A gun safe is a great thing to have for most firearms owners. Not only to keep your children safe from accidents, but also because your collection may be worth quite a bit in terms of money and sentimental value. A gun safe will also allow you to store cash, jewelry, and other valuables in a way that most uninvited visitors will not be able to access is.
If you live in a mobile home, a gun safe could be an even more worthwhile purchase as many mobile homes are relatively easy to break into. But mobile homes are often considered less solid than site-built houses, so you may wonder if the floor can support your gun safe. Luckily, in most cases, that will not be an issue.
A mobile home can hold most consumer-level gun safes. A typical mobile home floor can support a load of at least 200 pounds per square foot, while most consumer-level gun safes weigh 100 pounds per square foot. If you are unsure whether your gun safe is near or above the weight limit, you should add support to the floor for safety and peace of mind.
Most mobile homes are built according to rigid safety standards. And while some builds will vary from these standards, it is generally safe to assume that your safe will not crash through the floor. But let’s dig a little deeper.
How Much Weight Can a Mobile Home Floor Hold?
According to the CFR § 3280.305 structural design requirements of manufactured homes, the floor must support a minimum live load of 40 pounds per square foot. ‘Live load’ refers to people and animals as well as movable objects, such as furniture. In addition, the floor must be able to support a 200-pound concentrated load on a one-inch diameter.
Although it is theoretically possible to build a floor that can hold 200 pounds on one-inch diameter while only supporting 40 pounds on one square foot, it is very likely that your mobile home floor can hold at least 200 pounds per square foot. If in doubt, you should contact the producer or a structural engineer.
The exact load-bearing ability for a specific floor depends on the size of its floor joists. Floor joists are the horizontal beams that support your floor, stabilized by steel bracings. Joists can be made of steel, but in mobile homes, they are often made with 2×6 or 2×8 lumber, whereas site build homes commonly use 2×10.
Another equally important factor is how far apart the joists are placed and the distance between each support post. A shorter gap between joists and support posts offers more load-bearing ability.
One essential thing to consider is the possibility of wood-boring beetles water damage to the floor or joists. Pests and water can quickly undermine the wood’s structural integrity and make it much more prone to breakage. Therefore it’s a good idea to check below your home for any signs of damage before moving a large safe into it. Look for cracks, holes, and soft, wet wood.
How Much Does a Gun Safe Weigh?
A gun safe typically weighs 25 pounds plus 15 pounds per long gun it is rated to store. A standard safe weighs about 95 pounds per square foot.
Besides the physical dimensions, the weight of a gun safe depends on how much steel has been used to build the safe. Cheaper safes have relatively thin and highlight-weight walls, while those on high-end safes can be several times thicker.
Heavier safes are usually better because they are harder to break into and harder (often impossible) to haul run off with. However, weight is not the only factor that matters. Often you will do perfectly well will a lighter safe as long as it has a quality lock and is bolted to the floor or a wall.
How Big a Safe Can a Mobile Home Floor Hold?
A standard mobile home floor should easily be able to hold most consumer-level gun safes. Still, I recommend you calculate the safe’s weight per square foot to make sure it doesn’t exceed your floor’s rated weight limit without needing floor reinforcement or support.
The table below shows weights and sizes of typical safes.
(D x W x H)
|Safe for Mobile home?
|4 long guns
|11” x 12” x 55”
|5 long guns
|12” x 14.5” x 57”
|8 long guns
|14” x 18.5” x 57”
|12 long guns
|18” x 18” x 59”
|18 long guns
|20” x 20” x 59”
|24 long guns
|21” x 26” x 59”
|30 long guns
|24” x 26” x 59”
|40 long guns
|25.5” x 30” x 59”
|48 long guns
|25.5” x 42” x 59”YesAssuming a newer mobile home and the floor is in good condition.
Even larger safes are supported by a typical mobile home because they are usually wider, meaning the weight is spread over a bigger floor area. I.E., a tall safe will concentrate more pressure on the floor compared to a wide safe.
As long as you know the dimensions and the weight of the gun safe you’re looking to get, you can calculate the weight concentration by using the formula below:
weight in lbs. / (depth x width)
For example: 300 / (20 x 20) = 0.75
One square foot equals 144 square inches. So if a safe weighs 0.75 pounds per square inch, that equals 0.75 x 144 = 108 pounds per square foot.
If the safe’s weight is below but near the floor’s weight limit, you could place it on a (solid) base that leaves a larger footprint than the safe itself. This will spread out the weight over a larger area and thus lower the pound per square foot.
How to Support a Mobile Home Floor
If your safe is very heavy or you are in doubt about your floor’s ability to hold it, consider adding support below the joists. Adding support to a mobile home floor is much easier, cheaper, and safer than repairing a broken floor.
A very easy and durable solution is to add one or two adjustable floor jacks. All you need to install these is:
Place a concrete block below the joist that needs to be supported and make sure it’s leveled. Then place a floor jack on the concrete block. Screw the metal plate that comes with the floor jack into the bottom of the joist, and tighten it up with a wrench.
The entire process takes at most 15 minutes and will cost less than 50 dollars for two.
Alternatives to Gun Safes
If you just need your firearms not to be immediately accessible, a gun cabinet may suffice. Cabinets are cheaper and much lighter than safes, and your floor should easily be able to hold even a large cabinet. Most cabinets can be locked, and although they are not nearly as effective against a determined burglar, they can keep your guns out of reach of children or opportunistic visitors.
Another option is to store some of your firearms outside your home if you don’t need them all very often. Yes, many people prefer to keep their firearms at home, but perhaps you have some valuable guns that you would like to keep but never really use or enjoy. Or perhaps you are renting out your home to short-term visitors and looking for a temporary storage solution.
A safe deposit box could also an option for external storage, although you probably want to contact the bank before your show up. Some firearms dealers are also happy to hold your gins for a small fee. Or you can use Gunsitters, a firearms storage facility catering specifically to gun owners.