Installing a domestic safe

Installing a home office safe

Modern manufacturing techniques and materials mean that small, lightweight safes which are perfect for home installation are becoming common.

Before choosing a safe, you must consider the practicalities of installation:

  • Would a floor safe be better than a wall safe, considering the house layout?
  • Is there a suitable part of the house where a safe would be better concealed?

These questions are important for two reasons;

  • They affect which style of safe you will buy.
  • The secure installation of a safe relies on following certain practices.

A safe is only as secure as it’s fixings. Some low-quality safes can be compromised by tipping and impact, a process known as ‘safe bouncing’. Small safes can be removed from their fittings and transported, to be opened later at the thieves leisure.

It is best to position a freestanding safe in a place that is concealed or with limited access, such as under the stairs or in a cupboard, or even in a basement. This makes the safe harder to access and find; a safe is only a mechanism for buying time and making life harder for thieves. Ensuring your safe is hidden can often be the best security of all.

Placing a safe against two walls is a good way to prevent it being rocked from its fixings

It is always preferable to mount a safe to a concrete floor. So, if your house has a concrete floor downstairs and a timber floor upstairs, position the safe downstairs.

Specific fixing bolts, to anchor your safe, will be supplied by the manufacturer. These may be an optional accessory as not every safe is bolted down. It is important to only use these bolts, which are tested along with the rest of the safe.

Most safes have anchor holes in either or both floor and walls. These are simple to anchor into concrete. If you don’t have concrete and you need to secure the safe to a timber floor, try to install a steel plate under the floor between joists and bolt through the floor.

If you can’t access the underfloor, coach bolts will be your only alternative. In this circumstance you can also glue the safe down with a suitable construction adhesive. Of course, if this method is used you will never be able to move the safe.

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.

Useful information

What you need to know about installing a safe.
Choosing the position where you are going to place your safe is one of the first questions you need to address before buying your new safe.


Find this helpful?

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