When planning on adding a laundry room, you might be faced with the dilemma of where to locate the room.
Your laundry room's location must strike a perfect balance in ways that may seem contradictory at first. The laundry room should be conveniently located—but not be so close to living areas that noise becomes an issue. Of course, you also want the laundry room to be large enough to accommodate big appliances—yet not so large as to steal room from the house's living areas.
Flexibility, convenience, and space all coordinate with the ultimate need to tap into a range of utilities and access points that can be difficult to move or extend. That's the goal. And with most homes, it can be achieved with a little planning.
Laundry Room Main Considerations
Access to Core Utilities
Of all of the factors that will shift your laundry room from one area to another, the placement of utilities is the most important. Locating a laundry room at or near electrical and plumbing points, plus a venting location, will save you considerable amounts of money, time, and aggravation.
- Electrical: All dryers, both gas and electrical, require electricity. Gas dryers typically require a 120V, 3-prong electrical outlet. Electric dryers require a 240V, 30-amp electric outlet. Washers require a 120V, AC only, 15- or 20-amp, fused electrical outlet. These electrical hookups should be within 4 to 6 feet of the appliances. All power must be grounded and all outlets should be three-prong.
- Plumbing (Water Supply): Clothes washers require both hot and cold water valves, clean and corrosive-free and within 6 feet of the intended hookup location.
- Drain System: Washers require a drain system in the form of a floor drain, wall standpipe, floor standpipe, or a laundry tub.
- Ducting: All dryers must duct out through an exterior wall or the roof to the outdoors. Some rigid metal ducts with no bends can extend as far as 120 feet to the outside. Generally, though, the best rule of thumb is to keep the dryer duct as short and straight as possible.
- Gas: Natural gas dryers require a natural gas line; no liquid propane hookups are allowed.
Before buying a gas dryer, note that many communities have begun to phase out natural gas service for environmental concerns.
Count on using at least 30 inches width and 35 inches depth per machine. Add another 5-1/2 inches behind the dryer for the dryer vent.
Stackable machines can help you save valuable floor space. But they usually have smaller capacities than with individual machines.
Sturdy, Level Floor
Your laundry room must have a floor sturdy enough to support a minimum weight of 200 pounds. You will also need to take into consideration the combined weight of a companion appliance. Keep the slope of the floor to 1-inch or less across the width of the appliance.
A laundry room that is located too far away from living and working areas such as the kitchen is inconvenient and adds even more work to laundry day. Keep the laundry room within a realistic distance of the areas of the house where you work and relax.
As long as you properly set up the washer and dryer and keep them well-maintained, operational safety should not be an issue.
Especially be vigilant about keeping the dryer vent clean, clear, and flowing. Make sure that any stackable washer and dryer unit is installed properly to avoid toppling. If carrying bulky, heavy clothing is at all an issue for you, prioritize ground-level placement of the laundry room over one located in the basement or on upper floors.
Laundry Room Layout Options
Location, too, depends on the intended laundry room layout. Galley-style laundry room layouts are long and narrow, and they use the least amount of room and work well on the other side of the kitchen walls. The downside to this type of layout is that the working room is minimal.
L-shaped and U-shaped laundry rooms give you the greatest range of options in terms of washer and dryer location, storage, and working room. Yet you do need a wider space for the L-shaped room to accommodate an extra section of countertop and cabinets.
For the U-shaped laundry room, the space needs to be even wider to make room for an entire U-shape of cabinets and countertops, plus even more room if you want to put a clothes folding table in the middle of the room.
Potential Laundry Room Locations
Dedicated Laundry Room
Utilities already in place
Typically located in good spot
Uses up space that could be used for other activities
Requires larger house
If your house already has a dedicated laundry room with all of the required hookups, it is strongly recommended that you locate your laundry room there. All of the difficult, expensive work—establishing drainage, electrical, and water supply points—has already been done for you.
If you are balking at locating your laundry room in this space, it is often easier and less expensive to take care of those concerns rather than move the laundry room elsewhere. If the dedicated laundry space is too small, consider removing a wall to expand the room. If the space is next to a quiet area, consider replacing the interior hollow-core door with a soundproof solid door.
Contains potential flooding
Good access to utilities
Must carry laundry up and down stairs
Difficult to hear if machines have finished their cycles
Basements are often used for laundry rooms since they offer more space than the ground floor or upper levels.
Also, putting the laundry room in the basement lets you maximize space in the living areas upstairs. In the event of flooding, water is contained in the basement, away from living areas.
Above, Below, or Near a Kitchen or a Bathroom
Access to utilities
May conflict with kitchen or bath activities