Safety and security are important for everyone, whether you live or work in a safe or unsafe neighbourhood and, sadly, burglaries are an unfortunate common concern for all.
Burglars break into houses and workplaces to get their hands on valuables such as cash, jewellery, bank cards and information, confidential documents, and much more, and what’s worse is that they know where to look for these items, making it even easier to steal them.
Safes are lockable secure boxes that come in a range of shapes, sizes, and types, and are perfect for keeping your possessions safe not only from theft but also from fire and water damage.
The best safes are sturdy and made with the highest quality material that can withstand force as well as extreme temperature and moisture.
Two of the most common types of safes generally found in homes and offices include wall safes and underfloor safes. As their names suggest, wall safes are installed in walls and underfloor safes are installed, well, under the floor.
Read on to find out more about wall and underfloor safes, the different types, what they protect, how much they cost, and much more:
WHAT ARE WALL SAFES?
Wall safes are secret security compartments that are installed inside a wall to offer convenient protection for your belongings.
They are mostly small and can accommodate a few items such as papers, a bit of emergency cash, boxed jewellery, or loose jewels.
You will have to compromise a bit on space since wall safes are designed to be installed between studs and are dependent on the size and depth of your walls.
It is not recommended to use wall safes to store very valuable items because if a burglar discovers the safe’s location, it won’t be as safe as a traditional safe that offers protection against both burglary and fire and is bolted to the ground.
Wall safes provide a great level of convenience since all your valuables are stored at eye level, which is much easier on your back, than accessing a safe bolted to the ground or installed under the floor.
They are perfect options if you need to access the safe contents very often and do not wish to bend or stoop down every time to do so.
INSTALLING A WALL SAFE
Wall safes must always be professionally installed to not compromise the structural integrity of the house. Since they are installed by attaching them to drywall and wood studs, they cannot be too heavy. Sadly, the weight issue might also negatively affect the safe’s fire resistance.
Some wall safes have access panels that are hidden behind a painting or piece of furniture, moving which reveals the locking mechanism of the safe.
When properly concealed, wall safes can provide a decent amount of protection against burglars, mainly because they don’t know where the safe is.
Never install a wall safe near the main door or windows since prying eyes could easily see where the safe is located, or worse, learn the combination to access its contents.
A wall safe with its location disclosed is not as effective since it is fairly easy for burglars with the right tools to remove it by cutting the wall around it and prying the safe out. Therefore, if you wish to invest in a wall safe, always remember to keep its location a top-secret.
The best locking mechanisms for wall safes are flat locks, such as key-operated, electronic keypads, or biometric scanners that do not protrude from the wall, making it easier to conceal the door of the safe behind a piece of art.
BEST PLACES TO INSTALL WALL SAFES
While a sturdy safe is an effective deterrent against theft and burglaries, the most secure safe is one that can’t be found easily.
Hidden safes increase the time it takes for thieves to get to your locked-up valuables, and time is something that these conniving criminals don’t have. Therefore, it makes more sense to install your wall safes in places that are difficult to find and access for them.
Some best places to install wall safes to hide your valuables include:
Libraries are great places to hide valuables because, unless the burglar is looking for some priceless first editions, chances are that they won’t spend much time there.
Many people use fake books, aka diversion safes, to hide valuables such as keys and important documents and place them on shelves among other books so that they don’t stand out.
You can take it a step further by installing a hidden wall safe behind your book collection and concealing it with boring books that might not interest anyone, such as big and heavy encyclopaedias.
While a lot of burglars have been known to raid kitchens and fridges from time to time, it is not usually their first target and not somewhere they would spend a lot of time, making the kitchen an ideal location for installing a hidden wall safe.
Hide your wall safe under the sink, if the plumbing allows it, or inside the wall of a kitchen cupboard. Fill up the space with containers or cleaning supplies to conceal the door to the safe.
The children’s playroom
While the master bedroom is one of the first places that burglars look for valuables to steal, they tend to avoid the children’s room since it is usually cluttered with toys and items that are useless to them.
They may target older children and teenagers’ rooms for expensive gadgets and electronics but won’t spend much time in a toddler’s playroom. Therefore, hiding a wall safe behind the child’s wardrobe may be a brilliant place to store and secure your valuables.
Here are a few additional things you should keep in mind before setting out to find the perfect hiding place for your wall safe:
- Avoid places that burglars routinely check for valuable goods, such as the master bedroom. Trust us when we tell you that burglars know exactly where to look to hit the jackpot, which is why you must be careful and avoid those places.
- There are safes designed for specific items such as paper, media, guns, etc, therefore, invest in a safe that is built for maximum security for such items.
- To outsmart the burglars, install a decoy safe in a more obvious location and fill it up with cheap jewellery and valueless items.
WALL SAFE PRICES
If you want a well-concealed safe for your home or office, you can buy a wall safe that fixes into a wall in place of concrete or bricks.
If you hide the safe door behind something like a painting or curtain, no one, including the burglars, will even know it’s there, making it unlikely for them to break into it or try and remove it.
Wall safes come in several different varieties and, depending on their specific features, the price can vary considerably.
You can get a wall-safe with basic protection anywhere from £66, with an average one priced at £300. You can expect to pay more for a higher rated wall safe that provides much more security, with its average price being around £1290.
PROS AND CONS OF WALL SAFES
The pros of wall safes include:
- Well concealed if installed correctly,
- Take up no floor space and are ideal for properties with limited space,
- Eye-level position makes them super convenient to access,
- Come with state-of-the-art secure locking mechanisms,
- Ideal for storing handy items.
The cons of wall safes include:
- Limited storage since the size is dependent on the size of the wall,
- Can be difficult to find the ideal wall,
- Won’t provide the same level of fire protection as a traditional safe due to the weight limitations,
- Can be easily moved if their location is disclosed,
- Not ideal for very valuable items.
WHAT ARE UNDERFLOOR SAFES?
Underfloor safes are secure boxes with a safe door at the top that are installed underground. Since the body itself doesn’t offer the maximum protection, they are encased in concrete to up the level of security.
Often confused with floorboard safes that are secured to joists and sit in the void between the floor and ceiling, underfloor safes are placed in sturdy, concrete flooring and require professional installation.
They can, however, also be set into floorboards, although it is done enclosing the safe in concrete and building shuttering around them.
Since underfloor safes have a door on top of them, you can easily open them without having to drag the entire safe out from under the floor. Although, because they are under the floor, you will have to bend down or sit on the floor to open them.
The doors to these safes are typically round in shape and become thicker as the level of security improves. The round lids limit the size of the items to be stored in the safe, not allowing very large items to go through.
INSTALLING AN UNDERFLOOR SAFE
Since the body of the underfloor safe must be encased in concrete and installed on an existing solid floor, you must always opt for professional safe installation services to ensure it is secured properly and is reliable enough to store your valuables.
Failure to install the safe correctly may not only put your valuables at risk but also damage the floor and invalidate your insurance.
A variety of locks are available for underfloor safes, with standard models usually secured using a double-bitted key lock.
Mechanical combination locks can also be fitted, however, since they are not very easy to operate while kneeling or laying on the floor, they are usually not the most ideal choice.
Digital locks that are battery operated and use a digital keypad or biometric verification to grant access can also be used, however, if the area that the safe is installed in is either cold or damp, it can affect the quality and life of the battery.
Although less common than wall and floor safes, underfloor safes provide a higher level of security since they are so well-concealed. The door to the safe may be hidden in several ways, either by putting a rug with a table on top of it or placing a heavy piece of furniture such as a bookcase on top of the rug.
BEST PLACES TO INSTALL UNDERFLOOR SAFES
The best location for installing an underfloor safe is dependent on the floor plan of your home or office. Since it is embedded into the foundation of the home, it is crucial to take into account the layout of the property.
You must also be careful about elements that might interfere with their installation such as the electrical wiring, water pipes, gas pipes, drainage lines, etc.
Some great places to install underfloor safes include:
The ground floor
If your underfloor safe is meant for a multi-level property, the best place to install it would be on the ground floor as far away from foot traffic as possible.
It is always the first choice because it requires a much less aggressive approach when it comes to installing the safes. Just be sure to steer clear of areas where the electrical and plumbing systems may interfere with the installation.
If, for some reason, the ground floor isn’t available for underfloor safe installation and you need to place it on a higher level, always consult an expert since it may be required to reframe the structure.
In the closet
A spot in the closet is a great place to install your underfloor safe since it is hidden away and foot traffic is rare in there.
Identify the space under the closet to ensure there is ample space for a safe that is big enough for your storage requirements.
UNDERFLOOR SAFE PRICES
Underfloor safes can fit between floorboards, or for a higher level of security, they are encased in concrete and hidden in a solid floor.
The prices, of course, vary depending on the type of underfloor safe and the level of protection it provides. The starting price of a basic underfloor safe is £115, with an average one priced at £210. For a higher level of security, you can expect to pay anywhere between £690 and £1750.
PROS AND CONS OF UNDERFLOOR SAFES
The pros of underfloor safes include:
- Safely hidden and difficult to find,
- Secure against force and attacks,
- Great level of physical security,
- Unlikely to be moved by thieves and burglars.
The cons of underfloor safes include:
- Small, round door that limits the size of the items that can be placed inside the safe,
- Door is quite heavy,
- Not as accessible since it requires you to bend down or lie on the floor to access its contents,
- Not ideal for areas prone to flooding since the safe will fill up with water,
- Not ideal for storing items that can be damaged due to dampness, such as paper and digital media.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
We are members of the Master Locksmith Association (MLA) and are familiar with a wide range of safes, cash boxes, and strong boxes. Our SSAIB contractors can help you assess your security needs and recommend a suitable safe perfect for your requirements.
We offer professional safe installation services to not only prevent theft and fire damage but also ensure that the safe is secured in place properly, cannot be removed, and is not in danger of falling or damaging anything.
We also offer safe opening services since misplacing the keys, forgetting the code, or failure of the safe itself can all lead to the contents of the safe being inaccessible.
By design, of course, safes are very difficult to access in these circumstances and you need a professional safe engineer to do it for you. Our Calder specialists can open most safes and can restore them to full working order afterwards.
When you need to relocate or remove your safe entirely, you can count on us to carry out the job with ease. In addition to that, our professional safe repair and maintenance services ensure that your safes are always in optimal health providing you with the best security.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our security professionals right away for the best wall and underfloor safes for your property!