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Discussion Starter #1
I'm planning on building a home this summer/fall, and I'd like to build in a vault in the basement of the house, not only for keeping my guns, but also for anything else valuable that I'm not comfortable with leaving in a fire-box. I guess I'mm looking for any advice that any of you may have for me on construction ideas, ventilation, anything else I'll need to know. What I'm planning on right now is rebar-reinforced poured concrete walls and ceiling, with a Browning six-panel safe door that looks somewhat inconspicuous. My goal is theft-proofing and fire-proofing, to protect all of my belongings that insurance cannot effectively replace.

Maybe this should be in DIY?

Thanks for any help! :D

-matt
 

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I've been thinking about doing something like this also. I had come up with a plan for ventilation that might work, or it might not. start with doing the geothermal climate control stuff, this will keep the vault a constant temp year round regardless of power outages and other uncontrollable things. Then all you should have to do is stick a dehumidifier in it to ensure that your firearms don't rust. Anyway Like I said this may or may not work, it is just something that I thought of at one point.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That is a good idea, my main concern with any kind of ventilation linked to the house has to do with fire control, if air can get in, fire probably will be able to also, but I'm sure there's an easy cure for this. I'm still searching around on the net to find what information I can . . . .
 

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Recoil said:
What's the over-concern for ventilation? Do your guns breathe? More to the point: do your guns have trouble in the airtight safe they're in now?
I believe that humidity is big broblem when storing weapons in the basement. Ventilation is crucial!

slip
 

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slip said:
I believe that humidity is big broblem when storing weapons in the basement. Ventilation is crucial!
Ventilation doesn't cause or prevent humidity, moisture does. If the gun vault is built in a place where moisture is a problem, no amount of ventilation is going to help...What good is pumping humid air in and out going to do?

Like I said, regular gun safes don't have a ventilation system and guns are just fine inside them. If you want to remove moisture, you do that with moisture removing devices--like a can of silica gel, or for large spaces like a vault, a simple dehumidifier like you can buy at Wal-Mart.

This ventilation problem is being waaaaay over-thought. Unless someone intends to spend more than a minute or two inside the gun vault, there's no need for a special ventilation system. Again, build the concrete room, wire it for electricity (for lights and the humidifier), install a vault door, and be happy.
 

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gun vaults

agree with recoil,when and if you build the room seal it on the inside with a moisture barrier, the builder should recomend this any way for the outside of the foundation/wall, it can be painted over also to give you another layer of protection build your racks or whatever type of shelving wire it,put in a dehumidifier and start filling it up with toys for more protection you can get bags of silica and place inside also to help.i have 4 bags in my safe from a friends work that ships robotics overseas,those can be taken out and put in the oven and dried out once in a while
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys, I guess I won't worry about the ventilation, Midway sells the cans of Silica Gel that you can just heat in the oven to refresh them, seems simple enough to just throw a few of them in there. The vault door I'm looking at also has a release on the inside, so I don't have to worry about getting trapped inside :wink:

-matt
 

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To say that no ventilation is needed is ridiculous. Take a stack of news papers and spray them with the garden hose, now put that soaking wet stack of papers in a cool place with no direct sunlight and let me know how long it takes to dry out. Concrete is the same way, whether it be capilary rise or infiltration the foundation walls will almost always have some moisture in them, water is one of the key ingredients in concrete you know. Silica gel is going to have a hard time clearing a good size room effectivly. I would highly recommend installing a heater, dehumidifier, or vent in order to keep your firearms safe. Would you rather spend the extra $1000 bucks on the ventilation or watch 5k, 10k, 20k+ dollars worth of firearms turn to ****?

-Eric
 

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Emorse4487 said:
To say that no ventilation is needed is ridiculous.
Show me a typical gun safe that has a ventilation system...Can't do it, can ya?

Now, show me $20,000 or more worth of guns stored in said gun safe that have been reduced to rust dust. I submit that even if that happened, anyone who neglects their firearms long enough for such a thing to happen doesn't deserve those firearms in the first place.

Emorse4487 said:
Take a stack of news papers and spray them with the garden hose, now put that soaking wet stack of papers in a cool place with no direct sunlight and let me know how long it takes to dry out.
Once you're done showing me all of the above, show me someone who stores wet newspapers inside their gun safe. I really wanna see that...Really.

Emorse4487 said:
Concrete is the same way, whether it be capilary rise or infiltration the foundation walls will almost always have some moisture in them, water is one of the key ingredients in concrete you know.
Right and...

Emorse4487 said:
Silica gel is going to have a hard time clearing a good size room effectivly.
True, so...

Emorse4487 said:
I would highly recommend installing a heater, dehumidifier, or vent in order to keep your firearms safe.
Wow, we've come full circle! Observe:

Recoil said:
If you want to remove moisture, you do that with moisture removing devices--like a can of silica gel, or for large spaces like a vault, a simple dehumidifier like you can buy at Wal-Mart.
Amazing, ain't it? :wink:

No one said "never ever install a ventilation system" or "don't put vents in the wall." The basic point was that there was too much fretting going on over something pretty simple and relatively trivial.

As I also said:

Recoil said:
...put a dehumidifier in the corner and be happy.
Reading is fundamental. :)

ETA:

Would you rather spend the extra $1000 bucks on the ventilation or watch 5k, 10k, 20k+ dollars worth of firearms turn to stuff?
Who in their right mind would spend $1,000 on a vent fan? All that needs to be done is leaving out a brick in the masonry, or running duct work through the form, then installing a regular residential vent fan in the space (they're made in all sorts of form factors, so this isn't a problem). Or if you want something a little more "industrial" one could easily install a squirrel cage fan. It's hardly a grand's worth if equipment and time.

Remind me never to contract you to do construction for me. :lol:
 

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As much as I would like to tell you that I have had 20k dollars worth of firearms turn sour, I can't. Mainly because I do not own 20k dollars worth of firearms, and partly because I have never stored what few guns I do have in any place other than the family vault. That being said we do trust nearly 90+ million dollars worth of files which have accumulated over 35 years or so in the vault, as well as an 800k dollar painting that belonged to my great grandmother.



I would appreciate it if you kept the personal attack to a minimum, whether you were joking or not is irrelevant. Take the attitude back over to the 'hide, no one should have to take a ration of **** for having a difference of opinion.

Finally, unless you plan on building a Wal-Mart or any other multi-million dollar project in your back yard, you won't have to worry about contacting my family for any engineering services.

-Eric
 

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I said show me pictures of a "typical gun safe" and one with "a ventilation system" not something you'd see in a friggin' bank. Nice try though.

Also, you forgot the pictures of stacks of wet newspapers that everyone supposedly stores in their vaults. I really, really wanna see those.

Don't bother responding unless you can show me either...That is, unless you wanna look like a crybaby who can't take a little challenge to one or two of their claims.

Emorse4487 said:
I would appreciate it if you kept the personal attack to a minimum, whether you were joking or not is irrelevant. Take the attitude back over to the 'hide, no one should have to take a ration of stuff for having a difference of opinion.
Blah blah blah. And it wouldn't have been what you describe as a "personal attack" (your standards of an "attack" must be awful low) if your post wasn't kinda silly for the subject at hand. I don't know monteboy and I can't speak for him, but it's highly doubtful that he's got big bucks to build a bank vault in his basement...He's looking for inexpensive solutions--which I and others correctly gave him, mind you--not your "multi-million dollar" ones.

The issue now is wasting people's money. I hate crappy advice telling people to spend more money than they really need to unless they want to. If monteboy wants to invest $1,000+ in a ventilation system, that's his choice and I support it. But I don't think I'm wrong in the assumption that he'd rather not or simply can't afford to sink huge money into the project. There was nothing in his original question that indicated such a thing.

Again, I challenge you to show me a regular, non-gazillion dollar gun safe of the sort the majority of folks here are likely to have that has a ventilation system. My original statements still stand, even after your rebuttal.

Oh, and I've never been on the Hide. So sorry. Thank you for your time.

Emorse4487 said:
Finally, unless you plan on building a Wal-Mart or any other multi-million dollar project in your back yard, you won't have to worry about contacting my family for any engineering services.
Oh, bragging too, what a treat! Mmmm, I love the smell of arrogance in the morning! :lol:

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go build a gun and maybe go shoot it if it warms up a little, and not just sit around here and brag about the size of my *cough*penis*cough* checking account.

ETA: If you'd be so kind as to check both our registration dates, you'll see that I've been here a whole lot longer than you. Now, this isn't a big deal and post count and time served doesn't mean squat. However, it really does make you look kinda stupid for your Hide comment. :wink:
 

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Also, you forgot the pictures of stacks of wet newspapers that everyone supposedly stores in their vaults. I really, really wanna see those.

You totally missed the point of that analogy. The fact is that concrete is water based, and without water the concrete will not cure. It takes 28 days for concrete to reach maximum strength and years for it to fully cure. The concrete will almost never dry out completely, which means that there will always be humidity in the room. I chose that analogy because everyone has seen their news paper get left out in the rain, it takes forever to dry even in direct sunlight. The concrete acts in much the same way, it retains water no matter how hard you try to dry it out, understand?

If you check closer, you will see 15 plan racks and about 20 filing cabinets behind the painting. There is literally tons of paper stored in our vault, and the moisture content of the paper is much higher than that of the surrounding air (kind of like wet news papers being stored in your vault) creating a moisture problem. Although, I don't think he will be storing this many papers so that shouldn't be a factor.

Don't bother responding unless you can show me either...That is, unless you wanna look like a crybaby who can't take a little challenge to one or two of their claims.

Again, I challenge you to show me a regular, non-gazillion dollar gun safe of the sort the majority of folks here are likely to have that has a ventilation system. My original statements still stand, even after your rebuttal.


All I can do is show you the vault I have, he isn’t looking for a 16 gun stack on safe so why do you keep asking for examples? I will take your word on the matter, 16 gun cabs do not have vents. Big deal. If what I have showed you isn't good enough to sway your opinion than so be it. I don't know where you live but in my area vent stacks are required in any strong room designed. If you don't care to follow building codes then you have to think of several key factors. If you stick a simple dehumidifier in your vault what are you going to do with the residual water? Are you going to clear out the tray every day? Will you tie it into your footing drain? Bust a hole in the slab and hope you don't have high ground water? It's up to you; some people like to tie the line into the sewerage system. If your town provides these services it will cost you money every time you send a gallon of water down the drain, and if you have a leech field it may put unnecessary strain on the system. In many cases it is cheaper to have your HVAC expert tie the vault into the homes heating and ventilation system. As for your prior comment you can't just form a 6" vent into a 10" reinforced foundation wall, special formwork is needed if you want it to work correctly. Fancy formwork means more chance of blowout with added labor costs and time delays. There is a reason the wall is 10 inches, not 4.

Caution: Another opinion
If you are looking to build a new house I would highly suggest investing in a balanced HRV system as it will save you thousands of dollars in the long run which you could use for some more guns to fill that vault. All you would have to do is run duct wok down to your basement and tie the vault in, no dehumidifiers wasting valuable floor space, and not as expensive as our friend recoil would like you to believe.

Oh, and I've never been on the Hide. So sorry. Thank you for your time.

You should head on over then, you would fit right in. Ripping on people that were asked for their opinion just because it may differ from your own is completely unnecessary.

ETA: If you'd be so kind as to check both our registration dates, you'll see that I've been here a whole lot longer than you. Now, this isn't a big deal and post count and time served doesn't mean squat. However, it really does make you look kinda stupid for your Hide comment. :wink:

What are you talking about? And if it weren’t a big deal then why would you bring it up? I have no doubt you know more about shooting than I ever will, I’m not disputing that. I do however have doubts that you know as much about construction as you would like to imagine. With all due respect, unless you can offer this gentleman any useful information about vault design I won’t respond to anymore of your replies.

-Eric
 

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Emorse4487 said:
You totally missed the point of that analogy.
No no, I got the point of the analogy...The problem is, you were using it to support your claim: that ventilation is required in a gun vault due to moisture.

More on that here...

Emorse4487 said:
The fact is that concrete is water based, and without water the concrete will not cure. It takes 28 days for concrete to reach maximum strength and years for it to fully cure. The concrete will almost never dry out completely, which means that there will always be humidity in the room.
Yes, that's true. However, you're missing one very important, crucial point: monteboy intends to build a secure room in his basement. There is going to be moisture in the air no matter what, so what good is sucking humid air out and pumping it back in? The only alternative is running the intake and exhaust outside, but up goes the price for that, and it's not really necessary for a small gun vault unless you're building an NBC shelter or something.

The best method here is to simply remove the humidity from the air, plain and simple.

Emorse4487 said:
All I can do is show you the vault I have, he isn’t looking for a 16 gun stack on safe so why do you keep asking for examples? I will take your word on the matter, 16 gun cabs do not have vents. Big deal.
The deal is because you're saying gun vaults need ventilation but reality just doesn't support your claim. The point of asking you to show me gun safes that have vents (which you can't do, for the record) is to demonstrate that guns are stored in sealed containers without ventilation every day by millions of Americans nationwide in all sorts of climates and the guns don't rot away like you'd have us all believe.

It's nothing personal man, it's just a fact of life. That you took it personally isn't my problem, so don't project that crap onto me please. Your manhood is, no doubt, plenty secure in your hometown. Don't let some guy on the Internet rattle your cage so much.

Emorse4487 said:
If you stick a simple dehumidifier in your vault what are you going to do with the residual water? Are you going to clear out the tray every day?
That's the price of saving money, isn't it?

I enter my "gun room" every day (which happens to be below ground level and built of concrete), several times a day usually, so emptying a small tray out is a trivial matter for me, especially considering there's a sink nearby.

Emorse4487 said:
If you are looking to build a new house I would highly suggest investing in a balanced HRV system as it will save you thousands of dollars in the long run which you could use for some more guns to fill that vault. All you would have to do is run duct wok down to your basement and tie the vault in, no dehumidifiers wasting valuable floor space, and not as expensive as our friend recoil would like you to believe.
That's great and I have no arguments with that, but again, you're not only suggesting monteboy spend more money than he needs to, but you're still way off topic and not being helpful to his needs. The man is building a small concrete room in his pre-existing basement.

My suggestions were, I believe, pretty spot-on for his goals of a simple concrete room in his basement--unless he's planning on spending a lot of money...But there was nothing in his question that led me to believe such a thing (if he had a bunch of money to spend, he wouldn't be asking us here anyway and the question of to vent or not to vent would be a non-issue; he'd simply do it regardless).

Emorse4487 said:
You should head on over then, you would fit right in. Ripping on people that were asked for their opinion just because it may differ from your own is completely unnecessary.
Aside from the joke at the end about reminding me never to contract you for construction work (not that I could afford you apparently; I'm not a multi-millionaire and thus not worthy of your services :roll:), show me where I was "ripping" on you so badly. Show me or Dude, SHUT UP already.

Emorse4487 said:
What are you talking about? And if it weren’t a big deal then why would you bring it up?
Why do you keep deflecting my points instead of meeting them head-on?

I brought it up because it's obvious I didn't come from the Hide and that I've been here all along, which means your snide comment about the Hide was completely, utterly stupid. Duh.

Emorse4487 said:
I do however have doubts that you know as much about construction as you would like to imagine. With all due respect, unless you can offer this gentleman any useful information about vault design I won’t respond to anymore of your replies.
You like to throw your supposed credentials around, don't you? Why don't you tell us how much money is in your bank account because that's probably the only thing that's gonna make you feel better at this point.

For the record, Sir, since it's obviously a big deal to you, I've been through the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America apprenticeship program and was management at a large regional construction company for a few years. Although to be fair, it wasn't my Union construction education that got me the job, it was my electrical engineering degree from one of the best engineering universities in the country; I went through the Union program later.

I live in Iowa (a very humid state), have built my own underground gun vault and I'm perfectly happy to say that I don't have a single rusty gun. Granted, I did install a ventilation system, but not for the purposes of blowing air around my guns but rather for the purposes of human habitation. The ventilation system never runs except on a routine preventative maintenance schedule to ensure the blowers don't freeze up. Again, no rusty guns. Sorry.

However, NONE of that has ANYTHING to do with basic common sense. Guns survive just fine in sealed environments without rusting away.

Thank you very much.

And mods, no need to lock this thread if you're thinking about it...This will be my last post on this issue, and Emorse has said the same himself. The argument is at least worth leaving up to give monteboy both sides of the coin for him to consider.
 
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