possible to run my C&P 12x18” from a space with a basement?

Hi all! I’ve been running my business for almost a year now, and my lease is coming up. The space that I’m in currently has poured concrete floors, but they’re sloped (the space was used as a garage previously) and I don’t have a lot of temperature control. I’d like to move if I can—and I went and saw a space today that looks really promising. The only problem is, the space has a basement. There’s a reinforced steel beam running through the middle of the space (not where I’d ideally have my presses, but what can you do?), but I’m not sure it will be enough to support my presses. I have one 12x18 C&P New style with a dual phase motor, and am looking at purchasing another 12x18 C&P. (Not sure of the specifics on this one just yet—meeting with the seller this weekend.)

I’ve attached a picture below of what the beam looks like from the basement, and it’s brick walls on all sides, but I’m just a little worried about moving from my space currently (where I know my press is never gonna fall through the floor) to a space where that might be a concern.

Obviously if I end up purchasing a second press, the presses will be on opposite sides of the space to distribute the weight more evenly across the beam. (The tilted beam is wood that I think is just leaning there—the vertical beams actually holding the steel beam up are steel & as you can see, are secured to/maybe even into the cement floor.)


image: image.jpeg


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There are a lot of factors at play here and this looks to be an older building. I would suggest consulting a structural engineer who can look at the specifics of the situation. Depending on the size/spacing of the floor joists it may work. Or it may not. Unfortunately it’s difficult to review based only on a photo.

As you appear to have access to the underside of the Beam (R.S.J. = Rolled Steel Joist) measure the Depth as in the cross bar of the *H* >>from the timber joists above approx 9”<< measure the Width of the *H* uprights, same top and bottom probably 4” - 5” therefore the R.S.J. would be described as 9” x 4” or 9” x 5”.!!
*H* section Beams are strongest as pictured, above. i.e. in sleeping mode???
Measure the unsupported length, i.e. between the uprights, which are probably 4” box girders, with webs spanning the underside of the R.S.J. and ditto, webs embedded in, or sitting on the concrete sub base.
With even an approximation of these figures, trawl the Web and you will find many sites, U.S. and U.K. that, with your figures keyed in, will give excellent readout regarding Length, Unsupported lengths, Size and Section of R.S.J.s and potential load bearing capabilities.

Your shot appears to show fairly modern, even Modern, main beam! modern Box Girder Uprights, (possibly encased in fire retardant material) and if possible take a close look at the brick pier, supporting the Beam at back, although the original brickwork may be just that, Original,?>>>
>>>You will probably see (in line with modern structural engineering) the Beam sits on a PAD of Engineering bricks, extremely hard to support loads, synonymous with that Size of R.S.J.

A good/efficient Steel Stockholder should state precisely (and well UNDER any H.&.S. specifications) what Load bearing properties should be expected.

Good Luck.

The lighting is playing with my eyes, but what appears to be a wide flange beam down the middle is I think actually the return air plenum for the furnace in the middle of the photo.

A 12x18 weighs around 2100 pounds, that weight is spread out over maybe 6 square feet? That’s a load of 350 pounds per square foot.


1. Those are 2x12 joists
2. The joists are 16” on center
3. The joists are made out of spruce/pine or fir.
4. The joists have a span of 12’
5. You can position your press so that the weight spans 3 joists
6. You don’t have other heavy things on the same joists
7. I didn’t fail high school math

If all the above assumptions are true (I can guarantee the truthiness of only one of them), your press may or may not fall through the floor. Running some numbers through a beam calculator makes me think your situation might favour the latter case, although assumption #7 may or may not be in your favour… only Mr. Smith, my high school math teacher can confirm that one.

I think it would be worth talking to a structural engineer. An undetected split joist could ruin your day.

[sorry, Mick, no chicken scratch diagram to go along with this one]

thanks all for your input! I’m definitely going to hire a structural engineer to at least come look, but just wanted to know if it looked like, from the photo, that this was a no-go from the get go! I’m hoping to take out a small business loan if I decide to move, which would help with the possible need to do some reinforcement of my flooring. Also in the plan: plywood and vibration pads to evenly distribute weight and keep vibration from (literally) rocking my foundation.

keelan - there is a return air plenum, but you can’t see it—it’s behind what I believe is a 12x5 I beam that runs through the middle of the space. unless you mean whatever part of the air system that is coming down vertically. I assure you though, the large thing running along the basement ceiling is a reinforced steel beam. I’m hoping to get back into the space this weekend and take more photos, but it was very dark in the basement (I upped the exposure on the photo to show more).

Cassie Thank you for your acknowledgement and corroboration, that amount of deck and floor area has to have a substantial beam above. Somewhere.

The main thrust of my Humble offering was basically to (when you approach Your Structural Engineer) be armed with some basic info at Your fingertips, rather than go in blind.

The principle being that if You appear to have done SOME homework, You stand a better chance of good end result.

And Yes! Your observation re Vibration pads etc. does hold good, I.E. when we were obliged to sit a Monotype (on a mezzanine floor) and on a Beam that ran right through 3 other Units, the Monotype could be detected running 2 units away, even with Monotype supplied, 4 Hard Rubber pads enclosed in minature metal slippers.

In a slightly jocular vein, Putting ones ear to the R.S.J. in one unit to HEAR if the if the Layabout Caster Op. was actually working, 2 units away, was (We Beleive) perfected by the Native American Indians, listening for the approach of the Iron Horse.

Good Luck Mick

just ensure that your stuff is insured due to its location against any “damage” you might do that then rebounds on your equipment, , and that the building itself is insured from any ‘damage ’ that your stuff could do to it.

“taking moments’ is the terminlogy for calculating beam loads-plenty websites about. pads extra layer flooring to spread load, reinforce the flooring material in case that is thin wood for example is good.

Many shops are located on second or third floors of building with no detrimental effect. You are wise to have a structural engineer or architect take a peek for you. I did so when we moved into our home to insure that the press could operate where I wished it (over a basement space). In my case, the architect had no qualms about it. I did, however, place a couple jack posts under an extra beam 4”x6” I placed directly under the joists upon which the press would sit. (My own qualms showing forth.) No sag in the past 20 years.
The architect who took a look said the press weighs significantly less that a full bathtub or hot-tub, and was spread over about the same space.

John Henry

I spent many a summer in my younger days in building construction. This looks like pretty well-constructed frame to me.
I’ve seen pretty heavy tractors drive on floors like this. The only time I ever saw any issues was in the flooring material breaking between the joists under one of the front wheels. The frame members supported that tractor just fine and the operator was able to back his machine out of the stressed location with no problems.
I’d say you have been given VERY good advice (to consult with an engineer), but allow me to point out that if this is rental property, all liability should rest with the landlord, not with the tenant, though this depends on the terms of the lease. If the landlord says its OK, get it in writing. If, after this, the press crashes through the floor and collapses the building, you and the landlord can present claims to the insurance company. They won’t be happy about it, but they’ll be on the hook for it.
Also, there is no reason you cannot put substantial steel jack posts directly under the area where your press will be located. This is what I would do in any case as that much weight will certainly cause the floor to sag. Such jack posts are available with individual ratings well above the weight of your press. If you put four of them under a pair of steel I beams spanning several joists under your press and the flooring material is good and solid, you really should have no issues with weight. Ideally, there would be footings poured under each post as there are under the posts supporting the main beam in a modern house, but those things support the weight of the entire house, not a relatively light printing press.
Good luck with this venture!