Traditionally, washers and dryers were located in the basement. This is a little like storing garden tools in the attic. The dominant thinking today is to have the laundry room closer to the bedrooms.
This is easier than it used to be because homes are generally more spacious, and because there are more choices of appliance models which might fit into closets and other tight spaces.
Whenever you’re remodeling laundry rooms, the first challenge is finding the most likely spot to put the laundry room. Almost certainly, some changes will have to be made to walls.
Full sized washers and dryers are 4 or 5 inches deeper than most closets. Think about what’s on the other side of the closet and what happens if you break through the wall.
You could look at compact machines, but they won’t handle the work load if you have a family. There are a few stackable models with large capacity. These will work in a narrow space. Of course, in an ideal arrangement, you also would have a sink and space to store the laundry.
If you’re working in a closet, you’ll need a minimum of 5′-6″ wall to wall, and a clear door opening of 5 feet. The inside depth of the closet needs to be 30″. A room (even if it’s no bigger than a walk-in closet) would be much better.
That will give you space for an ironing board, and possibly a linen closet (or at least some shelves). If the room exists, remember to check the door width when remodeling laundry rooms, to make sure that the appliances can fit through the opening.
Both appliances in your new laundry room need there own dedicated electrical circuits. Manufacturers’ booklets will give you the information about the voltage and other technical data. A gas dryer will need a new gas line. The washing machine will also need both hot and cold water lines connected to it.
This could be a big deal, depending on where the closest water lines are. You will have to open a wall to access the pipes, and you might need several holes before you can tap into an existing line. Consider this when remodeling laundry rooms and deciding on a location.
Let’s not forget about the drain. The washer has to tap into a drain in order to insure that you won’t have any future leaks. Have you ever seen a washing machine that hasn’t overflowed occasionally?
This will mean cutting into the floor. It’s not too big a project in a ranch house with a full basement, but if you’re putting a drain on the 2nd floor of the house, it’s more complex (aka expensive).
A floor pan to catch the water and direct it into the drain is a cheap and good idea. Dryer vents should go outside, either through the roof, or through the side wall of the house. Never vent into the attic.
If you’re remodeling laundry room on the 2nd floor, I recommend using high quality hoses. They’re more durable than the standard hoses, and many come with guarantees. They’re a little more expensive initially, but they will give you peace of mind.
Laundry Room Cabinets
Hopefully, you have more than a closet-sized space for your laundry room. If you have a decent sized room (minimum of 8 by 10), or if you’re renovating an existing laundry area, try to include some laundry room cabinets.
They will make your laundry room more useful and better organized, making your laundering chore a lot easier (if you follow these suggestions).
Have 7-foot tall cabinets (any taller and you can’t reach the top shelf easily) on either side of the washer/dryer, and wall-hung cabinets above them.
In one of the tall cabinets (in addition to storage space) you should have a swing-out hanging rack, and a flip-up working table. In the other tower, include a hamper, a sink & faucet, and you can include a fold-out ironing board if you don’t have the space for a free-standing one.
There are several ways to incorporate these features into a set of laundry room cabinets, but if you want to see how one set-up is designed, you can Google Workbench Magazine for plans and diagrams showing how to build a laundry center.