should I worry about putting a treadmill on the second floor?

philosopherMarch 1, 2008

Hi--We live in both levels of a very sturdy duplex, built in 1929. The house is finished in plaster, which I think may be relevant to the discussion. My husband, who weighs around 220, would like to put a treadmill (Landice L7, top of the line) in our second floor great room. It will sit in a solid place, near the exterior wall and over one of the weight bearing beams. I am very concerned that the continual use of the treadmill may affect the structural integrity of the house, not to mention the plaster walls. To its credit, the Landice L7 seems to be the best in terms of cushioning and weight distribution, but I still remain concerned. Has anyone dealt with this issue, and do you have any suggestions? We really don't have any room on the first floor for the treadmill, and I hate the thought of putting it in the basement.

I did some jumping around in the general area where the treadmill would go, and there wasn't much shaking at all. Still would love some expert input before we lay the cash down for the treadmill. Thanks!

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Personally, I wouldn't worry in the least, though I know neither your floor nor husband, so my opinion may not be worth much.

If you were thinking of doing this in 'recovered' attic footage that had never really intended to be weight baring, I'd be concerned. Otherwise, not so much.

Interesting to see what others will say, though.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 3:30PM
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I wouldn't think a treadmill would be a concern. Maybe a huge whirlpool tub If you were making a bathroom or cailifornia king water bed if making a bedroom out of the area, but not a treadmill. The movement is basically lateral and not up and down w/ little vibration.

If you have an area of the upstairs floor that indicates the thickness or approximate sizing of your floor joists, this would help. You can also get an idea of your floor joist size by measuring an outside wall from the sill plate to the top plate of the second story wall, then measure the wall heights inside and subtract. This should give you an idea of floor framing thickness. You have to remember not to include your first floor framing. If your basement is unfinished, you might see what was used for the first floor joisting but it would only be an assumption that it is the same joisting used for the second deck.

This is an example of why folks on new builds have the chance to get their floor framing engineered a little overkill so no worries like this crop up.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 3:57PM
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I live in an old (built 1850) farmhouse with plaster walls. We rent, and are planning on moving next year, so I knew this wouldn't be forever. But I wanted a treadmill, too. The only place to put it was the 2nd floor (dirt basement with low ceilings, and I never go down there if I can help it.) I was worried about the same thing, but really wanted the treadmill. Everyone I asked seemed surprised at the question. I haven't had a problem. I used to run on it, but have had knee problems and have been walking the last year. The only thing is it is a little loud downstairs, but I just use it when everyone is up and around or out of the house. I haven't noticed any problems with the plaster (there are always some cracks in old houses, I don't think any of the cracks we have are from the treadmill). And I haven't fallen through the floor yet. It's been 2 years. Good luck - I really love having a treadmill here so I can exercise in bad weather or with not much time for going somewhere else.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 6:14PM
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Ron Natalie

I have a 1970's Ryland home tract house now. We've got the treadmill on the second floor. Yes you can hear it in the room below when someone is using it but there's been no problem. My house is so cheaply constructed, that I can guarantee you something would have cracked or broken if the treadmill was a problem. The blasted thing is framed with 2x3's on the interior and even smaller in the gable ends.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:04PM
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A treadmill is not a particularly heavy floor load because of its large footprint.

Modern floors are designed to not crack plaster or drywall ceilings below even if you covered the entire floor with men on treadmills because the maximum load would probably not exceed the 30 PSF uniform live load design minimum for upper floors.

Also, putting the treadmill near a wall and over a beam virtually eliminates the possibility of excessive floor deflection.

If your floor was so weak that a treadmill would cause plaster cracking, you would have already noticed the problem and probably had some cracking just from several people occupying the center of the room.
What I would be worried about is noise and vibration and I'm not sure how that could be simulated.

But not to worry, he'll only use it for a week or two and it will eventually go in the basement. You should consider a recumbent bicycle; you can read a book and be surprised when the time is up and the noise and vibration should be far less.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 12:57PM
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I was going to install some stonework on framing (cement board backed) and read your statement "near a wall and over a beam virtually eliminates the possibility of excessive floor deflection" and I wondered what is the maximum weight I can put on a frame?

My plan is to put 870 pounds on the framed wall over 8 linear feet. So there would be about 110 pounds hanging on each foot of framing. I'm not sure how this works into your 30 PSF maximum, but does the amount of weight I am planning sound too much?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 5:02PM
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Unusual dead loads must be considered separately because they are not part of the 30 psf live load design requirement.

I can't answer your question without a detailed description of the structure.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 5:45PM
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We've had no problem with the treadmill in our second floor gym, but we did pour gypcrete for sound insulation.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 7:47PM
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If you have an issue to discuss you should start a new thread and provide more information.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 8:09AM
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From a personal experience, my wife moved the treadmill to a spare bedroom on the second floor of our last home. The home was only 6 years old.

Anyway, the master bedroom was on the other side of the house. That thing was SO loud, it would wake me up when she worked out in the morning. The vibration, when she jogged, rattled the things on the walls.

Since you live in a duplex, your neighbors may have concerns?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 11:21AM
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Ron Natalie

I have the cheasiest of Ryland homes from the 70's (well built with the cheapest darned materials in the world). The treadmill is noisy upstairs, but no structural concerns. You should be fine in a house made out of real lumber and plaster.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 4:20PM
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This thread has been dead for almost 6 months. For some reason kinglerch hijacked it to ask about another loading issue not involving a treadmill.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:27PM
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Treadmill/elliptical machine is very loud on bottom floor and slight creaking sounds can be heard as well. Would this be indicative on potential damage or just the joists and lumber creaking? Home built in 1980's. Thank you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elliptical Exercise

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 2:13PM
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I am also concerned about my elliptical on my 2nd floor. When you stand in the garage underneath it, you hear creaking and the ceiling moves up and down with the up-and-down movement of the elliptical. Is this a sign we should stop using it?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 3:09PM
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I didn't read all the responses - just wanted to say that my doctor just told me that she has an older restored home and she damaged a light fixture by having her treadmill above it. I would just be careful where you place the treadmill.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:44PM
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The stress the equipment is putting on your floor is also being absorbed by your knee and hip joints. Unless you are a college athlete I suggest switching to a recumbent bike and/or rowing erg like the Concept II or WaterRower. The forces go into muscle development and a little heat from friction.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:15AM
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