Could Physically Slamming on a Table Damage the Home Floor/Structure?

In summary, an argument with my parents turned physical and I slammed my arms down on their dinner table hard three times. The table didn't break, but there is a possibility that it may have been dented slightly. There is also a potential that the force of the slams could've caused damage to the floor beneath it.
  • #1
kyphysics
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Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I had a heated argument with my parents in their home (where I reside temporarily too). Out of anger, I physically slammed my arms down on their dinner table extremely hard. I was in a rage (b/c they went out during COVID's surge when we've already lost a family member to it and I warned them not to go out during this time...it was sort of a "love rage" in a desire to protect them) and I think I might have even thought to myself I wanted to break the table in half. Suffice it to say, I was super mad and slammed my arms very, very hard, using my upper body's weight (sort of rising up and then flopping/falling with my upper-body's weight down onto my arms for even more force). I did this about three times (prior to which I also slammed my hands down on it just moderately hard - that was my first reaction, before rage filled me and I went all out).

The table itself is very study, as it's an older style one with metal legs and has metal "bars" underneath it reinforcing the center. It didn't break, but looks like it may have very, very slightly bent a bit (or, it could just be pre-existing - not sure).

Our home was inspected for repairs underneath it and we were told we had some joists, beams, and flooring (although, not in this kitchen table spot) needing repair. So, already, there's been some possible "weakness" in the floor/structure. With me slamming down on the table like that (I am 5'9 and weigh 185 lbs. - fat, not muscle, LOL), could this force have caused a "reverberation" through the flooring and maybe damaged something underneath it? Like could it have caused cracks in the sub-floor or "damage" of some sort (maybe cracks too) in the beams and joists underneath?

The floor in the kitchen itself has no cracks (it's tiled). Maybe the location of where I slammed it (underneath the legs of the table) have a SLIGHT "lower" unevenness to the tiles. But, it's not something you'd notice unless someone pointed it out (and even then it's maybe hard to tell). It could have been uneven beforehand too, as I'm not sure. Basically, there's nothing super noticeable, but maybe a slight "indented lower" feel to some tiled areas (but, again, it could just be my fear/imagination).

From a physics point-of-view, could the force of these slams have be hard enough to "damage" stuff structurally underneath the floors? Or, would my slamming force have "dissipated" throughout the table itself (with the table absorbing the shock and not the floor)? I didn't slam the floor, but rather a study table on top of it. But, it felt SOOO HARD that I thought to myself what if I really damaged the floor/structure of the home.

*I could take pics of the table and tiles if that helps* Just wondering in general if this is a rational/reasonable analysis & fear?
 
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  • #2
There shouldn't be anything you can do with your body weight alone that can damage the floor -- even if you fall hard enough to injure yourself (like falling off a stepladder). Certainly not in a different place, not directly underneath.

No, you can't damage the floor just by pounding your fists on the dinner table.
 
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  • #3
Also, if you didn't hit the table hard enough to damage your hands, it's very likely that you didn't hit the table hard enough to damage it or what's underneath it.

I am curious, are you still living with your parents after this incident?
 
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  • #4
kuruman said:
Also, if you didn't hit the table hard enough to damage your hands, it's very likely that you didn't hit the table hard enough to damage it or what's underneath it.
Heh, good point; if you did a body-slam hard enough, directly on a 2x6 joist, it'd be bones snapping, not the joist.
 
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  • #5
  • #6
russ_watters said:
There shouldn't be anything you can do with your body weight alone that can damage the floor -- even if you fall hard enough to injure yourself (like falling off a stepladder). Certainly not in a different place, not directly underneath.

No, you can't damage the floor just by pounding your fists on the dinner table.
Thanks for the comments/feedback. It's good to get this perspective!

a.) I think I'd add that it wasn't just my arms pounding the table, but as I said, I purposely lifted up my body to a standing position almost and "dropped"/flopped with accelerated downward force my upper body onto the table (with the arms being the contact point). AND, it was somewhat unevenly distributed. If you imagine a rectangular table, the pounding was more on the left half and closer to the bottom corner. So the force wasn't aimed at the center, but more so toward the left bottom portion (although, not entirely in that tiny section, as my arms covered some of the upper right and slightly center positions too).

b.) I wondered about the table absorbing shock. Would a table absorb this shock and kind of diminish (maybe "spread out) it's effect OR could actually be an amplifying force and increase the force going into the floor/ground? In other words, if I punched a guy with my fists, that's one thing. But, what if I punched him wearing brass/metal knuckles? That would hurt more, because the metal knuckles amplify the force, no? We have very sturdy metal legs to this table. So could the table + metal legs (+ me pounding it from a non-centralized position - more towards the bottom left side) = a stronger force somehow that ripples into the floor and damages the beams/joists, etc, underneath?

c.) OR, do you think housing materials are just to strong and can still absorb this with no problem.
 
  • #7
kuruman said:
Also, if you didn't hit the table hard enough to damage your hands, it's very likely that you didn't hit the table hard enough to damage it or what's underneath it.

I am curious, are you still living with your parents after this incident?
I didn't damage my heads, but the key is that I wasn't "hitting/pounding" with my hand/arm strength.

Rather, I lifted up my upper-body and let it fall (I think even accelerating the force by "throwing my weight down fast/hard) on the the table very hard. My hands/arms were more like the "contact points" from which the force was released. But, I generated my force from rising up and accelerating downward with my entire upper-body vs. just standing still and pounding the table usually simply arm strength if that makes sense.

But, yes, no damage to my arms/hands. Table has metal reinforcing bars underneath it that are very thick and very strong metal legs too, so I'm not surprised that didn't break. And, yeah, I'll be with parents until end of March of next year. I "made up" with them and they understand my anger, b/c they realize how stupid it was to go out during that holiday time. One of the worst times really and I'm glad we've had no symptoms.
 
  • #8
Umm @kyphysics I for one think that nope @russ_watters is right ##-## a full-beam housing joist is way stronger than a human radius or ulna, and in a house, its placement in the floor is much more solid than that of an angry man's arms pounding on the table.
 
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  • #9
kyphysics said:
I didn't damage my heads, but the key is that I wasn't "hitting/pounding" with my hand/arm strength.

Rather, I lifted up my upper-body and let it fall
Nothing you have said here was ambiguous in your fist post, so saying it again doesn't change anything. I don't understand why you seem to be confused. Let me try to simplify. Which scenario involves more energy transfer at impact?:
1. Your body falling 0.3m.
2. Your body falling 2m.

And swinging your arms doesn't change anything either, unless you were able to swing them fast enough that the impact threw you against the ceiling.
 
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  • #10
First, if you are angry enough to think you might have done damage to a house, you need to seriously consider anger management. Hoping this will get better on its own is not a good plan.

Second, Russ is right. Saying it again doesn't change anything.
 
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Related to Could Physically Slamming on a Table Damage the Home Floor/Structure?

1. Can slamming on a table cause damage to the home floor or structure?

Yes, slamming on a table can potentially cause damage to the home floor or structure. The force of the impact can transfer through the table and into the floor or structure, causing cracks, dents, or other forms of damage.

2. What factors can contribute to the damage caused by slamming on a table?

The type of table, the material and condition of the floor or structure, and the force of the impact can all contribute to the potential damage caused by slamming on a table. Additionally, repeated slamming in the same spot can worsen the damage over time.

3. Is there a specific type of table that is more likely to cause damage when slammed?

Generally, heavier and sturdier tables are more likely to cause damage when slammed, as they can transfer more force into the floor or structure. Tables with legs that are not evenly distributed or are unevenly balanced can also increase the risk of damage.

4. How can I prevent damage to my home floor or structure when using a table?

To prevent damage, it is important to use caution when slamming on a table. Avoid using excessive force, and try to distribute the impact evenly across the table. It may also be helpful to use a protective barrier, such as a tablecloth or padding, between the table and the floor or structure.

5. If I notice damage to my home floor or structure from slamming on a table, what should I do?

If you notice damage, it is best to address it as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need to repair or reinforce the affected area. It is also important to avoid further slamming on the table in that spot to prevent worsening the damage.

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