So, You’re Considering a Laundry Room Relocate
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, the laundry room is the spleen. Necessary to a healthy home, but unglamorous and stuck in a weird place. Blame it’s relatively recent addition to houses or humanities’ fickle nature, but we can’t seem to come to a consensus on where they even belong. Either way, the laundry room is often an architectural afterthought. Turns out, a laundry room relocate is a very common home improvement project.
Location, Location, Location
Where does a laundry room go? Everyone has a different answer. Some say close to the closets (near bedrooms). Others want to keep it near other major appliances and plumbing fixtures (near the kitchen). Owners of historic homes are happy for nearly any retrofit that keeps them from the laundromat, yet buyers nitpick this amenity.
The truth is, there are pros and cons to nearly every location and few are perfect. It really comes down to a mixture of personal preference and pragmatism. Here are some things to consider:
Upstairs and/or Near Bedrooms
A laundry room relocate to upstairs can be convenient. At first blush, it seems to make a lot of sense too. Wash the clothes near the place where the clothes live. But then again, there is some risk.
A leak or overflow in an upstairs location can cause major damage. Dozens of gallons of water leaking through the floor to the rooms below is a large insurance claim. It’s very important that the floor be reinforced to handle the weight and vibration, especially for front-load washers. Speaking of vibration, washer and dryers can be loud. Consider this before locating them next to the sanctuary that is your bedroom.
If you purchase a washer and/or dryer and bring it home yourself, there’s also the unenjoyable task of getting them up the stairs – and sometimes the back pain that follows.
In/Near the Kitchen
While there’s a practicality to placing large plumbing appliances in a central location, the kitchen is the heart of the home. If you are retrofitting laundry to this space, it may feel awkward and cause an eyesore. Not to mention that it may cut into storage space, which is likely at a premium already. Then what are you going to do, fold laundry on the kitchen table?
Few homes have enough available closet space to make this laundry room relocation ideal. Most hall closets are not built to the dimensions of a washer and dryer, which means it may intrude into the hallway space. Unless this particular closet backs up to a bathroom, there may not be plumbing available. If there is, venting could be another problem. A problem as in fire hazard.
While a mudroom washer and dryer is convenient if you’re coming home from your local mud run, we can also imagine it being a bit awkward. These rooms are typically small and serve a particular purpose. Adding a washer and dryer comes with the risk of them becoming chaotic rooms, rather than a place to simply keep your boots and coats.
It isn’t unusual for them to be somewhat exposed to a range of temperatures, as well. Consider that next time you’re running around the house – in your skivvies – trying to find your favorite shirt. Did you leave it in the dryer? Either way, this laundry room relocation concept will need to be climate controlled and/or very well insulated for this to work. Frozen pipes are never good.
Planning Steps for a Laundry Room Relocate
Once you’ve decided the right location for your lifestyle, the next step is figuring out the feasibility and cost of that relocation. Lots of things can affect the price of moving a washer and dryer. This is not something that can be just quoted over the phone. Also, chances are that the project is going to involve a plumber, an electrician and possibly a contractor. Here’s the checklist:
First thing to do is measure the space. Make sure that either a standard stackable, upright or frontload is going to fit. For resale value, you don’t want to fit a washer and dryer around a unique spec. You also don’t want to oversize or undersize the unit for the size of the home. A stackable doesn’t make much sense in a four-bedroom house.
Check with washer and dryer manufacturers for the current specifications. Generally, you need at least 60 inches of wall space for side-by-side uprights and at least 42 inches of workspace (for standing, loading, unloading, etc.) in front of the units. A good guideline is about six feet by six feet as a minimum. Of course, if you’re going with apartment size stackables, that’s completely different.
2. Water, Waste and Venting
Now you need to consider the plumbing part. You have to be able to get fresh water to your washer, drain the dirty water away, and vent the plumbing appropriately. You also need a vent for the dryer. If there’s already plumbing in the nearby space and/or plumbing on the opposite side of the wall, consider that as a tentative thumbs-up. A licensed master plumber will need to give you the final okay though.
If none of these things are already present, you may have a harder road to hoe. Or, at least, a more expensive one. Some of the factors that might drive up pricing include: slab subflooring, the proximity to waste lines and whether you are considering adding all of this to an inner wall. When it comes to waste lines, part of the requirement is that there’s enough fall (gravity) in the line to get appropriate drainage. You certainly don’t want drainage problems from day one due to poor planning. Again, a licensed plumber can help you figure these things out.
3. Electrical, etc.
You’ll need a dedicated 220v outlet for the dryer, a regular outlet for the washing machine and anything else you want in the room. Chances are good those things don’t already exist in your desired location. You may also want to consider reinforcing the floor if locating the laundry room upstairs and/or if you’re getting a front-loading machine. This will require an electrician and contractor.
The vent for the dryer needs to be as short and direct as possible, to avoid being a fire hazard. This can be difficult on an interior wall. The same factors that would drive up the cost of the plumbing make for additional costs in this arena as well.
If your proposed laundry room is going to be on an exterior wall and/or a non-temperature controlled area you’ll need to consider doing extra insulation. At a very minimum, you’ll need to insulate the water supply. However, it is advisable to protect the machinery with at least minimal insulation as well. We’re lucky in the South to not have to worry about deep freezes. Basic insulation should be plenty.
5. Go Big or Go Laundromat
Live a little! If you’re considering making the investment that comes with moving laundry facilities, do it right. Don’t go from one compromised laundry situation to another. Think through the small things that might take the sting out of this chore.
Consider adding little luxuries like a utility sink, a folding counter, ironing center, extra storage and utility lighting. It only takes a search on inspiration apps like Houzz or Pinterest to find some fantastic laundry room organization ideas. These small touches can have the added benefit of increasing your resale value as well. Even if your chosen location isn’t ideal for the next owner, maybe they’ll love your sweater drawer enough to forgive that choice.
6. Budget and Begin
Budgeting for this project is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. You need quotes to set a budget, but you need a budget to get started. That’s no problem with All Clear Plumbing and our friends over at Fann Electric Services. We know a few good contractors, too! We’ll happily check into your project and give you our best estimate at no charge.
To set up an appointment for a quote just call 864-979-7059.
Once you’ve got all those ducks in a row, you can get busy dreaming up and drawing your plans. Now your dream home doesn’t have to come with a ‘but’ anymore!