Vault Room Door: 2022 Buying Guide
A vault room (or panic room) is designed to secure things and people, so security is always a very important factor when designing and building a vault room door.
However, when it comes to the vault room’s security, the vault room door should be the most important element to consider. Technically, the vault room door is the least secure part of your vault and the easiest to breach since it’s the only part of the door designed to let people in.
On the other hand, it would make sense that the more secure and sturdy a door is, the more expensive it will be. So, it’s crucial to make sure you are getting the right door that is sufficiently secure for your needs while fitting your budget.
In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about choosing the right door for your vault room, and without further ado, let us begin right away.
Vault Room: The Concept
What is a vault room? How different is it from a panic room or a safe room?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, a vault room has thick walls and a strong door used to store valuable things and/or money in safe conditions.
It’s important to highlight that a vault room is only designed to store and protect things (including money) and not people. If the room is also designed to secure people, for example, from extreme wind events like tornadoes/hurricanes and crimes, then it’s called a safe room or panic room.
Ideal Location of a Vault Room
Every property is unique, and you’ll need to carefully assess your property’s condition to identify an ideal location for your vault or safe room. However, here are some general principles you can use:
- An ideal vault room should have as few points of entry as possible. Look for a location without any outside-facing windows if possible. Still, if this kind of location isn’t available, there’s an option to reinforce existing windows with impact-resistant and bulletproof windows.
- To minimize costs, choose a location with solid and thick walls. This way, you wouldn’t need to reinforce the walls with stronger materials. The ideal location is a basement with solid walls.
- Especially if the vault room is going to be used mainly as a panic/safe room, it should be located as close as possible to the frequented spaces in the property (i.e., living room). This is so that the property occupants can easily and rapidly access the safe room in the event of an emergency.
- Assess the possibility of camouflaging the vault room, especially the door. Camouflaging can help improve the overall security of the vault room, and you may want to consider getting custom vault room doors from certified manufacturers if you’d like to camouflage the door.
- Also important is that if you are going to use the vault room as a panic room, you should assess whether installing a ventilation system without compromising security. For example, whether it’s possible to install a vent opened or closed from the inside for fresh air. Ventilation may also be important for certain valuables stored inside the vault room.
Vault Room Door: Key Principles
What makes a good vault room door? While doors can come in various models and can be constructed with different materials (with various strengths), there are three several key principles to follow when choosing an ideal doof for your vault room:
- Depending on the threat level the vault room (and the property) will potentially face, the vault room should be strong enough to withstand a certain level of impact. If events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and fire hazards are also common in your area, you should choose the door accordingly.
- If the threat level of the area is quite strong and/or if the vault room is going to secure very valuable/high-risk items, you may want to consider getting a bullet-resistant vault room.
- There are vault room manufacturers that will allow customized design, so you can conceal or camouflage the vault room depending on your needs.
Choosing Your Ideal Vault Room Door
The vault room’s purpose
The purpose of the vault room will dictate the type of locking system you’ll need:
- Suppose the room will only be used to secure valuable items (traditional vault room). In that case, you should get a locking system that can only be locked/unlocked from the outside with an emergency unlocking mechanism from the inside of the room. Remember that additional ways to unlock the door would translate into extra potential vulnerabilities.
- If the room is also used to secure people inside it (a panic/safe room), you should get a secure locking system that allows the door to be easily locked and unlocked from both the outside and inside the room.
Before choosing a vault room door, or even before designing the vault room itself, it’s crucial to perform a thorough threat/risk assessment to identify the potential hazards and threats the safe room (and the property) will face.
- The crime rate in the area of the property and the types of crimes that frequently happened
- Whether weapon assaults are common in the area (i.e., will criminals use axes, hammers, or even guns)
- Whether extreme wind events are common
- Whether earthquakes are common
- Potential of fire hazards
Vault room door material, thickness, and weight
The thinner and lighter a door is, the less durable and secure it will be.
However, the more solid the door material, the thicker, and the heavier it is, the more expensive it will be. For example, high-end doors made of solid materials can weigh up to 3,000 lbs.
So, finding the sweet spot according to your needs and budget, especially based on the results of the threat assessment of the property, is crucial.
In most cases, it’s best to choose a heavy enough door (around 700 lbs and above) made of solid materials according to your threat level. Ideally, the vault door must be made from a continuous solid steel plate at least half an inch in thickness.
When choosing a vault room door, it’s crucial to consider the right balance between accessibility, convenience, and security. If a door is too inconvenient to open and close, it may lower the overall useability of the vault room, and there’s nothing worse than a vault room that’s not used at all. On the other hand, convenience and ease of use shouldn’t compromise the door’s security.