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Old October 13, 2012, 08:09 AM   #1
pk3dnow
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Gun Safe on 2nd Floor Safety Concern

I have a 440lb gun safe that I would like to store on a 2nd floor in my house. I am planning on putting it in the closet of a guest room. If I build a platform the size of the closet floor out of 3/4 ply and 2x4s with 2x4s running like joists every 12" do you all think this should be sufficient to spread the dead load? Worth noting the closet sits against an outside wall to its left.

It is currently stored in my dining room (and a bit of an eyesore).

Thank you for the help and hopefully I put it in the right forum.

-Eric T.
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Old October 13, 2012, 02:19 PM   #2
Gerry
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I'm not an engineer, but I've had some experience with aquariums that weigh MUCH more than that when filled with water. It's an impossible question to answer though, because once my wife and I decided to buy an old farm house that was at least 130 years old. Had I put a 450 pound safe on the second floor of that house, guaranteed it would have ended up in the dining room downstairs!

If it's a "modern" house build to code, I doubt you'll have any problem with that kind of weight, especially if you do spread the load over as many floor joists as possible. Are the actual floor joists running perpendicular to the wall you are planning to put the safe against?

Last edited by Gerry; October 13, 2012 at 09:45 PM.
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Old October 13, 2012, 10:27 PM   #3
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Our general rule on modern construction is 1,000 pounds, and that has more to do with the stairs going up to the second floor than the floor itself.

If you can stand on one foot without falling through your floor, the safe should be just fine without making any modifications.
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Old October 13, 2012, 10:56 PM   #4
Zekest Crowe
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What would you do if three of your 220 pound friends came over to visit and stood in a tight circle drinking beers? Would you demand they spread out so they don't fall through the floor. How close to them would you dare stand, adding your weight (how much do you weigh?) to the creaking floor?

If you are worried that the floor might not hold the gun safe, how will you ever be able to walk up to the safe and open it, adding your weight to the total?

What if your spouse walks up quietly behind you with her three friends when you are standing at the open gun safe door; is that enough total weight to change your two story home into a one story home.

Just some common sense questions and concerns...
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:07 AM   #5
pk3dnow
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I think you've helped to put my mind at rest regarding it's placement.

My biggest concern wasn't so much of could the floor hold a moving object but more so the dead weight of a stationary object for a considerable ammount of time. Walking across a floor puts a lot of stress on the floor but it is momentary.

But you've all made very common observations that I simply overlooked because I've been focusing on just the safe, not all of the other items I have already upstairs that are of considerable weight. Dressers fully loaded with clothes and a TV on top, recliner in the entertainment room with my big butt in it and occasionaly a 70lb lab that thinks he's a lap dog that only weighs 10 lbs. A bathtub full of water.

Garry, I'm not sure about if the joists are running with the outside load wall but the closet is in the corner of the room. The house was built in 1985.

Thank you all!
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Old October 14, 2012, 10:16 AM   #6
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a 500 lb safe that is basically 3ft x 3ft x6ft is a whole lot of weight in a very small area. Even on the first floor, I use a cross hatch kind of support with vertical posts. I dont think I would put one on the second floor but I am no expert. Just a worry wart.
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Old October 14, 2012, 02:18 PM   #7
pk3dnow
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Also just realized I have my washer/dryer stacked upstairs and they weigh 380lbs empty. The water and clothes should easily put it over 440lbs. The more I think about it the more at ease I am becoming.

Thank you Firing Line!
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:53 PM   #8
FrosSsT
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As mentioned by someone else aquariums are much more heavier than gun safes as soon as you get into the 55gal and up size. I have never had a problem with my tanks or gun safes at 500lbs or more
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Old October 14, 2012, 05:55 PM   #9
Gerry
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You'll easily tell which way the second floor joists go in your house by removing a light fixture from the first floor ceiling and taking a look. You'll also see the spacing and construction type.

Joists transfer weight to the outside walls, and/or some inner weight bearing member. The closer your dead load is to where it should transfer the weight to, as well as distributing the weight across as many joists as possible, is your goal. If the joists run parallel to the outside wall you've chosen, it's possible that it may be no better than installing the safe in the middle of the floor. Also considering your closet is probably wider than it is deep, you'll have difficulty distributing that weight over more than 3 joists, considering they're probably on 16" centers.

It might be overkill to consider all these factors, but if you plan on putting that weight there for 10 years or more, overkill when it comes to structural integrity isn't a bad thing.
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Old October 14, 2012, 07:53 PM   #10
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Unless its 2 mobile homes stocked on top of each other
I don't think there will be a problem.
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Old October 15, 2012, 01:57 AM   #11
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Just my thoughts on the new vs old house issue that was brought up- I would come closer to trusting dead weight issues in older houses (pre 1975) than new one's. My logic is that houses built prior to '75 typically had older slow-growth lumber, and sometime earlier than that, they had old growth lumber that was truly 2"x4".

On the safe placement, I would also shy away from placing it on a wall that has any plumbing, drains, or bathtubs/showers in or on it just to ease my mind from thoughts of unseen wood damage from moisture or condensation. Breaking is unlikely, but sagging wouldn't be much fun to contend with either.
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Old October 15, 2012, 08:28 AM   #12
Rifleman1776
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Considering that we now have quite a few people who weigh 300-500 pounds, the houses should be able to take the weight.
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Old October 15, 2012, 02:55 PM   #13
Gerry
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Quote:
Considering that we now have quite a few people who weigh 300-500 pounds, the houses should be able to take the weight.
Yeah, but they usually live in ranch style homes
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Old October 16, 2012, 10:35 AM   #14
FireForged
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Im not sure a 55 gal fish tank is too much heavier than a most gunsafes.. Isnt 55 gals of water only 440 pounds then add the empty tanks weight?
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