Moving press to 2nd floor?


I tried googling this and couldn’t find much info, so I thought I’d ask here – does anyone know if it’s possible to move & keep a press on a 2nd floor of a home? I kept finding information about moving one to a 2nd floor of a warehouse (or other type of large commercial building) but couldn’t find anything on a home.

I’m aware that the stairs would need to be structurally sound for a move (and have seen images of moving a press directly into a 2nd story with a crane, to avoid a staircase move altogether), but I’m also concerned about the floor being structurally sound to hold a press. I have a Vandercook SP-15, so while it’s lighter than other presses (around 700-800 lbs) I still don’t know if this is even feasible. I also have a smaller guillotine that’s about 200-300 lbs (I think).

Any info would be greatly appreciated!

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If you move your press up there, next it will be the cutter, then type cabinets, shelves of paper, etc. Which will be the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Even if nothing collapses, you might cause some things to sag or crack. The vibration and noise from your using the press will likely be transmitted down through the floor to the area below in a rather unappealing way.

Is there no place downstairs that might be a better place for your printing? Do you have a garage with a concrete slab floor that you could convert?


While I can’t answer flat out that the press could be supported by a typical 2nd floor of a home, If the home has floor joists which meet modern code, and the press is placed perpendicular to the floor joists (so that the weight is borne by four or five of them) you probably are safe putting this Vandercook on the second floor.

A cast iron bathtub full of water and a 200-lb. bather can weigh as much as 1000 lbs. or more in approximately the same space as your press would occupy.

I have my pressroom on a wood floor structure and have much heavier presses. Because I was concerned, as you evidently are, I contacted a local architect who took a look at the structure and gave me the OK to do it. This may not cost a lot of money to do, and would be worth investigating. If the underside of the floor is finished, you may not be able to see the structure.

As DGM suggests, a press alone is one thing, but if you add heavy typecases and the cutter, etc., it adds up quickly. The architect or engineer may be able to give you an estimate of how great a load can be supported per square foot, which would enable you to make good choices.

John Henry

if I were you I’d move the living room, or the kitchen to the second floor and put the shop on the first floor.

C.E. Little bit of an ambiguous question with 2 many *X* factors involved or missing.?? A few for starters, old house new house = old joists new joists, how far apart, how far unsupported, 10 feet, 12 feet, 15 feet?? what existing decking/flooring, M.D.F! Sterling Board! Chipboard! Multi-ply, (i.e. for example 10/12 ply from Sweden or Canada will support possibly 50% more load, per square foot than tounge and groove chipboard?) . Many many more factors to be considered as above, perhaps see what suggestions come up on this site/subject, find a structural engineer, ask for an assesment with all site (home) factors available, and asking for advice such as the need for an R.S.J. (Rolled Steel Joist) underpinning the floor below the machine, how many joists to span, and distribute the weight of the machine, what sub-base to use, etc etc etc.
I offer a little practical experience going back a long way, involving load bearing joists/beams etc, involving Glockner Mercedes Cylinder, Press (upwards of 1 !/2 tons) Thompson British Auto Platen, (at 1 and 1/4 tons) and Milling Machine (at well over 1 and 1/2 tons) all lifted in and through my garage /workshop, in each case lifted on/with endless chain hoist mounted *A* on a 5” R.S.J. supported at 12 foot apart uprights, and *B* with a shackle around 2 9” x 12 foot wooden joists, bolted together and supported at 12 foot apart, as with the R.S.J.s.
Although I used an Acrow prop for safety, the R.S.J. with the Milling machine hanging on it Bowed by 1/8” of an inch, the 2 bolted together, joists did not bow perceptibly??
By implication, demonstrating the supportive power of good Timber Joists. BUT N.B. I was only answerable to myself.
D.G.M.s Advice as above would seem to be the best option.

You should definitely consult a structural engineer. As Mick pointed out, there are far too many variables to get an accurate answer here.

Thanks everybody! Even before I heard back from anyone, my gut told me it was waaaay too much trouble and too much liability to move the press into a place like that. I decided against it, just in case! Thank you though for all the responses, I googled this idea for a bit and couldn’t find any good info on it… hopefully this thread can help someone else in the future if they think of the same thing.