On Friday, we showed you a hole in the floor. That hole was the beginning of our now-functional laundry chute!
Growing up, Catherine had a laundry chute in her family’s bathroom. They would drop all of their wet towels and dirty clothes down the chute and straight into a waiting laundry basket below. Then, when it was time to do laundry, all they had to do was go to the laundry room and all the laundry was there, ready to be washed.
When we moved into our new place last summer, Catherine wanted to find a way to get a laundry chute in our home. Initially, we thought about putting it in the bathroom linen closet were we could at least close it off, but since that sits right above the boiler room, we thought that might not be such a good idea, and we sort of put the idea out of our minds.
It wasn’t until we started finishing off the back stairwell that we re-visited the idea of the laundry chute. As plans came together to turn that area into a functioning mudroom, we realized that not only was the area we wanted to incorporate a built-in bench directly over the back corner of our laundry room, but also because we were going to have the bench open from the top, we would have a way to disguise the hole we’d have to cut for it.
So, we began by measuring from the back wall of the laundry room and drilling a hole through the ceiling. Then we measured the same distance off the same wall in the mudroom and drilled a hole in the floor. Luckily, I could see straight through the floor and with a little more cutting, I was able to find the floor joists and ensure there was nothing important in the space between the floor and ceiling, like electrical wires or plumbing.
We knew we’d have to line the chute with something to ensure clothes didn’t get trapped somewhere in the floors on their way down to the laundry room. We also knew it had to be perfectly smooth, so nothing would get snagged on it. We chose to go with a galvanized air duct used to install air conditioning as we knew it wouldn’t rust or get warped by we towels and it wouldn’t splinter and snag any clothing going by.
We only had about an eighteen inch space between the floor and ceiling, so we planned to make the chute two feet long to ensure plenty of clearance below. We picked up a 12”x8” section of ductwork that was 4 feet long. It comes only in halves (two sides of the duct), so we cut it down to 2 feet, and clipped both sides together to form a 12”x8” rectangle. (The ductwork is designed to be snapped together that way and already comes formed for that purpose). Next, we used the end of the duct to draw a pattern on the wood floor. I cut the hole in the floor using a circular saw and a jigsaw for the corners. I did the same on the ceiling below, being careful to keep the two holes aligned. Important note here: be sure to avoid floor and ceiling joists to ensure maximum stability to your floor and ceiling.
Once the holes were cut, we dropped the ductwork into place. It was a tight fit, which was what we preferred. I bent down two of the sides of the top of the duct and attached it to the floor with wood screws to hold it firmly in place. Here’s the newly primed floor with the chute screwed down. The bottom and left sides are the two attached.
Then, we simply lined all the edges with duct tape to ensure smooth edges all around.
With the laundry chute firmly in place, we look forward to less frequent trips downstairs lugging a laundry basket and less piles of clothing all around the house.
That’s the bottom of the laundry chute peeking from between two corner cabinets in the laundry room. Now, if only we had a lift to bring the clean clothes back upstairs…