Is it a bad idea to put a laundry room upstairs in new build?

farmhousegirlMarch 1, 2012

We are building a new home. The plan shows the laundry room upstairs which truly would be a wonderful thing. However, I have such a fear of flooding the house and ruining everything. Anyone have suggestions/thoughts?

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Well, that depends on a number of factors. Ideally, the laundry should be in the basement next to a drain so that if there is a leak, it will just drain out, but then people will to lug the laundry to the basement.

I haven't had any incident in the past of appliance flooding. I suppose it can happen. Keep in mind there are other water sources like sink, toilet, dishwasher, etc. the toilet for example is more likely to clog and get nasty water all over the place, but people don't put them in the basement.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 11:36AM
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If it is new construction and you like the idea of an upstairs laundry room, why not add a floor drain near the washer just in case? It should add very little cost wise.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 1:57PM
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If you are truly a farmhousegirl, then put your laundry on the first floor so you can hang everything possible outside in the fresh air. It's one of the main pleasures of rural living: no picky neighbors or HOA restrictions against line-drying!

It's easy to do, saves a ton of money (drying a load takes 3 to 4 times the energy cost of washing, even if you wash at high temps as I do) and your laundry smells fabulous - for free and without chemical "fresh linen" additives.

If you have to lug wet wash down and out to dry, it will seem like a bigger chore. (I have to lug wet wash up -from the basement - and out, but I am a dedicated line-dryer so it doesn't bother me.)

A floor drain is a good idea in any above-grade, newly-constructed laundry room. As are water-line shut-offs that get used between wash periods.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:13PM
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When we installed a front loader on a first floor, I was concerned because I had read about shaking. So I put a 3/4 inch slab of plywood over the floor before we tiled it. That way I made a double strength floor that would not bounce with the washer. Any drains could be installed beside the island. Also there are water sensor fill valves that turn off the fill valve the moment they detect water on the floor. I would install one of those in new construction.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 10:44PM
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I love my 2nd floor laundry. 99% of the dirty laundry is up there, why lug it to another floor to wash? :)

We put a catch pan under the washer, with a drain in it.

While I appreciate the idea of freshly lined-dried laundry, the reality is pollen-and-bird-poop-dried linens and clothing here.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:20AM
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I have to agree with idrive65: our laundry is on the 2nd floor (of a 3-floor house), and I love it. The convenience is unbeatable. I do turn the water to the house off (along with most of the electricity) when no one is home for any extended period, such as the family vacation, but I would do this regardless of where the laundry is - it's just good practice.

I also live in an upscale residential development, one of those with an association, so hanging laundry outside ist verboten! Even if it were not though I would not have the time to hang stuff out on a line, so don't really consider this an option.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 1:22PM
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I think so and I wish my washer/dryer was in the garage. My laundry room is in the center of the home same with the hot water heater and I hate it. If the builder had put the hot water heater in the garage I would be able to buy one of those new hybrid hot water heaters. There seems to be a huge number of water damaged homes these days. I see the "water restoration" trucks everywhere. What kind of pipes are you getting? copper or the cvpc? I hang my clothes in the garage because we can't due to the HOA restrictions. I do think it does save some money and wear and tear on the dryer.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 6:39PM
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The only time I would want a washer and dryer in the living area instead of the basement is if I became physically unable to climb stairs.

Washer and dryers and loud, generate lint and dust and are prone to leaking disasters. And as appliances more cheaply made all the time, I think the leaking disaster danger is even more probable.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 12:10PM
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I much prefer a laundry room on the main floor of the home, where I spend most of my time. I do laundry at all times of the day and don't want to climb stairs multiple times to change the loads, etc. Sometimes I hang items on a drying rack and put it outside, this would be very hard if the W/D were upstairs.

Analyze your lifestyle and where you like to hang out when the loads are being done. Then you will know where to put your laundry. And I totally agree with those advocating putting a floor drain in the laundry room, that's an oversight in my new home that I greatly regret.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 2:25PM
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I recently remodeled my home and built a laundry room on the main floor of the house. We plan to retire in this house (a number of years down the road) and I knew I'd want a main floor laundry when the time came. In the last few years, both my mom and my MIL have fallen on their basement stairs while lugging laundry baskets. I really like having it on the main floor, I find it very convenient. I wish we'd have thought to put a drain in the laundry room, that would have been a terrific idea.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 3:29PM
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We have our laundry on our second floor and I was insistent on having a floor drain installed. If you do this, be prepared for contractors to tell you you're nuts and for most of them not to have any idea how to actually do it. To get them to understand, you need to explain that it's constructed just like a shower floor. This requires a layer of mortar (aka "mud") to create a slope towards the drain, and a waterproof membrane over that, which the tile goes on top of. We used the 'Kerdi' system which many tilers will be familiar with from shower construction, but there are others as well. Also, you need to install a 'trap primer' which is a special valve that keeps water in the drain's P trap so it doesn't dry out and let sewer gas up into the house. A good plumber should know how to do this.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 7:40AM
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I think an ideal place for a washer/dryer is close to the bedrooms and bathrooms -its much more time efficient. The majority of your laundry goes to the bedrooms and bathrooms. As you age, its also easier on the arms and legs. Since you are building a new home, why not put a a washer/dryer behind closed doors in a kids bathroom? If you are worried about noise, put a small inexpensive stacked unit there for small kids loads - leave space to later put a full size unit in if you decide you like the set up. Build a normal laundry room in the basement. If you hate the laundry upstairs - you can turn that space into storage - no mater how much we have we always need more storage. If you love the upstairs laundry - then you can bring your larger machines upstairs and the smaller ones downstairs. I think if you can give yourself options you will be happier in the long run. Its harder to change things once they are built. Take precautions and install the recommended floor drain. If you don't want to purchase two washer /dryers start them upstairs and be prepared to move them if you are unhappy into a space downstairs that is already set up. Having the washer/dryer near where your clothes and towels are stored will make your life so much easier IMHO.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:44PM
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I've had basement laundry, 1st floor laundry and 2nd floor laundry. I prefer the 1st floor because that is where I spend most of my time. I don't have a laundry day. I do laundry EVERY day.

When I had a 2nd floor laundry I did like it, but I was always worried it would wake my daughter whose room was right next door. I found that I only did laundry at night when I went upstairs to give the children a bath after supper. The machines would be running at their bedtime. If I started laundry in the morning before I went downstairs I tended to forget about it till the evening.

Our 2nd floor laundry did have a drain. I believe it was a part of the building code in NC. Most new houses we saw had drain pans installed, but that didn't work well with front loaders with the pedestals.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 3:30PM
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We don't have ours on the 2nd floor but we do have it on the 1st (right near our MBr). Anyway, the floor is above our basement and we did put in a drain in the floor so that water would have a place to go. But, we also installed an automatic shut off valve that is easy to get to and as long as I am home I can stop water if there is a leak for any reason. (some people hide them or make it so you have to pull out the washer to get to it and quite frankly, in an emergency it is not convenient & also if my husband was not at home, I would not be able to get the washer out).

I'm not sure about a 2nd floor laundry room, definitely more concerns. Everything is okay until you have a problem and then you could be looking at significant & extensive damage, especially if it happens when you aren't home and therefore it is allowed to go on for awhile.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 5:27PM
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I'm sure the OP has finished this laundry room:), but for others...

I have my washer and dryer on the upper level of my house (along with the master bedrm and bath and the main living areas; den and additional bedrooms are downstairs in walk-out basement). I love it like this and find that the biggest issue is using the clothesline. So someone who never uses a clothesline would not even have this concern. Someone who uses the clothesline a lot would definitely want to consider this. I have a deck on this level and use racks at times, but I definitely don't use the line as much as I used to.

Noise is rarely an issue (only with lots of metal buttons or the like). My w/d are not even in a room where I can close the door. (They are in a hallway.)

There are some protective options for water issues (saw something recently on Ask This Old House). We didn't install a floor drain--didn't think of it; it seems like a good idea.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 5:08PM
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I have mine upstairs close to the bedrooms. I do not have a floor drain but would recommend it. If your budget can handle it, do the kerdie, full floor with drain, if not, do a overflow tray with a drain. I would also recommend some extra support, washers and dryers cause vibrations. I would also recommend insulating the interior walls around the laundry room. Most builders don't insulate interior walls unless requested. This is a big must as I tend to throw clothes in the dryer before I go to bed.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:42PM
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