Securing an interior wall

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As the title states, I am wanting to secure/reinforce the unfinished side of an interior wall in my basement. Looking for ideas in creating a somewhat budget-minded/pseudo safe room.

The wall pictured is approx. 18’ long with 24” studs on center. The other 3 walls are concrete foundation walls, so this is the sole point of entry (other than the ceiling) for this room.

FCBDC311-BB60-475F-AE1D-65947801ADCB.jpeg

This will be a combined workshop/storage area for me, and while I am not looking for it to be bulletproof, I like the idea of being able to leave supplies, valuables, etc. where would-be trespassers do not have easy entry.

My thoughts are as follows:
1. Additional studs - 12” on center
2. 2 layers of 2x10 lumber secured to each stud, essentially creating a flat wall with the studs.
3. 1/2” cement backer board/sheetrock length of the wall, secured to studs via tap screws every 12”.
4. Solid steel work bench running the length of the wall (to the door frame), secured to the floor.
5. Reinforced door frame with security hinges and striker plates
5. Solid core metal door with deadbolt

I’ve also considered going the steel mesh route and feel that the security benefits would not justify the additional cost over the plan outlined above, but am considering all options.

I have no interest in being the doomsday-prepper type but for convenience and security’s sake... this is something I’d like to do.

Any ideas from folks who have done something similar are appreciated.
 

Ravenworks

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You can buy drywall that will do what you need,I forget the name but remember it comes in 5/8" and an inch.
You're not going to find it at home depot or Lowes
Look for a drywall supplier in your area and tell them what you want to do
 
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Bolo

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You can buy drywall that will do what you need,I forget the name but remember it comes in 5/8" and an inch.
You're not going to find it at home depot or Lowes
Look for a drywall supplier in your area and tell them what you want to do
QuietRock?
 

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just enough to be dangerous
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Thanks all for the suggestions. The concrete backer board is basically a given at this point, I’m just not sure how to layer the wall.

My initial thought is to use lumber to fill out the “middle” layers, and then use the concrete board as the final layer. So it would go drywall - lumber - concrete.

Then again, I’m going to need to hang shelves, etc. on the wall inside the room as well, so it may make more sense to go drywall, use concrete board for the middle layers, and then sheets of plywood to “finish” the interior wall.

Steel door and upgraded hinges/striker plates are a must. More concerned about the rest of the wall.

Thanks again, keep the suggestions coming!
 

Faronth

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Q: Are you planning on doing anything to the ceiling of the safe room?

Presuming a wood frame home with a finish layer and OSB overlay of some I joists that is pretty easy to defeat. Food for thought, leaving that alone for now.

Decide what you really want out of this project. You just want to delay access to this room to give time for a response to your alarm system correct???


A few suggestions.

  • Forget about quiterock unless you are actually going for a few decibel reduction in sound transfer in that wall only IF you install it correctly. FYI most do not, so it becomes just expensive drywall. Save your money and just buy std commercial grade 5/8” sheets.
  • Concrete board is not going to help you much either. Pretty easy to cut with Sawzall or grinder, you will figure that out when installing it, but it is tougher than straight drywall.
  • CMU wall fails quickly against a 5lb sledge unless it is grouted in every cell, preferable with full length rebar in every cell that is epoxied into the floor and concrete side walls. Horizontal steel will help slow things down as well.
  • Standard commercial steel door falls quickly to a good DeWalt grinder with the right blade but tying it into a CMU wall with an HMJ (hollow metal jamb) is much better solution than a wood door/frame. Better yet fill the steel door with concrete and mount with a full piano hinge.
  • Wood backing to support heavy-laden built-in shelves is an excellent idea. So are wire metal racks on wheels. Just a thought.
  • Make sure you have proper ventilation to the room when finished.

When all is said and done your weakest known point is what you are left with. That is where the attempt will be made. Keep that in mind when budgeting this. You can go nuts with this stuff.



HTH
 

Sean the Nailer

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In this realm, you really do have to "think outside the box" as well as do things "unorthodox-ly" (that's a technical term).

Add-in the factor of "when you sell the house" what kind of signature OR selling feature do you want to advertise? Just imagine the "open house" kind of concept, and the "this guy's got a dungeon in his house" type of comments from the idiot buyers..... how best to allay that from the start?

Just helping confuse and complicate the matter, is all. It can get interesting, can't it?

Also, I might add that "how much of what security do you want to advertise on the interwebz"?
 

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In this realm, you really do have to "think outside the box" as well as do things "unorthodox-ly" (that's a technical term).

Add-in the factor of "when you sell the house" what kind of signature OR selling feature do you want to advertise? Just imagine the "open house" kind of concept, and the "this guy's got a dungeon in his house" type of comments from the idiot buyers..... how best to allay that from the start?

Just helping confuse and complicate the matter, is all. It can get interesting, can't it?

Also, I might add that "how much of what security do you want to advertise on the interwebz"?
Exactly why I don’t want a full-on safe room, nor do I think I actually need one. With enough time and resources, most security measures can be overcome.

Re: broadcasting to the interwebs, this is more or less just a project to reinforce an interior wall. I am going to be hanging shelves, cabinets, and storage anyway, so I figured while I’m at it, why not make it a little harder to get through? Just another cog in a layered approach...
 

Sean the Nailer

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Exactly why I don’t want a full-on safe room, nor do I think I actually need one. With enough time and resources, most security measures can be overcome.

Re: broadcasting to the interwebs, this is more or less just a project to reinforce an interior wall. I am going to be hanging shelves, cabinets, and storage anyway, so I figured while I’m at it, why not make it a little harder to get through? Just another cog in a layered approach...
And if those shelves happened to be in the form of wall-to-wall lockers, then there's at least 2 more layers of steel sheeting that would be another obstacle to get through. From the back end.

Hypothetically speaking, of course. And to that, they could go with you when you leave, and no-one's the wiser.

Then too there's the large 'electrical panels' on the outside of the room that are also steel and make up for some great 'lockable storage' for many different things. Because if the wall itself is hard to get to, to begin with, then the security layer (like an onion) is just that much thicker/effectiver/better'er.

I think I saw it in a movie once.... and those panel boxes (industrial grade and size) can be had for 'cheap' if you were to approach a good-sized electrical contracting company, because they often have these things in the back of the shop, from when they've done upgrades to facilities.

Saw that in a movie once, too.
 

Rerun7

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Add the additional studs, put a layer of extruded steel mesh and then finish it with some 1” thick sanded plywood. Add the steel door and a good smash proof deadbolt.

It’s not expensive and no one is gonna come through it without some tools and time. Security is in layers so your 1st layer (alarm) should already be in play before anyone even starts trying to enter that room.
 

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Add the additional studs, put a layer of extruded steel mesh and then finish it with some 1” thick sanded plywood. Add the steel door and a good smash proof deadbolt.

It’s not expensive and no one is gonna come through it without some tools and time. Security is in layers so your 1st layer (alarm) should already be in play before anyone even starts trying to enter that room.
Thanks - think I’m going to inquire about the mesh mentioned earlier in the thread and see how much it will be to install. If nothing else, it sounds like it’s less work (and probably more secure) than layers of concrete board.

Otherwise, you’re exactly right. I am more interested in having layers rather than an impenetrable wall...
 

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I have to think cutting additional holes for rebar would compromise the rigidity of the studs pretty badly. Leaning towards additional studs, mesh, and then plywood to finish it.
 

Rerun7

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Thanks - think I’m going to inquire about the mesh mentioned earlier in the thread and see how much it will be to install. If nothing else, it sounds like it’s less work (and probably more secure) than layers of concrete board.

Otherwise, you’re exactly right. I am more interested in having layers rather than an impenetrable wall...
If you have a local metal supplier they will have it in various sized sheets. It’s not very expensive and you can secure it to the studs with screws and washers. Just cut out holes for your electrical boxes and post it up.

Another benefit is that it’s sharp. Without thick gloves it will cut you just from picking it up. Ask me how I know 😜
 

338dude

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I don't remember if that's it's name, I do remember the stuff is beyond tuff.
There are types of drywall called high impact sheathing and the drywall I am familiar with that is 1 inch thick is called core board for elevator shafts and AC duct penetrations through multiple floors in high-rise buildings although the core board or shaft liner as it’s called is just drywall that is 1 inch thick 2 feet wide by 10 feet long
 
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Lew Hodge

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Jul 26, 2020
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As the title states, I am wanting to secure/reinforce the unfinished side of an interior wall in my basement. Looking for ideas in creating a somewhat budget-minded/pseudo safe room.

The wall pictured is approx. 18’ long with 24” studs on center. The other 3 walls are concrete foundation walls, so this is the sole point of entry (other than the ceiling) for this room.

View attachment 7395298

This will be a combined workshop/storage area for me, and while I am not looking for it to be bulletproof, I like the idea of being able to leave supplies, valuables, etc. where would-be trespassers do not have easy entry.

My thoughts are as follows:
1. Additional studs - 12” on center
2. 2 layers of 2x10 lumber secured to each stud, essentially creating a flat wall with the studs.
3. 1/2” cement backer board/sheetrock length of the wall, secured to studs via tap screws every 12”.
4. Solid steel work bench running the length of the wall (to the door frame), secured to the floor.
5. Reinforced door frame with security hinges and striker plates
5. Solid core metal door with deadbolt

I’ve also considered going the steel mesh route and feel that the security benefits would not justify the additional cost over the plan outlined above, but am considering all options.

I have no interest in being the doomsday-prepper type but for convenience and security’s sake... this is something I’d like to do.

Any ideas from folks who have done something similar are appreciated.
I built a secure wall a few years ago for a client in the Phoenix area. He handled lots of cash in his business and wanted a bulletproof wall, 4'X8' at the head of the bed he and his wife slept in. The studs were 2"X8". We placed a 14ga. steel plate against the inside of the outer sheathing and a 1/4" steel plate on the inside of the wall. As drywall was not in place at that time yet, we poured sand into the cavities up to the 4' height. The rest of the wall was drywalled with 1/2" goods and we put 1/4" drywall over the steel plate (glued in place). Theory was that a bulet would hit the 14ga., begin to slow and expand, after which it would hit the sand and stop at the 1/4" plate. You could not tell that the bulletproof wall was any different from the other walls; I don't know how it worked out as I never saw him again after that job???? Hope he never got shot at!
 
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Ravenworks

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There are types of drywall called high impact sheathing and the drywall I am familiar with that is 1 inch thick is called core board for elevator shafts and AC duct penetrations through multiple floors in high-rise buildings although the core board or shaft liner as it’s called is just drywall that is 1 inch thick 2 feet wide by 10 feet long
Yep,this is what I was thinking about
 
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secm

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Jun 4, 2018
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As the title states, I am wanting to secure/reinforce the unfinished side of an interior wall in my basement. Looking for ideas in creating a somewhat budget-minded/pseudo safe room.

The wall pictured is approx. 18’ long with 24” studs on center. The other 3 walls are concrete foundation walls, so this is the sole point of entry (other than the ceiling) for this room.

View attachment 7395298

This will be a combined workshop/storage area for me, and while I am not looking for it to be bulletproof, I like the idea of being able to leave supplies, valuables, etc. where would-be trespassers do not have easy entry.

My thoughts are as follows:
1. Additional studs - 12” on center
2. 2 layers of 2x10 lumber secured to each stud, essentially creating a flat wall with the studs.
3. 1/2” cement backer board/sheetrock length of the wall, secured to studs via tap screws every 12”.
4. Solid steel work bench running the length of the wall (to the door frame), secured to the floor.
5. Reinforced door frame with security hinges and striker plates
5. Solid core metal door with deadbolt

I’ve also considered going the steel mesh route and feel that the security benefits would not justify the additional cost over the plan outlined above, but am considering all options.

I have no interest in being the doomsday-prepper type but for convenience and security’s sake... this is something I’d like to do.

Any ideas from folks who have done something similar are appreciated.
A large "Hungry" Rotwhiler will do the job with a lot less work! 2 would be better.
 

StLPro2A

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Jan 27, 2011
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As the title states, I am wanting to secure/reinforce the unfinished side of an interior wall in my basement. Looking for ideas in creating a somewhat budget-minded/pseudo safe room.

The wall pictured is approx. 18’ long with 24” studs on center. The other 3 walls are concrete foundation walls, so this is the sole point of entry (other than the ceiling) for this room.

View attachment 7395298

This will be a combined workshop/storage area for me, and while I am not looking for it to be bulletproof, I like the idea of being able to leave supplies, valuables, etc. where would-be trespassers do not have easy entry.

My thoughts are as follows:
1. Additional studs - 12” on center
2. 2 layers of 2x10 lumber secured to each stud, essentially creating a flat wall with the studs.
3. 1/2” cement backer board/sheetrock length of the wall, secured to studs via tap screws every 12”.
4. Solid steel work bench running the length of the wall (to the door frame), secured to the floor.
5. Reinforced door frame with security hinges and striker plates
5. Solid core metal door with deadbolt

I’ve also considered going the steel mesh route and feel that the security benefits would not justify the additional cost over the plan outlined above, but am considering all options.

I have no interest in being the doomsday-prepper type but for convenience and security’s sake... this is something I’d like to do.

Any ideas from folks who have done something similar are appreciated.
As I always tell friends interested in buying a gun safe: A strong safe is good. A strong safe that no one finds is much better. Given enough time and intention, any safe/safe room can be breached. Like when you are gone for extended periods during hunting seasons, vacation, business travel. If they don't find the safe/safe room, they don't even attempt entry. If intruders see a fortress, they are enticed to find what is within. You don't mention what is on the other side of that door in the picture....finished or unfinished living area. We build the safes....or your safe room.....behind a hidden door. Often using slatwall to obscure the hidden entry door. The slatwall doors have been designed to swing out horizontally like a standard opening door or vertically as a swing upward (with gas springs....ala a SUV rear hatch concept). Designs feature obscured hinges so not to be obvious and enticing. Often, in addition to the hidden safe room door, we mount a "cheapo" gun safe/cabinet as a decoy, such as a $150 Stack-ON from big box store, in an obvious location. Burglars immediately see/find the decoy safe, breach it, grab the dummy cheapo throw away guns (usually sans firing pin with leaded barrel), and beat feet, not even looking for the good stuff. If you have birds dogs in the back yard, gun/hunting decals on your jacked up Jeep, etc, intruder will look til they find guns. Help them out....employ a dummy gun safe. We design the slatwall doors to be able to be closed and locked from within as a safe room. Hang pictures, knick-nacks, tools, etc on slat wall for natural application look. You can develop any features you need. And, no I won't send pictures. Once you do this hidden concept........don't be stupid and brag/show all your friends, neighbors, acquaintances. Kids need to be trained to be silent about it as well. It is well worth the effort. This concept has saved expensive gun collections for several of my gunny friends.
 
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rjacobs

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Sorry but HAHAHAHAHA...

All your "ideas" will be gone through in less than a minute or so with a 12" demo saw...thats battery powered...plus a 20lb sledge...

Throwing good money after bad...

If its not 12"+ of reinforced poured concrete(or 3 layers of concrete brick, reinforced and concrete filled) its not the difficult to get in...

I researched this topic TO DEATH several times over the past 10 years... never came up with anything that was worth a shit...

As @StLPro2A says, build something hidden, or as hidden as you can.
 
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Al-Snackdadi

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You’re initial thoughts are a great start. The 2x10s and 1/2” cement backer will be sufficient in slowing down would be perpetrators, especially when complimented by the steel work bench to prevent the wall from being “pushed in” so to speak. Creating a man sized hole will take serious time and will liking cause the perps to have to bring in more tools. Trips in and out of the house and the noise creates may alert neighbors. Putting the hinges of the new door on the size of the foundation will prevent anyone from simply making a smaller hole and reaching in to undue the locks. The door will also be able to take a bigger beating if it is outward swinging. If you plan on sheltering inside, I would add a latch/deadbolt on the top and bottom of the door. While anyone with the right tools can get through this wall/door with time, they will sure be tired. If the lack the discipline to maintain door security throughout the duration of the attack, they are prone to you swinging open the door wielding your weapon of choice. A hidden cctv camera on the far side of the adjacent room routed to this “safe room” would assist in this. Sure you can always have better protection by throwing money at the problem, but this would be a solidly fortified room. Just my 2 cents from working construction and plenty of explosive/thermal/mechanical/ballistic breaching in the military.
 

kd185

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start with re-framing that door
a few jacks and a header would be a good start
my dog could push that door out of that framing
 
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chevy_man

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Fortifying a stud wall is silly.


Start by pouring concrete. Add a real security door. Take up the floor upstairs and pour a concrete lid.



It's a lot cheaper to hide the door (I've had hidden rooms behind book cases and mirrors), and plant a dummy safe.

The safest place is the one they aren't looking for and don't find. An 870 in a glass cabinet next to an airsoft ar will satisfy the normal smash and grab.
 
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SN13

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Unless you're solid, reinforced Concrete and THICK, you're not gonna stop the inevitable.

I have a "Secure" room that's a small locked room. It is 100% only secure from smash/grab.

I recommend the decoy route. An old milsurp $100 rifle in a strange calibre. A cheap ass $50 revolver with no sites. and a $100 single shot 16 gauge shotgun. You don't even need ammo for these as they are 100% the "Decoy shit". Let the perp try to find 7.7x58 for an Ariska.
 

Bullfrog08

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1. Install 6" studs at 12" oc.
2. Dowel the bottom plate into concrete with 24" tall reinforcing steel running vertically.
3. Run rebar through wall studs at 12" oc horizontally.
4. Install electrical in conduit.
5. Install concrete board on both sides.
6. Fill between studs with concrete.
7. Install steel plates at top corners.
8. Install electrical in ceiling.
9. Install 2x6 on ceiling. Install concrete board over 2x6.
10. Then wrap everything in drywall and mud for a finished look.
11. Install safe room door.

Its not full proof but nothing is. Use screws, not nails.

You will have studs to nail shelves, cabinets and brackets too.

I had a friend buy timber logs and made a room out of those, then drywalled both sides.
 

Sean the Nailer

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^^^^^
To hold the weight (over time) and prevent cracking of the basement floor, you would probably want to pour a footing under those walls.

Building a wall out of cants is somewhat robust, but there is also a LOT of moisture to contend with. Especially if it is 'sealed in'... I'm just saying.

There truly are SO many different options/possibilities that it's nearly endless. The point of it all being, PROTECTING what you have. You have worked for/earned the ability to acquire what you have, and you want to prevent someone from getting it 'easier' than you did.

Landmines oughta be legal. Prevalent, too. But so should eleventy-gazillion Jigawatt barbed-wire fencing. The arc should be able to jump roughly 5' of proximity of the fence, just to ensure the viability of the fence.

Again, I'm just saying.
 
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