secret gun safe room inside of a home

Are you looking to upgrade the security of your home or business but aren’t sure how? Are you asking yourself, why do I need a vault door to protect my family and possessions? Can't I just buy a gun safe to store my prize possessions? With a few considerations, turning a closet into a safe room can be simple and cost effective. When you include a quality safe door, like the Titan Vault Door, you are ensuring yourself security that can be trusted.  So what things should you consider when starting your safe room project, and what is the process like?

When converting a closet into a safe room, there are 4 steps that you must consider:

  1. Choose the Best Closet
  2. Upgrade the Walls, Ceiling, and Floor
  3. Choose a Safe Door
  4. Consider Making it Hidden
  5. Conclusion

Choose The Best Closet

To start with, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to protect?
  • How quickly do I need access to the safe room closet?
  • What level of fire protection am I looking for?
  • Is moisture prevention applicable for this area?

With each of these questions the goal is to find what space is right in the house. Often bedrooms have large closets that may be ideal for a safe room. A bedroom closet is a logical choice if the goal is to protect you and your family from a home invasion. The bedroom also makes sense if quick access is critical to safely store firearms. You’ll be within a few steps of the bed. Sometimes the main bedroom is heavily used and not available. Walk around your home and look through closets and think of the pros and cons of each space. A basement closest can be a great choice if protection from strong storms is a concern. Under the stairs can be a great way to use dead space in the house. Sometimes the best choice is to split an existing closet to allow for regular storage as well

Upgrade The Walls, Ceiling, And Floor

Typical home construction uses dimensional lumber, plywood, and regular drywall. To really get the most out of your closet safe room, you will want to upgrade the existing materials.

Add a Steel Layer

To increase the security and fire protection of a closet, add a layer of steel to the walls, floor and ceiling. 12ga (0.104in) thick steel is the minimum. Although thicker is better, 10ga (0.1345in) is a nice balance of weight and security. Some have even upgraded to ¼” plate or using two layers of 10ga plate. Attach the plates to studs using screws to make it difficult to pry. The steel protects against a direct punch, kick, or cut. The other important part of adding steel plates is that it increases the fire protection of the room. This is because it makes the room more stable. In a house fire the flames spread because the materials start to collapse. The steel provides critical strength. Do you need steel plates for your closet safe room? Let us know the dimensions and thickness you’re looking for and we can ship it with your vault door.

Increase the Fire Protection

Another upgrade for a closet safe room is to look at fire protection. Most standard drywall is ½” and is only rated for 30 minutes of fire protection. Adding C or X rated Drywall increases the fire protection to 1hr. Type C and X drywall is ⅝” and integrated fiberglass into the gypsum to increase strength. Another feature is the amount of water that’s chemically bound in drywall. The water acts as a temperature budder when heated. In this drywall testing video from National Gypsum Fire Testing, a sample is heated to 1550deg F for an hour. Then it’s sprayed with a fire hose to test the structure. This follows the testing procedures of ASTM 1119. Multiple layers of fire rated drywall has 2 benefits. The wall holds up against fire and is harder for someone to cut through.

Add More Structure

A simple but effective way to add security to a closet is to add more structure. You could double up 2x4 or 2x6 studs. Adding 1” thick plywood is a great addition as well. The goal is to make the wall difficult to kick or cut through. Don’t forget to add more material to the floor and ceiling. You might need to remove the existing drywall to add more structure to the framing of the house.

Connect the Layers Together

Bring all the layers of structure and protection together by using screws. According to MT Copeland, a building trades education company, “Screws have more holding power than nails and have a high failure strength that makes them well suited for high-stress structural projects”. Another idea is to add a rubberized roof sealant between the steel and drywall or plywood layers. The sealant will create lots of smoke when someone cuts through the steel. An example of layering would be to have drywall on the outside, followed by the steel layer, then studs and drywall again on the inside.

Choose A Vault Door

The next step is to consider what is the best vault door to put on the outside. In some scenarios a light commercial door would work. Many light commercial doors are only 18 or 20ga steel skins. This makes the door much weaker than the 10ga steel liner you added in the room. Also, the door will likely see the brunt of the force if someone tries to force their way in. Assuming you’ve gone to the effort of adding some of the protection listed above, a vault door is a logical choice. There are many suitable options in vault doors. When picking a vault door for your closet safe room, here a few considerations:

  • Door skin thickness should be more than the steel layer in the wall.
  • The door should have a fire seal and fire insulation upgrade. Ceramic fiber or fire rated drywall are great options.
  • Anchor options need to accommodate 2x4 or 2x6 construction.
  • The door should be light enough that the walls of the closet can hold the weight, 600lbs or under.
  • Typically closets have smaller rough openings, make sure the door is the right size.

If you have questions about selecting a vault door that will go into a wood wall, feel free to call us at 1-888-363-0687. We have many options for strength and anchoring to match your project.

Consider Making It Hidden

The last layer of security comes from the best security - being hidden. If no one knows the room is there, that’s the best security. There are a lot of ways to hide a closet safe room door. Some of our customers have hidden the door behind a mirror or picture. Some customers use a bookshelf to hide the opening. Others have used camouflage to hide the door, matching the outside of the door to the wall. The options are only limited by your creativity. We can customize your safe room door to match a mirror, or add custom tabs for mounting a shelf.


Turning a closet into a safe room is a simple way to upgrade the security of your home. Adding more fire protection, structure, and armor along with a strong vault door makes a closet safe room a great addition to any home. At Smith Security Safes, we have been serving the security industry for over 40 years with precision, dedication, and American-made products you can trust.


Still unsure about building a vault room in your home? Check out our article, Top 5 Reasons to Build a Vault Room to learn why a vault room is pivotal to you and your family's protection.

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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