Laundry Room Remodel

Dear NH,
I have purchased a recently renovated 72-year-old home. The home has been completely remodeled, including all of the interior framing and walls.

Upon buying the home, I went to install my new standard size Sears washer and dryer in the laundry room, which is located at the end of the hallway.

The first piece went in fine, but the second would not clear by roughly two inches in width. I was later able to "install" the dryer, and I had two friends help me drop the washer into the space from above and then hook it up. Unfortunately, I have never had the vent hose hooked up correctly, and it has fallen off. Moreover, the door to the dryer (high capacity w/ wider door) will not clear the framing unless the dryer is shoved into an angle to the opening.

At this time, I have one of the 24" bi-fold doors off of the dryer, and the vent hose has completely fallen off the vent, which was not cleanly installed to begin with as it is set at an angle from the interior wall and the outside. Left hand right hand thing.

My question is what is standard for a clear opening for a laundry room. Mine is only 48" and has trim covering the inside of the framing as well.
JW from Atlanta, GA


For what it's worth, you are not alone in your disgust over the size of your laundry closet! Many homes and condominiums face this space disgrace every day! The 4-foot opening is definitely minimal, but it was adequate years ago when washers and dryers were less "super-sized" than they are today! Building codes vary, requiring up to 6' doorway widths and 2 1/2' depths to allow plenty of room for installation and maintenance reducing the possibility of crushing the dryer's exhaust hose. (Of course, some codes also require drain pans under the washing machine, but that's another story.)

You have a few options, and none of them are especially bright. You could return or sell the washer/dryer and buy a set with smaller frames or even purchase "stacked" units. If you have some carpentry skills, you could probably increase the doorway size. The next size up for a pair of standard folding doors would be 4'8", or 28" per pair. At the same time, you might be able to increase the depth of the closet to allow a little more room for the dryer venting. You will have all sorts of issues to deal with, though, starting with whether the wall is load bearing and ending with lead paint!

One final option might be to rethink the laundry room altogether. Use it as a closet for storage and move your laundry area either to another more substantial closet, to a larger room such as a mud room (a popular location in some new homes) or to the basement where room is less a consideration. The nice thing about having the laundry room in the basement is less chance of a flood in your living area, plus lots of room to perfect your plumbing and electrical skills if you decide to do it yourself!

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