a nice two story home in a suburban neighborhood

When you’re going to build a safe room, the most important thing to question is: What safe door is right for me? We will answer that question based on decades of experience and give you the information to know exactly what you need.

When choosing the right door for your home or business, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself:

  1. What's My Goal?
  2. What Level of Lock Protection do I Need?
  3. Should I Add Layers of Protection?
  4. Do I Need Fire Protection?
  5. What Lock Suits My Needs?
  6. What Look is Best for Me?


Sometimes that’s hard to answer but first you need a rough idea of what you’re trying to protect from. Fire? Storms? Petty theft? Serious criminals? A few questions to ask yourself to help answer this question: A. Do you have items that you don’t want destroyed by a house fire? What are those items? B. If a tornado or hurricane hit your house or business, would you want a safe area for you family, employees, records, or heirlooms? Who or what would you list? C. If someone broke into your house to steal small items for easy money, what belongings would you want to protect? Can you name a few? D. Do you want to protect your family from a possible aggressive break in? E. What type of wall do you have in your basement or existing safe area? The answer to these questions will help you select the security level to search for in a safe door. To start with, we recommend a safe door that has at least ¼” of plate steel. This will help protect against petty theft and give some protection against smoke and flame. For Smith Security Safes, this is our Standard level door. Our midrange doors offer greater protection with 3/8” plate steel (our Heavy Door) or ½” steel door (our Magnum Door). For the highest-level protection, we recommend a 1” thick door (our Extreme Door). This checks all the boxes of security.

What Level of Lock Protection do I Need?

The lock is the heart of your safe door, and it should be protected. A ½” or 1” thick skin is a good start, but there are other features to help protect the heart of your home defense. Smith Security Safes offers 2 features. The first is a solid magnesium plate. The magnesium plate is almost impossible to drill or cut and brings any break-in to a screeching halt. Next, we offer a thermal re-locker. In the event of a break in, the re-locker triggers when a cutting wheel, torch, or any steel cutter cuts through the solid steel plate, slowing down any break in and preventing the locking bolts from moving.

Should I Add Layers of Protection?

Add layers of protection on top of any door plate thickness. For example, you can add a 14 gage layer of stainless steel which prevents attacks from torching. You can also add a layer of AR steel that is drill and cut resistant, and when thick enough is considered bullet proof. This can easily be added to any door you choose.

Do I Need Fire Protection

All doors and safes from Smith Security Safes include Fire Seal. Fire Seal expands to over 9 times its original size and protects from flame and smoke. The next step is protection from temperature rise. During a house fire, internal home temperatures rise to over 1200deg F! Adding our ceramic fiber option helps insulate your valuables from the extreme heat and prevent safe room fires (wood combusts around 400deg F).

What Lock Suits My Needs?

First, you must select a lock to fit your needs. A mechanical lock is slow and clunky but is effective for keeping people out. Our Standard Digital Lock offering allows quick access and an affordable price, offering the best of both worlds without sacrificing security or reliability (mechanical locks fail more often than digital in our experience). The next feature to consider is a panic room feature. In the event of an aggressive break in, do you want to know that the attacker can’t make the handle operate? At Smith Security Safes we offer a panic room feature that allows for peace-of-mind in the event of an aggressive break in. Lastly, what handles do you want? On the front of the door, we highly recommend a US made 5-spoke handle that will outlast your home. Next, you may consider a pull handle, especially for Heavy, Magnum, and Extreme doors, to help handle the weight of solid steel plate doors.

What Look is Best for Me?

You’ll see this door in your home for the rest of your life. Will the door be a center piece or hidden? Do you want to capture a business or family name? At Smith Security Safes we’ll help you build out your dream look. To start, we offer a bare steel option and an economy paint job (textured black). To take the appearance to the next level, you can add a custom sticker emblem with your family or business name. The next level is to get a high-gloss paint job to make your door really shine as the crown jewel of your safe room. Or an alternative is to give your door our Steampunk finish – this very popular look adds rivets and a distressed finish to make it look like a turn-of-the-century industrial factory. The safe door selection process is easy, if you consider your options. Hopefully this article gave you some questions to answer to help find the right safe door for you. Fill out our Request A Quote form to get your safe door selection process started today! TO WRAP IT UP, THE KEY PARTS OF A QUALITY SAFE DOOR INCLUDE: Heavy duty, plate steel construction High quality, proven lock system Fire and smoke protection A safe door to fit your exact needs While there are many other aspects to look at, these 4 will make sure your safe door is going to offer the maximum security to your vault room. At Smith Security Safes, we’re committed to offering you the best possible safe door to fit your security needs.

SmithSecuritySafes_IconCircle_printAbout Smith Security Safes

Since 1982, Smith Security Safes has been proudly making top-notch vault doors and safe room doors in the USA. Our doors are not just about locks and steel; they are about trust, quality, and peace of mind.

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