Laundry usually piles up the most in bathrooms and bedrooms. Two-story homes with a laundry room on a lower level can be inconvenient if people have to tote several baskets of linens up and down the stairs each week. Second-story laundry rooms reduce the lifting, but homeowners who are ready to move the appliances upstairs need to continue with caution to avoid problems.
Check the Support
Basic washers and dryers are a safe weight for use in the upper levels of most homes, but older houses may need reinforcement even for smaller appliances. The installation of large-capacity appliances could mean reinforcement is a necessity even in a newer home. Have a general contractor inspect the home before you make any changes.
The vibration of the washing machine could be even more damaging than the weight. Older front-load washing machines tend to vibrate more than top-loading models. The movement is due to their fast spin cycle. Many newer models of front loaders have less vibration than earlier models, so look for brands that guard against vibrations if you buy new appliances.
To reduce the vibration in a washer you already own, make certain the washer is installed correctly and that it is level. Stacked appliances often vibrate because of an incorrectly installed stacking kit. If stacking isn’t the problem, then you can stabilize the machine by putting down a layer of plywood underneath the unit or reinforcing the ceiling directly beneath the laundry area.
Consider the Disruptions
One concern with laundry areas near bedrooms is that you may have difficulty doing laundry in the evening if you have young children go to bed early. Install noise-dampening insulation in the interior walls of the laundry room to lessen the disruption.
Another concern is the heat emitted by the dryer. During warm weather, the extra heat could make the upstairs of the home uncomfortable. To improve things, install a dryer vent and a window in the laundry area for more ventilation.
Another thing to remember is that upstairs laundry rooms can mean you have to rethink housework routines. You may not find it as convenient to come home from work and toss in a load of laundry while dinner cooks when the units are upstairs. To do so with a second-story laundry room would mean extra trips up and down the stairs. A better solution may be to do a load in the morning while getting ready for the day.
Protect Against Water
Leakage is a concern with every laundry room, but it is even more of a concern when it is on the second floor. Any flooding will cause damage to a larger part of the home because it can cause harm to the laundry area as well as the rooms underneath. The leak may even go unnoticed longer because it is less likely to be seen as soon as it would in a busier part of the home.
Extra effort can reduce the risk of leaks. Use only the most durable and reliable fixtures, hoses and pipes. Add an under-washer tray to collect any small leaks and install an automatic shut off valve. The valve detects leaks and automatically shuts off the water to prevent disaster.
Another possibility is one that involves a larger investment but could be the best safeguard available. Tile the floor and add a floor drain to ensure that any water on the floor will not cause damage. Remember the weight of the tiles can cause problems too, and the installation should only take place when the floor has an appropriate amount of support.
Many buyers today prefer second-floor laundry rooms, and it is common for new houses to have this feature. Upgrade an older home by moving the washer and dryer upstairs to make the home more desirable to buyers. At Rakeman Plumbing and Rakeman Air, we can make certain that your new laundry area is safe and reliable. Contact us today for an estimate.