Laminate Flooring Weight Limits: Heavyweight Issues and Solutions
Have you wondered what laminate flooring weight limits are and how they affect installation? We think it's a good question to consider before installing a floating floor system such as laminate. That way you know what to do with that grand piano heavyweight in the middle of the room you're about refloor!
In this article, we'll review issues associated with heavy objects on laminate floor and offer solutions. By knowing weights limits, you can make better installation decisions so heavyweight objects are both properly supported and their weight evenly distributed.
By the way, Brad Young, laminate flooring installation expert, frequently encounters questions about weight limits when he advises Kronotex USA laminate flooring customers. That's why it's one of the "Ls" in Brad Young's booklet "The 3 L's" - aka "Load."
Why it's important to consider heavyweight weight limits on your laminate flooring...
Heavy, weighty objects sitting on your laminate floor can interfere with the natural expansion of the planks across the entire room because it's a floating floor system -- regardless of the manufacturer. Heavyweights can affect the structural integrity of the interlocking laminate planks and lead to performance issues with the floor. Not good!
For instance, if you know you're going to park that baby grand piano you inherited from your aunt on top of your Kronotex USA Beaufort floor, install an "island" or "lilly pad" of the same flooring where the piano legs will go, separated by the rest of the room's flooring, with the standard T-molding and expansion gaps. That way the weight of the piano is literally isolated to the piano's footprint without putting the rest of your floor at risk.
There are four basic issues when it comes to placing heavyweights on laminate flooring.
1. Anything over 500 lbs. on laminate flooring is a heavy weight consideration.
When we speak of heavyweights, we are mostly talking about weight limits of 500 lbs and more. Heavy, stationary objects under 500 lbs. may not necessarily need their own island (described above), but they would definitely benefit from a thicker plank selection, like a Kronotex USA 12 mm thick Beaufort plank. (Read more about thickness in our post How to Choose Laminate Flooring Thickness.) An exception is when the object generates vibration. We address that in #4 below.
2. Limit instances of concentrated weight on a laminate floor.
Some heavyweight things can spread out their weight evenly, because more of their surface area comes in direct contact with the laminate floor. Heavy things resting on feet, however, are another matter entirely and would benefit from a lillypad or island. The best example is typical fish aquarium. Here's why:
- Many aquariums are held by wrought-iron frames that concentrate the entire weight on four small feet. Each foot may force as much as 200 lbs. into a 1 to 2" diameter area for a typical 90 gallon/800 lb. tank. That's a lot of pressure!
- Aquariums are usually placed against a wall where they may end up resting on and therefore putting stress on a short laminate plank. Short cut planks (which are just a result of the installation for a given room) don't have the length to distribute the load as well. They don't deal well with heavy concentrated weight forced down on them.
3. If the heavy weight stays put, it's actually better for your laminate floor.
Knowing in advance where a heavy item will be placed will help you plan your laminate floor installation and accommodate an island for it.
4. With some heavy things, it's not the weight but the vibrations that could be a concern for laminate flooring.
We discussed this in The Laundry Room and Laminate Flooring: Room x Room regarding washing machines. A typical washing machine may weigh around 175 lbs. plus water and laundry, but the vibrations could, over time, loosen the locking system if not isolated from the rest of the floor. Definitely consider an island for the washing machine!
Which heavyweights should I be careful about on my laminate floor?
Here's a quick list we put together of heavyweights and their weights. Remember, every item and situation is different and all weights are averages or estimated...
- Upright piano: 500 to 800 lbs.
- Grand piano: 500 to 1,200 lbs.
- Pool table: 700+ lbs. (The thickness of the slate is the big determiner here.)
- Gun safe: 375+ lbs. (Based on a 6 ft. safe that holds 16 guns)
- Aquarium: 800 lbs. (Based on a 90-gallon tank. Always remember, "a pint's a pound the world around.")
- Washing machine: 175 lbs. plus water and clothes
- Treadmill: 250 to 300 lbs. (Based on a True PS/800 model)
- Pinball machine: 300 lbs.
For each of these heavy items, you'll want to consider the four issues detailed above and how to best address laminate flooring weight limits.
What about those mobility scooters on my laminate floor?
If someone in your home uses one of those battery-operated scooters to get around, it's not the weight that's the concern, even though they will have a load-bearing range of between 250 and 350 lbs., depending on the model.
Rather, it's the repeated torque on the laminate floor's locking system (caused by turns going through a doorway). A 12 mm thick plank laminate floor will handle the repeated torque stress better than a thinner plank will.
Have something unusally heavy or big you want to sit on your Konotex USA laminate floor? Tell us about it! We'd love to advise you.
--The Kronotex USA Blog Team