Contemplating a remodel for the new year? Where should you begin? If you read the home improvement magazines, you know the top rooms to be remodeled are the kitchen and the bathroom – they have the most impact on your life, and will hold or improve the value of your home if you chose to sell.
But there’s another room in your home that may be worth looking at, especially if you have an older home … your laundry room.
The typical American will spend around 7 hours per week doing laundry. Manufacturers of washers and dryers say that the average load takes around 2 hours of time from start to finish. And the tasks involved – collecting the clothes, transporting them, sorting them, washing and drying them, folding or hanging them up, returning them to bedrooms – all take that much longer if you are going from an upstairs bedroom to a dark corner of your basement.
Ease will definitely be impacted if you move your laundry room from the basement up a level, and put it near the mudroom or the kitchen, or move it upstairs and place it by the bedrooms. And you may also add value to your home, as recent studies show those basement laundry facilities can cause the offer on your home to fall by 4 percent or more.
If a new laundry room is on your list of remodel projects, you’ll quickly find that it isn’t a do it yourself project. Laundry rooms need proper plumbing and ventilation in order to operate efficiently; start by speaking with a contractor to make sure your project meets all building code requirements. Costs will depend on where you place the laundry room, and the number of physical changes you make to your home in order to incorporate it into your home.
A spare linen closet near the bedrooms can be adjusted to house a stackable washer and dryer. Or convert a small room into an elegant laundry room. Space is only an issue as you are deciding the number of accessories you choose to build into your laundry room. A standard washer and dryer needs approximately 6 feet wide by 3 feet deep. Add in sinks, folding tables, ironing boards, and areas to house supplies and detergents, and you can add in a few more feet.
Laundry rooms need a few basic things to function properly. Plumbing and wiring are at the top of the list. Building codes also require flexible ductwork for the dryer and shut off valves for the washer. You may also need a structural engineer to make sure your floor joists can stand the constant movement of a washer. You’ll also have to fully insulate to deaden the sound if it backs to the master bath.
Gas or Electric?
Most dryers run from 30 to 32 inches in depth. You will need enough space for the dryer, plus at least 6 more inches of clearance for venting duct and gas connections (if using gas). Building codes will also determine which door type you’ll need – a vent with a fan is needed to bring in enough air for proper combustion for a gas dryer. You’ll also need to make sure the doorway is large enough to move the washer in and out easily.