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construction details of older homes (1920s)

bigtimeslackerbigtimeslacker Registered User regular
edited July 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
i'm hoping someone might know something about this or maybe be able to point me in the right direction. my google skills seem to have failed at this.

i recently bought a home in buffalo, ny that was built in 1920. it is has two full aparments (1st and 2nd floor), a full basement, and a full size attic that could be easily converted into living space. the building inspector says everything is in good condition. all the homes in the area seem to be constructed in a very similar fashion, it seems to be the most common style home built in the buffalo area during that time.

i was hoping to find something online going into more detail about the construction materials and methods of builders used in the buffalo, ny area during the 1920's but i've found nothing so far. i've heard people say that older homes are built stronger than newer homes and i'm looking for some information to back this up. my concern is mostly my fish tanks, which until now have been in a furnished basement sitting on cement where weight wasnt an issue. the 75 gallon tanks could weigh around 1000 pounds after thinking about water, gravel, rocks, and the stand. i want to get an even bigger tank eventually. will it fall through the floor?

tl;dr: are older homes really built stronger than newer ones? i've got some heavy shit to put on my floor and don't want to break my house.

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    CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I've only worked in residential construction for a few years in total, so take the things I say with a grain of salt. But most of the older homes I saw and/or helped renovated did seem to be "stronger", at least in theory. The quality of the wood seemed to be better, the size of the framing was generally much larger than it needed to be (a 2x4 actually used to be 2" by 4"). One could argue though that competency of the engineering nowadays is much higher, so the actual strength of houses is probably about the same.

    Anyway, as for your fish tank, I've seen some pretty big tanks in houses without any special attention to the structure, so I would think you'd be ok. Just inspect where you want to put it, make sure the floorboards are in good condition. If a building inspector passed the structure of the house, it should be fine.

    Cycophant on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    Shouldn't the local building code specify the minimum load bearing capability of the floor on something like a per square foot basis? If the building passes code, you could probably assume that minimum is a safe metric and figure out if your tank meets that criteria.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    powersspowerss Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I believe these are figures for floor strength. Don't hold me to them:

    - 50 lbs/sf -- typical residential
    - 75 lbs/sf -- typical commercial
    - 150 lbs/sf -- typical military
    - 200 lbs+/sq -- bunker

    powerss on
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    PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2007
    Given that when I stand with both of my feet pushed together I'm occupying less than one square foot, and that I have yet to go crashing through any floors lately, I'm going to ask you to not post in threads that you don't know a single thing about.


    Think about the fish tank this way: Will it weigh more per square foot than a bath tub filled with water and a person? Because the floor HAS to be able to hold that much.

    Pheezer on
    IT'S GOT ME REACHING IN MY POCKET IT'S GOT ME FORKING OVER CASH
    CUZ THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE AND IT'S GIVING ME A RASH
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    powersspowerss Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    DrDizaster wrote: »
    Given that when I stand with both of my feet pushed together I'm occupying less than one square foot, and that I have yet to go crashing through any floors lately, I'm going to ask you to not post in threads that you don't know a single thing about.


    Think about the fish tank this way: Will it weigh more per square foot than a bath tub filled with water and a person? Because the floor HAS to be able to hold that much.


    Hey asshat: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Home-Improvement-General-688/Strength-Floor.htm

    I was pretty close.

    powerss on
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    bigtimeslackerbigtimeslacker Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    thanks a lot for the help guys. from what i read in that link above, it seems like i'll have no problem putting the 75 gallon tank on the 2nd floor, especially since it will be right next to an exterior load bearing wall. if i ever get an even bigger tank, i'll probably have an inspector come out to check the floor.

    bigtimeslacker on
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