It’s a wise move for homeowners or wannabe homeowners to ask questions such as, “How much weight can a second floor hold?” Why? If you place heavier weight on a second floor than it can take, the building has a higher chance of collapsing. As you make plans to build or renovate your home, don’t forget to also take fall-proofing the home into consideration to reduce the risk of falling.
So, now is the right time to know the limits your second floor can take before it’s too late. We have managed to squeeze a range of answers regarding this question on this post.
Now, let’s revisit the question and proceed from there.
How Much Weight Can A Second Floor Hold?
According to the International Residential Code, floors in bedrooms can hold up to 30 pounds (lb.) per square foot. Additionally, non-sleeping rooms can support up to 40 lb. per square foot. The rule ensures all buildings can handle a similar weight.
Keep reading for more details on this topic.
How To Calculate How Much Weight A Second Floor Can Hold
You can calculate the weight capacity of the entire floor in your room. To do this, measure the room’s total square footage. Then multiply it by the load capacity per square foot.
For instance, a 150 square feet living room floor can hold up to 6000 lb. weight. For a bedroom of the same size, the weight capacity drops to 4500 lb.
Furthermore, to fully utilize the weight capacity, distribute the furniture across the room. Concentrating the load in one area can damage your floor.
The solid wooden structures under the floor are joists. They run parallel to each other, and other flooring layers are placed on their top. They affect how the base supports the load safely.
It’s best to place heavy pieces of equipment and furniture across multiple joists close to a wall.
The more you know about your joists, the more you can determine your floor weight capacity. If you can access them, inspect them visually and look out for imperfections. Check if there’s any cut away to fit plumbing.
If you know all areas of the floor construction, you can choose the safest placement for different furniture.
Tips for Placing Heavy Equipment On A Second Floor
- The size, lumber grade, and spacing of the joist will determine the load you can place on the floor. Use a stud finder to find the beams under it. And check the direction they run. It will help you determine the placement of heavy furniture and equipment.
- Place heavy items like aquariums and large safes across several parallel floor joists. If possible, they should also be close to a load-bearing wall. That will help to distribute the weight evenly.
- For home gyms, you can place an all-in-one exercise or cardio machine anywhere in the room. Incredibly close to a load-bearing wall.
- Ensure that any extra load or furniture you bring into your room won’t exceed the weight limit.
- Antique sets are usually heavier than modern furniture. So place them against the wall.
- Make sure you don’t place too many antique items in one room. It isn’t easy to get the exact weight of these large furniture pieces. But you can estimate them to make sure they’re not too heavy for the floor.
How To Utilize The Space In A Second Floor Room
You have to safely place the amount of furniture you want in a second-floor room. Here are the steps to do that.
Step#1: Take care of the floor
Ensure you take care of the floor. To do so, check for and remove padding and carpets. That’s because they can add more weight.
However, ask the landlord or complex manager before you do so. You may not have any issues, but you may have to sign an agreement to replace the floor when you move.
When you remove the carpet, cover the exposed floor adequately. It’s best to use ¾ inch plywood as a subfloor. It can limit damage to the floor and reduce repair charges when you move out. Now, use suitable wood screws to hold it in place.
You’ll need to add rubber mats if you intend to use the room as a home gym. They help to protect the floors and reduce the noise your neighbors may hear downstairs.
Step#2: Distribute the weight well
Even distribution of the weight is another factor to consider when setting up a room. Ensure you place heavier equipment or furniture close to the wall. The floor in that area can provide crucial support.
The floor is weakest at the center of the room. So, don’t place heavy equipment or furniture there.
When you distribute the weight evenly, you can bring in the furniture you need in the room.
Causes Of Creaks In A Second Floor
There are times when the floor in your room can make squeaking sounds or noise. It may be a concern, but it doesn’t signify structural damage. Here are some causes.
The floor can squeak due to changes in humidity levels. If the environment experiences constant changes in humidity levels, it can have an impact on the floorboards. They’ll expand and contract, making the nails holding them get loose over time.
Once the nails loosen, the floor will make squeaking sounds when you step on them. It can be irritating, but it’s not a cause for alarm.
Type of building materials:
If your floor creaks continuously, then it may be due to construction practices that are not ideal. Using low-quality building materials for the subfloor can make the floor wear out faster. An instance is the use of particle board instead of plywood.
Another instance is using a nail gun instead of screws when attaching the subfloor. Because nails don’t hold it as firm as screws, the floor will become noisy quickly.
The hardware and materials used during construction can lead to spaces between the joists and subfloor. And that can cause squeaky sounds.
To get rid of the spaces, use short screws to reattach the joists and subfloor. Be careful not to use longer screws. They may pierce through the floor.
If your floor is carpeted, use special repair kits and screws for fixing them.
You can ask someone to walk on the floor above to identify the squeaky space from below. It’ll be best if you can access the joists from your basement. When you do, slide in a dampening material or wooden shim in the spot.
You can do these minor fixes yourself. But if the quality of the floor is the issue, contact a floor repair specialist.
Additionally, if the damage is beyond your ability, call a professional. Please don’t try any repair that’s too much for you to handle.
Signs That A Second Floor Can’t Hold Much Weight
You don’t have to wait till your floor collapses to know there’s too much weight on it. If you know the signs to watch out for, you’ll prevent structural damage.
Here are some signs.
Protruding walls on the first floor:
If you notice protruding walls downstairs, that’s a warning sign.
If you live in an apartment building, the tenants on the first floor will notice this. When the walls start to bulge, it’s because of weight issues in the upper apartments.
Immediate repair is essential to remedy the problem. You can also consider reducing the load concentration into various rooms.
Weak spots on the floor:
Another sign to look out for is weak spots. That’s an indication that the floor won’t carry a heavy load.
An excellent way to check for this before you move in is to walk across the floor. When you do so, press down the floorboards, check out the spots that feel like there’s some give-in around the area. It’s something to look out for, especially if it’s not a new building.
The soft areas show the weak parts of the floor. You want to avoid placing any heavy items on the spot. You can also repair it.
Damage on floor joists or beams:
Look out for the condition of the floor beam before moving in heavy furniture.
Remove the carpet and look at the floor joists. You can also check from the basement if you can access them from there. Look out for termite activities, rots, or other damage signs. They are indications that the floor is weak.
A sagging or bouncy area is another indication that the floor is weak. And the strength is not as the international building code recommends.
If the floorings are irregular, it shows they can’t hold much weight. You may not identify it quickly unless there’s an obvious slant.
You can check for the uneven floor by rolling a pencil or ball across the room. Do it in all four directions. Then look out for moving or wobbling movement in an abnormal direction.
If the floor is uneven, you can’t distribute heavy items across the room safely. In this case, it’s best not to move into the apartment.
So, how much weight can a second floor hold? A second floor can hold about 30 lb per square foot in a bedroom and support a 40lb for other rooms. But the total weight capacity of the floor depends on the size of the room.
Ensure you distribute weight evenly across the room. And place heavy items close to load-bearing walls. Additionally, maximize the available space. Look out for signs of weak floors and repair them.