How to tell if upstairs floor can support washing machine/dryer?

It's me! Aren't I cute?
Thanks again to everyone who answered about the trap in the washer drain. I've closed it up with a umm..... device for now, and that will keep us from asphyxiating until I get to the hardware store this weekend.
Now...
Remember that the washer/dryer area is upstairs on the 2nd floor. The age of the house is up for grabs- some folks say 30 years, others say 50 years, but it might be a moot point because the house is made from a lot of recycled barn timber (very rustic, you should come see it). There is a drop ceiling in the kitchen underneath (no basement, so this is how they hide the pipes). From there, I can see that there are what appear to be old 2x6 joists that run parallel to the outside wall. The joists appear to be set atop some 6x6 or so huge barn beams AFAICT.
Things you'll ask that I won't know *exactly* until I go home tonight and measure:
1) how far apart the joists are spaced (I want to say 12")
2) how long of a span the joists are stretching across (I would wager 10')
3) weight of the washer/dryer. (I seem to recall the shipping weight of the washer is 212 lbs. No Idea on the dryer. I've been all over Maytag's site to try to figure this out but thier site blows chunks.)
4) How far away the mailbox is.
5) Anything else?
When we looked at the house, there was a standard, older toploader washer there before, plus an electric dryer. The units we're putting in are a Maytag Neptune pair, and of course we have to put in a gas line for the dryer. Yay! I don't know what an average washer/dryer weighs, so I don't know how ours compare. Of anything, the Maytags will use less than half the water throughout the wash cycle, so at ~8.5lbs/gallon there's less weight there. We've run the washer a couple of times. The clothes rotating in the drum go "thump" "thump" "thump" all through the house, but I don't think the floor underneath it moves at all. I stood in front of the washer and jumped up and down (I weigh about 190) and the missus watched the floor from the kitchen downstairs, and it didn't appear to move at all. Once upon a time, there was a leaking toilet shutoff valve right next to this laundry area and you can see water stains on the floor, but the home inspector said that the floorboards (once again, old barn batting/planking, not OSB or pressboard) are unfettered by this and still as robust as they should be. The leaking valve has since been repaired, of course.
Right now, the dryer is not in the "laundry room". They do not fit in the prescribed space side/side, so they will need to be staggered, with the washer out front (soap door would be obstructed if it were behind). There is a wall I can take out and they will fit, but I'm not crazy about hacking up the house like that (yet). I will assume the washer is the heavier of the two, and it will then be the furthest from the outside wall (if staggered).
This is one of those paranoia (what if?) things that is keeping me up at night. I've heard a story or two about a laundry room falling into the floor below, ripping apart dryer gas lines, explosions, death, mayhem, the earth stops rotating and everyone dies. Stuff like that.
I can't imagine this isn't something that needs to be looked at first-hand to be 100% sure about, but are there any "rules of thumb" regarding appliances, flooring and such? Is there any way I can bolster up the floor just to be sure? Short of putting a column under it, of course, because that would be smack-ass right in front of the stove in the kitchen. Handy spot for a fire extinguisher, but makes it hard to open the oven.
I will get the measurements above, and any others that you ask for.
Thanks again,
-Phaeton
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If it can't support a washer/dryer then maybe you shouldn't be walking on it either.
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No warranty here but if you can walk on it and it feels safe it can handle a washer and dryer. New stuff weighs a lot less than the older stuff. You saw some sitting there.
Colbyt
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phaeton wrote:

You want to check how far the joists below the machine are from the nearest load-bearing column or wall; and move it as much as you can towards such a column. Joists could be reinforced by sistering some wood or steel angles, but you'd have to tear the floor up, which from your description may not be as bad as in other houses. The washer is going to be 2-3 times heavier than the dryer, or at least they feel that way. Is the Neptune a horizontal-axis machine? My old vertical-axis one felt a lot heavier than the horizontal, but that would depend on the specific machine. Some horizontals are direct drive, so they don't have the heavy gear-box, but these days some verticals are direct drive too. A horizontal is going more than 800 rpm in the spin cycle, and while it may not thump the floor, it could set up interesting harmonics in the process if the floor beneath isn't rigid. Just some thoughts that I had...
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your load questions could be easily answered with a visit from your local building inspector or an architect. we have our conventional washer and gas dryer on our second floor of our 1910 constructed two story building. when the top loader washer spins it shakes the waterbed a bit. if the wind gusts to 50 mph, the house moves a bit. so if either of these bother you just go to the laundromat instead.
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Normal construction can handle the weight of a washer/dryer without doing anything special. If anything, many well maintained older homes were built sturdier than some of today's homes. If there is no evidence of the floors sagging, it doesn't give when you jump on it, I wouldn't worry about it. A washer dryer is no worse than many other loads that are routinely put on residential floors, like heavy furniture, several people standing in one place area, etc.
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wrote:

I'll come tomorrow for New Years eve. Whatcha got to drink?
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