Installing a Safe in Your Home – a Simple Guide from the Professionals

So you’re buying a safe for your home. Good plan! Most insurance companies will insist on a safe if you keep cash or valuables in your home, and there are different cash ratings for different levels of cover.

Whatever safe you choose for your home you must make sure that you secure the safe. It’s all very well putting the valuables in the safe but some home safes are very light – making them easy to carry away. Don’t make life easy for the burglar and don’t lose out on insurance – bolt your safe down.

The majority of home safes come with a fixing kit and generally speaking it’s a simple DIY job. But there are a few things to consider, including where you bolt it down to.

So, here’s the All About Safes guide to bolting your home safe down…

Installing a home safe is a simple DIY job in most cases. You’ll need a few basic tools for the job, which are:

• Drill and drill bits
• Socket set
• Screwdrivers
• Marker pen
• Fixing kit for the safe (usually supplied with your safe)

Pick a good place to install your safe

Before you start you’ll need to pick the right place to install your safe. The ideal fixing is to a concrete floor, and out of site. You should choose somewhere that you can access the safe easily but that’s not obvious to an opportunist. Ensuring your safe is hidden can often be the best security of all.

Once you’ve picked a good spot you then need to evaluate the floor you’re fixing it to.

Check the type of floor

Most home safes come with a fixing kit for a concrete floor. A concrete floor is the best floor to fix to, and you should choose this over a wooden floor if you can. If you only have wooden floors then you’ll need to get yourself some coach bolts and secure the safe differently. It’s still a good fit, but requires more skills and a bit more time. If you’re unable to get a good fix on a wooden floor, it’s a good idea to get some Gripfill adhesive and glue the safe to the floor along with the bolts. If you have the time to find some joists under the floorboards… this always proves to be a very secure fix too.

Fixing your safe to a concrete floor

• First, get your safe into position and check you can open the door easily and it’s simple enough to get to (yes, some people have been known to secure it and then realise they can’t open the door!)

• Next, mark off your drilling holes by drawing on the floor with your marker from inside the safe through the pre-drilled holes in the floor of the safe.

• Now remove your safe and drill your floor in the marked off spots.

• Always select the correct size drill bit (this is usually stated on the fitting instructions). If you drill too big a hole, the bolt won’t secure the safe and you will have to buy bigger bolts and drill a larger hole in the safe floor – check and check again!

• Always drill a small ‘pilot hole’ with a smaller drill bit to get you started, then get the right size drill bit and make your hole. Keep the drill upright and drill straight to ensure an easy fit when you screw it down. Keep clearing dust away to allow for smooth drilling too.

• When you’ve drilled all your holes you can put your bolts (or raw plugs) from your fixing kit in and then place your safe back over them.

• Now you can screw your safe down tight to the floor and keep it safe from being lifted. If you’ve chosen a good spot in a corner this will also make it harder to lever it up from the floor too.

• If you wanted something a bit more solid than the standard fixing kit, then Thunder Bolts are very good. These must be fitted correctly though. Our top tip is to always use a drill bit 1mm smaller than stated as it allows for a stronger fixing.

Fixing your safe to a wooden floor

To fix your safe to a wooden floor just follow the same instructions above but you’ll need to secure your safe through a joist with coach bolts and not just to the floorboards. Floorboards are not secure enough and you should aim to bolt your safe to a joist wherever possible.

Coach bolts will be longer and will slot through your joist and then be secured underneath it with a nut, pinning your safe to the floorboard and joist.
If you can’t find your joist or the position you’ve chosen makes it impossible, then you can glue the safe to the floor (as well as a bolt).

• Clean the surface first and use glue like ‘Gripfill’
• Mark out on the floor where your safe is going and then glue the area, place the safe on top and bolt it down

Note: We only recommend gluing safes of a certain size. Seek advice from our experts if you have a safe over 60KG.

Beware of hidden dangers under the floor

Underfloor heating and pipework are a danger to beware of when drilling. NEVER drill a floor with underfloor heating – glue instead or choose another position. Always check for pipes that run under your floor by pulling up the floorboards or checking with your building plans.

Fitting a home safe is usually a simple job that should take around half an hour. If you need a more substantial safe fitting or you have issues with wooden floors or pipes then seek the advice of a professional.

Our Guest Author

Dean is the Director at All About Safes – The UK’s number 1 safe experts. Dean is also an engineer for BDB Lock and Safe and has been installing, removing and selling safes for over 10 years. Dean has worked on safes in homes, offices and shops around Europe. Dean also managed a huge security install at multiple venues during the 2012 Olympic Games.

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