Laundry Chute

Laundry chutes used to be common in multi story homes. For awhile they disappeared almost altogether, but recently they have begun re-emerging! Laundry chutes are a fantastic way to keep from carrying loads of dirty laundry all over the house, and having to search for those missing dirty underwear!

There are a few considerations that need to be accounted for before you go knocking a hole in your wall though!

Be sure of the upstairs’ room’s orientation relative to the lower room by careful measurement before proceeding! Locate the hole near a wall or in a closet, if possible, which will give you the safest location.

Also, look at your plumbing pipes, ventilation ducts, dryer vent hoses, etc. and try to determine whether the space between the joists is occupied. Though it is better to cut the floor hole first, boring a small opening in the ceiling below is the only sure way to know! A ceiling hole is generally much easier to repair than a floor hole, especially if you have a finished wood floor!

The actual hole for the laundry chute is nothing more than two openings… one in the floor and then one in the ceiling directly beneath it. Close up the open ends of the hole between the floor joists with plywood. Line all four sides with aluminum flashing for ease of cleaning and durability. Glue the flashing to eliminate nail heads, though you can bend the flashing around the top and bottom of the ceiling if desired and either nail or staple in place. Then when you "finish" the job with moldings or a cover these edges will disappear.

Caulk all corners and sharp edges with a clear adhesive caulk, latex or silicone. You need to install some sort of protective cover. One idea is to build a "mock" laundry hamper in the upstairs room over the hole, mounted against the wall. In the downstairs, just keep a basket in place to catch the dirty laundry.

Another idea is to build your laundry chute in the wall, between the studs. This process is slightly more complex, as you are more likely to run into wiring and other internal house ‘organs’, but it does provide a nice looking alternative. Just make sure you place a door of some sort over the hole that you will be dropping the clothes into, to help keep little ones from going foe a slide (that they most certainly will get stuck in)!

For additional safety, you can install a latch or lock on the door!

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