Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hate Hauling Laundry? Give Dirty Clothes the Chute

by Nicole White Quinn
Laundry is among my top five hated chores, a close second to grocery shopping. But some things make it more tolerable. Having quick and easy access to a laundry room is everyone’s dream.

Those who live in newer houses often have a washer and dryer on the second floor, close to bedrooms and baths. But if you live in an older, multilevel home, there’s a good chance your laundry room is stashed in the basement or on the ground floor. What to do? One quick and not-so-expensive fix is to install a laundry chute.
Project: Add a laundry chute.

Why: Because running up and down multiple flights of stairs may sound like a fun New Year’s resolution, but it gets tiresome after, say, load number 20.

Adding a laundry chute can be quite easy, says Seattle architect
Nils Finne, who has installed quite a few chutes in both new and existing homes. “We generally allow for a 10- by 10-inch clear vertical shaft space, and the contractor inserts a sheet-metal liner into that space,’’ says Finne.
Once that’s complete, he says, “we typically detail a cabinet door to provide access to the chute, and then at the bottom we empty the chute into a cabinet located above the laundry counter.”
Who to hire: Adding a laundry chute in an existing home is probably not a job for the novice DIYer. 
“If your chute is on the second floor, this will be trickier, because you will have to create a clear path from the laundry chute door to the exit of the chute in the basement,” Cherne says. “You will have to cut the hole for the laundry chute on the second floor, then create an opening on the first floor.”
There could also be some hidden issues inside the walls to consider. “There will probably be electrical, plumbing and other framing in the way,” Cherne says. “After the install, drywall or plaster would need to be patched and painted. This could quickly add up in price.”
Safety tip: Laundry chutes are a magnet for kids and pets (who naturally want to try the chutes themselves), so be sure to set the chute high enough so it’s out of reach. Even if little ones can’t get in, they will likely toss stuffed animals and objects down the chute, so be sure to sort that laundry!
Typical project length: Installation can take a few days or a few weeks, depending on the complexity. A custom installation like this one, which is seamlessly integrated into a wall of tiles, could add more time and cost more.
Materials: “The chute itself could be made from wood,” Cherne says. “But I prefer to specify aluminum that is used in ductwork to build a square or rectangular box. The bigger, the better. The aluminum is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and can be found at most home improvement stores. It is also smooth, which allows the clothes to easily fall through the chute.”
General rule of thumb: Chutes typically need to dump into a container, not on top of the washer-dryer

Best time to do this project: Since getting organized is a big to-do in the new year, this is a great project to tackle in January — but it can be done at any time of year.

Cabinet-S-Top ~ 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ ~ 330.239.3630


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