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Old 01-18-2022, 03:46 PM   #1
175gr7.62
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Default Built in Safe Room

I'm starting the plans for the forever house and I'm going to build a safe room into it. I'm using a safe door but I can't decide what the best route to build the actual room is. The 2 options I'm considering are forming up the "room", building a rebar cage, them forming up an outer wall and then pour the wall cavities full of concrete along with the ceilings, then pull all the forms. The other option is to build the walls out of cinderblock,form and support the ceiling, pour the block cavities full of concrete and then the ceiling....finally remove the ceiling forms/supports.

I want to make this for fire protection also so it's going to have ventilation tubes along with a dedicated power source for the fans.

What should I do for fire protection? Will 6" concrete walls stand up to a fire for an hour? If not, what should I insulate with?.....Rockwool? Inside or outside?

I'm looking at 10' x10' right now. It will double as my closet.
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Old 01-18-2022, 03:50 PM   #2
Dale Moser
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I'd go with the 8816 CMU block, have rebar anchored into the slab coming up through them, ladder wire in the bed joints, and fill with mortar/grout as they go up. Form and pour concrete ceiling. They are becoming more common, so there are subs out there who have it figured out. I'm considering doing the same in my upcoming shop.
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Old 01-18-2022, 04:41 PM   #3
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Too much to type on my phone, but Iíll circle back later. Iíve built two.


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Old 01-18-2022, 04:42 PM   #4
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I have a storm room in my shop and I went the cement block route. I first put anchor bolts in the existing slab to correspond with the cavities in the blocks. Next, I welded rebar to the anchor bolts to a comfortable height in order to slip the blocks over them. I put a horizontal run of rebar every third block and naturally as the walls went up I welded more vertical rebar on up to ceiling height. Formed the top “fence” with cement blocks that were flat, just turned them up on edge. Braced plywood up underneath and poured the top with a skid steer as the shop was already built. It has provided us with comfort through several tornadic thunderstorms that came just a little too close in the last 25 years.

Forgot to add that we filled the cavities up with grout as we went.
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Old 01-18-2022, 06:25 PM   #5
curtintex
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Default Built in Safe Room

My first one, I bought a damaged 8í x 7í box culvert, stood it on its end and poured the slab around it. I had a company come out and saw cut a hole that accepted my vault door. I poured a 6Ē ceiling on top. It had, if I remember correctly, 9 inch walls, a 6 inch top and a 24 inch slab beneath it to handle the weight.

My second one, was formed and poured and it was a 10Ď x 10Ď. 6 inch walls, 6 inch ceiling and a beam poured into the slab beneath the walls. Bought a vault door from some company out of California. Wrapped the exterior walls with fireproof board and built the house around it.

Both vaults were on the interior of the home and maintain a constant temperature with no condensation and a relative humidity consistent with the rest of the house. I never needed dehumidifiers of any kind. First one I built is 20 years old this year and still holds most of my guns.

Concrete is a very poor insulator and transfers heat pretty easily. The fire might not get to it but the heat will do just as much damage after enough time passes. For fire retardation I would definitely recommend wrapping it with a fire/heat retardant of some kind.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything or I can be of any help.


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Last edited by curtintex; 01-18-2022 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 01-18-2022, 06:52 PM   #6
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Following
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Old 01-18-2022, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I'd go with the 8816 CMU block, have rebar anchored into the slab coming up through them, ladder wire in the bed joints, and fill with mortar/grout as they go up. Form and pour concrete ceiling. They are becoming more common, so there are subs out there who have it figured out. I'm considering doing the same in my upcoming shop.
This is exactly what Iím doing. Should break ground in a week or two. Mine will be an 8x8
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Old 01-18-2022, 11:01 PM   #8
rferg84
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We are building one on our garage of our new build. We reinforced the slab where it is going. I'll check with my contractor on plans but I'm 99% sure it's block walls, rebar, and concrete with a 6" concrete ceiling.
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Old 01-19-2022, 12:28 AM   #9
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This would be really neat to follow.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:50 AM   #10
Sticks&Strings
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I'd go with the 8816 CMU block, have rebar anchored into the slab coming up through them, ladder wire in the bed joints, and fill with mortar/grout as they go up. Form and pour concrete ceiling. They are becoming more common, so there are subs out there who have it figured out. I'm considering doing the same in my upcoming shop.
We built one like this for a client but the ceiling had a double mat rebar layout and we ran some giant stainless pipe 90's out of it for air and wires/a/c. The main issue would be an oven effect or lack of oxygen. It definitely would give you the best odds but I would definitely think you need to get some oxygen to it in case of fire.


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Old 01-19-2022, 08:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I'd go with the 8816 CMU block, have rebar anchored into the slab coming up through them, ladder wire in the bed joints, and fill with mortar/grout as they go up. Form and pour concrete ceiling. They are becoming more common, so there are subs out there who have it figured out. I'm considering doing the same in my upcoming shop.
When we were looking at new home builds our builder was building one very similar as you have explained. I am not sure on the type of block but the rest of your explanation was very close. In 2016 this was a 10k option in our case.
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Old 01-19-2022, 08:24 AM   #12
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I have done two for my self and for others. I have done them many different ways depending on the budget. No I don't want to build one for anyone on here. Its not the business I'm in. It just happens friends see mine and then want one. So occasionally I'll do a one off. Back to business at hand. My current one personally is 8' x 12' with 1" steel plates welded together. I poured in place a 1" by 6" plate to weld the walls to floor. We then formed up and poured 8" of concrete around. It's way overkill as the door is always the weak spot. I would worry too much about the walls on fire as again the door is the weak spot.
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Old 01-19-2022, 08:54 AM   #13
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I put one of these in our houses when we live in Oklahoma . If you ever see pictures of The F5 tornadoes in Moore , Oklahoma or Joplin , Missouri there are a couple of these shelters still standing in the Tornado's Path .

https://www.familysafeshelters.com/
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:27 AM   #14
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This as described by Dale is perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I'd go with the 8816 CMU block, have rebar anchored into the slab coming up through them, ladder wire in the bed joints, and fill with mortar/grout as they go up. Form and pour concrete ceiling. They are becoming more common, so there are subs out there who have it figured out. I'm considering doing the same in my upcoming shop.
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:08 AM   #15
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I'm thinking about one of these. Steel plates and heavy gypsum board surrounding it.
https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/10...IaAkQVEALw_wcB
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:40 AM   #16
Dale Moser
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I still havn't settled on how I'm going to do mine, but for the sake of discussion I have a couple questions. Mine will be inside an insulated (but not air conditioned) shop, and I want to make it a "Hunting Room", with safes, cabinets, shelves, some taxidermy, and also double as a tornado bunker, spare room. I'm thinking 12X14 or close to that.

1. What type of span can you expect from 4", or 6" concrete on the ceiling?
2. What type of re-enforcing steel is best?
3. Is there a particular cement mix that is better/lighter/etc?
4. I was going to put a window unit in mine, for moisture removal as much as anything, but what type of extra ventilation would be required if several people were to sleep in there?
5. What R value does a grout filled 8" CMU block wall have? 6"?
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:21 AM   #17
175gr7.62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I still havn't settled on how I'm going to do mine, but for the sake of discussion I have a couple questions. Mine will be inside an insulated (but not air conditioned) shop, and I want to make it a "Hunting Room", with safes, cabinets, shelves, some taxidermy, and also double as a tornado bunker, spare room. I'm thinking 12X14 or close to that.

1. What type of span can you expect from 4", or 6" concrete on the ceiling?
2. What type of re-enforcing steel is best?
3. Is there a particular cement mix that is better/lighter/etc?
4. I was going to put a window unit in mine, for moisture removal as much as anything, but what type of extra ventilation would be required if several people were to sleep in there?
5. What R value does a grout filled 8" CMU block wall have? 6"?
Dale,
I'm a mechanical engineer, not a structural engineer but I dabble a bit on some of the stuff we do. Here are some general rules of thumb we use.

1. Ratio of span to depth if the slab is supported all around. 30:1
2. Slab reinforment shall be at least 0.15 percent of the cross sectional area.
3. Pitch of the bars should be no more than 3 times the depth of the slab.
4. Pitch of the opposing distribution bars should not exceed 5 times the depth of the slab.
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Old 01-19-2022, 02:08 PM   #18
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It appears there are many different variants to the CMU rooms.

I just had one built for my new house. Mine is 12'x12'x9'tall. I poured the house slab with reinforced footing where my room was going to go. We framed the exterior walls and had them insulated and sheet rocked. then we epoxied #4 bars to go in every cell of CMU. We filled every cell with concrete. We put #4 bars that were bent 90% in every other cell for the roof to tie to. We used a 6" steel roof decking. I tied the ceiling steel at #4 bars 16" OCEW. In the roof I put 2 - 4" sleeves (should have put 2 more). those were put in for the data and control wires for the smart home wiring. I set it up to have my control brain in there so I can see tv, cameras and anything else to control my house with. I also put in block outs for AC vents.
After all that we framed the inside walls and ceiling with 2x4's. that allows for electric, data and fire insulation to be installed. Sheetrocked and painted walls. Had cabinets built.

My door is a safe vault door.

This room will be used as a control room for all audio, security and home systems, Storm shelter and a safe room for personal and legal papers and maybe a firearm or two if I can find any....
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Old 01-19-2022, 02:26 PM   #19
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This thread always deserves a mention on this topic

https://discussions.texasbowhunter.c...ight=safe+room
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Old 01-19-2022, 02:43 PM   #20
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If you haven't poured your slab yet I'd look at these.

https://nwastormshelters.com/storm-s...s/under-garage
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:11 PM   #21
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Ours was blocked in the way Dale talks about. 4" roof. The door is a heavy duty industrial door with additional 3/16 plate skinned onto it. We built an oversized master closet, 12x18 so it houses everything with extra space for us. I didnt think it would be used, but we had 2 tornadoes within 5 miles of the house the first year.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:05 PM   #22
Sticks&Strings
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I still havn't settled on how I'm going to do mine, but for the sake of discussion I have a couple questions. Mine will be inside an insulated (but not air conditioned) shop, and I want to make it a "Hunting Room", with safes, cabinets, shelves, some taxidermy, and also double as a tornado bunker, spare room. I'm thinking 12X14 or close to that.

1. What type of span can you expect from 4", or 6" concrete on the ceiling?
2. What type of re-enforcing steel is best?
3. Is there a particular cement mix that is better/lighter/etc?
4. I was going to put a window unit in mine, for moisture removal as much as anything, but what type of extra ventilation would be required if several people were to sleep in there?
5. What R value does a grout filled 8" CMU block wall have? 6"?
Dale,

I wish I still had the engineering plans on the one we built. It was similar in size. The ceiling was I think 3/4" rebar mat. Then another 3/4" rebar mat on top. Formed up and Poured 6" thick I believe. I feel it would have held a mack truck on top of it. As for the rest of your questions, I think the r value is pretty decent. The one we built was inside a house. No ac in the room only the aforementioned elbows for future wires or ducts.

You could probably use smaller cmu block and line the outside of it with fire brick.

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Old 01-19-2022, 05:21 PM   #23
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.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I still havn't settled on how I'm going to do mine, but for the sake of discussion I have a couple questions. Mine will be inside an insulated (but not air conditioned) shop, and I want to make it a "Hunting Room", with safes, cabinets, shelves, some taxidermy, and also double as a tornado bunker, spare room. I'm thinking 12X14 or close to that.

1. What type of span can you expect from 4", or 6" concrete on the ceiling?
2. What type of re-enforcing steel is best?
3. Is there a particular cement mix that is better/lighter/etc?
4. I was going to put a window unit in mine, for moisture removal as much as anything, but what type of extra ventilation would be required if several people were to sleep in there?
5. What R value does a grout filled 8" CMU block wall have? 6"?
I would use 3.50-24 Formlok 18 guage GR40 Deckpan with #3 on 12" centers concrete should be 5 1/2" to 6" thick. 3500 psi concrete should suffice. I would skip the window unit. Just an avenue for a person animal and moisture to get in. Since its in a shop I would definitely plumb it for a dehumidifier and not a dinky one. You could also put a small 4" round vent along with a fart fan. That can cycle fresh air if someone is inside.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:37 PM   #25
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7.62…cinder blocks crack under fire pressure. You might not want the safe room walls to potentially crumble after or during a house fire.

Good luck Sir.
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Old 01-19-2022, 05:42 PM   #26
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1" of 40 lb ft3 calcium silicate board will withstand 1700 F
It's what I line my forge with. 2 layers and i get 2600 F inside and still can touch the outside. The stuff ain't cheap.
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Old 01-19-2022, 06:21 PM   #27
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Build a 10x10 room underground with a staircase and a vault door, if this is your forever home splurge and build it right and you will be glad you did. You can get creative and hide the entry way as well, it takes some hunting to find ours. I went with a 15X15 and have zero regrets and my only worry is a tsunami coming in, other then that it would take dynamite or a bulldozer to get it in after you find it.
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Old 01-19-2022, 07:20 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Moser View Post
I still havn't settled on how I'm going to do mine, but for the sake of discussion I have a couple questions. Mine will be inside an insulated (but not air conditioned) shop, and I want to make it a "Hunting Room", with safes, cabinets, shelves, some taxidermy, and also double as a tornado bunker, spare room. I'm thinking 12X14 or close to that.

1. What type of span can you expect from 4", or 6" concrete on the ceiling?
2. What type of re-enforcing steel is best?
3. Is there a particular cement mix that is better/lighter/etc?
4. I was going to put a window unit in mine, for moisture removal as much as anything, but what type of extra ventilation would be required if several people were to sleep in there?
5. What R value does a grout filled 8" CMU block wall have? 6"?
I’m not a structural guy but I’ll chime in on your mechanical questions.
3. In general, heavy weight concrete has a lower R-value than light weight concrete as there is less “air voids” in heavy duty concrete. Encapsulated air is actually a great insulator. However, there is obviously a trade off in strength with lightweight concrete.
4. Ditch that window unit idea and put you a mini-split. There are options with mini-splits now that you can cool and heat. The problem with a small space is you really won’t need much tonnage of AC even with mediocre insulation. This means when it gets hot, the AC will kick on and shutoff quickly. The AC really needs to run for more than just a minute or two to dehumidify. If you are going to store guns in there and the room is out in an unconditioned shop, strongly consider putting in a dehumidifier - cheap insurance. I’d get one that I could plumb to a drain so you don’t have to jack with emptying the water. They also make humidifier/ dehumidifier combo units now but honestly, I’ve never messed with them. In general, for residential occupied spaces you need the greater of either 15 cubic feet per minute air flow or 0.35 air changes per hour of the space(i.e. a 20 foot x 20 foot room with 10 foot ceiling = 4,000 cubic foot * .35 air changes per hour = 1,400 cubic foot per hour or a little over 23 cfm.) The drawback of a mini-split is you don’t get fresh air into the space. I’d still go mini split though and add a small fan /vent to bring in outside air and just close off the vent/turn off the fan when not using it as a sleeping quarters - get a CO2 alarm (very cheap insurance) and sleep away.
5. R value depends on the block and what it’s filled with but it’s not great. Here’s a decent chart - scroll way down��

https://ncma.org/resource/rvalues-uf...masonry-walls/
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:30 PM   #29
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Following, good ideas and information here, thanks to those who posted.
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Old 01-20-2022, 06:53 PM   #30
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Following....we did multiple escape routes in our build 11 years ago. This could be a good project and addition.

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Old 01-20-2022, 06:59 PM   #31
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Make sure to kill all the workers when they finish otherwise it will never be a secret.


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Old 01-21-2022, 10:28 PM   #32
175gr7.62
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Quote:
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Make sure to kill all the workers when they finish otherwise it will never be a secret.


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Iím building it myself. I donít like to pay for stuff I can do on my own.


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