Toledo Talk

How much furniture weight can a second floor handle?

I have a very nice, hand-made wrought iron desk and credenza with granite tops. Up until now, I've been able to take it with me from job to job. My latest position won't let me bring my own furniture so I have to move it home. The only place I can put it in my house is in a second floor bedroom.

This thing is HEAVY. I have to hire movers, who struggle to handle it, when I need it moved. I've done some rough measurements. The desk weighs about 400 lbs., the credenza around 175 lbs.

My concern is - do I need to worry about the second floor of my house - the floor, the floor joists, the first floor walls, etc. - not being able to handle this weight? It's always been on a slab floor in commercial buildings, so I've never worried about it.

In trying to figure this out, I researched water beds, thinking that was something that was equally heavy. An article I found said that the typical water bed has a weight load of 36 lbs/sq. ft. The article also said "The load limit for the average residential flooring system, built to code, is a minimum of 40 pounds per square foot."

So if my desk is 6' × 3' (approximately), that's 18 sq ft. or about 22 lbs/sq ft. But, this is a pedestal desk, so each corner sits on a bended square steel rod (3/4" rod I think), and that's all the corner footprint is; it does not actually sit on 18 linear feet of floor. Does that mean instead of 22 lbs/sq ft, it's more like 400 lbs divided 4 corners or 100 lbs/sq ft? 22 is okay, but I would think 100 would be a problem.

So any thoughts? Am I worrying for no reason, or is this a legitimate concern?

created by MsArcher on Aug 08, 2016 at 09:43:35 pm     Home     Comments: 5

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What year was the house built?
How are you going to get it to the second floor?
Yes, they are point loads on those feet. How much contact does the leg make on the floor?

The short answer is that you are probably fine. Pool tables are set on second floors very often and they weigh more than 1,000lbs on four point loaded legs.

posted by slowsol on Aug 09, 2016 at 07:30:45 am     #  

Most pool tables have fairly large foot pads, something like 5 or 6 inches in diameter to spread the load a bit or legs that span the width of the table. If the desk has very small feet this may create an issue. 3/4" plywood over 16" joist spacing is rated to bend (deform) at 382 lbs. per square foot, and shear at 497 lbs. per square foot (*APA form Q225G 2011 -

So if there are small feet or wheels, it might be a good idea to get something to distribute the load a little bit to avoid damaging the subfloor, but it certainly won't break through the floor and create a new elevator shaft :-)

posted by breeman on Aug 09, 2016 at 08:14:43 am     #  

Thanks, guys! The house was built in 2004; I'm assuming that means relatively modern building standards.

The info about plywood over joists makes me feel much better, but I think I will set some extra plywood pads under each foot, to be on the safe side - the feet are probably 1-1/4" square at the most.

And I will get a couple of hunky men to move it to the second floor for me. If only there was a viewing deck in the house but alas, it's a typical narrow stair and hallway.

posted by MsArcher on Aug 09, 2016 at 10:35:31 am     #  

I think plywood pads will look crappy. Suggest getting 4 inch disks made of ceramic, metal or even rigid plastic. Each 4"er will distribute weight over 12+ square inches. Go to a home improvement store and look for furniture sliders.

posted by jimavolt on Aug 10, 2016 at 08:09:33 am     #  

Use decent plywood and paint it a complimentary color to the floor/carpet and I think you'll be fine. Heck, do a contrasting color to highlight them.

For that beast of a desk, I wouldn't trust those sliders to hold up.

posted by JoeyGee on Aug 10, 2016 at 12:22:52 pm     #