Do you want to put your new treadmill upstairs or in an apartment but aren’t too sure if it’s safe to do so? I had the same concern when buying workout equipment while living in an apartment. Here’s what you want to know.
In a building that’s up to code, you can safely put a treadmill upstairs or in an apartment provided you and the treadmill are of average weight or slightly higher. People over 300 lbs. should be careful with running at full speed but can safely walk and jog on a treadmill upstairs.
Below you can find out how you can calculate if your floor can safely hold your treadmill. It’s very easy I promise. I’ll also give you some tips on how to make extra sure you put your treadmill in the strongest spot in the room.
Can an upstairs floor handle a treadmill?
A building that’s up to code in the USA will be able to handle 30 to 40 lbs. per square foot upstairs.
That’s 30 to 40 lbs. if you load the whole floor. Floors should also be able to handle a concentrated load of at least 300 lbs. That means if the rest of the floor isn’t loaded, any small area of the floor can handle at least 300 lbs.
A uniform load of 30 lbs. over a 150 square foot bedroom is 4500 lbs. you can put in the whole room as long as it’s spread out. A treadmill usually has four feet that are spread out reasonably well. That means you have a limit of 4 times 300 lbs. That means 1200 lbs. That’s the upper limit though. To stay safe, try to stay under about 1000 lbs.
This is plenty for even the heaviest of treadmills. (The Peleton Tread+ is one of the heaviest at 455 lbs.) Of course that’s not all the weight. The floor also has to hold you standing and running on the treadmill.
When you stand on the treadmill and just walk, your weight is just that. However, when you run, your weight impacts the treadmill at speed. That means the force on the floor is actually higher than your bodyweight.
As you can see here (Link) the effective weight of the impact while running ranges from 1.5x to 3x the runners body weight. So if you want to run, multiplying your bodyweight by 3 means you get the maximum effective load the floor will get.
So to see if you’re safe to put a treadmill upstairs do the following;
- Look up the weight of your treadmill
- Take your body weight and multiply it by 3
- Add the two numbers
Is that final number under 1200 lbs.? (Preferably under 1000 lbs.) Then you’ll be perfectly fine placing your treadmill upstairs and running on it.
For example: You have a treadmill that weighs 275 lbs. and you weigh 225 lbs.
- Treadmill weight = 275 lbs.
- Running weight = 3*225 = 675 lbs.
- Total load = 950 lbs.
In this example you’re perfectly safe to place a treadmill upstairs and run on it. But, it’s a simple calculation; make sure to do it for your situation.
From that example, you can also see that people 300 lbs. and over do have to be more careful because you’re getting very close to that 1200 lbs. People of that weight probably won’t be running at full speed which means you don’t have to multiply your weight by 3x. For walking and jogging, the impact weight is going to be about 2x bodyweight. That means you’re still fine to use that treadmill as long as you’re not running at full force but, you should definitely be mindful of the fact that you’re pushing the limits.
Check some of the safety tips below to make sure you stay safe.
Make sure to check the building codes in your area or contact a professional to inspect if you’re safe. Building codes can change by location especially if you live in another country.
How much does a treadmill weigh?
Treadmills come in many shapes and sizes. There are tons of different treadmills that all have different weights. Luckily I’ve already written a post and done research into the weight of treadmills. Here is the conclusion of that post;
Of course the weight of the treadmill isn’t the only thing to think about. The person working out on it also has an impact. And it’s pretty obvious humans have very different shapes and sizes. Even more than treadmills. You probably already know your body weight though.
Above you can see that most people will be perfectly safe to run on a treadmill that’s not on a ground floor. If you’re still a little worried, there are a few things you can do to reduce risks.
- Find a joist/supporting wall: If you know where the supporting walls or joists are in the floor under you, place your treadmill on top of them. On top of one of those, a floor is going to be much stronger. Keep in mind, the building code only specifies the minimum load the floor should be able to handle: (1) if you load the whole floor. (2) at the weakest spot. So some parts will have to be much stronger.
- Close to the wall: If there are no supporting walls under you, the closer to the wall you are, the more load a floor can handle. Think about a toothpick. Put both ends on something solid but keep open space in the middle. Now try to break it by pushing down. You’ll see it’s much easier to break by pushing in the middle than by pushing near the edge.
- Find a lightweight treadmill: If you are sure you have to lower the weight, the easiest way to do that is to find a lighter treadmill. However, quality and weight do seem to be loosely correlated.
- Start with walking: Especially if you’re a bigger person and out of shape, it’s a good idea to start with brisk walking. It’s puts less load on your floor, however, it also puts less stress on your joints. If you start off with running, hurting yourself is pretty common.
- Use a hard layer/mat: A thick treadmill mat or even layer of plywood under your treadmill will spread out the weight over a larger area. Spreading out the load means a lower load per square foot.
Ask an expert
If you feel unsure if your situation is safe or not, you can always ask the advice of an expert. Find a local engineering company that is familiar with the building code in your area and ask them. A quick phone call will probably answer your question very quickly.
If they’re not sure, you’ll have to ask someone to come out to your house and inspect the situation. That will probably cost some money but that’s better than just going for it and discovering it was too much later on.
Other problems of putting a treadmill in an apartment
The load limit of a floor isn’t the only thing you have to think about if you put a treadmill upstairs or in an apartment.
The biggest problem is often the noise. A treadmill motor and belt will make a little humming noise when turned on. High quality treadmills will be a bit quieter than low quality ones. That’s not really a noise the neighbors will complain about because it’s not very loud.
What creates the most noise and vibrations the neighbors can hear is the rhythmic thumping when running. This impact is quite audible in most buildings and will probably result in some complaints. Using a thick treadmill mat will help reduce these vibrations.
Getting your treadmill upstairs is another issue. If it’s already assembled, you’ll probably have to disassemble, carry the parts upstairs and re-assemble in place. Treadmills usually don’t fit in the lift, are too big and heavy to carry up the stairs and often don’t even fit through a normal door in one piece.