Step by Step Guide on Installing Gun Vault Door

More and more families make the important decision to dedicate an entire room in their home for a custom vault. It could be made for storing guns, as a bunker for environmental catastrophes, or anything else that you may need. Ultimately, the most important part of this room will be the gun vault door. But how do you install one?

Professional help is not always available or is too expensive. Perhaps you simply like building things and prefer to do everything in your home by yourself. If this is the case, continue reading below for the most comprehensive installation guide.

Step by Step Guide on Installing Gun Vault Door

If you are here, it probably means that you do not want to hire professionals for this installation. Prepare yourself for hard work and make sure to have at least a couple of people with you. Most vault doors weigh at least several hundred pounds and installing one is nearly impossible for a single person. 

Note: This step-by-step guide includes general instructions that can be applied to most vault doors on the market. However, some models may require additional steps that are not included in this manual. Each manufacturer provides detailed instructions with their products although sometimes the steps are not explained in detail. Therefore, you can combine this guide with the manual provided by the brand. 

Tools Required

The following tools are the general ones used for vault door installations. Depending on the model, you may need additional ones or you may not need to use all listed below. Anything needed will be included in the user guide that comes with the product. 

  1. Step Ladder
  2. 2. Crow Bar
  3. 3. Level
  4. Tape Measure
  5. Socket Wrench 

Quick Installation in 6 steps

1. Remove the door you want to replace and measure the rough opening

The installation process begins with the removal of the old door if there is one. If not, continue with measuring the rough opening between the concrete. Different vault doors vary in sizes, of course, but the common space should not be less than 80 inches high and 40 inches wide. 

2. Remove additional door parts

Once you remove the door, you might need to remove other parts of the construction. These include existing molding, door jambs, or hinges. In certain cases, you could leave those intact as long as they will not be an obstacle for the new vault door. 

3. Unpack the new door

At this point, you need to unpack the new vault. It is recommended that you do it as close to the wall opening as possible. Once again, these doors are extremely heavy and you wouldn't want to carry them long. 

The contents in the package may vary depending on the model. Yet, in most cases, you get inner door frames, handles, and mounting bolts. 

Stage the contents of the package and all the necessary tools as close as possible for maximum convenience. 

4. Lift the door and begin the installation

This is when you need to be very careful. We already mentioned that you shouldn't do this installation by yourself. 

  • Lift the door slowly and precisely, and have one person on the other side to balance it. Vault doors often weigh several hundred kilograms which makes them incredibly dangerous. Take all the necessary precautions to prevent serious traumas.

Note: There are two methods that you can undertake. Some people prefer to dismantle the door and install the frames first. The alternative method, of course, is vice versa. Moreover, certain models exclude one of these methods, thus, check the instructions to be sure. Here is how to do it using the second option.

  • Once safely lifted, you need to move the door into position. Care should be taken not to damage your floor while you are doing this. This is when the crowbar comes in handy. There are plenty of methods to move a vault door in place, using this tool will make it safe and easy. 
  • With that same crowbar, you also will center the door in the rough opening later. This method takes time but decreases the risk of unwanted damage on the floor or yourself. Always have someone support the outside of the door until it is completely placed in the wall. 
  • Check if the vault door is placed precisely according to your original measurements or the ones described in the instructions. 

5. Install the door frames

Start with the top bracket first. Tighten all bolts. It is important not to open the door before you have mounted this frame as it might displace it. Then, continue with the side frames in the same manner. 

6. Install all screws or bolts and tighten them 

This should be the final step in the installation of your gun vault door. Start placing the jack bolts or screws in each corner. Be careful not to overtighten the bolts as this could prevent the door from closing completely. 

At this point, you should be done with your installation and the door should be perfectly placed. If you feel like it is not centered, you can fix this by tightening or loosening the screws. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you put a safe on the wall?

One of the most common questions people ask about home safes is whether they can install them without professional help. In this section, you will learn how to do it quickly and easily. 

  1. Find the right place in the wall to put the safe

Assuming you have already picked up a safe or at least have picked the one you want, you need to find the right place in the house to put it. In this case, you need a wall. 

Two things need to be considered when installing a safe. First, there shouldn't be any electrical or plumbing behind the wall. If you have the plans for the house/apartment, it should be an easy task. 

Next, you need to find where the wall studs are placed. The easiest way to do that is with a stud finder. This is a simple device available in most hardware stores. The second option is to do it by tapping on the wall. If there is one behind it, the knock will sound different.

Once you find the wooden beams, you will want to mark them as you will have to cut a hole between them for the safe. 

  1. Cut the hole in the wall

There are plenty of tools you can use to cut your wall depending on what it is made from. What you need to do is start by cutting a small hole. Then, with a wire or something else, do a second check for cables. If you do not find any, continue making the hole. 

Be careful during this process. You need to get the measurements correct unless you want to do additional repairs later. 

  1. Put the safe in the wall to mark where you will make the stud holes

There are different wall safes on the market and this step may not be needed with specific models. Place your safe in the hole and mark where you will drill holes with a marker. 

  1. Start the holes

Make sure not to drill too deeply. You just want to start the holes at this point. Also, make sure to do it exactly at the marked spots. 

  1. Put the safe back on the wall 

Once you have begun forming the holes, you can put the safe back in and complete the installation. Each safe will have some type of bolt fasteners included so it should be an easy task. 

Put them right through the safe into the new holes in the studs and start screwing them slightly with your ratchet or screw. You don't want to tighten each one completely as you are putting it in. First, get all started inside and then come back and finish each one. 

At this point, it all depends on the wall safe. Some safes have shelves that need to be installed and others don't. 

Should you bolt down a safe?

People often wonder if they should bolt down their new safe. After all, it means drilling holes on the floor of your home. Yet, a safe is a long-term investment and you need to find a location that will not make you change its place in the future. Here are three good reasons why you need to do it.

  1. Maximum security

The whole idea of a safe is to protect your valuable belongings. Not bolting it down increases the chances of theft. Burglars will be able to knock it down which increases the risk of prying it successfully. This is the main reason why safes are placed upright. This position decreases the leverage needed to open the door with force.

  1. Thieves will not be able to take the whole safe

What is the only worse thing than a thief getting into your safe? Perhaps a thief getting the entire safe out of the house. And this can happen if they fail to open it inside. Therefore, this is the most important reason why you need to bolt it down. Unless they have plenty of tools with them, no thief will be able to take the entire safe. 

  1. User safety

Did you know that safes can tip down when opened? While it is not a common incident, it could happen with certain models. For example, if the safe is smaller and lighter, it can tip when the door is open. And even a lightweight vault can cause serious injuries. 

Cases when you shouldn't bolt down a safe

There is no doubt that this adjustment is crucial for security and safety but there are cases when it is impossible. In these situations, we would recommend wall safes that can be put on walls. With this said, here are three examples:

  1. Apartment building rules forbid it

Not everyone lives in a house. When the entire place is yours, you can do whatever you want. Some apartment buildings, however, forbid the drilling of holes in the floor. Sometimes, flats are too old or the owners consider such interventions as serious damage.

Do not do it unless you have the approval of the apartment manager. 

  1. Are you moving constantly? 

Most people will not need to move the safe after it has been installed once. In case you do, never bolt your vault down. Moreover, if you are planning to move to a new place soon, you should rather wait until you switch homes to do it. Although you can generally take it apart again with some serious physical work, bolting a safe is considered a permanent decision. If it was easy to remove, it wouldn’t be secure.

  1. No bolt holes? 

Not all safes come with bolt holes. Sometimes, manufacturers do not consider this a necessity or do not recommend bolting it down. The solution is to drill the holes yourself.

However, make sure to contact the manufacturer beforehand. Drilling holes in the safe may void your warranty which will be bad. Contact the customer support of your brand and make sure everything will be alright if you do it yourself.

Final Words

If you reached this far, you should be ready to install your gun vault door without professional help. Once, you succeed and install one by yourself, you will have the confidence to build anything without assistance in the future. 

Internal bunkers are a fantastic addition to the home of any gun collector but even if you are not one, there is no better way to make your home more secure. If you already have a vault door that is waiting to be installed, go back to the step-by-step guide above and you will be done in no time. If not, there are incredible options to choose from and take your home security to the absolute highest level.