Basement Laundry

young-gardenerMay 28, 2009

Does anyone here have a basement laundry room? I'd love feedback on how helpful/painful it is, especially if you wash for a whole family.

The floorplan we are currently considering for our build has a main floor laundry closet, and I'd really rather have a laundry room. However, there is no where on the main floor to put it, and the entry for the garage is in the basement.

I'm considering a basement laundry room for a few reasons. 1. The playroom will be downstairs, so I'll probably be down there a bit, too.

2. It can have door to the backyard for muddy feet and plants. DH and I are big gardeners.

3. I can make it as big as I want.

However, I know it means lugging things up and down the stairs. Does anyone have a laundry chute for the basement laundry?

I'll attach a link to the plan. If we go with the basement laundry, it would most likely be just inside the area that says "future media room," connected to the garage stairs with a finished mud room. A tile entry would be between it and the daylight wall, so we could put in an entry door without loosing access to the rest of the basement. It would also allow us to drop shoes, etc when we come inside from the cars. (The basement will also house a play room and a guest suite.)

Any feedback on basement laundry spaces or layouts would be most helpful!

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This would help, wouldn't it.

Here is a link that might be useful: FLOORPLAN

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:27AM
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You're obviously much younger than we are, with small kids. No matter, I would advise against a basement laundry, especially if there's a chance you're going to be in this house for a long time. As you get older, stairs become more of an issue. If you or your spouse develop mobility issues, all the worse. And having the laundry in the basement is worse than just climbing stairs. As you say, it's lugging laundry. I think the trend now is more toward ground floor master suites, laundry rooms, etc. Blame it on us aging Boomers. But seriously, consider resale also. An older couple probably won't be inclined toward a basement laundry. However, if you have the option now, perhaps you provide for a space on the first floor (or second?) for laundry machines, complete with plumbing/drainage hookups. Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 11:42AM
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You are right. We're still just planning. We have no kids yet. Your idea is a good one. We could go ahead and install the plumbing where it is listed on the plan, then set up a second space downstairs, if we needed. That would give us more options as we "grow into" our home.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 12:45PM
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I can see why you'd like a basement laundry, for all the reasons you named. ITA with steve_a that also allowing for laundry space upstairs would be your best bet.

Decades ago when I was growing up, an aunt had a basement laundry. She had a chute in her upstairs bath, which I thought was a great place for it. Of course you could put one wherever you like since you're building.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2009 at 4:21PM
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I think you have valid reasons for the basement laundry and obviously you've given it some thought and that's what's important. I wouldn't count it out.

My house has the laundry in the basement and I have a clothes chute upstairs that goes into the laundry/utility room. VERY handy. I throw clothes down there and I throw the hangers down there too so they're in the basement when I need them. I do laundry and hang the things that go on hangers. Yes you lug the laundry up, but I don't lug it down. You lug laundry even on the same floor so don't let inflammatory words be your sole decider. You could even put in more than one clothes chute. My laundry chute is next to the doors of the bathroom and master bedroom. Perfect for me. Convenient for the other bedrooms too. It wouldn't be practical for me to put a main floor laundry area in my house. And while the steps aren't good for me now, I live with them and the basement isn't tough to deal with. I have the litter boxes down there anyway so I have to go down there. If I move I'd like one-level living but that's in the future.

There's another thing I really like about the clothes chute. No smelly clothes in the living areas! No stinky hamper. When I go to shower, the clothes go down the chute. If I come in from working outside I might even just toss the dirty clothes down the steps and when I go downstairs, toss them into the laundry basket. Most wouldn't do this, but it works for me. Otherwise you have dirty clothes in your "clean" area so it's more clutter and like I said, I like to put the smell in the basement. If I had a main floor or upstairs laundry, the dirty laundry would be in the way. For me and for the design of this house, it's definitely better to do laundry and keep the dirty clothes, in the basement.

The point about getting old and main floor laundry has a valid point, but I think it's a non-issue with your house being multi levels anyway so aged, handicapped people aren't going to like this house (for resale, etc) anyway whether there's an upstairs laundry or not so look at what's best for you. If they don't/won't/can't handle stairs, having the washer upstairs isn't going to be better. You still lug the clothes UPstairs rather than downstairs. I don't think that argument applies in your case.

If you're planning a large family having a second laundry area could be valuable in the future so leaving it in the design even if not used now, could be a good thing. Many houses now have multiple laundry areas.

It's a good idea to get differing ideas and opinions. So you can plan what's best for you and design it for servicing your needs.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 1:07AM
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I vote with Cynic about the laundry chute. I have the laundry area on the main floor, but have a chute from the second floor. Love the chute! I take the clothes out of the chute and put them in labeled baskets. When the basket is full it's time to wash that particular load of clothes.

They do make dumb waiter lifts if you are concerned about lugging the clothes back up the stairs. Listed below is an example.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dumbwaiter lift

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 3:01AM
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if this is multi-level and you're building from scratch or massive remodel and the laundry is in the basement, then yes by all means put in a chute. It shouldn't take up much space in the plan and will be convenient for the reasons listed.

My personal preference is to put the laundry near where the dirty cloths come from. That is, near the bedrooms.

Also, if you're thinking about an expanding family you might want enough space for more than one washer. You could put one downstairs for the muddy cloths and diapers and another upstairs for regular cloths, sheets and delicates. The downstairs one would be simple and rugged, the upstairs having more varied cycles and such.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 12:14PM
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I'll throw in my $0.02 worth....I have a 2 story basic small colonial and the laundry is in the basement. There are many pros and cons for location, but think of 2 things: where do you spend most of your time now while the laundry is doing its thing, and where in your new house will you probably be spending most of your time? Secondly, if you had a broken leg in a cast or any surgery that basically limited you to one floor for most of the day, where would you be?

I am an avid gardener so I can identify with muddy shoes, etc., and in the winter all my layers and boots from snow, ice, and snowblowing.

Do you entertain a lot (like lots of people in your kitchen?), do you plan on having children and where will they stay most of the day so you can watch them and at the same time do other household tasks. Are you a big computer user, TV user, where do you do most of your bill paying and other paper work type things?

Stairs can become an issue at any age, as can having a full bath (or at least one with a shower) on the level you might be limited to....

I am opting to expand my first floor half bath off a hallway off the kitchen and then adding an addition for a laundry/pantry room with a wide mud hallway with lots of hooks for clothing and boots, and section for clean clothes, broom closet, vacuum cleaner, etc. I realized that I spend most of my time at the kitchen table (coffee pot always going and little TV for the news) and in my computer section of my dining room next to the kitchen. I love being able to look out all the windows into my garden. Stairs are becoming a real issue and some other health problems are adding to my preference for all one floor living. I used to think the stairs would give me great exercise....but it has become a hinderance on more than one occasion. I also hate using the basement in the winter as it is truly a basement, not a finished lower floor level.

Just some thoughts as you plan your beautiful new home!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 5:51PM
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Thank you for the honest and diverse feedback! Your thoughts help me generate even more of my own. Who knew you could get motorized lifts!? In the immediate future, I would probably get the most laundry usage on the first floor, using the downstairs room for gardening/mudding. As the kids are born and are old enough to really play, we'll likely be outside and in the basement play room for a good portion of the day. So, perhaps two hook ups is the way to go. I could probably pick up a cheap secondary unit that's smaller in scale to stack in the laundry closet on the main floor without losing the entire closet. I think I'll ask the builder if a chute could be configured from the kids bathroom (passing through kitchen so I could drop towels) and maybe one from our room. Ours would necessitate me picking up the laundry from somewhere else in the basement, but at least it wouldn't be in our room. I hadn't thought of it before, but I do rather dislike having a laundry basket. My childhood home had a chute, so we never had laundry baskets. Our chore was lugging the laundry back up...maybe that's why mom didn't mind the basement laundry room. Haha!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 6:32PM
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young_gardener, I was thinking the same thing: As children become able (3 and up), let them take their clean laundry upstairs. I trained my kids from a young age to put their dirty clothes, towels, and sheets in hampers (yours would be dropping them down the chute - great fun! - which was a big reason I loved visiting my aunt, LOL) and put them away after I had dried, folded, and hung them up.

When they're small, this kind of thing is fun, particularly if they do it alongside you. And then they are used to doing it when they're older. Win/win. :-)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 7:18PM
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I have memories of my little brother hanging half his body down the chute when no one was watching (it was a door in the floor of the bathroom closet)...scary! ;)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2009 at 11:58PM
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Here I have an idea. You could install dumbwaiter elevator w/ stop in each level. They come in different sizes and you can move food up and down for kids too, laundry and dirty dishes form kids playing in the basement. These elevators are not that expensive. And I'm sure kids would love to help out more using it to.They will save you lots of foot work and time.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 12:23AM
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Ha ha,I didn't read the whole page and didn't see that someone already mentioned the lift. Sorry.
I used one of them before and they are so fun. Just load it up and send it down. Or up. It was in the restaurant. We moved supplies this way up too. I think it would be handy even for groceries.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 12:34AM
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Yikes, young_gardener! My second son was like that - we had to watch him like a hawk. Sounds like it's a good thing we lived in a ranch-style home which didn't have stairs, thus we didn't need a chute. LOL

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 12:54AM
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Such excellent points from all here! I have a basement laundry room with a clothes chute in the hallway just outside the main bath.

Given a choice between a laundry 'closet' or a laundry 'room', I would opt for the large room. I for one, do not completely dry any of our outer garments. I maybe tumble them for 5-10 minutes and hang all on hangers over short lines in the room. I do this even for my husbands T-shirts. Yes, I am very particular. Also I use my stationery tubs constantly for soaking or stain removal. I also have several shelves in this area with all laundry and household cleaning products. If and when I iron, which is not too often, I keep my iron and board in this area and enjoy ironing in my rec room.

What is really nice with a larger area that I do, is to have 4-5 wash baskets in a row, and whenever I go downstairs, I pick up clothes from the basket under the chute and pitch them in the respective basket for that load, and when I have enough in a basket I'm ready to wash. This way I never have to sort out a humongous pile of clothing. I have never been one to do all my laundry on a given day.

We have a rec room and computer area in our basement and at times if I'm doing laundry I will spend time in this room. I fold all my clothes on a large table in the rec room, where if I want to turn on the TV, I can.

As for the stairs I can see issues for some. My mother doesn't like the stairs due to her advanced age, however I feel it gives her a little exercise which she may not otherwise get.

Ideally, it would be nice to have a large laundry room on first floor...however that isn't an option. I think of the stairs as a good source of exercise, and find myself on certain days climbing those stairs maybe 25 times but then we do use our downstairs as much as others would a second floor. My husband also has his workshop in our basement.

Keep both options open. We are all different, and what works for some, not others. There is no right or wrong here. Hope this gives you some food for thought! Nothing like asking others for opinions but in the end it's what pleases you. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 3:05AM
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Great idea with the multiplie baskets, tallbear. That would keep my loads light.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 3:05PM
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I have had a basement laundry for the last 13 years. Nine of these years have been with children. I like the basement laundry. I do laundry 2x a week (since getting a large capacity washer/dryer) and I like the large amount of space to line up my 5 laundry baskets and sort accordingly. I don't think I'd like to sort everything on the main floor and leave things out in the open.

A plus is when the kids are really dirty they can change downstairs and leave all the mess there rather than scattered around the upstairs living space.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:52AM
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I'd do the laundry room on the first floor and do the rough in in the basement.

I say this for resale purposes. I know you're just building, but all new houses in this day and age have a 1st floor or 2nd floor laundry area. We just decided to not buy a house we liked because I didn't want to carry laundry up two flights of stairs - yes, I'm much older than you, but still, it's a pain to carry laundry up and down steps.

I think all of your reasons are valid for having a basement laundry, but its much cheaper to do the rough in during construction, so do it now for both areas and then you're covered for whatever works for you in the future as well as for a resale.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:50PM
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Our laundry room was in the basement, and we also had a chute. I loved the laundry chute as I could make clothes disappear, although I HATED the pile of clothes it turned into in the basement. With this arrangement, I found: 1) I hated going into the basement to sort the clothes; 2) Hated going there for starting a load; 3) Hated going there to switch the load from the wash to the dryer; 4) Hated bringing up the clothes to fold them (because I sure wasn't going to fold them in the basement, which was very far away from the bedrooms; 5) Hated going back down there to do it all over again in 40 minutes.

Because of my W/D being in the basement, I HATED laundry like I've never hated it before.

Really, think about this. When you go to sell your house, it will be to your advantage to have a main floor laundry, assuming your bedrooms are on the same floor. Here's something else...most people think they want a big laundry room. I can tell you I had one, and it was a mess, always needing cleaning. I have NEVER needed a laundry sink, since if I'm soaking clothing, I do it in the washer. Soak, spin, rinse, spin. See how easy that was? Look at my Luna Laundry System. Not only will your clothes be sorted before you even do the laundry, it will be convenient! This was one of the best remodeling we've done to simplify our lives.

Here is a link that might be useful: Luna Laundry System

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:04PM
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We have the Laundry room in the basement, but our house is a Tri-level.

From basement, 7 steps to Family Room: (2)desks & computer / TV / gas fireplace / Jacuzi bathtub,shower /
LazyBoy Leather: recliner, love-seat-recliner, sofa-bed

7 steps to main floor: Front door / Kitchen, patio-door / dinette / living room: (2) LazyBoy Leather love-seats

7 steps to next floor: Full bath / (3) bedrooms

The basement is somewhat converted to Laundry, kid's crafts / computer / (design)sewing machine,
TV/Stereo/game, toolbox room / (2)love-seats w/bed

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 7:39AM
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regus, our oldest son and dw's house is tri-level like yours. When they bought the house, the washer/dryer connections were in the basement. They had a baby at the time and his dw did not want to have to go that far to wash/dry laundry. So they wired and plumbed a nice-sized storage room near the kitchen and garage for the washer/dryer. They also installed cabinets, shelves, a sink, and had room left over for an ironing center. She loves it.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 8:27PM
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I used to live in a house that had the laundry in the basement and a laundry chute. It was great and I wish I had that now. The chute meant that all the dirty laundry in the house was stored downstairs and I didn't have to go on a treasure hunt to find all of it. Plus there was plenty of room to hang clothes right out of the dryer, set up ironing, etc. It's too bad the trend these days is to put laundry rooms upstairs as I don't find them nearly as useful.

Also, unless you are looking at a nursing home soon, I would not let the stairs be an issue. Dry laundry isn't that heavy and it is good exercise.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:05PM
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I would definitely plan for laundry area both up and down even if you don't use both right now. At least you have the option and you have main floor laundry if you do get in a resale situation. I like a larger laundry area which I absolutely have no room for on the main floor. For now I consider it good exercise to go up and down stairs and even carry things as long as I'm physically able to do so (and I'm an above knee amputee).

I have a chute under my bathroom vanity that's not currently in use - covered over by previous owner. I'm about to renovate my bathroom and will be making this useable again - once I improve the rest of the bathroom storage capacity. Just seems like I should use it since it's there and it will free up the space where I currently keep my dirty clothes basket.

At times we consider an addition on our house to add a master bathroom and main floor laundry area. This would also add some space on the lower walkout level. Since I like a larger laundry space my plan is to include a compact laundry space on the main level and a larger "finished" laundry, multipurpose space on the lower walkout level. At the moment though I'm not feeling the need for any of that stuff.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 11:25AM
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If I were planning a new home, it would include two laundry areas, basement with cupboards, chute or preferably dumbwaiter, ironing board in a drawer or wall cupboard and shower area. Then you could go from garden or work into the shower and clothes to a handy laundry. Plan for laundry plumbing on a mainfloor to install at a later date if impractical at present. You'll be glad to have the water supply and drain already in place ,no tearing up walls when this main floor convenience is needed. Have fun planning your new home!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 6:07PM
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We have always had a basement laundry - and I hate it! We are getting to the age when we worry about carrying loaded baskets up and down the stairs. Alas, no room for a first floor laundry.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 9:24PM
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If you are going to put your laundry upstairs, be SURE to put a pan under the washing machine, and to put an alarm in the pan that will sound if it gets wet. Neither the pan nor the alarm are very expensive and they can save your floors in case of leakage. The gasket around the door of my front loader failed and caused a flood - luckily, I was right there to avert a disaster but the pan and alarm went in right away.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 2:19PM
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I have my W/D on the second floor where all of the bedrooms and most of the bathrooms are. I can't see any reason to lug laundry up and down several flights of stairs when 99% of it originates and terminates on the second floor!

I would check with local fire and building codes before installing a laundry chute. They've gone out of favor because the chute is perfect chimney for lower level fires, and an accident waiting to happen with upper level children. My husband and his brother used to slide down their chute from the second story to the basement.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 11:40AM
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I'll echo what idrive has brought to light

Talk to a fireman about the conduit a laundry chute creates - as well as other safety issues.

We have basement laundry - I did my own makeover of the space, tiled backsplash, painted all surfaces doors, tables, laid new flooring, made a skirt for the utility sink - and it just looks like a happy space now. I personally don't mind going up/down - and it is one area that I don't feel has to be always tidy.

best to you

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:56PM
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