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Vault Doors - Safe Doors - Panic Rooms - How to Pick the Right One

By Maria Paiz October 23, 2023

Vault Doors, Safe Doors, Panic Rooms

*This post contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, but it never influences our product selection process.

Table of Contents



We're on the same track if you've been considering elevating your home's security with a vault door. I have noticed a growing trend among homeowners searching for sturdy vault doors to secure their panic rooms in recent years. If you're new to terms like vault doors or panic rooms, here's a snippet: A panic room, fortified with a safe room door or vault door, is a fortress against external threats like break-ins or natural disasters such as tornadoes. They can even be used as storm shelters!

Navigating the specifics and ensuring you have all the information you need before making a choice can be overwhelming, especially for those new to panic rooms and vault doors. This is why I have tailored the following 15 questions to equip you with essential insights as you scout for the ideal vault door or panic room for your home or business. 

How Does a Vault Door Open?

Vault doors are meticulously engineered to provide superior security. Opening a vault door typically involves multiple authentication steps to ensure authorized access. A standard method in high-end vaults uses a two-piece key and a combination lock. This key comprises a long stem and a short stamp, which prompt the locking mechanism to unlock the vault door when combined. Some vault doors may also feature advanced locking systems, such as biometric access, spy-proof locks, and electronic locks, enhancing security. The locking dial and internal release mechanism are crucial in securing and accessing the vault.

The direction in which it opens will depend on whether you select an inswing or outswing door. An inswing door might be better if you have limited space to build your panic room. The location of the barrel hinges on the door will vary according to the configuration you choose. 


Can a Vault Door Be Opened From The Inside?

Yes, many vault doors are designed with an interior handle or inside lock lever, allowing for the locking and unlocking of the door from the inside. This feature ensures that individuals within the vault can exit quickly in emergencies. Furthermore, the internal release mechanism is a standard and optional feature in many vault doors, providing a safe means to exit the vault room. It's a crucial feature ensuring the safety and accessibility of the vault room or walk-in vaults, making it a popular vault door feature among users.


What Happens If You Get Trapped In a Vault?

Vault doors are crafted with user safety in mind, ensuring the chances of being trapped inside are minimized. They often feature a scram digital lock with a key backup to provide access if the electronic lock fails. Additionally, the design of the door to swing inward ensures that, even if an obstacle blocks the outside, individuals can still open the vault door from the inside. The internal release and inside lock lever are additional safety features that aid in exiting the vault room in such scenarios. Superior protection and easy exit mechanisms are vital in ensuring the safety of individuals using the vault.


Are Vault Doors Bulletproof?

Vault doors are constructed to offer exceptional security, with many designed to withstand the impact of firearm rounds. They are often tested under rigorous conditions to meet UL 752 ballistic requirements. The core of this bullet resistance is the ballistic steel discretely integrated within the frame and door thickness, which helps absorb and deflect the bullets' energy. Additionally, the composite door structure might include other materials that further enhance its resistance to ballistic attacks, ensuring the superior protection of the vault room and its contents.


What is a Safe Room Door?

A safe room door, commonly referred to as a vault door when attached to a room within a building, is a high-security door designed to safeguard individuals and valuables from threats. Unlike a door for a closed movable container, known as a safe door, a vault door is fixed to the building's structure, creating a fortified room known as a safe vault or vault room. These vault doors are engineered with solid steel frames, door thickness adequate to withstand forced entry, and superior locking systems to protect against unauthorized access. Their design can range from standard steel doors to custom vault doors with additional safety features such as fire protection, offering a perfectly matched frame combination for the designated vault room.


How To Make a Metal-Safe Room Door Look Good Inside a House?

Metal safe doors or vault doors are not just sturdy barriers but can also be crafted to enhance the interior aesthetics of your home. These doors offer superior protection with a solid steel core, while their exterior can be customized to match your home decor. Modern vault door manufacturers provide custom vault doors with various finishes, custom paint, and designs that can seamlessly blend with your home's interior. Also, hidden vault room designs, or concealment covers can help integrate these solid steel doors into your living space, making them less noticeable while providing superior protection.


Should Safe Room Doors Swing Inward or Outward?

Inswing or outswing vault doors

The orientation of swing doors in a safe room is crucial for ensuring safety and optimizing space. While inward swinging doors are less likely to be blocked by debris, outward swinging doors afford more space inside the safe room. A door jam on an outward swinging door helps prevent forceful entry, protecting you and your family. This design also ensures that if the door fails, it won't fall inwards, adding an extra layer of safety. Evaluating the locking system, door frame, and steel frame alongside the swing direction is advisable to ensure the vault room door provides superior protection and functionality.


How Do You Create a Safe Room?

Creating a safe room involves several steps, including assessing the threats you wish to protect against. Selecting an ideal location in your home, a walk-in vault room, and choosing robust materials like a solid steel or composite door for the vault door are crucial steps. Fire protection and safety features can enhance the room's resilience against various threats. Additionally, considering class fire protection and engaging with vault door experts for guidance on standard and optional features like locking systems can ensure a well-secured safe room.


How Much Does a Safe Door Cost?

The cost of a vault door varies significantly based on its design, size, and additional features. Prices may range from around $8,500 for a basic vault door with a reinforced steel core to upwards of $20,000 for best vault doors or beast vault door models with advanced security features. The fire protection rating, locking system, and level of customization, such as custom-fit doors, also influence the final cost. Investing in economical security or exploring sale combines style options could also impact the cost while ensuring superior theft protection.


How Heavy is a Safe Door?

The weight of a vault door reflects its robustness, with heavier doors often providing better protection against forced entry and pry attacks. A standard vault door might feature a 14-inch door skin and a 6-channel steel frame or iron frame, weighing around 600 pounds. The door's weight stems from its solid construction, possibly stainless steel, and additional security features like multiple locking pins. The installation should be well planned to ensure the door frame and adjacent concrete wall or structure can support the door's weight, effectively securing the vault room or storm shelter.


How Does a Safe Door Work?

To operate a safe or vault door, the user must first dial in the combination on the locking dial or input the correct code on a digital lock. When locked, the vault door's locking mechanism engages, with components like the wheels and bolts securing the door tightly. The notches on the wheels must align perfectly to create a gap, allowing the lock's hasp to disengage and the door to open. Some high-end vault doors, like the Elite series vault door, may include advanced locking systems, safety features, and spy-proof locks to enhance security.


What to Do If You Get Locked in a Safe?

If you find yourself locked in a safe or vault room, having a communication device like a mobile phone or a two-way radio is crucial. A mobile phone signal booster in underground vault rooms can ensure your calls get through. Vault doors usually have an internal lock or inside lock lever that allows locking or unlocking from the inside, minimizing the chances of getting trapped. If communication is established, contacting a trustworthy individual to alert the authorities or a vault door expert is advisable.


What Size Should a Safe Room Be?

The size of a safe room varies based on individual needs and the available space. FEMA suggests typical sizes like 4x4, 4x6, 4x8, 6x6, 6x8, or 8x8. Safe rooms or vault rooms should have enough space to accommodate the occupants comfortably while providing superior protection against threats. The design could include a solid steel frame and a steel door, ensuring robust security. Custom vault doors can be designed to fit the dimensions of the chosen safe room size, ensuring a tight fit and superior theft protection.


How Big Should a Panic Room Be?

The size of a panic room should cater to the number of occupants and the duration they might need to stay inside. A guideline from the Department of Justice suggests ten square feet of floor space per person to avoid carbon dioxide accumulation for up to five hours. Panic rooms with steel doors and reinforced walls provide a secure haven during house invasions. Customizing the vault door to include safety features and ensuring adequate ventilation and fire protection are crucial considerations for a well-designed panic room.


Are Panic Rooms Common?

Panic rooms, also known as safe rooms, have been gaining popularity, especially among the affluent, who may be concerned about security threats like stalking, kidnapping, or home invasions. The trend is growing globally, with various security companies offering commercial vault doors and custom vault door solutions for residential panic rooms. Panic rooms have also been a standard feature in embassies to secure personnel and sensitive documents for many years. The design of these rooms often includes high-quality vault doors with advanced locking systems, ensuring exceptional security and peace of mind for the occupants.


What unique features are offered by custom vault doors?

Custom vault doors provide a high degree of personalization to meet the specific needs and preferences of the customer. They can be tailored in size, thickness, locking mechanisms, and finish. They often come with upgraded security features like biometric access controls, reinforced steel construction, and high-quality fire protection. Some custom vault doors even offer decorative finishes or coverings to match the aesthetics of the space in which they are installed​.


Why might someone opt for double-door vault doors?

Double-door vault doors are ideal for larger openings or spaces where a single door would be insufficient or impractical. They provide a wider access point, making them suitable for storing or securing larger items. Moreover, double-door vault doors offer higher security by having multiple locking points and often come with interlocking systems that ensure both doors remain securely locked. They might also feature advanced locking mechanisms, reinforced steel frames, and superior fire protection to keep the contents safe and secure​​.


So, there you have it. These questions will greatly assist anyone looking to build a safe or panic room for that added layer of safety at either your home or your business.

Entrusting your family's safety to any provider is a gamble I'd advise against. There's no shortcut when it comes to vault doors and panic room installations. This is where USASafeandVault comes into play, offering a vast array of vault doors for panic rooms and safe room doors that cater to your needs. Explore our extensive collection and step towards securing superior protection for your home. Your family's safety isn’t just a priority; it's an investment. make a choice that reflects that!

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