As with open shelving in the kitchen, second floor laundry rooms seem to divide people squarely into one of two camps – those who love it and those who are adamantly against it.

The Pros

  • No more lugging laundry up and down the stairs! The dirty clothing, sheets, and towels that make up 95% of our laundry are generated on the second floor so having the laundry room upstairs eliminates the lugging of laundry baskets up and down the stairs.
  • You can eliminate the use of hampers in bedrooms/bedroom closets. Older houses have small closets, making closet space a precious commodity. A large hamper can be kept in the laundry room for dirty clothes rather than keeping hampers in the bedrooms. In addition to freeing up space in the bedroom closets, it eliminates the time it takes to collect the laundry from various rooms before starting the wash.
  • For both of the above reasons, doing the laundry takes less time (could there be a bigger pro?!).

The Cons

  • Running the dryer during the summer can make it hotter upstairs. However, if you keep the door from the laundry room to the hall shut, it’s not an issue.
  • Noise from the washer and dryer can be a problem for sleeping kids. If you have light sleepers and like to do laundry at nap time and nighttime, it’s something to think about.
  • A washing machine that overflows or washer hose that bursts can cause much more damage to the house when the washer is on the second floor. Fortunately, if you follow a few simple tips (see below) it will significantly minimize the likelihood that this will be an issue.
  • If you have a front loading washing machine, it can cause significant vibration during the spin cycle and potentially result in the machine “walking”. Most manufacturers don’t recommend front loaders for second floor laundry rooms unless the flooring has been reinforced. That being said, there are many people who have second floor front loaders who have had no problems with them.

Tips

  • Have a water shut-off valve that is easily accessible. When the washer isn’t in use, turn off the water supply to the washer to eliminate the possibility of a flood due to a burst hose. Another option is to install an electronic valve shutoff kit that has a water sensor that you place under the washing machine – when water is sensed due to a leak or flooding it automatically shuts off the water supply.
  • Use steel braided washer hoses rather than standard washer hoses, as the steel hoses are less likely to burst. Upgrading to steel braided hoses is actually a good idea no matter where your washer is located (a flood on the first floor or basement is no fun either!).
  • Place your washing machine in a drain pan.  If your washing machine were to overflow, instead of water flooding the second floor, it would go down the sides of the machine into the drain pan, which is attached to a pipe that drains the water away. Note:  Building code does NOT require the second floor laundry room to have a floor drain or drain pan but it is advisable to install one to avoid unnecessary water damage down the road should there ever be a leak.
  • Try using a barn mat or vibration dampener pads such as “Good Vibrations” underneath front loaders in order to reduce the amount of vibration.