Can a Treadmill Be Used Upstairs? – Read This First!

A home treadmill is one of the best investments you can possibly make in your own health and fitness. Instead of going to the gym, you can burn calories at home. And since you don’t have to go to the gym, it won’t be as easy to talk yourself out of exercising because it’s cold outside or your car’s low on gas or because chips are delicious. Plus, working out at home means you won’t get overcharged for a protein shake by the hottie who works at the gym cafe.

But unless you live in an actual gym, you may have some concerns. Treadmills can be seriously heavy pieces of equipment. Besides the obvious hassle of getting this beast of a machine set up, what if your floor won’t takes the weight?.

Is it Safe to Use Treadmill Upstairs?

The answer to this question is going to depend on many different factors. But for the most part, in a building that is structurally sound, the floors should easily be able to take the weight of both a treadmill and the person on top of it.

The heaviest treadmills out there reach about 350 lbs. Even, if we put a 300 lb person on top of that treadmill, that’s a combined weight of 650 pounds.

  • How Much Weight Can Your Floor Take?

Again, it will depend on the construction of the building you live in. But a properly built floor should easily support 50 lbs per square foot. So in a room that’s 100 square feet, that’s 5,000 lbs of weight needed before you risk structural damage! So you don’t need to worry about suddenly crashing uninvited into your downstairs neighbor’s dinner party.

Still Worried? – Possible Solutions:

  • Solution #1

If you’re still concerned, there are a few things you can try to mitigate any risk. If you know the building well, you could set the treadmill down directly on top of a floor joist for added weight-bearing capacity. Or, if it’s the upper floor of a house we’re talking about, you could position the treadmill above a load-bearing wall.

  • Solution #2

Another option is to look for a lighter treadmill. Again, it’s very unlikely that even the most massive treadmill is going to be too much for your floor to take, whether you live in a house or an apartment. But lighter models are easier to move into position. Besides, you don’t want to feel nervous every time you use your treadmill. As far as excuses not to exercise go, ‘I’m scared of falling through the floor’ is at least fairly original, but it’s not going to help you shed those unwanted pounds.

Some Common Problems & Their Solutions

Unless you live in the most flimsily constructed of shacks, you shouldn’t have to worry about your treadmill crashing through the floor. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can put a treadmill wherever you want, either. First, you need to think about noise and vibrations.

Most of the sound we hear reaches us through the air. But the air is a relatively poor conductor of sound waves. Solid objects can carry sound both quicker and more forcefully than air does. What sounds moderately loud to you can be deafening to others elsewhere in a building.

Treadmills generate a lot of vibration when in use, and vibration means noise. If someone is on the floor below you, there’s practically no way they’re not going to hear you.

Possible Solutions: 

  • Solution #1

Before you set up a treadmill on an upper floor of your house, it’s a good idea to test the way sound carries in the building.

You can do this by standing on your tiptoes upstairs, and dropping your heels to the floor. Have a friend on the floor below listen. If they can hear the sound of your heels hitting the floor, the noise of a treadmill will most likely be deafening.

  • Solution #2

A carpeted floor can help mitigate the noise. And anti-vibration mats are available which can both cut down on noise and protect floors from damage. But you’re going to need to come to an agreement with whoever you share the house with. Don’t treadmill on the floor above someone during their quiet time. That’s just rude. 

  • When Using Treadmill In a Condo or Apartment

Having a treadmill on the upper floor of a house can cause problems. But at least you can talk it over with the other members of your household. Apartment buildings can be a different story.

The vibrations generated by a treadmill will spread throughout a building, amplified by wall voids and wooden framing. A treadmill that runs at, say 50 decibels can produce 100 decibels of noise for anyone below you. That’s close to the sound of a train passing by. The vibrations can be enough to shake pictures off the walls in the apartment below you.

For the above reasons, it’s not unusual for treadmills to be banned in apartment buildings. Even where they’re not explicitly forbidden, you should tread carefully (get it? Tread? Like a treadm – ok. Just checking).

Possible Solutions:

  • Solution #1:

If possible, you should move to first floor apartment as it avoids the issue of noise to the neighbors below and it’s far less difficult to get in and out. Or honestly, you should look for apartment with gym/ fitness center facility.

Moreover, if you don’t want to leave your place, you can try treadmill mats, gypcrete soundproofing and other kinds of noise reducers to ease the thud sounds and to eliminate the vibrations.

  • Solution #2:

Talk to your downstairs neighbors and say, “I will be sometimes working out on my treadmill during the day. If the noise ever bothers you please come up and knock to let me know!”.

Also, ask them what would be a good time so that you don’t bother them and see if you can find a time when the vibrations from your workout won’t disturb them. Maybe there are some hours when they aren’t home, and you could use your treadmill then.

Asking your neighbors about good workout times is a good thing to do. In this way, you neighbors might feel more comfortable approaching you if you are making too much noise at the wrong times.

But be considerate. There’s nothing worse than being at war with the people you share a building with.

  • Other Problems You May Face:

Getting the Treadmill Upstairs: Most of the companies won’t deliver it past the door, you alone need to struggle upstairs. Or you have to pay more to the delivery boy for the upstairs delivery.

You also need to consider the width of your stairs – you may not be able to get it round due to the heavy weight and size. 

Conclusion

Ninety-nine percent of the time, there’s no physical reason why you can’t put a treadmill upstairs – so long as you’re strong enough to get it up there in the first place. All but the most poorly built floors will be able to take the weight.

But it’s not always a good idea. Especially for those of us who live in apartments, treadmills can cause more trouble than they’re worth.

Still, there’s always the gym. Remember to tip the hottie next time you buy a protein shake.

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