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Floor support issues? Please help?!?!

I have an old house, circa 1775. I had a claw foot tub downstairs. Had to take it out and replace with washer and dryer. Want to put said claw foot tub in upstairs bathroom which currently has an old decrepit stand up shower. I have two little kids who miss their tubbies! My concern is floor support. This old house has NO floor joists between first and second floor. It's just a subfloor spread across exposed beams. The Sheetrock of my first floor ceiling is screwed right to the subfloor. Subfloor is an inch of some old wood (still in good solid condition) and an inch of hardwood floor. It seems solid, however the space for the tub would be right between two of the beams. No way to straddle it across a beam. The beams have 43 inches between them. Do you think it will hold the heavy iron tub plus water plus a person???

A. Spruce
Re: Floor support issues? Please help?!?!

I wouldn't risk it.

Re: Floor support issues? Please help?!?!

Need a little more information. How big are the beams and how long? Are they exposed to the floor below? What is the room directly below used for?

By your description, the tub will have to straddle the beams. I think you meant that the feet will have to be between the beams, no way to align the feet to sit on the beams. Is that correct?

There are ways to do this, but it may not look acceptable to you. Just curious, in most two story houses, all the bedrooms are on the second floor. Did you consider putting the laundry on the second floor so you don't have to lug laundry up and down the stairs and leave the bath tub on the first floor?

Re: Floor support issues? Please help?!?!

Position both pairs of tub feet as close to a pair of joists as possible, and it will probably be fine. Or if the tub has to run parallel to the joists, center it between a pair. It will likely be fine. The old subfloor may be 1" of old white oak or chestnut, and be tough as an old boot.
I would not have it straddling just one of your beam/joists, that would be asking a lot of one structural member

Re: Floor support issues? Please help?!?!

Place the legs of the tub closest to the beams as possible. You want to share the load with the highest number of structural elements...in this case the beams. The sheathing is a secondary structural element....it transfers the load to the beams. You did not say how wide the sheathing is. That is very crucial, since if it is a narrow board, it will be stressed far higher as a wider board. That is crucial. I don't think the weight of the tub, water and person will punch through 1" subfloor. The subfloor would have to be rotten in order for that to happen.

I would recommend getting a structural engineer to look at it. I am one, and I can tell you it will probably be bad news. The problem is, when an engineer looks at it, he will apply the latest code required loads on the existing elements, and you may be in for a surprise after he is finished telling you what has to be updated. I live in , and I am sure the States are similar in the fact that building codes are not retroactive. This means that your house does not have to conform to the present code, until a renovation or structural change is performed. If you obtain a structural engineer, and he points out deficiencies, you would be obligated to disclose that information if you do not implement the recommendations and you decide to sell the house. There is no easy answer. I have kiboshed a lot of nice renos to older houses just because the existing structure or footings/foundations do not meet code, even though it would work in the real world, but not in a legal world where structures are scrutinized by other engineers and their lawyers.

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