Since waterbeds first became popular back in the 1970s, people have been asking, "How much does a waterbed weigh?" This is not just a question born out of curiosity. It is frequently posed by those who live or spend time beneath a room where a waterbed is placed. Everyone knows a waterbed is heavier than a conventional one, so there is fear that the weight of the bed might collapse the ceiling above them.
Exactly How Much Does a Waterbed Weigh?
To answer the question, "How much does a waterbed weigh?" you have to know how to calculate the combined weight of the frame and water-filled mattress. A wooden framed waterbed, which is the typical type of frame for a traditionally constructed waterbed, weighs around 300 pounds per foot of width when filled with water. This means a king-size waterbed weighs around 1800 pounds, queen-sized about 1500 pounds and a twin size approximately 1350 pounds. More modernly constructed soft side waterbeds weigh about half as much for each size, as they are supported by a series of tubes that weigh approximately 40 pounds each.
Concerns About the Waterbed Weight
Although there may have been valid concerns regarding ceiling collapses in some cases, most homes and buildings built to code that have not suffered from extensive structural damage have floors and ceilings that can safely support waterbeds. This is because the weight of the bed is evenly distributed over a rather large area. The International Building Code (IBC) limits the weight for residential loads at 40 pounds per square foot, including occupants, so the weight of a water bed is okay for new construction but can surpass the weight-bearing capacity of the floors in older homes where remodeling may have already over-taxed the existing structure.
It's important to note that many apartment and condominium leases restrict the use of any water-filled furniture based on concerns about possible water damage due to accidental leakage, in addition to the structural stress of the weight. Check with the building manager or owner before setting up a waterbed in a rental unit. If you are purchasing a home, have a certified building inspector check the structure to be sure it is equipped to handle the weight of a waterbed.
Moving a Waterbed
Moving a waterbed is much more challenging than moving a regular bed. The water must be siphoned out of the mattress and directed to an outside source by a garden hose. If the bed has a frame, it must be disassembled before moving and then put back together at the new destination. The mattress refilling process takes a couple of hours. The bubbles have to be burped out and then the water in the mattress has to be heated for hours or days, depending on the temperature of the water used to fill it.
Many insomniacs have found the gentle motion of waterbed lulls them to sleep and relaxes tense muscles. People who are highly allergic to dust mites found in traditional mattresses often find relief in sleeping on a vinyl mattress that can easily be wiped clean when the sheets are changed. Pregnant women and sufferers of chronic back pain frequently find the giving surface of a waterbed is the best remedy for their aching joints.