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DudeGuy65
Old Houses and Heavy Furniture
DudeGuy65

Some background...Just moved into a 2nd & 3rd (finished attic) floor condo unit 2 1/2 months ago. My 55 gallon fishtank was actually the first thing in the house due to the terrible hassle of moving it. The house is in the new england area and is very old (1870) but was nicely reconstructed into 4 units of condos 6 years ago. I am a little concerned however that my fish tank may be too heavy and doing damage to the floor. There is deflection in the floors that is mostly only noticeable with a levelling tool, but this is throughout the whole condo and not just the area where the fishtank is located.

The tank is placed about 4 feet from the exterior wall along the side of the staircase leading up to the finished attic. I believe it is perpendicular to the floor joists (I can only tell from the storage compartment in the attic which way the joists run). The door at the top of these stairs is sticking and won't close all the way, and the bathroom door next to it is rubbing slightly. There is a closet door that sticks directly underneath that door as well. There is molding separating about 1/8th inch along the staircase and other slight molding separation throughout the condo. I can't say that this wasn't the case before I moved because the fish tank was first in here and I didn't notice it during the relatively brief inspection. I do know the door sticking has gotten slightly worse. There are some moldings breaking slightly away from the wall along the staircase as well.

I'm just wondering if some of these issues should be expected when you add a 650 lb piece of furniture to an old house, or if I should consider removing or at least moving the fish tank. Some of these changes may have been due to settling after the renovation, and general weather patterns of new england as well. I'm just not sure.

dj1
Re: Old Houses and Heavy Furniture
dj1

Bringing heavy furniture to a house like your, which shows some deflection is tricky. Go to johnbridgetileforum and use their deflection formula to figure it out. They deal with tiles, stones...and weight.

Tell them Houston Remodeler sent you.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Old Houses and Heavy Furniture
Mastercarpentry

You'll only know by moving or removing the tank (or whatever the heavy weight is) then waiting a few weeks to see what happens. Many old houses were never designed to have such a load applied to them and short of some serious structural work are simply not compatible with them. I'm somewhat surprised you do not have restrictions on fish tanks and waterbeds when you're living above somebody else- that's pretty commonplace around here nowadays.

Phil

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