Building and Design Specifications For A Laundry Room

Laundry Room
Hero Images/Getty Images

A laundry room should be one of the most workable rooms in your home. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling, there are some specifications and dimensions that you should keep in mind as you design your laundry room.

According to a National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) consumer preference survey, 95 percent of new homeowners request a separate laundry room. And, 61 percent of laundry rooms are being built on upper levels rather than first floors or basements.

The NAHB survey shows that homeowners want an expanded, multi-functional work area in the laundry room. Built-in ironing boards and solid-surface counter spaces for folding and sewing are popular, as are built-in storage. If there is no budget for custom cabinets, free-standing storage cabinets will work well. Either type can be used to both store detergent and other cleaning supplies as well as to conceal small appliances and equipment.

No matter how much you love or hate your current washer and dryer, you will replace them someday. Don't customize the laundry to the appliance units you have now. Instead, leave extra space beside and above appliances. Customized cabinets built around your appliances are great but if you move often, the next buyers may not find them suitable for their machines. Washers and dryers placed side by side are typically designed to fit within 60 inches or five feet. You can compare washer and dryer features and sizes by reading reviews and profiles online to help you plan cabinet sizes.

Always, be sure that the doors to your laundry room and access hallways and stairs if involved are wide enough to accommodate moving in appliances. You might also consider some tips for the laundry room for aging in place or handicapped access.

Dimensions For Laundry Room Work Space

If you have front loading machines, you should provide 48 inches of clearance in front of each appliance to provide room to walk around open doors. Storage pedestals are great for storage and lifting front-loading machines to waist level. But the trade off is the lack of work space on top of the machines. By skipping the pedestals, you can install the machines under a counter that will provide plenty of space for folding laundry.

Ideally, it is best to have 18 to 36 inches of free counter space on one side for your washer for pre-washing preparation like stain removal treatment.

Most standard lower cabinets are manufactured for a finished countertop height of 36 inches. This is comfortable for food preparation but may be too high for folding laundry - especially large items. A countertop or table that is more in the range of 30 to 34 inches will be more comfortable. Of course, if you have mobility problems or can not stand for long periods of time, the counter and other design feature measurements can be modified to suit your needs.

Storage for detergents, bleach and other products should be secure so that young children cannot have access. If installing an overhead cabinet or shelf, leave at least six inches of clearance beyond the edge a top loading washing machine lid.

Constructions Specifications For Laundry Rooms

Adding extra insulation to the walls and floor of the laundry room will help reduce noise pollution in other areas of the home. A floor drain is also great protection for the rest of the house in the event a washer hose breaks or the washer overflows. An automatic shutoff water valve is a wonderful addition to the laundry. It senses the electrical current draw from the washer and only opens the water supply when the machine is in use.

Of course, your plumber and electrician will have specifications for the water, electrical and gas lines to keep your laundry room up to code in your area. Always use the right type of electrical connections and never use an extension cord. Plan dryer placement to keep the vent hose as straight and short as possible. You'll have quicker and safer drying by reducing fire risks by reducing the lint accumulation.