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Read This Before Renovating Your Laundry Room
By Mike Holmes
Monday, June 7th, 2021 @ 12:10am
While having a well thought out laundry room may not help lessen the mountain of clothes you need to wash, it can take some sting out of the chore and be more efficient. When planning your next laundry room renovation, here are some home improvement tips you can follow, so you’ll have a space where laundry won’t rule your life.
Where Should Your Laundry Room be?
Does your laundry room need to be in your basement? Not necessarily. While many homeowners prefer having a dedicated space in the basement that doubles as laundry and storage, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Advantage of Having a Main Floor Laundry Room
Those who plan to live in their homes forever can really benefit from a main floor laundry room. By keeping it on the same level as your kitchen, bathroom, living room, and master bedroom, you’ll be navigating less stairways, which can become a challenge as you age, and mobility becomes a concern.
Pay special attention to washing machine leaks, as they can really damage your main floor rooms. I recommend installing a smart leak detector that sends notifications to your phone if there is a leak. I have the one from Kinetico installed at my place.
The main floor laundry room may be able to share plumbing with the kitchen or main floor bathroom too, but remember no matter where your laundry room is you will require a primer line and a floor drain.
The primer line flows water into the C-trap, creating a seal that prevents sewer gasses from backing up into your home.
Building for life may seem like a big job – and it is – but if you break it down into smaller projects you can take it one step at a time. Here are my tips for renovating for aging and accessibility.
Moving A Laundry Room
If you do relocate a washer and dryer to on the main or upper floors then I recommend putting additional blocking in the framing of the floor below to carry the added weight and reduce vibrations.
I would also put the units on acoustic pads for further vibration reduction. You don’t want the rinse cycle to shake the whole house so a little extra strength is always a good thing for laundry rooms.
Also, if you are moving your washer and dryer into a closet remember the door must be vented and additional space is required to dissipate dryer heat.
Upgrading Your Washer & Dryer
The lifespan of a washer is usually 10-12 years, while dryers can last longer as there are fewer mechanisms to go ware out.
If you are getting a new washer and dryer; I say, definitely opt for high efficiency washer and dryer units.
Anything we can do to reduce our water usage, and shorten our reliance on the dryer (which uses lots of energy) is a good thing in my books.
Front Loader or Top Loader Machine?
Should you go with a top-loading washing machine, or a front-loader? There are pros and cons to each.
If the space is tight then top-loading machines tend to be less wide and take a little less space to open and operate. There are also compact versions specifically for condos. I find the top-loader to be easier on the back and knees for guys like me that are up and down a lot. However, for an extra cost you can get a bottom drawer that allows the machine to be raised.
High efficiency top-loading washers tend to cost a little less than their front-loading counterparts and usually have a larger drum, allowing for more laundry to be done at once – perfect for big families with a never ending pile of clothes to wash.
However, front-loading machines can be stacked, and have a faster spin cycle, which means clothes that require drying take less time and energy. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
With either choice I like to make sure the units are near but not on a perimeter wall. You want to be able to vent to the outdoors without too much trouble for the dryer.
Also, make sure you clean vents so they are free of lint, and the washer will need to have water pipes connected so you don’t want those in an exterior wall where freezing could occur.
I also recommend lifting air vents (registers) out of the floor and into the wall a foot or two above the baseboard – if there is accidental flooding it will not allow water to go into your ducts and throughout the house.
Picking The Perfect Laundry Sink
Your laundry room sink can be multipurpose. You will likely be using your laundry sink for cleaning or soaking clothing, but it will also come in handy to dump ice or drinks after entertaining or even washing art supplies or pets. You want a heavy duty sink that can handle anything.
Storage and Organizational Solutions
Think about the functionality of your laundry room and how you use it. It doesn’t have to be a designer laundry room but it does have to be functional.
Do you wash, dry, fold, and hang right in the laundry room, or do you dump the clothes onto your couch and fold while watching Holmes + Holmes?
Do you have lots of items that need to be air-dried? Answering these questions will help dictate what kind of fixtures you’ll need for the space.
Leave Space For Accessories
Laundry rooms are typically small, so you want to plan for storage that will facilitate doing the laundry. like a spot for soap, bleach, etc. Items like soap, bleach, dryer sheets and stain removers, I would suggest putting these on upper open shelving in baskets or a closed cabinet especially if you have little ones.
A folding table is a must for me, as I like to fold and then put away. With lots of items that need air-drying, you might invest in wall mounted hanging rods or retractable racks or portable clothing drying racks.
Also think about incorporating some counter space for folding your clothes.
So, when planning your new laundry space think function over form and take some time to select a durable and reliable washer and dryer. It’s not a fashion show until you put the clothes on so don’t worry if the machines look “sexy” – I say get what works.