Is This A Loading Bearing Wall?

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Lchi87

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Hopefully this is the right place for this...

I may upgrade my 40b to a 75 gallon in the near future! Here’s my hang-up though: while I’m pretty sure my floor can handle the extra weight, my SO needs extra reassurance that the extra weight won’t cause damage to our floor ( which already slopes ). His biggest fear is the tank crashing through the floor of our third floor walkup apartment. A bit dramatic lol but a very real concern. So if someone can let me know whether the wall the tank sits on now is loading bearing, that would be awesome. Extra bonus if anyone can figure out which direction my joists run. A stud finder doesn’t work through carpet :/

Here’s some photos:

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Thanks in advance!!!
 

Wild Bill

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As far as a load bearing wall goes, you’ll need to see the unit below yours floor plan. Is it different than yours, or the same? Does that door next to your tank go outside or into a hallway?
 
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Lchi87

Lchi87

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Wild Bill said:
As far as a load bearing wall goes, you’ll need to see the unit below yours floor plan. Is it different than yours, or the same? Does that door next to your tank go outside or into a hallway?
The unit below is exactly the same as mine. That door goes to a hallway shared by the other units.
 

Wild Bill

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Then I would almost say it’s not a load bearing wall. How old is the building? You said the floor slants already, how far out is it now? Does the Floor in the unit below yours slant too? I’m asking because if it is, there might be some settling in the foundation happening.
 

tyguy7760

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Almost impossible to tell from these pics. But I'd wager a guess that the safest place in the room would be right next to the back door that leads to what I assume is a balcony. Not sure if there is enough room for a tank on that back wall but that's where I'd put it. Still...can't really tell what way the joists are running without pulling up the carpet.

The room partition between the living room and the dining room though makes me want to say the joists are running side to side. I'm wondering if that partition is load bearing...no way to tell for sure.

edit: I agree with Wild Bill. The fact that the wall changes direction and is not an exterior wall makes it more likely it is not load bearing.
 

TexasDomer

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A 75 gal tank, while big, really isn't massive. If you think about the weight distributed across the floor (lbs per square inch, using the bottom of the tank stand as the area), it should come out manageable.

To be safe, is there another exterior wall, besides the one going to the balcony?
 
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Wild Bill said:
Then I would almost say it’s not a load bearing wall. How old is the building? You said the floor slants already, how far out is it now? Does the Floor in the unit below yours slant too? I’m asking because if it is, there might be some settling in the foundation happening.
The building was built in 1982. As far as the slant goes, there’s about a half inch difference between the water level at the front and back of the tank; the front pitches forward a bit so the water level is slightly higher there. I have no idea about the unit below unfortunately. I’ll have to ask the next time I see my neighbor ...
tyguy7760 said:
Almost impossible to tell from these pics. But I'd wager a guess that the safest place in the room would be right next to the back door that leads to what I assume is a balcony. Not sure if there is enough room for a tank on that back wall but that's where I'd put it. Still...can't really tell what way the joists are running without pulling up the carpet.

The room partition between the living room and the dining room though makes me want to say the joists are running side to side. I'm wondering if that partition is load bearing...no way to tell for sure.

edit: I agree with Wild Bill. The fact that the wall changes direction and is not an exterior wall makes it more likely it is not load bearing.
Yes, that's a balcony. If that’s the best place for a tank, I guess I’ll have to wait till after Christmas since my tree is there lol. We actually did try pulling up the carpet in another room to peek at the joists but couldn’t come to a conclusion either way. The stud finder wasn’t giving accurate results, even after using it sans carpet. I think it was picking up on the electrical in the floor...
TexasDomer said:
A 75 gal tank, while big, really isn't massive. If you think about the weight distributed across the floor (lbs per square inch, using the bottom of the tank stand as the area), it should come out manageable.

To be safe, is there another exterior wall, besides the one going to the balcony?
I thought the weight distribution would be okay too. The only exterior wall I have would be the same side the balcony is on, just in other rooms.
 

Jayd976

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if you do plan to move the tank if the floor is slanted try putting one of those leveling mats under it. The uneven weight distribution over time could weaken the seals of the tank.
 

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Can you ask the property manager to see if you can get access to blue prints? Also are you allowed to have a big tank like that on the third floor? The sloping would concern me as well. I think you might want to think about this through and figure out the pros and cons of having a tank of that size on the third floor. If you were on the first I wouldn't worry cause it would be able to handle the weight but third floor...that's a different story, need to think about the others below you should that, God forbid, bust open.
 

Jayd976

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Fashooga said:
Can you ask the property manager to see if you can get access to blue prints? Also are you allowed to have a big tank like that on the third floor? The sloping would concern me as well. I think you might want to think about this through and figure out the pros and cons of having a tank of that size on the third floor. If you were on the first I wouldn't worry cause it would be able to handle the weight but third floor...that's a different story, need to think about the others below you should that, God forbid, bust open.
wonder if its the tank that caused the slanting. how big is that tank?
 

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Jayd976 said:
wonder if its the tank that caused the slanting. how big is that tank?
She already mentions that the floor slopes...she could use small pieces of wood (can't figure out the name, it levels things like doors and whatnot) to help the 75 gallon tank from sloping but that doesn't resolve whether the floor itself can handle a 75 gallon which we're looking at 600 lbs w/o rocks and substrate?
 

Jayd976

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"Shims" and I personally would shI'm a tank. I'd either find a level spot or not at all especially with that much weight.
 

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Building usually have a safety margin for weight/square foot or meter. And even after the margin is surpassed you still have quite a bit of weight before you get structural problems. I would say you are safe as long as the building doesn't already have structural issues. If you have the plans for the apartment we could check to be sure if you want to be extra safe.
 

Jayd976

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could be a catch 22 if you bring it to their attention and they tell you that you can't have a tank that large then your screwed.
 
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Lchi87

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Fashooga said:
Can you ask the property manager to see if you can get access to blue prints? Also are you allowed to have a big tank like that on the third floor? The sloping would concern me as well. I think you might want to think about this through and figure out the pros and cons of having a tank of that size on the third floor. If you were on the first I wouldn't worry cause it would be able to handle the weight but third floor...that's a different story, need to think about the others below you should that, God forbid, bust open.
I’m sure I can get the blueprints from somewhere. No where in my lease agreement does it say I can’t keep a tank of that size but my arrangement is somewhat unconventional. My landlord only owns the unit that I live in and the rest of the building is either privately owned or rented out by other landlords. I am cognizant of my neighbors which is why I came here to ask first .
Jayd976 said:
wonder if its the tank that caused the slanting. how big is that tank?
The floors were already sloping before we moved in...
Fashooga said:
She already mentions that the floor slopes...she could use small pieces of wood (can't figure out the name, it levels things like doors and whatnot) to help the 75 gallon tank from sloping but that doesn't resolve whether the floor itself can handle a 75 gallon which we're looking at 600 lbs w/o rocks and substrate?
Jayd976 said:
"Shims" and I personally would shI'm a tank. I'd either find a level spot or not at all especially with that much weight.
I’ve got the 40 shimmed already to help with the slant. I’m estimating the total weight to be ~800lbs with rocks and substrate...
 
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BRDrew said:
Building usually have a safety margin for weight/square foot or meter. And even after the margin is surpassed you still have quite a bit of weight before you get structural problems. I would say you are safe as long as the building doesn't already have structural issues. If you have the plans for the apartment we could check to be sure if you want to be extra safe.
How would I know if there’s structural damage from the plans? Sorry to be remedial, I’ve got zero experience with building/construction.
 

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Lchi87 said:
How would I know if there’s structural damage from the plans? Sorry to be remedial, I’ve got zero experience with building/construction.
The plans are to see where the main bearing walls are. If there was structural damage causing the floors to slope, it would be in the footings and foundation. That’s why I asked if the floor below you slopes too. The slope in yours could just be from mismeasuring.
 

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You can't know if there's structural issues w/o an inspection and possibly opening up walls. But from the pics, I'd say you're fine with the weight of a 75 gallon tank. If you want to assure your bf, use a stand with a flat bottom that spreads the load out evenly across the floor. Personally, I wouldn't worry about floors for anything under 150 gallon where the weight goes well over any normal furniture.
 
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Wild Bill said:
Th

The plans are to see where the main bearing walls are. If there was structural damage causing the floors to slope, it would be in the footings and foundation. That’s why I asked if the floor below you slopes too. The slope in yours could just be from mismeasuring.
Gotcha, hopefully I’ll catch my downstairs neighbor soon so I can confirm with her. Thanks!
DarkOne said:
You can't know if there's structural issues w/o an inspection and possibly opening up walls. But from the pics, I'd say you're fine with the weight of a 75 gallon tank. If you want to assure your bf, use a stand with a flat bottom that spreads the load out evenly across the floor. Personally, I wouldn't worry about floors for anything under 150 gallon where the weight goes well over any normal furniture.
The stand I’ll be using is the very same cabinet in the photo so I guess that counts as a flat bottom...? I was told I didn’t need to worry about the floors too much as long as my tank was under triple digits but better be safe than sorry.
 

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