What do I need to know about my floor system to know if it will support a tub?
For example, if the tub installation guide says :
The floor must be strong enough to support
50 lb./sq. ft.
What does it mean in terms of the structure itself?
Thanks in advance.
For many years now most rooms other than bedrooms have been required by code to support 40 lb. "live loads" and 5-10 lbs. of "dead load" per sq. ft.
More that likely your existing joists are designed to handle these loads, though you have not said what the present joists sizes and spans are and I do not expect that you could know this.
In all probability you will be fine in installing a normal sized tub.
Can i stiffen the area up by Framing a floor system where the tub would sit where the joists in the new floor system sit perpendicular to the existing floor system effectively transferring the load over several floor joists at one time instead of just sitting over a single joist and subfloor?
Joist spans have some deflection built in, but this is a problem when tiling over the tub. If floor sags too much when the tub is full, the material between the wall and the tub can separate/crack. This is why they say caulk when tub is full.
Joists can also be not! 16" on center when under the tub, because certain accommodations were made for the plumbing. If you are installing a bigger tub, I would recommend doubling up the joists underneath, or at least visually check that there is no inadequate framing.
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