How to install a Gun Safe

How to install a Gun Safe

Having a qualified gun safe is the best way to protect your firearms away from the wrong person and also protect you from the gun law. Before selecting a gun safe to purchase, you should also consider what kind of floor is in your home that can support the gun safe. Find the best location, and path to move the gun safe into the place. It is a more important question of where to install a safe than which gun safe to purchase.

To figure out the best place in your house to place a new gun safe will give you a good security with a cheaper gun safe. This article helps you to protect your guns and keep you from getting a wrong location exposing your guns to more risks.

To install a gun safe you will need the best location, floor that can support a gun safe, and take note some reminders below before your installation.

Reminders for anchoring a gun safe

  • Always use 1/2” bolts or larger for bolting your gun safe
  • It is a good option to bolt down all four corners of your gun safe
  • Be mindful of any applications in your floor before you are about to drill into it for installation. Some houses have a ceiling heating or radiant floor. And, there may be wires, ducts, hot water heating pipes, sewer pipes, water pipes, and many of other things underneath your floor.
  • The concrete slab layer that covering the heating pipes run in could make an excellent anchor holes for a gun safe. However, it is going to cause a lot of trouble, if you drill into one of the pipes. So be mindful about this.
  • If you are installing a safe yourself, you need at least two strong people to help you, and you need to rent the right tools for the job such as a moving dolly or a heavy-duty dolly.
  • Keep all pets, children, and non-essential people away from the area.
  • To spread the load and protect door thresholds, lay sheets of plywood or other materials.
  • Consider paying professional for installation if: the gun safe weighs more than 500 lbs; you will install it up or down stairs; you have never moved something of similar size; and you have back problems.

Which Floor to Support a Gun Safe

Typically, the weight of you should keep the gun safe should to 1000 lbs or less, if you install it on an upper floor. The weight of gun safes and which floors can support them needs inspection to examine before installation. A gun safe you purchased weighs more than 1000 lbs. Thus, you can probably get the safe dealer who can do all the inspection prior to do installation for you.

Which Floor to Support a Gun Safe

Image source:

The floor surface is important to install a gun safe too. Typically a concrete floor or hard floor surface such as hardwood is far better than a carpet floor. If there is a thick carpet pad, when bolting the gun safe down, it may compress the carpet. It is more secure and it will be harder to pry by a prying tool under, if install a gun safe to a hard surface.

To get the load sustainability of your floor, you need to know the material, type, the effective size, and the spacing of the floor joists. If you are looking to install your gun safe at a first floor above a crawl space or an unfinished basement, then what you can do is to simply measure it. You can consult a carpenter or using an online calculator to arrive with the loading capacity of your floor after you have the dimensions.

Install a Gun Safe – Wood Frame floor

Anchoring gun safe to floor joists

After selecting a best location to put your gun safe, and in case it is a wood frame floor. It is a best recommendation that you need to bolt the safe down into the floor joists directly. It is because it will be a lot weaker when a gun safe is only anchoring using four bolts into a plywood subfloor. By doing this, you can easily take the anchored bolts off just by rocking the safe or prying using a pry bar.

You can place a piece of lumber onto the joists, if you can access from the bottom of the floor joists and drive the gun safe into the lumber. For securing the gun safe to floor joists, the best choice is to use lag screws with hex heads.

How to drive lag screws into wood floor?

The first step is to make sure that all materials including the lumber and you align the gun safe. Once the materials are all secure, to make the screw installing smoother and to avoid the wood splitting, drill a slightly smaller diameter pilot hole (smaller than the lag screw that you will apply). Do not forget to drill in a way through the area to reach where the screw will finally be. Remember to put a washer fastener before you screw. And, to make it easier to thread the screws in, you put some oil or soap on the screws too.

Anchoring a gun safe to a subfloor

If you cannot get access to floor joists from underneath and it is not possible to anchor the gun safe to the joists, there is another more complicated option. That is you can use more screws to balance the load of the safe instead of only four bolts secured into the joists. You will need a simple fitting plate between the floor and the gun safe, because there are only four anchor points in most gun safes.

A machinist can make the fitting plate for you, if you cannot make it yourself.

  • To keep this installation project cheap, we recommend to use what is available of the right thickness. As you or your machinist could have some old metal fitting plate laying around.
  • Measure and cut the fitting plate to a size of larger or equal to the base of the gun safe is best. To cut it to this size to prevent thieves from getting a crowbar between the gun safe and the floor to pry it from under.
  • To hold the gun safe down to the fitting plate, mark the plate for the anchor bolts, then pierce and tap these anchor holes with the bolts.
  • Please note that to figure out the anchor bolt length you will need is to get the bolts that is long enough to go through the washer inside the gun safe, to the bottom of the gun safe, and any shimming. Then, at least into the fitting plate for three thread thicknesses. In case you use aluminium which is a weaker material, then you better get five thread thicknesses. For instance, your washers are 0.106” thick, and the deepness of the anchor holes of your gun safe are 0.259”. Plus, you need shimming of about 0.10”, your using a fitting steel plate in this case is 1/2” thick. Then your bolts needed is at 0.745″ long (0.106+0.259+0.10″+0.28″) – if you using 5/8”-11 bolts, so it roughly 0.28” into your fitting plate. Do not forget that the bolts will stick through the plate into the floor if the bolts are longer than 0.865” (0.106+0.259+0.5″). Alternatively, you can cut bolts you already have into a custom size you need.
  • Place a screw hole in every 5 to 8 inches around the circuit of the fitting plate. Drill the plate for the screw holes that will be used to screw the fitting plate to the floor.
  • Bevelled the holes to make the mounted screw heads not to stick up above the plate.
  • The right screw length depends on the type of flooring of your home. Get the right screw length for your floor. Screw the fitting plate into the floor.
  • Install the gun safe to the fitting plate.
  • Anchoring the safe anchor bolts and washer fasteners inside the safe to finish the installation.

Concrete Slab Floor

Concrete slabs are the best for anchoring a gun safe. We recommend to put a hard rubber mat or another synthetic rug as moisture prevention under the bottom of the gun safe between the concrete and steel. By then, you can prevent rust and corrosion from forming underneath the gun safe.  No matter what choices you used to space your gun safe off a concrete slab floor, it is more secure if you can hide the exposed gap under the safe after installing. This is because it can prevent a burglar from getting a pry bar to pry your safe from underneath.

Installing a Gun Safe - Concrete Slab Floor

Image source:

Post tensioned concrete slab

Some concrete slabs which are post tension concrete slabs are slabs not to be drilled. If your house floor is one of these slabs, it does not allow drilling for installing any applications and it is labelled with “Post Tensioned Slab, Do not Drill Cut”. It is very dangerous if you cut a cable off as a result these slabs are drilled. It can collapse and peeling all the way right out of the concrete base and anything in its path will be crashed down.

With only a masonry bit and traditional drill you are unable to drill bolt holes in a concrete slab for your gun safe. Therefore to do the job, you need to use a hammer drill. You can borrow or rent it, and it is a case you really need the right tool for the job. Alternatively, you can pay the installers to install the safe for you.

Remember to install your gun safe in a way to make the thieves waste as much time as possible. So, if your house has a post tensioned slab or the floor surface that you are unable to anchor bolts into it. Then, you should bolt your safe into the wall instead and it better than nothing.


In summary, to install a gun safe you should consider some suggested reminders before your installation. It is essential to first figure out the best place to place your gun safe, and which type of floors to support gun safe. To find out the load bearing capacity of your floor, you need to know the effective size. Besides, you should know the material/ type, and spacing of the floor joists.

Installing a gun safe to harder surface like hardwood or concrete slab is more secure than in a floor of a thick carpet pad. It is because it will be harder for the thieves from getting pry under. Anchoring a gun safe to a wood frame floor by bolting to the floor joists you are recommended to use lag bolts. They have hexagon heads and are best to secure the gun safe to the floor through a lumber, if you can get access to the joists from underneath. If you are not possible to anchor the gun safe to the floor joists, the other option is to screw it to the sub-floor using a fixture in between the floor and the gun safe. This option is more complicated because you need more screws to spread the load of the gun safe.

If your floor is a concrete slab, you will need to rent a hammer drill to drill bolt holes or it is a good idea to pay the installer to get the job done for you.

It is important to consider what floor you have against which type of gun safe you have selected. Get it figured out soon for a gun safe which best suits your needs and your gun collection. Enjoy!