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 upper 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, here it is:
"I can honestly say, this is not something we have encountered as being a problem. As long as the home is built and equipped to handle heavy product on the second floor of your home, there should not be any issues at all. The heaviest of the treadmills in the Sole line is 322 lbs. and that would be the light commercial TT8 model. The purely residential units range anywhere from 254 lbs. - 301lbs. Again this is not something we have come across as a problem, but as you stated it will be specific from home to home. Please let us know if you have any further questions." - Sole Fitness
I then asked if they had experienced or heard of any problems with damage to ceilings below the treadmill on an upper 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. 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: "I have not heard of our treadmills causing any damage to the floor or ceiling. I believe you will be just fine having it on the second floor. Most people do." - Icon Fitness USA.
The company I asked following that is probably the most important. They are a treadmill repair company, if anyone has experienced problems with treadmills placed on the second floor, it is these guys who would know. My question was forwarded to a fitness equipment repair technician: "I work on treadmills regularly and do a lot of in home service as well and I can tell you that at least half of them are on the upper floors. I've never seen any damage by putting a treadmill upstairs." - Treadmill Doctor.
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 properties can handle that but use your common sense just in case. If your building is old or not built well then upstairs may not be so suitable.
Whatever you choose to do, upstairs can be ok unless you feel your 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.