There is a trend right now to build or add a laundry room on the main floor or on the second floor rather than in the basement. The concept is great but there isn’t always a place for it or enough room for it. If a main floor laundry room is something under consideration by a homeowner, one of the most important criteria is whether there is enough space for it.

There are many things to keep in mind, the right amount of space for the washer and dryer, storage for detergents and all of the other products used when doing the laundry, the addition of a laundry tub for soaking and rinsing out items, and space to hang up those items that shouldn’t be dried in the dryer. Sometimes people will put it in a closet big enough for a side-by-side washer and a dryer or a stackable set, but the closet may not be big enough for the rest of the laundry activities.

When planning for a laundry room a homeowner has to plan enough space to accommodate all of the functions they want to be able to do in that room. Also, though newer machines are quieter, they still make noise, so the location of the laundry room on an upper level and a decision about whether to add soundproofing in the area has to be carefully considered so that doing the laundry doesn’t disrupt family activities in nearby rooms.

Another important concern is the plumbing that is necessary for the laundry room. Lots of people worry that they need to put a disaster pan under the washer in case the machine leaks water. St Paul Pipeworks plumbers have determined that there isn’t much need for that these days because most of the upper-level laundries being built don’t have a disaster pan under the washer.

It is best that the appliances are not set directly on carpeting but if they are installed on hard surface flooring, that generally is good enough. If the machine fails, it is highly unusual that it leaks all over the place, but if it is in the middle of a cycle where the machine is full of water, it is prudent to have a way to get that water outside or pump it into a nearby bathroom.

St Paul Pipeworks plumbers are in favor of installing a laundry tub in the space if there is enough room. Sometimes people want to soak laundry items and it always pays to have another sink in your home. Most important is getting water using the correct size water pipes to the room. For a typical laundry setup, St Paul Pipeworks plumbers normally run a ½” cold pipe and a ½” hot pipe to it. A pipe cannot be pulled over from a nearby bathroom, it has to come from one of the main lines to be correctly sized.

The second concern is how to discharge the washing machine waste. The washing machine waste is treated just like a regular plumbing fixture. Again, in the basement, the plumber needs to find the correct size and place to tie onto and bring the waste over to it. This is often with a horizontal pipe. Then, the plumber will install either a surface-mounted pipe on the wall or the pipe inside of the wall and then provide a P-trap. This provides a water-sealed trap to prevent sewer gases from coming into the house each time the homeowner is done using the washing machine. St Paul Pipeworks plumbers also put in a stand-pipe that is usually about 24” long and it is often a slightly larger pipe so when the clothes washer discharges, the pipe can handle that amount of volume.

Finally, there needs to be a plumbing vent and an air supply to the washing machine waste pipe. That air supply, if there is a bathroom behind it, sometimes can be tied into the same bathroom vent. If there is not a bathroom behind it, sometimes there is a vent in the attic. In the worst-case scenario, the plumber has to run a new vent through the roof to let the air out. This means that there is going to be some roof and ceiling damage to do the work properly and to Code. If the venting is not done by a licensed plumber the risk is that when people try to sell the house, the issue is called out by an inspector and the homeowner has to pay to fix it before the sale can be completed.

The correct electrical has to be available in the new or remodeled upper-level laundry room. The washing machine operates on 110 volts of electricity, from a regular outlet. Most of the dryers in this market are gas-powered. Some municipalities have restrictions on which rooms they will allow a gas dryer. That is a factor that has to be checked out by a professional.

Many people will choose an electric dryer, and an electrician should be hired to install a 220-volt outlet for a dryer. Typically, the exhaust pipe will run through a side wall of the house. There are also some appliances that are designed to be ventless but that has to be planned ahead of time. Sometimes the vent will go directly out the side wall from that new space and sometimes it will go into the basement and then out. Dryers all have specifications about what can be done with dryer vent piping. A homeowner should never try to use a regular dryer. It is unsafe. If you have permission to use a gas dryer in that room, you also have to consider that gas piping will need to be installed by a professional plumber.

If you are interested in remodeling, adding a main floor laundry room, or just looking for a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro area, give St Paul Pipeworks a call today.


Yours Truly,

Matthew Dettwiler

Social Media Manager

Main Floor Laundry Room: Ask A Plumber