Build a Wall to Cover Laundry Room Pipes

White modern washer and dryer in home's laundry room.
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I had a question about how to cover the pipes and electrical receptacles located behind the washer and dryer in a laundry room.

Usually, there is a spaghetti-like conglomeration of supply and drain pipes, wires, conduit, and receptacles in laundry rooms that builders do not cover up. But it is possible to build a second, or false, wall in front of this mess, effectively shielding it from view. This is not a real wall in the sense of being structural. Even normal interior walls that are not load-bearing do have some structural properties--and the false wall has even less than that.

1. Determine the Thickness of the "Bump Out"

Measure the distance of the item (pipe, electrical box, etc.) that protrudes the farthest and then add another half an inch. You don't want the pipe touching the false wall.

2. What Will Be Your Framework?

Chances are good that the thickness of a 2x4 set "on end" (about 3 1/2 inches) may raise your wall past the point of the pipes.

3. Determine Where You Can Build Full-Sized Framework

The wall behind your washer and dryer likely will have large expanses that can be covered with full sections of the 8-foot tall framework. But as you get nearer to the "spaghetti" area, it will be impossible to cover that section with full framework. Figure out those "full framework" areas. You want to cover as much area with the full framework as possible.

4. Build Full Framework Sections

Size out your framework this way: lay down two 2x4s on the floor next to the wall you wish to cover. Then, measure the distance from the top of that 2x4 stack on up to the ceiling.

Find a suitable spot for building the framework: a garage, outside, etc. Make certain that the finished framework can be brought back inside through the doorways. If not, you may have to split it up into different sections. Or, better yet, build it in the laundry room. Whatever you do, you will need to build it laying on the floor flat.

Vertical studs are placed on-center every sixteen inches. Butting these vertical studs are two horizontal studs, one at the top and one at the bottom. Make sure that your framework has a stud at the very left and very right sides, too--you don't want it to be open-ended on the sides.

5. Nail Up Framework

Bring in the framework. You may need a second hand with this. Toenail the framework onto your existing wall, nailing into that wall's studs.

6. Block in the Pipe-and-Wire Area

Since the area of pipes and wires cannot be filled in with ​the full-size framework, you'll need to get creative. Above and below you may be able to build smaller sized framework (that is, instead of eight feet tall, it is two or three feet).

But within the more complicated area, it is possible to nail up individual blocks of 2x4s wherever needed. Here, you can abandon the "every sixteen inches on center" concept, and just create an ad hoc arrangement as best as possible.

One good thing is that you have no traffic behind the washer and dryer. No kids bumping into the wall, no one brushing against it. So it doesn't have to be quite as structurally strong as a normal interior wall. Individual blocks can even be set in place with construction glue if need be.

After the framework is built, it can be drywalled in the conventional fashion.