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Old 04-26-2010, 04:23 PM   #11
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You really want to find out which way the joists run, and make sure you are running the tank perpendicular to the joists. Also, obviously put the tank near the wall and not in the middle of the floor. as far as spilling water goes, you will. Keep some microfiber towels handy.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jestes View Post
Jcarlilesiu, I guess there's a curve by which you can exceed the saftey margin? Meaning that, to a point, you can exceed the saftey margin to a larger degree in a small area than you could in a larger area?
Jestes,

I wouldn't count on the safety margin at all. The safety margin is completely discretionary by the designer. The minimum pound/sq ft rating is established by the building code. I can tell you that when I design houses, I usually include a safety factor, but I certainly wouldn't count on it.

As far as being able to exceed the loading design based on room size. I think you might have slightly misunderstood me. Lets use some real world examples for conversation purposes.

Lets assume that we have a room that is 5'x5' and the perimeter of the room is supported to the foundation at all sides. Lets assume that the floor is framed with 2x6s spaced at 12" and that this floor can hold (actual) 80 pounds per square foot without deflecting (sagging) more than 1/2" at the center when the aquarium is placed in the center of the room.

Alternatively, there is a second room that is 20'x20' and is framed with 2x10s and spaced at 16". This floor is designed to hold (actual) 65 pounds per foot. The same aquarium is placed in the center of this room, and due to the longer span, and the less rating, this floor will deflect 1 full inch.

The third room is 40'x40', framed with 2x12s at 12" o.c. and has a beam running down the middle. This floor is designed for 70 pounds per square foot. When the aquarium is placed in the center of the room, the floor doesn't deflect at all (due to the beam).

Thus, the room size doesn't matter, but the components used to frame that room do.

Typically, due to the smaller span in smaller rooms, the floor will deflect LESS than in larger rooms. This is simply becuase the span is less but there are alot of factors to consider.

It comes down to how the rooms floor transfers the load to the earth or structural components. A very small room may not have ANY structural members at the perimeter and will deflect more than a larger room with a beam. Thus, room size doesn't matter.

To carry on slightly further, think about a 2x4 spanning between 2 concrete blocks on the ground. The farther apart those blocks are, the more the 2x4 will bounce. It always will bend the most in the center of the span.

Due to framing standards, and the fact that most houses maintain the biggest floor framing required for the biggest span, most small areas of floor have really really over sized floor framing. Thus, typically, yes smaller span is gong to be the strongest.

Take our blocks and 2x4 again. Place another block on top of the 2x4, but very close to one of the blocks at the end. It won't cause the 2x4 to sag that badly as compared to placing the block ontop of the 2x4 in the center of the span.

For this reason, typically smaller framed areas, with the aquarium placed closest to the structural bearing point are optimum.

I hope this wasn't too confusing. Hard to do on a forum and with so many variables to consider.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:33 PM   #13
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granted, a concrete slab would be the best scenario...

jcarlilesiu: i was just thinking about the 40-60 lbs/sq ft....... i wear a size 12 shoe and im 210 lbs.... so with some guessing on the size of my shoes (didnt have a ruler)... standing on both feet i take up just under 1 sq/ft of floor space... wouldnt that mean i am exerting 210/sq foot? thats much more then my tank would... no?

im an analyst, not an architect
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:43 PM   #14
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jcarlilesiu: i was just thinking about the 40-60 lbs/sq ft....... i wear a size 12 shoe and im 210 lbs.... so with some guessing on the size of my shoes (didnt have a ruler)... standing on both feet i take up just under 1 sq/ft of floor space... wouldnt that mean i am exerting 210/sq foot? thats much more then my tank would... no?

im an analyst, not an architect
Ahh, but you have found yet two more variables.

The plywood that you stand on that makes up your sub-floor transfers some of that weight to surrounding joists. The thicker the sub-floor, the more ability for the lateral transfer of your weight to surrounding framing members. Thus, when that load is distributed to 2 more joists around you, the load caused by your weight does not exceed the maximum for the area. An aquarium will spread its load to surrounding joists as well, but due to the fact that the aquarium weighs 5 times as much as you, all framing members carrying the load are being exceeded in the affected area.

Does that mean that once you hit 65 pounds Lbs/Ft2 that the floor will collapse. No, variable 2.

Variable 2: Put another 100 guys your size in your house all standing 1 square foot apart, and stand there for 5 years. Your floor would be hugely deflected over time. If you could place a ball on the floor, it would roll to the center of the room... even AFTER all of your twins left. This is because wood framing has great tensile properties, meaning that they respond to tension well. A floor joist is both in tension and compression. Wood does though start to take on the shape of that deflection as the tensile strength wears on the members over time when the excess load stays in place. The wood will warp eventually and will not "recoil" once the load is removed.

This is damage to the structure even though there wasn't a total failure.

Hope that makes sense.
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Old 04-26-2010, 04:48 PM   #15
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absolute sense actually..... didnt think of taking the subflooring into consideration....

hmmm... so basically i need the architectural plans, supposing they can be found, before a final decision could be made.... but generally not a good idea?
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:27 PM   #16
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jcarlilesiu, this is some fantastic information. I've been looking for some of this information for a while. Does this apply across the country or just Chicago? I know Cook County has some of the toughest building codes in the world.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:42 PM   #17
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absolute sense actually..... didnt think of taking the subflooring into consideration....

hmmm... so basically i need the architectural plans, supposing they can be found, before a final decision could be made.... but generally not a good idea?
Not necessarily. Do you know which way your framing is running? Is the location where you want to place the aquarium at a load bearing wall with direct load transfer to the foundation? Will the tank be perpendicular to the joists? How far is the span of the joists it will be resting on? How old is the building? Is the floor in a permenant state of deflection now?

If you took some photos of the interior and exterior of the building I might be able to offer up some advice.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:50 PM   #18
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this was just something i had thought about.... we havnt bought a place yet, in the process of looking... so i didnt know if i could be collecting structural plans for each property? lol thats all... thanks for all the help... ill be sure to keep you posted.
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Old 04-26-2010, 05:52 PM   #19
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jcarlilesiu, this is some fantastic information. I've been looking for some of this information for a while. Does this apply across the country or just Chicago? I know Cook County has some of the toughest building codes in the world.
BigJim, most jurisdictions use some form of a standardized building code. Weather that be UBC, IBC, or MBC. The larger cities have the ability, and the need, to expand on certain sections of the code as it relates to the specific needs of that jurisdiction. For instance, earthquake codes in California are more explicit than they would be in the generic IBC utilized by a town in Alabama. This is because California expanded on the code for their needs due to higher frequency of earthquakes.

Chicago and Cook County publish their own building code as you stated, but it has its roots in some standard publication I am sure. Pretty much the entire Ordinance in the city is identical to the IBC, they just drafted it themselves, added a few things, deleted a few things, did a few revisions and called it their own.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:49 PM   #20
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Wow, amazing info. This is exactly what i was looking for. But this would not apply with a 1 story house with a foundation would it?

Here is a side question, how would you go about WERE to reinforce the floor if it needed it?
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