Underfloor safes can be fitted between the joists of a hanging wooden floor or in a recess under removable slab in a concrete floor. They are especially discreet and hard for a thief to discover. When set in concrete floor, an underfloor safe also provides extra protection against fire.
Insurance Considerations: Choosing and Locating a Safe
Ideally, the safe itself and the location where it is to be installed should be chosen in consultation with your insurance company. If you purchase a safe that isn’t recommended by them or install it in an unsuitable location, your valuables may not be insured in the event of fire or theft.
Insurance Considerations: Installing a Safe
Most underfloor safes are supplied with the fittings and materials needed for installation and you could reasonably perform this yourself. That said, most manufacturers and suppliers don’t recommend DIY installation. Qualified installers can identify the best possible location for your safe and ensure that it’s properly fitted. Safe installation is typically carried out by the supplier; however, some companies will not install underfloor safes. In this instance, you would need to either install the safe yourself or arrange for a qualified builder to handle the installation.
Again, liaising with your insurance company over installation of your safe can be a good idea. Fitting the safe yourself could compromise your insurance. Improperly located or installed safes may be less secure than safes situated and fitted by professionals.
Choosing a Location
Underfloor safes can be bolted onto the joists of a wooden floor. If protecting your valuables from fire is a priority, however, it may be preferable to install the safe under a concrete floor. This involves creating a cavity large enough to accommodate the safe itself and also to leave a recess that will be filled by a concrete slab.
It’s a good idea to position the safe in a part of the room where it will be as inconspicuous as possible. Locating the safe in the floor inside a cupboard or closet is one possibility. Another is to situate the safe where it will normally be underneath an item of furniture.
Most important of all, you must locate your underfloor safe somewhere that installation won’t impair the safety and structural integrity of your property. This means, for example, that the safe must be located away from electrical wiring and water or gas pipes. This is another reason why getting help from a qualified builder is a good idea.
Installing the Safe
Many floor safes come with fittings such as anchor bolts. You might decide that longer or thicker bolts would be more secure; however, when using non-standard fittings, be sure that you aren’t inadvertently substituting a less resilient material. You should also avoid trying to enlarge the safe’s existing holes or trying to drill extra holes. This may compromise the security of the safe and void the warranty.
You will need a selection of good-quality tools, including a power drill. If fitting the safe in a concrete floor, you will need to obtain masonry bits in the correct length and diameter to make the holes for your anchor bolts. If you’re fitting the safe in a wooden floor, note that floorboards alone aren’t strong enough to support it. You’ll need to drill into the joists.
Installing your safe will be easier if you make a cardboard template. Cut a side from the box your safe came in to the same size as the safe itself, then pierce holes in the template where the holes will need to be drilled into the floor.
Conclusion and Further Considerations
It’s important to reiterate the fact that DIY installation is not recommended. Property damage and accidents can result from trying to install an underfloor safe yourself. In addition, your insurance company may refuse coverage for items in an underfloor safe that was not fitted by a professional.