When it comes to purchasing a gun safe, new gun owners often find themselves on the fence because of its weight. They worry if their floor can support an awkward load like this, and so many people ask, “Can my floor support a gun safe?” This article will explain why you should never let fear keep you from buying one for yourself!
Will a floor be strong enough to support the gun safe?
Can My Floor Support A Gun Safe?
If you’re wondering, “Will my floor support a gun safe?“, then our answer is yes, you can install a gun safe on your home floor without worrying. The support will help spread out and cover the weight!
The home floor probably won’t get damaged if no distributed weight is pressing down on the surface. On average, a floorboard can handle loads of open space so that you don’t need to worry about placing heavy furniture on its surface.
It’s also worth noting that home floors are built according to a specific code. A standard flooring load capacity should be 40lbs per sq ft, which means it can support a 40lbs safe in each square foot of the flooring surface. Specifically, the floor beams act as an additional support structure between the trusses.
Let’s imagine that you have a 10ft x 12ft room.
The room is 120 square feet, and you can place up to 4,800-pounds of furniture in your room. You may have that much weight spread out all over the floor. As mentioned above, once your gun safe is in position, it will distribute the weight in one spot.
The dispensed load then will be about 100 pounds per sqft where the safe is sitting, but you should install it in an area with good foundation support. It would be best if you place the safe along the walls. This way, there’s less risk than placing it in the middle of the room.
Building regulations also require a floor joist or a bearing wall below the floor to support heavy loads on trusses without any problem.
Always set the safe along the walls.
What Does a Gun Safe’s Weight Include?
Gun safes are sturdy, heavy, and hard to move. The weight of gun safes ranges vastly based on their level. On average, an entry-level gun safe can weigh 200-600 pounds, a mid-range safe weighs 600-1,000 pounds, while a high-end safe weighs up to 1,000-1,600 pounds. But that’s not all! A commercial-grade one can weigh somewhere from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds!
So, why does a gun safe get such a heavyweight like that? Let’s find out some determining factors below:
Gun Safe Size
The bigger a safe is, the bulkier it’s gonna be. Bigger safes usually require more steel, fireboard, shelving, and many other materials to build them, which in turn makes for increased weight when compared with smaller models. With each safe model, most manufacturers will produce a wide range of sizes to meet the customers’ needs. As the size of a safe goes up, so does its weight.
There is certainly an exception. In such cases, a bigger safe has less fireboard and thinner steel that make it weigh slightly less than the smaller ones. Yet, it’s just a few cases, not many!
Many sizes of gun safes
Gauge Of Steel
In the U.S, a “gauge” is used to measure how thick the steel is. We know it may sound contradictory, but the lower the number is, the thicker the steel is. This means that a 10-gauge safe will have thicker steel than a 14-gauge one, and sure enough, the thicker steel will weigh more than the thinner one.
Some safes are well insulated to protect the firearms inside against heat and flames. Those with better protection surely will have additional layers of fireboard, high-quality insulation, which makes the safe weigh more. It means the more layers it uses, the better the fire resistance, but also the heavier it weighs.
Gun Safe Design
The weight of safes can vary based on design features. Additional steel layers and concrete or composite liners all have their own effect on the total weight and cause a major jump in price, too.
Will a Raised Floor be Strong Enough?
A raised floor is a sturdy wooden framework that spans from one outside wall to another. You can also add support placed beneath the floor, like trusses or rafters. The flooring structure often comprises wooden beams running parallel to each other. They can vary in intervals ranging somewhere from 12-inches, 16-inches, and 24-inches.
The floor joists, in most cases, are covered up at the ends with headers and shored up by bearing walls. The size and spacing are dependent on the engineer’s requirements and your local building codes. The subflooring mainly consists of plywood and is fastened to the top of the framework.
You can cover the top framework with tiles, carpets, and more. This feature can help the home flooring handle the weight of your gun safe!
Furthermore, you also need to consider the wood type used for construction because insects can cause potential damages, and dry rot may occur on these floors too!
What Are The Best Places For You To Install Gun Safes?
When choosing a spot to set your gun safe, keep in mind that some flooring might be weak and could cause damage in the long run. Let’s consider some suggestions below:
Inspect the floor before placing the gun safe
You can store your gun safe in your basement, though floods might arise. One way to prevent your firearm from water damage is to add concrete blocks and elevate its position. You might not be able to anchor the raised safe, but this is when the heavyweight promotes its effect. It’s still difficult to move such a heavy safe!
Above A Basement
You need to be mindful of the weight when placing your safe on the main flooring above the basement. Make sure your basement and the support conditions are sturdy enough to handle its weight.
Don’t forget to place your safe against a wall, as we mentioned earlier. This way will ensure some of the weight can be distributed to the basement wall, ideally where the joists are at right angles.
You can also double up any 10×2″ joists, as they might need more strength to support the load.
Above A Crawl Space
If your basement is above a crawl space (which many homes do), adding a pier to support the heavyweight above will be necessary. You can put it under the safe front since the back should be against the wall.
Finished Hardwood Floors
Putting a carpet under your gun safe can relieve your concerns about floor scratching. This way, it can slide easily on hardwood floors without causing scratches! Alternatively, you can also place some thick felt pads, providing an additional layer between the gun safe and your flooring.
What Are The Alternatives To Bolting Gun Safe To The Floor?
Bolt The Safe To The Wall
Unlike bolting the safe to the floor, property owners may not be happy about this method either. Still, you can patch up your damage after moving.
Choose a corner to bolt the safe to two walls, locate the studs, and mark the position you’ll need to drill the holes. It’s best if an experienced person helps you with this task.
Bolt The Gun Safe To A Steel Slab
This method is less time-consuming but still works efficiently. You can use a ¼ -inch thick piece of steel (make sure it’s large enough for your door frames’ width). Put the slab in where you want to mount the safe! After that, bolt it to the steel by using the drilled holes at the safe’s bottom.
Can my floor support a gun safe? The short answer is yes. Your floors are strong enough to take on the weight of this heavy object. To make sure it will always stay secure, we recommend placing it against a wall! Alternatively, you can also bolt it to the wall or a steel slab in case you don’t want to cause any scratches on your floor. Thanks for reading!