A big part of being a responsible gun owner is properly storing firearms and ammunition. In many cases, the preferred option is using a gun safe in a home or business. But going the gun safe route requires a bit of forethought, particularly considering that some models can weigh up to 5,000 pounds. This raises the fundamental question of whether your floor will support the weight of a gun safe.
Generally speaking, your floor should have no problem supporting a gun safe as long as you are mindful of how the floor is supported (e.g., the arrangement of joists in a raised floor) and where you place the safe. With careful planning, you can even put a gun safe on the second floor of your home.
Gun safes are understandably heavy considering that they are tasked with enormous responsibilities such as safeguarding your firearms and protecting them from theft and fire. Despite weighing hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds, it is safe (no pun intended) to place a gun safe on your floor but there are a few important things to keep in mind so keep reading.
Will My Floor Support a Gun Safe? Weights and Limits Explained
When it comes to keeping firearms, ammunition, and other valuables safe, secure, and protected, a gun safe is a tried-and-true approach that not only gets the job done right but in many cases, is also more cost-effective than other methods.
But if there is one question among prospective buyers that comes up more than any other, it is whether a gun safe is too heavy for the floor where it will be placed.
How Heavy Are Gun Safes?
There are a number of very important considerations to take into account when making the decision to purchase a gun safe.
For instance, the intended contents of the gun safe will determine its construction and size (e.g., the number of pieces, the types of firearms, and the amount of ammunition). Another aspect is what type of protection is being sought, with security, theft, and fire being the most common.
With these factors in mind, these are the most common weight ranges of gun safes:
- Basic gun safes typically range in weight from 200 to 600 pounds
- Standard gun safes usually weigh between 600 and 1000 pounds
- Premium gun safes come in at a hefty 1000 to 1,600 pounds
- Professional-grade gun safes are the heaviest of all, weighing anywhere from 2,000 up to 5,000 pounds
Generally speaking, what differentiates one weight category from another are characteristics like size and construction.
These in turn are determined by factors such as what size firearms will be placed in the safe, how fireproof you want the safe to be, and the degree of theft protection you want. As a general rule, the thicker and heavier the material, the greater the protection, but the heavier the safe.
Here’s a video with a bit of info about protecting your floor, with more info below:
How Much Weight Can a Floor Hold for a Safe?
The question of how much weight a floor can hold for a safe typically comes up with raised floors where the floor structure consists of large, flat boards fastened to a series of parallel wood joists as opposed to a floor that sits on a solid concrete slab.
As a general rule of thumb, raised floors found in a typical home are built to support a minimum of 40 pounds of live load (i.e., the weight of non-structural objects such as furniture, fixtures, and appliances) per square foot.
To illustrate, in a room with joists running underneath the floor for a length of 10 feet, a section that is 3 feet wide would theoretically be able to support 10’ x 3’ x 40 lbs = 1,200 pounds of live load.
A standard gun safe measuring 60” H x 30” W x 22” D and weighing 600 pounds could be safely placed anywhere within that strip (although safe manufacturers recommend placing safes along load-bearing walls).
Should I Brace My Floor for a Gun Safe?
It goes without saying that gun safes are heavy regardless of their size.
Much of this has to do with the fact that they are built to be impervious to any attempts to break into them to steal their contents and in many cases are also constructed to withstand fire (for example, certain models can provide up to 30 minutes of protection, even longer in some instances, when exposed to temperatures of 1200°F).
While entry-level gun safes (which would likely be used by the majority of gun owners) weighing from 200 to 600 pounds can be placed on your floor without giving it much thought.
It would be wise to consider bracing your floor for heavier gun safes to avoid any damage to the surface of your floor or the supporting structure beneath it, such as by bending or buckling.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- In order to utilize the supporting strength of the joists, metal straps can be laid across them and the safe placed on top of the straps to distribute the weight of the safe over the joists more evenly
- Metal plates can provide even more stability for supporting the weight of a gun safe by distributing the weight of the weight across a broad area of the floor while also bearing a part of the load itself
- As a general rule, gun safes are best positioned next to bearing walls as this is where floors are the strongest and able to support the most weight
The majority of floors in modern structures, including raised floors, are more than adequate to support the load of a gun safe, even those weighing over 1,000 pounds. In some instances, however, it may be prudent to consider the added reinforcement of bracing under a gun safe.
Can My Floor Support a 300 Lb Safe?
If you have your eye on an entry-level gun safe weighing 300 pounds or so, then chances are good that you can go ahead and install it without much worry or concern.
Considering that modern safety standards (source: usasafe) provide for a load capacity of 40 pounds per square foot of live load, even a modest area of 3 feet by 3 feet, which is 9 square feet, should safely support 360 pounds (9 sq. ft. x 40 lbs. = 360 lbs.).
Can a Wood Floor Support a Gun Safe?
Another area of concern when it comes to installing a gun safe is whether it is okay to place it on top of a hardwood floor. The short answer is yes, most gun safes can be placed on a hardwood floor, but as is often the case, there are a few things to consider (source: Liberty Safe) before rushing out to buy a gun safe.
Given their weight, gun safes require special handling when moving and positioning them. Also, many gun safe manufacturers recommend anchoring them to the floor which means drilling holes through your hardwood floor to install the anchor bolts.
Scratching and gouging are also concerns which is why a heavy-duty felt pad placed between the bottom of the safe and the floor might be an idea worth considering.
Aside from the measures of protection that they provide for your firearms and valuables, gun safes also give you peace of mind.
By being mindful of its weight and exercising a bit of forethought when purchasing one, installing a gun safe on your floor can be a simple, straightforward, and most importantly, worry-free, process.