No matter how strong a thing is, it must have a limit to bear weight. Our living room floors are not an exception. In this article, I will try to describe the weight capacity of floors without going too deep.
Keep reading to learn about floor capacity and related answers you may want to know.
How much weight can a living room floor hold?
For bedrooms, 30 pounds per square foot live load is the recommended weight limit for residential houses in America. Other rooms can take about 40 pounds weight per square foot. Ground floors, garage and balconies have greater weight carrying capacity.
Modern homes are designed to bear heavy loads. Generally, you will not have to worry about the loads. Still, if you have bulky furniture or a large aquarium, it’s better to calculate the weight holding capacity and arrange it accordingly.
In the USA, most building structures follow the International Residential Code. International Residential Code or IRC has some requirements that every building must follow.
According to IRC, a bedroom must not carry more than 30 pounds per square foot. In contrast, a non-sleeping room can hold 40 pounds per square foot.
The bedroom should be the safest place of your home—That’s why you should keep less load in the bedroom.
There are two types of weight loads for the floor: dead-load and live load. The dead-load is the weight of the material used in floor construction and anything attached to the bottom. The weight of furniture, people and anything else that the floor needs to support is called live load.
So, what do 30 pounds per square foot mean? First, you will have to calculate the area of your room. Suppose your room is 12 ft x 14 ft. It is the size of an average bedroom in the USA.
So, the area of your room is 216 square feet. Multiply the area with the weight capacity of your floor.
Therefore, you can keep 216 x 30 = 8,650 pounds of live weight in your room. Following this margin is essential for safety and floor health.
If you have some bulky furniture, there are ways to arrange them safely. Keep reading to find out. For now, let’s explore the capacity of the main floor and second floor.
Ground floors have greater weight capacity than other floors as it is connected with the house’s basement. It can hold more than 50 pounds per square foot in a stranded building.
Any floor above the ground floor can hold 30-40 pounds per square foot. Bedrooms can carry 30 pounds per square foot, and living rooms can safely carry 40 pounds per square foot. Those floors can carry more weight than this, but taking more weight is less safe.
Can my living room floor support 1000 lbs?
The average dimension of a living room is 16 x 20 feet. Suppose you have a smaller living room, like 12 x 14 feet. So, the area of your living room is 168 square feet.
A stranded living room can hold 40 pounds per square foot. So, if we calculate, a small living room can have 168 x 40 = 6,720 pounds if your house follows the international residential code.
So, there is nothing to worry about if you have a 1000 Lbs load to keep in your living room. Even a small room can hold up to 5-6 times more load than that. But always try to spread loads evenly on the floor. Keeping heavyweight in a small part of a floor can harm your floor health.
Floor health may not seem essential, but a damaged floor can be riskier if an earthquake hits.
How much weight can I put on my living room floor?
You can put 40 pounds per square foot in a stranded living room. Keeping more than 40 pounds is not ideal for safety issues.
A stranded living room means the building maintained International Residential Code during construction. Most buildings in America and Canada follow IRC.
Local building codes also exist in some parts of the country, but as long as it is a stranded building code, the weight capacity should not differ much from the International regulations.
To calculate the load capacity of a living room, you will need to multiply the area by 40. However, some houses are built primarily to carry more weight than stranded residential houses. The main floor and garage can take more weight than the upper floor rooms.
Can a living room floor collapse from too much weight?
Modern architecture is quite promising to build safe floors. Usually, you don’t need to worry about the floor collapsing. But ignoring the safe weight increases the possibility of floor collapse significantly.
You have to be extra careful during house parties. Six days ago, three people were hospitalized after a floor collapsed during a house party in Colorado. Even if you have a safe load in your living room, jumping with a house full of people can increase the possibility of floor collapse.
Some people may think the old house has less capacity to bear weight. But that’s not true. If any support beams are not removed, old houses should do just like new houses.
A floor can easily hold a weight of more than 40 Lbs per square foot, but that can be risky in the long term. If you learn the position and basics of joists, you can keep heavier furniture safely.
Joists are some solid wooden or steel structures that support the floor and other loads inside the floor. If you keep your heavy furniture where two joists run parallel to one another, the foundation will have less stress to bear the weight.
How to calculate living room floor load capacity?
Calculating the load capacity of your room is pretty straightforward, and you can do it with a measuring tape and simple math. Follow the step below to find out the load capacity of your living room.
Understand the basics:
First, collect information about the building. Find out if the building followed the International Residential Code or a local building code. In most cases, the building should follow the IRC.
According to IRC, a stranded living room can hold 40 pounds per square foot, and bedrooms can safely take 30 pounds of weight per square foot. A garage can carry up to 50 pounds per square foot.
Measure the area:
Use tape to find out the length and width of your room. You may need some assistance to measure accurately. Let’s say the length is 18 feet and the width is 14 square feet.
Then you will have to multiply the length and width to get the area of the room. Here, we get, 18 x 14 = 252 square feet.
Calculate the load capacity:
If the room is a living room, it can bear 40 pounds per square foot. So, the load capacity is 252 x 40 = 10,080 pounds. But if the room is a bedroom, you can not keep more than 252 x 30 = 7,560 pounds.
Once you know the load capacity of different rooms of your house, arrange your furniture accordingly. If a room has heavy furniture, it’s better not to add more to the same room.
What does it mean when the floor creaks? Does creak mean the floor is overloaded?
Floor creaks may sound scary, but it is very typical and does not mean the floor is damaged—generally, it is not related to overloading and weight-related issues. Here are some reasons for floor creaks.
When the wood inside the floor tries to shrink and scratches with each other, it makes a creaking sound. It is usual for the hardwood floors.
The floor shrinks when the temperature falls and causes a high pitch sound. This type of floor sound occurs at night when the weather cools down. So, if you hear a weird sound at night, check the floor or roof before naming the room haunted!
When the humidity gets low in the winter, wood can shrink and that causes cracking sound. That’s why floor creaking sounds are more common in the winter season.
In most residential buildings, living rooms have a load capacity of 40 Lbs per square foot. Bedrooms have 30 pounds per square foot weight capacity in stranded structures. If you follow the weight limit, the floors should not collapse, but be careful while dancing at a house party.