I got a poor response in that most of the companies didn't even reply at all. I do wonder that they didn't respond because they didn't want to incriminate themselves. For example they said there wouldn't be a problem and then months down the line they get a lawsuit quoting their "no problem first floor" email when there was.
I'm so pleased with the companies hat responded and I think they deserve something for their customer service. The first and probably the best was Sole Fitness. They responded within 15 minutes of my email and when I asked them a second question that response was equally as quick. Here it is:
"Thank you for your interest in Sole. You should be just fine with putting the machine on the first floor. If you want to protect your flooring I would suggest getting a mat. We have a mat that covers the touchdown points of the machine for $51.99 As for the ceilings you will need to add about 14" to your height to get the minimum ceiling clearance. This will cover you at the highest incline level of the machine." - Sole Fitness
I then asked if they had experienced or heard of any problems with damage to ceilings below the treadmill on the first floor: "No, I haven't ever heard of the ceiling below the machine being damaged due to the use of the treadmill." - Sole Fitness.
The next company I contacted was Icon Canada, this company is a worldwide leader in manufacturing fitness equipment so I contacted the US division and the Canadian because why not? Here is the response I got from the Canadian partners.:
"Good day they suggest to place the treadmill on a level surface, with at least 8 ft. (2.4 m) of clearance behind it and 2 ft. (0.6 m) on each side. Do not place the treadmill on any surface that blocks air openings. To protect the floor or carpet from damage, place a mat under the treadmill. Keep the treadmill indoors, away from moisture and dust. Do not put the treadmill in a garage or covered patio, or near water. I hope this will help you. Thank you for contacting Icon of Canada." - Icon Canada.
I was really surprised and pleased about their no treadmill in the garage comment. I think the garage is one of the most popular places to put the treadmill. I got an answer from their US division too: "That should not be an issue. I would just put a floor mat under the unit." - Icon Fitness.
The last response I got was from a major treadmill site and they don't sell any treadmills, they review them to give people good advice and buying recommendations. They were good enough to respond: "Thanks for the email! No, I have not heard of a treadmill damaging anything like this." - Treadmill Reviews.
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My thoughts on the responses
All the responses were good advice, when it comes to floors a treadmill mat is a necessity. More than that you should place something below that to spread the weight even further. This is especially the case if you have hardwood flooring. You don't want the treadmill moving as you run and you want to protect the contact points.
As far as ceilings below when the treadmill is upstairs anywhere we've got good advice on that too. Place it away from walls for safety. As far as ceilings being damaged I am skeptical. I've heard of vibrations and the noise from those that make it a nightmare to live with. As far as damage to the structure I'm not so sure.
When you think of the weight of a bath and the water combined with a person in it. You're talking hundreds of pounds. A bed with 2 people in that and the tiny contact points on the floor. A treadmill is 200 lbs plus and the person running on it? Most property can handle that but use your common sense just in case. If you're building is old or not built well then upstairs may not be so suitable.
Whatever you choose to do upstairs is not a no no unless you feel you're home won't take it. Treadmills in apartments maybe risky where noise is concerned for other residents. There are all sorts of scare stories on the web but we feel a bit of judgment on your own property is what's best called for here and you'll enjoy your treadmill at home.
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