The waterbed as we know it first made its appearance in 1971. Nowadays, most versions feature a support frame along with a mattress or bladder filled with water. Because water is a very dense substance, even the average size mattress (a queen) weighs 1,500 pounds or more all on its own. Add in a frame and the people sleeping on it, and an average weight of 2,000 pounds or more isn't uncommon.
There are two main types of waterbed, softside and hardside. Softside waterbeds feature a mattress that holds all the water and is enclosed in a rectangular frame made of soft foam. Hardside waterbeds feature a bladder-type mattress which sits inside a wooden frame with a plywood floor. Both types sit on a reinforced deck or frame. Generally, hardside beds -- because they feature a bulkier frame setup -- will outweigh softsides.
A waterbed's weight (frame, mattress, heating pad etc.) always depends on its dimensions. These days, the average version is a queen-size, with a mattress that's 60 inches by 80 inches in size. It holds about 187 gallons of water, so if you multiply 187 x 8.35 pounds (the weight of a U.S. gallon of water), you have nearly 1,562 pounds plus 200 to 300 pounds of frame and other accessories.
When figuring out a waterbed's weight, always add in headboards, baseboards and other attachments. This includes the heating pad and the mattress without any water in it. That's because most good mattresses come with internal anti-wave batting or chambers which contribute to their overall weight. Once the dry weight of the mattress, the weight of the frame and any attachments has been determined, you can add in the weight of the water to arrive at a solid number.
Given the size and bulk of an average queen size waterbed, the issue of how much weight your floors can support should be addressed. Check with a building expert or other professional before placing one of these beds in an upstairs bedroom or loft. And don't forget to add in an approximate figure to account for the weight of people on it as well.
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