Do-It-Yourself Laundry Chute Q&A

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Dear NH,

I am looking for a ready made kit or "how to" plans for a laundry chute . The laundry chute would go from the second floor kid's room to the laundry room which is directly below . The house is four years old wood frame / stucco siding house.

PM from Jacksonville, FL


Sounds like a fun project! My wife had wanted me to build her one for years… until we got out the tape measure and realized that the bathroom that WE THOUGHT was above the laundry was really offset about five feet, putting the location of the chute right over the top of a nearby kitchen cabinet! Not a good plan!

I have never seen formal plans for a chute, probably because this is a project that has to be custom designed for each home. So I will throw out a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing and you can carry the ball from here for a touchdown!

First, as alluded to earlier, be sure of the upstair's room's orientation relative to the lower room by careful measurement before proceeding! I suggest locating 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.

Since you don't want anyone inadvertently falling through the hole, you need to install some sort of protective cover. A neat idea might be 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 "undies". You can even install a special shelf for this hamper under the opening. Or be really primitive and let the clothes fall where they will!

Dear NH,

After reading your answer to a question about installing a laundry chute I thought I would tell you about mine. When I remodeled my upstairs bathroom I bought a small unfinished kitchen cupboard for about $25 to $30. I made certain that the chute was where I wanted it to be... directly above the front of the washer (which is in the basement). I cut out a hole in the floor and cut out the bottom of the cabinet. The "fake" cabinet matches existing cabinets perfectly and the clothes land in the basement right in front of the washer!



Now that is ingenuity! Using a cabinet instead of a hamper is a great idea! Laundry chutes are such a great idea I am amazed that more builders don't use them as a standard feature in their homes!!

Nowadays, many new homes have the laundry room on the second floor near the bedrooms. Though this on first blush seems like a great idea, I have found that many housewives/househusbands don't find it to be so nice! It seems that many folks prefer to have the laundry area closer to the living space... the main floor... rather than having to walk upstairs for every load change. See... you can't please everyone!!