Maximum weight to put on a residential 2nd floor home


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leadcounsel
February 10, 2009, 05:29 PM
Okay, I recently moved into a new construction residential home that is stick framed. I'm storing guns, large safe, ammo, etc in a 2nd story bedroom. In addition to guns and ammo, I also have an office desk, file cabinet, and bookshelves full of books. The room is about 12x12. The safe has a 30"x36" footprint. Ammo is spread along the floor in ammo boxes and crates. Desk is 5'x30". I've placed the safe in an an outside corner (at least one load bearing wall) and the desk against the other outside corner wall (at least one load bearing wall). Empty safe probably weighs 900 lbs, desk probably weights 300-400 lbs.

Without going into details of what I own, how much weight would be too much to distribute on the floor of that room? 3,000 lbs? And how would you distribute it? Along the walls, against a supporting wall, etc.

Every time I open my safe the floor creaks a little as the door swings - should I worry or is this just settling? The floor isn't bowing or anything (yet)...

I've talked to the builder, a friend that does home inspections, and others knowledgable about building. But I just need some feedback - has anyone ever crashed through the floor with too much weight?

And finally, any ideas on how I could beef it up from either the lower floor or the room itself without adding much weight? I considered adding support beams from the 1st floor, but cabinets in the kitchen may be preventative. Maybe a sturdy decorative beem across the 1st floor ceiling with a column supporting it?

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Bezoar
February 10, 2009, 05:38 PM
it depends on alot of factors. all you need to do is go to a college with an architectural program and purchase
your states residential building code book. lots of information in it will tell you exactly what you floor is allowed to support.

all depends upon, length of floor joist, species, joist spacing.

do you have standard wood floor joists or the truss type?

CoRoMo
February 10, 2009, 05:39 PM
My parents' house had three waterbeds upstairs.
That had to be a lot of weight. No problems.

mljdeckard
February 10, 2009, 05:42 PM
I also find myself wondering about this, modern construction just isn't like it used to be. I've helped move pianos and seriously wondered if I could feel shifting.

This is why eventually I want to build Fort Deckard out in the desert an build my primary safe into the concrete of the ground floor.

Owen Sparks
February 10, 2009, 05:54 PM
Here is something you may not have considered. Fire, your safe is as much of a fire protection device as it is an anti theft device. What will happen in the event of a fire and the safe with all your guns falls through the floor?

There is no way to guestimate how much weight your floor is rated for without knowing what dimension floor joists are and the span.

Duke of Doubt
February 10, 2009, 05:56 PM
Pretty heavy.

(creak)

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." -- famous last words (heard?).

Modern construction is not as sturdy as an old Vic. I've seen a compact car pretty much demolish a McMansion when the driver fell asleep at the wheel.

Tommygunn
February 10, 2009, 06:09 PM
IIRC Rosie O'Donnell is max under most codes ......:neener:

Duke of Doubt
February 10, 2009, 06:11 PM
Man, I wouldn't want her crossing Tukey's Bridge -- 'specially if'n I'm coming home t'other way follin' a fish fry down southet.

CWL
February 10, 2009, 06:18 PM
Seems like the builder would know, or you can check with your county permits office to check what the load weight is for 2nd floor housing.

Duke of Doubt
February 10, 2009, 06:20 PM
Still, account for a thousand pounds or so excess load, for the night you show your buddies your gun collection after a BBQ. I'm not kidding, this actually happens.

floods
February 10, 2009, 06:26 PM
Go ahead and reinforce the second floor. When the zombies come you'll thank me.

ShadyScott999
February 10, 2009, 06:30 PM
Think about it this way... I weigh 250 lbs. I can easily stand on the ball of one foot in any modern second story. That is well over 1000 lbs per square foot.

I own a granite counter tops company and we regularly install tops that weight over 1000 lbs. Biggest ever was 149" x 69" that weighed almost 1900 lbs.

Unless you are storing lead, gold, platinum, depleted uranium or matter from a white dwarf star, you should be fine.

Duke of Doubt
February 10, 2009, 06:33 PM
999: "Unless you are storing lead, gold, platinum, depleted uranium or matter from a white dwarf star, you should be fine."

Uh ... and?

ShadyScott999
February 10, 2009, 06:34 PM
lol. where can I get some of that star matter?

Duke of Doubt
February 10, 2009, 06:47 PM
Now, how did you know that was what I was talking about?

Just because a man believes in being prepared for when TSHTF and keeping a ready supply of power for his FGMP TL-15 guns. Sheesh.

JWF III
February 10, 2009, 08:13 PM
To start with, I'm in the remodeling profession. I do any carpentry work, rough and finish, as long as it's wood. I also framed houses for approx. 15 years before getting into remodeling.

It's not always an easy answer. But, though the floor may be fine, I'd highly suggest putting the safe on the bottom floor. Concrete is preferred of course, but if you're on a crawlspace it'd be easy to sure up. (I'm assuming you're not on a basement, thinking that's probably where it'd be if you had one.) Floor loads are figured a number of ways. Live loads are what are considered usually. (These numbers are from memory, I don't have my CABO code books with me. But I can look later if need be.) I believe code for live loads (for a bedroom) are 80-90 lbs. per sq. ft. With constant loads being lower than that.

The real problems will not show there self immediately. Floor systems are designed to flex, it doesn't matter what kind of floor system you have, they're still designed for this. With something as heavy as a safe, the floor will not be able to flex properly, it's under a constant load (constantly compressed). Over time (could be as little as a few months) sheetrock will start cracking downstairs (windows could also crack, but it'd take a lot of time to get to that point). After more time, the floor system will find a "new memory", and will be fixed at that position. At that time, you'll have a permanently out-of-level floor. (This is fixable, but it'll take thousands of dollars. New floor system, new subfloor, new flooring, new sheetrock, etc.)

If this was a contract house, it would have been an easy fix if you would've told the builder your intentions. I've done similar things many times. If it was a (finished) spec house, there's not much that could've been done without great cost to you.

Feel free to pm me (or post here because others may need to know) any questions. A structual engineer may be by to give better numbers. I tend to look at more real world situations than computer generated ones as a SE would.

Wyman

BTW- if you have the "silent floor truss" system, (I-joist with 2x3 on top and bottom with plywood in between) where you have the safe is worse than if it were in the middle. These trusses have had problems with the plywood buckling and breaking when there were heavy loads right next to the load bearing wall. If properly framed (with so-called "squash blocks" on each side of each joist) this isn't a big concern. But usually these floor systems are inspected by the truss company that supplied them. They are not held to any standards by the local inspectors if that is the case. I've seen many of these company "inspectors" that didn't know a thing if the computer didn't tell them. And sometimes they won't set foot on the property, they'll just fax a truss plan with the engineers seal to the county.

Gun Slinger
February 10, 2009, 10:33 PM
Well, I suppose this does provide us an explanation as to why there is an national ammunition shortage and where it has all gone.

Thanks for clearing that up leadcounsel.

Krazeehorse
February 10, 2009, 11:02 PM
This might give you some insight if not answers.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/aquarium_weight.php

chuckusaret
February 10, 2009, 11:31 PM
Without going into details of what I own, how much weight would be too much to distribute on the floor of that room? 3,000 lbs? And how would you distribute it? Along the walls, against a supporting wall, etc.

The town/city Building Department should have a copy of the site plan/ building drawings on file. Somewhere in the drawings there should be a floor loading or it can be calculated based on the type floor construction. The numbers would be something like 125lbs per sq foot. Until you find out the max loading I would spread the stuff out along the walls and as close as possible. I would make friends with the guy below you and check out how his apartment is laid out, hopefully the layout(walls) match yours

KrazeeHorse is right about the floor joist but were 2X10's or were 2X12's used makes a huge difference in loading. Check the construction drawings.

Bozo
February 10, 2009, 11:57 PM
has anyone ever crashed through the floor with too much weight?

Interesting question, as a contractor I have seen some failure's over the years, though they were all associated with either improper construction loads or termite, rot, water damaged materials. As far as a total collaspe of a 12' x 12' room it would take a lot more than over loading to bring it about from static loads. Most stem from some type of dynamic loadings.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that codes are minimum standards, and the inspectors that come out are looking for that, not quality of construction. So what maybe ok in one location with this builder may be maginal in another location with another builder. So, will you be ok?, Impossible to say without a survey of the actual construction, but yea, you probably will be.

Should you worry about bringing 5 or more of your heavier friends up at one time to view your collection? Nah, go for it, they won't be there that long anyway.

Personally, I would not want to even think about moving a safe or a desk (wow, heavy desk) up a flight of stairs.

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