Letter Re: Bed Bunker Gun Vaults

The Bed Bunker gun vaults that you just reviewed can exceed the structural capabilities of most standard wood frame houses. By the time you combine the weights of a king or queen size safe, two adults, the mattress, the bed frame, the linens, and the contents of the safe, you could very quickly exceed one ton of weight or ~60 pounds per square foot for a queen bed (add another 10 to 14 pounds per square foot for the structure of the building). Most wood frame construction is designed for 40 pounds per square foot and allows for 25 to 30 pounds per square foot of room contents. The size, spacing, and unsupported length of the floor joists have a major impact on the strength of the structure. The Bed Bunker assembly could be 175%+ of the design limits – this could be extremely dangerous to install on second floors (where most bedrooms are located), especially in areas where earthquakes are a concern, unless the structure has been reinforced. – Dr. Richard

JWR Replies: As reader Jim in Montana e-mailed me to mention, Bed Bunker vaults actually put far less stress on a floor than a traditional upright gun vault. With a traditional safe, the “footprint” is only 1/3 the size, so the load per square foot is three times as great. He also said that he was told by the company’s management that the Bed Bunker puts less of a load on a floor per square foot than a water bed or a full-size refrigerator. And, as reader Steve C. wrote me to point out, the Bed Bunker gun vaults do not rest on the bed frame but sit on the floor. The bed frame fits around the vault not on the bed. And if you put the vault directly on the floor without the screw-in legs, then the weight is very evenly distributed. Granted, even that might be too much for under-engineered (not up to code) floors, especially if you fill one of these vaults with ammunition. So if you have any doubts about shoddy house construction, then please consult a structural engineer before buying any type of gun safe, from any maker. But the bottom line is that a horizontal safe such as a Bed Bunker puts the least stress on a floor, and has the least likelihood of exceeding a home’s structural capabilities.