inside of a gun room that is inside of a home

With all the options in security, sometimes it’s hard to decide which direction to go. Should I make a safe room and install a vault door, like this Steampunk Vault Door? Or is a standard safe good enough? The correct answer to that depends on many things. Let's dive into why you would build a walk in safe for your home or business.

  1. What Are The Top Reasons To Go With A Vault Room?
  2. What are the Reasons to Choose a Safe over a Vault Room?
  3. Why Should You Have a Vault Room and a Safe?
  4. Conclusion

What are the Top Reasons to Go with a Vault Room?

So, there are many reasons why some people would decide to build a vault room in their homes. Here you can see the top reasons:

Security Is A Top Priority

When security is your top priority a vault room can’t be beat. Concrete with rebar is much more secure than any gun safe could be even at a standard 8in thickness. Many homeowners upgrade to 10in walls or even thicker for their vault rooms. A heavy duty vault door will be much thicker than any standard gun safe at a much better price. Our Extreme series vault door has a 1” thick steel plate - much heavier than any safe. In contrast, most safes have a body with ¼” (or thinner!). Not only that, even when anchored to the floor , someone can still rip a safe out with enough force. Without serious construction equipment, no one is moving a whole vault room.

Fire Protection Is Important

Many safe manufacturers boast about their fire ratings and the minutes of protection. But a vault room offers much more protection than a safe. The concrete wall is a huge upgrade in fire protection, stopping all smoke and flame. A vault door, like our Magnum door, has a thick steel door skin that resists warping under extreme heat. All Smith vault doors have a fire seal that expands to 9x its original size to keep out smoke and flame. A ceramic fiber upgrade insulates the door from the extreme temperatures of a fire even more! Although most safes have similar fire seals and insulation they lack one big feature - space! A safe is a tiny steel box that is easy to heat up - that's why it has to have so many layers of fire protection. A vault room has much more air and concrete to heat than a tiny safe. This makes a vault able to stand even the hottest fires for hours with no damage to anything inside.

You Have A Lot Of Things To Protect (Or People!)

Have you ever wanted to step inside a gun safe for protection? Me neither. Even if you could fit inside, it would be a bit claustrophobic! Here the vault room shines again. From the closet sized room up to the 20ft x 40ft behemoth, a vault room offers more space for protection. Are you a gun collector or dealer that has thousands of dollars in guns? A walk in safe room is the way to go. We have customers that can safely store thousands of guns and themselves in a vault room. We also have customers that are looking for a safe spot to take their family in the event of a tornado or home invasion. A vault door wins in this category.

You’re Already Building Or Remodeling A Home

The best time to build a vault room is when you’re already going to build new or remodel an existing home or business. One of the main reasons that people put in a vault door? They already have a vault room - right underneath the porch! Builders used to backfill the area under the porch with gravel for drainage. But gravel is expensive, and now it's simple to bring the basement all the way under the porch. Adding the 4th wall with a rough opening hole for a vault door adds very little cost. The best part is that the ceiling will already be concrete, since the porch was being poured there anyway. At that point, the cost of the concrete is the same as the backfill gravel. The last step is to add a vault door, which isn’t much more expensive than a safe - with 10 or 100x the space.

You Need Security For A Business

Some businesses need more protection than others. Gun dealers, money counters, dispensaries to name a few. In these scenarios a vault room is ideal. Most businesses are not located in someone's home. This makes the business a better target for would-be thieves. The response time will be slower, either waiting on the police, or even worse, finding out the next morning. A vault room is ideal because it provides much higher security that slows any criminal. At that point, they're more likely to get caught or get scared off. A vault room also allows for significant upgrades over a safe. A day gate allows businesses with high traffic to operate with some security during the day. Then at night, they can close the vault door for the most security. Opening a vault door 20 times a day can be time consuming, a day gate is a simple solution. Another upgrade for businesses is a low-profile ramped threshold. Combine this with a removable door stop to allow for wheeled carts. A significant upgrade is to make a double door vault room like this double door vault we built for a customer.

A Vault Room Increases The Value Of Your Home

If you want to build a vault room but you’re concerned you may move some day, don’t worry. The house is worth more with a vault room installed. In today's chaotic world, this type of rare security will add extra value to your home. A new would-be owner might have the same storm, fire, or security concerns that you do. A vault door adds the peace of mind that everyone wants at home. On top of that - a vault room has a WOW factor, making your home stand out from the rest.

What are the Reasons to Choose a Safe over a Vault Room

Not Enough Room

With some scenarios space can be a real concern. In an existing house there may not be enough room to add a safe room. Or you’ve got a business office with little space. An office safe or gun safe is a clear winner in the space category. Safes can even be custom made to fit an odd or narrow space that may not be useful for anything else. We’ve made safes that are long and skinny to fit beside appliances. We've also made an extra shallow safe that was put in a main hallway. This type of space saving custom design is a perfect application for a safe

You’re Only Trying To Keep Out Your Kids Or Grandkids

If you have kids running around the house it’s a good idea to keep anything dangerous or important locked up. But does that call for a vault room? Even though a safe room would provide that protection, it may be overkill. A safe can keep the kids away from a gun or keep greasy fingerprints off of family heirloom. A gun safe is a simple way to keep the kids safe. Sometimes top security is not a concern, making a safe a great choice.

You Only Have A Few Things To Keep Safe

Some people have huge collections. Others only have a few guns passed down from grandpa, or a few rare pictures and birth certificates. In that situation, a solid built safe may be the best option. A safe can be a good way to hold all your valuables and heirlooms in one spot. Safes offer the ability to upgrade strength and fire protection to match your needs. One piece of advice from experience - make sure you get one larger than you think you need now. Most collections seem to grow over time!

You Might Need To Move It Somewhere Else

We’re a mobile society and sometimes we move several times in our career. A major benefit to a safe is that it can move. By moving a safe with you you’re able to keep the value and security of the money you put into the safe. Safe moving can be strenuous and hiring a professional is always recommended. Because a gun safe is mobile, it may also become something that gets passed on to the next generation. Be sure to attach your vault to the floor to enhance security and prevent it from tipping over. It's easy to remove the anchors if you ever need to move it.

Budget Is A Concern

Sometimes budget is an important factor. Some safes are very expensive but many safes are more affordable than installing a vault room in a house. There are several ways to maximize the amount of security without breaking the bank. One thing to avoid is super inexpensive safes. Why? Many of the cheapest safes have no fire protection and are a cabinet that looks like a gun safe. Actually, one other option is to have the best of both worlds. Many customers buy a vault door and a safe at the same time!

Why Should You Have A Vault Room AND A Safe?

For some people, having just a vault room isn't enough. Many people like the added security of having a safe inside of their vault room. So, why should you have a vault room AND a safe? Here are a few of the top reasons:

  • You have special items you want to keep separate inside your vault room
  • You need to keep items safe outside of your vault room
  • You want a hidden entry into or exit out of your vault room 

You have special items you want to keep separate inside your vault room 

Sometimes it is easier to keep track of extra special items if you have a dedicated safe to keep them in. Some customers will keep larger items like guns or heirlooms in the vault room. Then they have a small safe dedicated to fragile family letters or extra valuable items. This is a quick way not to lose the most important items in the shuffle of the vault room.

You need to keep items safe outside of your vault room

Often we need to protect valuables in more than one spot. A safe and vault room combination may be a great fit. For example, you may want the bulk storage of a vault room but also want a safe spot in your office or bedroom. For a business, this may be a great way to handle everyday cash and inventory, storing in the safe. Then store large amounts in the vault room.

You want a hidden entry or exit to your vault room

Some customers have used one of our walk through safes to make another way into or out of their vault room. Our walk through safes are large with enough for a grown person to walk all the way through. The rear panel has a hidden door that can operate by a hidden keypad or secret key. If the walk through safe is on the outside of the vault room, the hidden door can hide an entrance into your vault room. If the walk through safe is inside the vault room, you can use it to secretly escape your vault room. Another option is to add a walk through safe on the outside and add one of our escape hatches to have a hidden exit. If you want this option, ask us about package deal pricing.


So which one is right for you? Luckily either options provide mobility or increased home value, so you can’t make a wrong choice. If you need to talk it through, give us a call and we’ll help you figure out which option is right for you.


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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