safe would be within a foot or so of where the floor joists are directly supported by the wall plate which sits directly on the foundation walls. I would think this would be fine for a safe weighing between 700 to 800 pounds. Another benefit of this is that the safe is not seen easily from outside the house.
 

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My gun safe is upstairs in my gun room. Whether the floor can handle the weight...hard to tell unless somehow you can get the original blueprints. However, if you put it next to a major load bearing wall, like an outside wall, it should be okay.

Cameron
 

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I wouldn't worry about the weight on the floor. If your an average man and can stand on one foot without breaking through, you safe will be fine. A fully stocked refrigerator puts over 200lbs a square foot on the floor.

Now as far as getting it in your house...good luck with that one!

Definately put it in a temperature controlled environment, you don't want your guns to sweat due to temperature extremes.
 

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Bobshouse said:
I wouldn't worry about the weight on the floor. If your an average man and can stand on one foot without breaking through, you safe will be fine. A fully stocked refrigerator puts over 200lbs a square foot on the floor.

Now as far as getting it in your house...good luck with that one!

Definately put it in a temperature controlled environment, you don't want your guns to sweat due to temperature extremes.
Bobshouse (no pun intended) is probably right about the floor taking the wait. If you really think about the furniture you have in your house and sometimes the number of people you will have sitting or standing together at any given time, it's probably not a big deal.
With that said, I did put a couple of screw jacks on pre-cast concrete "patio" piers and a 6"X6" under my safe in the crawl space under the floor - just to make my self feel better.
As far as the garage location goes, if you don't have extreme weather or radical weather changes it would work. I personally prefer to keep all of my guns at a relatively constant and comfortable temperature and humidity (like my kids) though.
The one "plus" about the garage would be the ability to secure the safe to a concrete floor as well as to the wall. Most safe manufacturers recommend floor mounting in concrete as well as to the wall for the most secure installation.
The other consideration is around security of your garage. How comfortable would you be with your safe and guns in the garage as opposed to in the house?
 

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I don't know how Fleetwood makes their manufactured homes in the floor joist area but my hunting pardner had his Big Browning safe in his spare bedroom/office......No problems while he lived their 10+ yrs.
We moved it in and we moved it out on furniture dollies.
 

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JOYtheSTUDmuffin said:
why not just put it on the ground floor? then its pretty much on the foundation
Well, two things. First of all, while the ground floor is closer to the foundation, there's still a space of a few inches between where you're standing and the actual foundation. If a safe were to collapse through, yes it wouldn't go very far, but you'd still have an unsightly mess :)

The second reason is that the garage is not the optimal place to store your guns for more people. It's generally not as secure as the house, you may or may not have climate issues in your part of the world, and the location may just be impractical. My garage is at the bottom of our townhouse, you have to take a flight of stairs just to get to the den, then a half flight to the dining room, then another flight to the bedrooms. My gun room/office is in the spare bedroom, and I'll be damned if I have hoof it up and down just to clean my gun.

There's also the issue of safety. If someone breaks into my house, I want to be able to get to the safe to defend my family w/o having to go past the intruder.

Cameron
 

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I second Musket36's advice. I am a registered engineer, and
shoring up the floor area under the safe's location would be
a good idea. Cost should be minimal,especially compared to repair cost if the floor is not strong enough to support the safe.
Install a goldenrod too, inside or outside. It pays to be safe.
 

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There are a number of issues here. One cannot glibly say "it's all right"

How much does the safe weigh and how is the weight distributed?

Most residential building is not built to take very heavy floor-loadings. It is unlikely that your safe will break thru the floor, but over time it may cause the floor to sag. Residential joists are not designed for high loads.

Most gun safes I've examined are really not very good safes and are not as heavy as real safes. Still, it might be wise to distribute their load over a larger footprint.

The analogy of a 200 lb guy standing on a floor is not correct. I weigh 230 and am right now sitting on a chair that has a 5 sq-in footprint. That's over 6600 lbs/sq.in! (WHOOPS! THAT LB/SQ.FOOT, NOT INCH!! this is my edit)

I have a very large, very heavy 40 yr-old Mosler safe that I wouldn't dare put on a residential framed floor.

I would get the weight of the safe (size is immaterial) and see how it is distributed. Any doubt, then I'd ask a builder or a local architect or engineer - for a general answer they won't charge you, esp if they shoot also!
 

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Ryan - Pumpster is correct, once again. Residential structures are often build to support an average loading of 40 pounds per square foot. Public libraries are more likely to be engineered to handle 200 pound per square foot live loads (live loads are in addition to the weight of the structure). In a house, there is a big difference between having your safe standing in the middle of a large room on the second floor with no walls directly underneath to help support the load, or having it up agaist a wall which carries the ends of the floor joists* for the room down to the foundation. In the first case, you are asking a few structural members to transfer the bending load across some distance; in the second, the distance is very short, bending moments are much less, and the resulting sheer is a lot easier for the same structural system to deal with. (*Depending on where the bridging is for your floor joists, having the safe along other walls may or may not offer a similar load-carrying advantage.)

One way to get an idea of the structural integrity of a possible location is simply to stand where you plan to place your safe, and then jump up and down and see how much it shakes the house. Solid is good. Windows rattling is not so good. (Cracks in the plaster mean it is time to think the whole idea over again from the start.)

Hypothetical engineering calculations go something like this: at 40 psf with joists 16" oc, for a 12' span each joist is theoretically good for about 600 lbs, or 300 lbs at each end. If your safe is 30" wide and is positioned to span the ends of two joists, then the theoretical live load limit would be as much as 600 lbs - if you want to push things to the limit. Since there is no such thing as adding stress to a structure without also adding strain, at the limit you should expect to see some deflection.

An experienced carpenter or local builder would also have the background to help evaluate your particular situation. He might suggest standing the safe along that same strong wall carrying the ends of the joists, but on top of the middle of a pair of 8 foot 2" x 12" planks to spread the weight of the safe and its treasured contents over six joists instead of just those directly under the safe. Sand and varnish the planks - they'll look good and give you piece of mind.

This does not answer your question directly, but perhaps it sorts out your alternatives, suggests where to look for some expert on-site advice, and gives you a better understanding the kind of thinking that goes into choosing the best option. In any case, given your climate, a dehumidifier is definitely recommended. Something along these lines is a good idea: http://www.mpcsports.com/index.asp?Page ... rodID=2269
 

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Please refer to the University of Michigan's Engineering Departments publication regarding the strength of beams, floors and roofs. The chapter pertaining to "How to determine the strength or safe load of wooden floors", page 23. Here is a link..

Looks like most floors are designed to take 80lbs per square foot, which includes the weight of the flooring.

http://books.google.com/books?id=zK03AA ... Q#PPA23,M1
 

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Bobshouse - Outstanding link. Excellent reference. Definitely encourages having someone with the requisite expertise take a look and help out here.

This is, after all, your house!

Relying on a second floor wall which is not supported below, such as that enclosing some stairs, could lead to serious consequences.

Having a similar problem, back when we lived in a rented town house apartment, I decided to get a horizontal safe (no longer made) from Browning. It weighed about 300 pounds, but spanned four floor joists which carried the extra load without any problem. Lag screws were used to bolt the safe to the floor. For added security, I bolted on grills, connected a duct to an adjacent wall and added stickers and a switch box from an air conditioning manufacturer to disguise the safe so that it looked like mechanical equipment in the event of a break-in were we not home.

Let us know what you decide to do.
 

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SidelockSxS said:
Bobshouse - Outstanding link. Excellent reference. Definitely encourages having someone with the requisite expertise help out here. This is, after all, your house!
LOL! Thanks for the complement, but the credit goes to my internet search engine!
 

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Ryan,
Here is another link for your perusal. Residential floors are generally designed for a minimum of 40 pounds per square foot live load (what you put on the finished floor - furniture, yourself etc.)

Locate your safe up against an outside wall and the carrying capacity will be much more and best if it is against a bearing wall, where the floor joists are at 90 degrees to the wall. I have a monster safe in my house and the floor is just fine. (BTW - I am also a licensed Professional Engineer) One caution though, my dad, also a PE, always said you can always tell an engineer ....... but you can't tell them much.

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/aquarium_weight.php
 
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